dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Customer Service Actuaries Needed

September 16th, 2021 by dk

An unprecedented number of young people are considering — or reconsidering — their career paths. Many have graduated but haven’t found an employment field that will lure them out of their parents’ basement. Even more — 40 percent of young professionals, by one count — say that COVID-19 has them reconsidering their employment future.

To these young people, I make this plea. Consider becoming a Customer Service Actuary. Don’t bother searching for this job title. Companies are not yet looking for people with these skills, but they should be. Get hired as a Customer Service Actuary and you’ll be a hero!

How many times have you been placed on hold with a message that sounds like this one? “We’re experiencing a higher than expected call volume, which may prolong your wait time. We appreciate your patience as we service other customers.” Yesterday, I was told at my local pharmacy that they were still backed up because of last week’s holiday.

Young people increasingly want jobs that make a tangible difference in people’s lives. What could be more satisfying than helping companies figure out that a holiday will reduce the number of workdays in that week by 14.29 – 20 percent? If demand for prescriptions remains unchanged, a staffing increase will be required to maintain a steady workflow.

The math isn’t difficult. I did it for you (and for the prescription counter) in the paragraph above. Simply estimate the amount of calls likely to be placed. Divide that by the acceptable wait time for each and Voilå! You’ve estimated how many service reps will be necessary to handle the expected volume. Fewer frustrated customers, less bedraggled employees, one company hero.

Careers like this one tend to swing like a pendulum between English majors and math majors. After World War II, English majors made a good living writing different versions of “New & Improved” on all consumer products.

Then came desktop computing and that label space became devoted to “33% more” or “Large for the price of Medium!” Math majors held sway and English majors fell away.

(True story. I noted that transition in 1994. That column got picked up by a newspaper in Alabama. A colleague of my brother at NASA saw it. My brother mailed me a copy for my birthday so we were both surprised.)

The pendulum eventually swung back. English majors found themselves again in demand, crafting evermore creative apologies for when company policies are working as intended. “We apologize for any inconvenience” sounded so much better than “We decided we’d rather have you wait than the people we’re paying.”

We’ve now reached the apex of apologies. Companies are no longer apologizing for their policies. They claim to be embarrassed about all those other customers who got in line before you! Eventually people tire of apologies — even nearly perfect ones. An opportunity for number-crunchers is emerging.

If this sounds like a career you would consider satisfying, call your favorite company today and offer your services. If they put you on hold because of higher-than-anticipated call volume, they’re really telling you they need your Customer Service Actuary services today!


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.