Hey Salli - thanks for the post, and welcome to the Forum!
I'm going to jump in here too if that's alright, since I've been working this week on some text in our course materials that I think you'll find helpful
First off, Emily is right: you need to be careful assuming too much about arguments—the conclusion is always at the beginning or end, or the conclusion will always be made clear with certain words ("thus," "therefore," etc.)—and the best solution is to truly recognize what an author is attempting to prove/accomplish, versus what information (premises) the author is using to support that claim.
For the drill in question, the author is using the decrease in customer complaints about longer hold times to try to prove that customers "clearly" don't mind being patient. The logic in that relationship helps you put the pieces in the right order: a fact about customer behavior (fewer complaints) is provided to draw an inference about that behavior's cause (customers don't mind waiting).
Put another way, consider which of those pieces you would be likely to argue against if someone said this to you. Would you try to say that the number of customer complaints didn't
actually decrease? No, since that's a fact the author provides. What you'd debate would be the reason for the decrease: was it patience, or some other cause (maybe having fewer staff to take the complaint calls is why there's an apparent decrease in the volume...customers aren't okay with the wait, they just don't have anyone to complain to!).
Logic is always weapon #1 when it comes to deconstructing arguments on the LSAT (and, hopefully, in life).
But let me throw in a "formula" of sorts that you can apply and that should save you on the rare occasion you still feel stumped.
As you've no doubt recognized, most of the arguments you'll encounter on the LSAT have indicator words to help you recognize the conclusion. In those cases it's generally pretty straightforward figuring out what the author is driving at (although you can't always rely on words alone; some arguments are constructed to trick you by putting conclusion indicators on intermediate/subsidiary conclusions rather than the main idea, so be careful!).
Unfortunately, however, not every conclusion is so clearly marked. Consider a new example:
The best way of eliminating traffic congestion will not be easily found. There are so many competing
possibilities that it will take millions of dollars to study every option, and implementation of most
options carries an exorbitant price tag.
An argument like the one above can be difficult to analyze because no indicator words are present. Fortunately, there is a fairly simple trick that can be used in this situation (and any other situation where you are uncertain of the conclusion): the Conclusion Identification Method.
Take the statements under consideration for the conclusion and place them in an arrangement that forces one to be the conclusion and the other(s) to be the premise(s). Use premise and conclusion indicators to achieve this end.
Once the pieces are arranged, determine if the arrangement makes logical sense. If so, you have made the correct identification. If not, reverse the arrangement and examine the relationship again. Continue until you find an arrangement that is logical, and that will give you the conclusion.
Let’s apply this method to the argument above. For our first arrangement we will make the first sentence the premise and the second sentence the conclusion, and add indicators (in italics):
the best way of eliminating traffic congestion will not be easily found, we can conclude
that there are so many competing possibilities that it will take millions of dollars to study every option,
and implementation of most options carries an exorbitant price tag.
Does that sound right? No. Let’s try again, this time making the first sentence the conclusion and the second sentence the premise:
there are so many competing possibilities that it will take millions of dollars to study
every option, and implementation of most options carries an exorbitant price tag, we can conclude
that the best way of eliminating traffic congestion will not be easily found.
Clearly, the second arrangement is superior, as it makes logical sense! Generally when you have the conclusion and premise backward the arrangement will be confusing and feel odd. The correct arrangement always sounds more logical.
So by using this approach when you're trying to determine the conclusion from among competing possibilities you'll give yourself a proven way to reliably identify just what the author's main point really is
Practice with that technique when logic leaves you needing further confirmation and you'll find come test day that you can take arguments apart with ease.
I hope that helps!