Cyber Monday/Black Friday Sees Retailers Respond to Customers with Varying Levels of Success

The Internet’s top retailers responded to customers by phone, email and live chat over the four-day period that saw record-breaking online sales. Based on a study, it appears that retailers struggled to answer phone calls quickly with the average call wait time 139% higher for the top twenty-five retailers than usual.

Seven retailers made shoppers wait longer than five minutes on average: Sony (11:20); HSN (9:25); Kohl’s (9:04); Dell (8:17); JCPenny (7:23); Newegg (6:56); and (6:42).

Only three retailers averaged less than one minute wait times: Nordstrom (0:18); Overstock (0:44); and LLBean (0:46). The Overstock response came as a surprise as Nordstrom and LLBean are widely recognized for amazing service.

The average call hold times on Cyber Monday were significantly longer than any other day, taking 7 minutes on average to reach a live customer service agent.

Retailers appeared to have made live chat a priority, with many providing quicker live chat responses than during normal periods. Only 14 of the top 25 retailers offer live chat, a list that includes,,,,,,,,,,,, and

Three mass retailers –– Amazon, Overstock, and Sears –– all significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to reach a live agent on live chat; at least two minutes faster, compared to normal periods.

These retailers —,,,,,,,,, and — do not offer live chat.

When it came to email response rates for top retailers, JCPenny was the only retailer that did not respond to any emails within 24 hours. Only four retailers ––, Toys ‘R’ Us, and –– were able to respond to 100% of the emails sent to them within 24 hours.

The study was conducted by STELLAService, an independent company that uses a nationwide network of mystery shoppers to evaluate the customer service performance and quality of Internet retailers. Baseline data was collected by calling each retailer each day (350 total calls) over a 14-day period, from November 1st through November 14th, asking general customer service questions on each call (product questions, shipping or returns information, etc).

Black Friday through Cyber Monday data was collected by calling each retailer five (5) times each day over a four day period, from November 25th to November 28th. Calls were placed at random during the selected time-blocks to generate measurements of service performance that have high reliability and construct validity.