Countdown: The 25 Worst Hold Time Offenders of 2016

Call Center | 3 minute read

Hold the Phone: Companies to Avoid Calling Over the HolidaysLooking for 2019’s Worst Hold Time Offenders? See the Top 10 here

If you’ve ever tweeted about waiting on hold with a call center your frustrations have likely been cataloged on The site scans Twitter for complaints about being on hold with customer service and categorizes them in real-time by company and industry name. Fonolo launched as a public service so that people could vent about being on hold while organizations can see how much goodwill they were losing from customers.

For many, simply knowing that they are not alone provides comfort during an otherwise anxiety ridden experience. The larger purpose of the site is to bring greater awareness to the problem of long hold times and help companies benefit from Fonolo’s call-back solutions. If you head on over to the site, you’ll see that we’ve done a complete overhaul in hopes of giving customers and companies a better chance to share their stories and correct this problem.


Over the course of 2016, we’ve tracked every complaint containing the phrase “on hold with” and we’re ready to release the top 25 companies with the most reported customer hold times.  View the slideshow below as we countdown to the worst hold time offenders of the year, and try not to cringe at the corresponding tweets from frustrated customers.



The biggest surprises? We think Amazon and Apple’s appearances on the list are more unexpected than others. It seems despite Amazon’s best efforts, they need to ramp up their operations to compensate for supply and demand. And while Apple is no stranger to consumer popularity, it moved up from 5th place to 1st place on this year’s list; a fair warning for those hoping to make any last minute MacBook purchases for the holidays.

The most unsurprising? The IRS and the DMV. We’ve grown to expect that anything government related will be slow and aggravating. But if you want a laugh, the IRS tweets are among the most humorous to say the least, including one of our favorites: “Hey @IRSnews I’ve been on hold for 30 minutes, whatcha doin over there? Hopefully finishing up @realDonaldTrump ‘s tax audit! #humor

Then there’s those pesky telecom providers who are headed for a chilly response from customers waiting on hold (30% of the top offenders come from a telecommunications company). In fact, there’s a bit of a pattern from an industry perspective.

The top 5 worst industries are as follows:

  1. Telecommunications (32%)
  2. Airline/Travel (20%)
  3. Retail (16%)
  4. Financial (12%)
  5. Government (1%)

As we head into holiday shopping crunch time, it’s important to take note of the companies listed here.  Early reports from showed that hold time complaints tripled over Cyber Monday, and have persisted since.
Surprises in weather conditions, agent absenteeism and a general increase in call volume could come crashing down on any unprepared contact center.

So, as a consumer, what can you do? Well, if a company puts you on hold, tag them using the hashtag #onholdwith. We’ve seen companies respond much faster to online complaints when it’s included. We also suggest that when the call is eventually picked up, to tell the agent about implementing a call-back option as a pleasant alternative to their existing experience. Many of the companies we work with tell us how pleased agents are with the addition of call-backs, and many agents that have worked for a company with call-backs will tell you that the right solution can reduce the stress put on their work.

And to those companies experiencing spikes in call volume, high abandon rates, or low satisfaction levels? The best approach for avoiding a call center catastrophe is to equip your contact center with the necessary solutions to defend against unexpected issues; and you can never really over-prepare for those holiday spikes.

Visit the website to see real-time complaints and stats or if you’re a contact center that wants to improve the customer experience, book a solutions demo or watch our 2 minute demo video today.

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