The phrase "you call is valued" has been voted by consumers as the most irritating words to hear while waiting on the phone to be answered by a company.
Almost half (47%) of people questioned by consumer group Which? said the phrase was annoying, while 28% said they were most irritated by being directed to a company's website.
Around one in 10 (11%) of the 2,260 people surveyed said they were most annoyed by being told all operators are busy.
Around half of those polled (48%) said classical music was their most preferred sound while waiting to be answered on the phone.
The survey found that the most useful information was:
- Being told average call waiting times (33% of respondents)
- Being informed of a caller's position in the queue (32%)
- An offer of being called back (30%)
The Which? survey also revealed that the vast majority of people (93%) believe they should have to wait no longer than five minutes before their call is answered.
Which? magazine editor Richard Headland said: "Waiting on hold is a waste of time, but some organisations make the experience needlessly annoying through objectionable messages and music.
"If these drive you round the bend, vote with your feet and take your custom elsewhere. The best companies know the value of answering your call quickly."