Just how frustrated are Americans with the state of customer service?  According to a new Consumer Reports’ survey, 65% are “tremendously annoyed” by rude salespeople and 64% of respondents said that they had left a store in the previous 12 months because of poor service.  

Consumer Reports also found that 71% of survey respondents were extremely irritated when they couldn’t reach a human on the phone.  Sixty-seven percent said they hung up the phone without getting their issue resolved.

“There’s a feeling on the part of Americans that companies are deliberately making it difficult for them by burying phone numbers, sidestepping calls and steering customers to online FAQs instead of live human beings,” said Tod Marks, senior project editor for Consumer Reports.

While brokerage firms, eyeglass retailers and pharmacies were among the highest-rated industries for service based on several years worth of subscriber-survey data analyzed by Consumer Reports National Research Center, computer tech support, TV, phone and Internet service providers earned some of the lowest scores.

In the report, Consumer Reports identifies the best and worst companies and service providers in each of 21 industries.  Walmart or Sam’s Club, and sometimes both, were among the worst in eight categories, including retailers for appliances, electronics, cell phones and supermarkets.  By comparison, Apple won praise for its retail service for cell phones, computers, computer tech support and electronics.

CUSTOMER SERVICE GRIPES

In Consumer Reports survey, respondents rated gripes on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the most annoying.  The most annoying phone-related customer gripes are: Can’t get a human on the phone (8.9) and Many phone steps needed (8.5).  The most annoying in-store customer gripes: Rude salesperson (8.7) and Pushy salesperson (8.2).

[Source:  Survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research.  7 June 2011.  Web.  20 June 2011.]