Looking at this problem (long phone hold times), it seems to be a simple mismatch between demand (the number of phone calls coming in) and supply (the number of employees working and the amount of time it takes to handle each call).
I know for a fact that American Airlines hires people who understand queuing theory. They have hold times of two hours or more. Do they rightfully blame the storm or do they have to blame their own staffing levels and other decisions that might make the situation better?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Customer Success for the technology company KaiNexus. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.