According to a new study, waiting at home for deliveries or scheduled repairs to cable, phones, internet service or utilities costs Americans a staggering $37.7 billion a year in lost income.

The ‘Cost of Waiting’ study from TOA Technologies, a maker of software that helps businesses better track service people and narrow the waiting time of customers, found Americans sat around for 4.3 hours on average — more than twice as long as those people had been promised. The delays cost each of those customers about $250, or two full working days, every year.

Consumer frustration with those missed or late appointments is further enhanced by the downturn in the economy. “There’s a much more acute sense of every dollar lost — especially in middle and lower-income people,” said Yuval Brisker, co-founder and CEO of TOA Technologies.

“It’s clear from this year’s survey that customer service needs to be a top priority for businesses in the current climate,” he added. “Not only because it can negatively affect a company’s performance but because poor service around wait times has financial penalties for a company’s own customers.”

[CNBC via The Street]

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