Dial "R" for rage

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"Phone rage" may be about to replace road rage as one of the more fashionable ways of letting off steam. More than six out of 10 respondents in a survey believed that more people are losing their temper on the telephone than did five years ago.

A report by the recruitment agency Reed Employment Services found that just 5 per cent of people believed the phenomenon had declined. Nearly two-thirds of respondents felt they were more likely to express their anger on the telephone rather than face-to-face or in letters.

Nearly three-quarters said they had much higher expectations that their problems would be solved on the spot over the phone and more than half revealed they had themselves lost their temper.

An insincere voice or an inattentive response was found to be the most provocative, followed by being kept waiting.

More organisations have laid down a mandatory telephone greeting to avoid irritation, Reed found. The survey is silent however on whether greetings such as "Hello this is Acme Footwear. My name is Mandy how may I help you" provokes even more anger. Barrie Clement