Study: Waiting In A Call Centre Queue Is Bad For Your Health

Waiting in a call centre phone queue for more than five minutes and 58 seconds is bad for your health, new research has revealed.

The blood-boiling frustration of waiting to get through to an operator can cause stress levels and blood pressure to rise dangerously high.

In a poll of 2,054 adults, 67 per cent said they felt “annoyed” when left waiting, a third experienced feelings of stress while 19 per cent confessed to becoming “angry”.

What’s more, the supposedly calming hold music did nothing to alleviate stress with 64 per cent saying the annoying music only served to fuel the fire.

Panpipes came out top as the most irritating music, followed by classical music and sounds from nature such as crashing waves.

The survey, commissioned by SIM-only mobile network giffgaff, revealed that more than half of Britons have become annoyed while waiting in a call centre queue in the past month and four in five have become so frustrated they’ve hung up.

Stress expert, Dr Roger Henderson, said: “We live in an age where for many people time is the most valuable commodity of all. The research found an increasing unwillingness to wait in queues.

“I call this phenomenon "speed greed", which reflects our growing demand for instant gratification and access to information and service.

“It is part of human nature to rarely be satisfied with what we have in life.

“But our expectations are now such that if we do not get the service we expect very quickly, our stress levels increase quickly and significantly.

“When stress levels rise, a range of health problems can begin to develop. They include high blood pressure, chronic anxiety, headaches, stomach and bowel upsets, as well as relationship difficulties.

“When waiting in queues this stress can manifest as a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, irritability, anger, frustration and muscle spasms.”

Not all types of queues elicited the same stress. It was found that the average Brit will wait for six minutes 32 seconds at a supermarket checkout and 10 minutes 57 seconds for public transport while they are prepared to endure a 13 minute wait to be served in a restaurant. Whoever said Brits like to queue was clearly mistaken.