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The States With the Angriest Customers

Christine DiGangi

Customer service representatives shouldn’t be too surprised to hear salty language if they are dealing with Ohio residents. Buckeyes were most likely to drop curse words into customer phone calls with a variety of businesses, according to data from the Marchex Institute, and Ohio was also among the least courteous states.

The report was released in May but recently went viral, and it analyzed more than 600,000 phone calls between consumers and businesses during a 12-month period. The Marchex Call Mining technology flagged swear words “from A to F to S,” and it also analyzed how often callers used “please” and “thank you.” That resulted in four lists: States where people curse often, states where people are least likely to use profanity, states with the most polite residents and the states with the least courteous ones.

Following Ohio in the foul-mouthed hierarchy are Maryland, New Jersey, Louisiana and Illinois. Marchex dubbed Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas and Virginia “goody two-shoes” for their residents’ relatively minimal use of profanity.

As a consumer website, we’re in the business of hearing complaints, whether it’s about scams, credit scores, loans, credit cards, mortgages or credit reports. These topics can be confusing, which can be compounded by poor customer service.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission field many complaints of this nature, like hiccups with identity theft, student loans or payday lenders. Based on data those organizations collect, it’s clear people deal with a lot of details surrounding consumer products, and sometimes their manners lose out to frustration.

The Marchex data comprises calls made to businesses in 30 industries, and calls that lasted more than 10 minutes had more profanity than others. Morning calls were also more obscenity-laced than afternoon or evening calls, which is interesting, considering a recent study saying morning is the best time to place customer calls. From financial services to cable companies, no matter how long or irritating the call, it’s always a good idea to keep notes of whom you speak with and what they tell you. Such documentation can be helpful for sorting out mix-ups, particularly ones that take a long time to resolve.

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