Waiting in a call centre phone queue for more than five minutes and 58 seconds is bad for your health, new research shows. Experts found callers' stress levels and blood pressure rise dangerously high as they become frustrated with the delay in getting through.
Dr Roger Henderson, a stress expert and GP said: “We live in an age where for many people time is the most valuable commodity of all. More and more people are unwilling to wait. ‘I call this phenomenon ‘speed greed’, which reflects our growing demand for instantly access to information and service. ‘It is part of human nature to rarely be satisfied with what we have in life.”
Dr Henderson said other symptoms of queue induced stress include a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms and headaches. This could develop into a more serious medical condition such high blood pressure, chronic anxiety, stomach and bowel upsets - or even the breakdown of relationship, he warned.
And not surprisingly, 67 per cent admitted to feeling ‘annoyed’ when they are forced to wait too long. A third also experienced stress, 19 per cent became ‘angry’ and 16 per cent feel their custom is ‘not valued’.
Furthermore, long waits in a queue are not just bad for customers' health but for the company's reputation too, the study found. Almost 70 per cent said their impression of a company was ‘permanently damaged’. Just under a quarter have even terminated a contract as a result of their wait.
The length of time Brits wait varies with the type of queue they are in but it averages between seven minutes and 18 seconds. They will wait five minutes 58 seconds for a call centre, six minutes 32 seconds at a supermarket checkout and 10 minutes 57 seconds for public transport. That increases to 13 minutes exactly when queuing for service at a restaurant.