The words "your call is valued" is the most irritating phrase to hear while waiting to be answered by a company, according to a poll.
Almost half of those surveyed by consumer group Which? (47%) said the phrase was the most annoying while on hold, followed by being directed to the company's website (28%) and apologies for all operators being busy (11%).
An engaged tone tops the list of most annoying sounds, named by 29% of those polled, followed by rock music (22%) and background music with no specific tune (21%).
Around half (48%) said that classical music was their preferred sound while waiting.
More positively, a third (33%) said being told how long they would have to wait was the most useful information while on hold, followed by where they were in the queue (32%) and the offer of being called back if they left a number (30%).
The watchdog also found the vast majority of people (93%) feel that the maximum time they are prepared to wait should be no longer than five minutes.
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."
:: Which? surveyed 2,260 members between July 14-29.