Zappos, Where A 9-Hour Customer Service Phone Chat Is A Good Thing

Many front-line customer service reps are judged on how quickly they can get a customer off the phone, a metric we’ve repeatedly pointed out leads to consumers’ issues going unresolved. But the folks at Zappos.com apparently aren’t as clock-minded, with one record-setting call crossing the nine-hour mark.

In fact, that endurance test of a phone call was closer to 10 hours, finally clocking in at nine hours and 37 minutes.

I took one bathroom break about two hours in,” the CSR who took the call tells Business Insider’s Alaina McConnell. “[Another team member] took care of me by bringing me food and drinks. We talked about life, movies and favorite foods.”

The marathon call (which actually lasted longer than many people would require to finish a marathon) isn’t without precedent at Zappos. The previous record, set in 2011, was a healthy eight hours and 47 minutes in duration.

“Sometimes people just need to call and talk,” a Zappos rep explains. “We don’t judge, we just want to help.”

A recent STELLAService survey of online retailers found that the average wait time to talk to a Zappos customer service rep during Black Friday weekend was 2:07, better than half the average time of 4:27 for all the retailers in the survey. This would imply to us that a company doesn’t need to turn all its CSRs into clockwatchers in order to provide prompt customer service.