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Customer-Service Wait Times Triple as Staff Shortage Vex Call Centers

  • Lonely customers and job-hopping are plaguing call centers
  • Remote work has made rampant turnover even worse in industry


Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Thanks to a trio of pandemic-era shake-ups -- job vacancies, work-from-home, and chattier callers -- customer-service wait times are soaring in the US.

The average length of a service call rose by several minutes since the pandemic started, according to call-center analytics firm CallMiner. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, callers were so desperate for human contact that they started “talking about the pandemic, talking about the vaccines, talking about the political climate,” said CallMiner Chief Technical Officer Jeff Gallino.