Survey: First-Name Use by Telemarketers Bothers Some

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Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed in a recent Harris Interactive poll said they were bothered when telemarketers called them by their first names.

Only 5 percent of those surveyed in the poll said they actually preferred it when telemarketers called them by their first names, while 62 percent of those polled said they did not care, according to Harris Interactive, Rochester, NY, a market research firm. Twenty-eight percent said they preferred their last name, and another 5 percent said they had no opinion.

In a separate section of the survey, 29 percent of those polled said being referred to by their first name during sales calls bothered them. The survey of a nationwide cross-section of 1,011 adults is accurate within three percentage points, according to Harris Interactive.

Broken down demographically, 35 percent of college graduates and 39 percent of those with postgraduate educations said they preferred last names. Only 23 percent of men said they preferred last names, compared with 34 percent of women; 43 percent of African-Americans said they preferred last names.

"Given this result, it is puzzling that some telemarketers continue to offend a substantial minority of people they call by using their first names," Harris concluded in the study.

A detail of the survey is available at


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