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Twenty-one of the top online retailers connects callers directly to live representatives, according to a STELLAService study.

These same companies – a group that includes Amazon.com, Blue Nile, LL Bean, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus – also keep customers waiting far less than average hold times. Overall, the study found, retailers that force customers into automated phone menus or IVRs (Interactive Voice Response) keep shoppers on hold for an average of 1 minute and 51 seconds, a 117% increase over the average hold time (51 seconds) for retailers that do not use automated phone menus.

The 21 retailers that do not use an automated phone menu are: Grainger (#15), LLBean.com (#21), SportsmanGuide.com (#33), Nordstrom (#34), NeimanMarcus.com (#39), Cabelas.com (#40), UrbanOutfitters.com (#48), BlueNile.com (#60), MarketAmerica.com (#61), OrientalTrading.com (#64), YOOX.com (#67), RalphLauren.com (#70), DisneyStore.com (#74), FreshDirect.com (#75), RueLaLa.com (#82), SierraTradingPost.com (#88), Net-A-Porter.com (#89) ColdwaterCreek.com (#93), GreenMountainCoffee.com (#99), and Etronics.com (#100).

Of the Internet’s ten largest retailers, Amazon.com is the only one that does not use an automated system. The remaining nine – Staples, Apple, Dell, Office Depot, Walmart, Sears, QVC, OfficeMax, and CDW all use automated phone menus.

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