Customers have been turning to social media to complain about companies on Twitter for a long time. Many businesses monitor Twitter for mentions and respond to irate customers.

A new focus on Twitter is customers to complain about how long they have been waiting on ‘hold’ to access customer service. They use the hashtag #onholdwith. And a website tracks these tweets and reports them.

For those who do not know what a hashtag is on Twitter, it is a code included in the text of the message that can be searched on. So if you wanted to see complaints about long hold times, you could search on the hashtag #onholdwith and all the tweets associated with that hashtag would appear, with the most current first.

It appears with Tax Season just over in the US, that the IRS had a bad case of customer dissatisfaction with hold times. In the article Why IRS Customer Service is Dead, a list of tweets demonstrate the frustrations of consumers waiting on hold. Here’s a sample from their article is a website that captures data about companies with long hold times. Powered by Fonolo, software that helps call centers with wait time problems, the OnHoldWith site provides ‘real time, Twitter based statistics’ of consumers worldwide vetting their angers about hold wait times. They notify affected organizations, when their call centers seem to be a problem.

They can even provide trends by time of day.

IRS Hold Time Complaints – Number of Tweets By Hour

OnHoldWith provides statistics about who has had the most complaints in the past 2 weeks and shows frequent offenders.



Most Complaints about hold time by Company

The top three offender at the time I am writing this article, are the US Internal Revenue Service, United Airlines and Apple.  It appears the tax and customs department in the UK (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) suffers from long hold times as well. Another international company included in the top 10 is Air Canada.


Organizations can benefit from paying attention, not only to complaints about the products and services they provide but about the customer service hold times. Reading the complaints on Twitter (you can see a sample at the Onholdwith‘s site).

Does your organization track complaints about hold times or do you measure dropped calls? Do you know how long customers have been holding when they drop off? These are important statistics to know to manage your organization’s customer satisfaction with the service you provide.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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