Who are you #OnHoldWith? The Top On-Hold Offenders in the Retail Industry

Brand | 6 minute read

Build a deck. Outfit a room. Fill a prescription. Get a birthday card. Purchase a television. Scoop up school supplies. Order a couch. Snap up a subscription. Spend. Spend. Spend. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

In every facet of a customer’s life, there is at least some encounter with the retail space, an investment of their funds in DIY projects, in personal healthcare, in family activities, in leisure, or in bare necessities. The retail industry is buoyed by this reality and is much obliged to exchange a customer’s hard-earned dollars for goods and services, but oftentimes is ill-equipped to serve the masses of consumers when they things go wrong with a product, service, or delivery. And make no mistake: Things always go wrong.

And with the advent of social media, customer service faux pas on the part of retail brands are laid bare for all to see, as customers take to the network to voice their problematic experiences with companies who have not met their needs, or who have wasted their time by handcuffing them to waiting on hold. This month, major retailers have gotten a Tweet-lashing on social media for this, surprisingly including established companies like Walmart, IKEA, Target, and more. And we monitor every single Tweet.

OnHoldWith.com is a community-driven, Fonolo-powered website that aims to end hold-times for good. It gathers all Tweets mentioning customers experiencing long and/or irritating hold times while seeking answers to simple issues. While some are entertaining given the dry wit of the customers as they try to keep things light while waiting on hold, these instances continue to offer a lesson to brands: Social media platforms are now legitimate customer service channels, as frustrated customers will take to Twitter to raise their voices when being put on hold has not allowed them to have a voice at all.

Every year, we use that data to produce our annual list of the Top 10 Worst Companies to Call.

Some trends that emerged from the Tweets we reviewed:

• One thing remains constant: No customer wants to be put on hold;
• Most would prefer a call-back option;
• If you have a call-back option, make sure it is functional, and can accommodate crisis-level volumes of calls (otherwise, what’s the point?); and
• Keeping customers on hold for an inordinate amount of time can signal the end of their business with you. And they’ll tell the world about it, too.

And now, read some of the most withering Tweets about the hold times offered up by some of the most famous brands on the planet.

Best Buy

Best Buy is best to ramp up its strategy to eliminate hold time (based on some of the feedback from these Tweeters):


While being put on hold by IKEA is so laughing matter, you have to agree that it brings out the sense of humor in these customers who are trying to keep their own spirits lifted while waiting for what feels like a lifetime on hold.


Based on what some customers are saying, calling into Walmart customer service can be inconsistent: Either no one answers, or too many people answer (and then transfer you).

CVS Pharmacy

CVS is a great reminder to us all: Remember your slogans, and make sure each and every department is a reflection of it (because if you do not, customers take notice).


Whether gamer, grocery shopper, or gas station customer, people want immediate service, in-store and online.

Home Depot

As Home Depot Tweeters demonstrate, the key to customer service is making customers feel at home (and not locked outside).


Target sometimes needs help with its customer service targets.


The truth: Not every customer appreciates that their appreciation is appreciated; but they appreciate their support issues being resolved.

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