Which Industries Generate the Highest Rates of Customer Cursing?



If you work at a veterinary clinic or hotel chances are you won’t get cussed out by customers over the phone. But conversations often turn a blue streak when people call up satellite TV providers and cable companies, according to new data released by Marchex.

The company analyzed rates of cursing across industries to better understand how companies can improve customer service and performance. The study examined rates of cursing across 20 service-related industries, such as hotels and auto dealers which rely on consumer phone calls for sales.

Marchex Call Analytics technology assessed data from more than 1.2 million consumer calls placed to U.S. businesses over a nearly two-year period from March 2012 to November 2013 to determine which industries generated the highest and lowest rates of customer cursing. The Marchex Institute research aggregated the data across a range of common curse words and found:

  • Satellite TV providers received the most cursing – one out of every 82 calls resulted in customers swearing, followed by contractors, cable providers and auto repair businesses.
  • Veterinary clinics received the least amount of cursing over the phone – one out of every 2,634 calls, followed by senior living, hotels and property management companies.  
  • 64 percent of the conversations that included a curse word were from men; 36 percent from women.

“Consumers expect great service and easy-to-understand pricing from national and local businesses and they aren’t afraid to voice their displeasure when they don’t receive it,” said John Busby, senior vice president of the Marchex Institute, in a statement. He added that the study also found that a fair amount of cursing occurs while consumers are on hold. “This should be a clear signal to businesses that long hold times leave a negative – and lasting – impression,” Busby said.