Please Hold: Online Retailers With Longest Customer Response Times

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Given the long lines that shoppers must deal with in stores on Thanksgiving weekend, many may prefer to browse for sales online instead, but shopping online can come with long wait times as well.

It took the 25 largest e-commerce websites an average of nearly four minutes to respond to customer service questions by phone between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, and more than a quarter of the retailers forced customers to wait at least five minutes to speak with someone, according to data from STELLAService, a customer service ratings company.

SonyStyle.com had by far the longest hold time of roughly 11.5 minutes, while other popular retailers like JCPenney.com and Newegg.com each clocked in at about seven minutes. Several of these same sites also ranked near the bottom of the list in e-mail response time. Newegg.com, for example, had only responded to a quarter of all customer service e-mails within 24 hours while JCPenney.com didn’t respond to any e-mails at all in that period.

Needless to say, these wait times are certainly worse than usual. According to STELLAService’s data, the amount of time that customers were on hold with these 25 retailers during Thanksgiving weekend was 139% longer than during the first two weeks of November.  Still, a handful of businesses like Amazon and Overstock.com had wait times of less than two minutes and managed to respond to all customer e-mails within 24 hours, even during the busiest shopping time of the year.

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