Waiting for the cable guy isn't just annoying, it's also extremely expensive.

A 2011 "Cost of Waiting" study by TOA Technologies has found that sitting around waiting for a service or delivery appointment is costing Americans $38 billion per year.

The survey found that 50 percent of customers are repeatedly forced to take vacation or sick days waiting at home for cable repair, phone installation or even furniture delivery.

"People are waiting on average about 4.5 hours and that happens over two and a half times per year" said CEO and chairman, Yuval Brisker.

He says that can add up big time. "We found that on an individual basis that works out to about $250 per year, and with the economy the way it is and people having average salaries of $50,000 or less, losing that money can really hurt."

Brisker says long wait times can also lead to bad business reputations. "Besides getting a narrow window to please customers by being on time, it costs busineses $330 annually for every customer lost."

And while, expectations from customers are rising, their patience is shrinking. 70 percent of respondentsstated that they would recommend a company solely on the fact that an appointment was on time, but that drops by 43% if a service technician is 15 minutes late.

In this age of digital technology and social media, consumer complaints are heard loud and clear. "We found that one tweet, when re-tweeted and re-posted can lead to a million views."

"It's clear from this year's survey that customer service needs to be a top priority for businesses in the current climate, 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," said Brisker.

You can read the full study online.