Rising customer expectations means that organizations are squaring off against their competitors with superior customer experience when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. In order to stand out from the noise, organizations need to make every touchpoint an opportunity to not only solve customer problems but also to continuously impress. With the ability to provide always-on, real-time, personalized communication, live chat is a key tool to help get you there.
Here’s the proof. At the close of every year our data team puts their heads together to bring you our annual Live Chat Benchmark Report. For 2018 we analyzed 45 million live chats across 14 industries to expose how you can optimize your live chat strategy and exceed customer expectations.
We’ve summarized the key points of the report here, focusing not only on trends for 2018 but also on what we think will happen with live chat in 2019.
Key Takeaways for 2018:
- Mobile takes over: Our data showed that in 2018 mobile chats increased by 7.9% and now account for more than half of all chats – with an increase across almost every industry. This finding confirms the continuing shift from desktop to mobile as a primary online device. Mobile chat continues to be a critical part of a good live chat strategy, regardless of company size.
- A successful live chat strategy requires smart staffing and proper configuration: We found that teams with over 50 agents earn the highest satisfaction rate (CSAT) with the shortest wait time, while teams with 11 to 50 agents have longer wait times and a score of about 3 points lower. Wait time on its own clearly does not dictate CSAT – finding the right ratio of agents to chats and proper training are far more important factors.
- Never sacrifice quality for quantity: Teams of 11 to 25 agents are where we start to see a squeeze. Our data shows that this range experiences classic growing pains, evidenced by an increase in chat volume and decline in CSAT. More customers and larger teams require better planning and management and more sophisticated processes. While many factors contribute to CSAT, organizations need to strike a balance between business capacity and customer demands.
Predictions for 2019:
Based on this year’s report findings, we recommend that companies focus on three areas to optimize their live chat strategy in 2019:
- Find the sweet spot between agent productivity and customer delight: Both are important, so be mindful of the optimal balance. We see there’s still room for improvement given live chat’s robust features. For example, co-browsing is a tool that meets both needs, proven to take the load off of agents while keeping customer satisfaction high.
- Mobile is more important than ever: The mobile revolution is already here and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. With mobile chat sessions expected to continue to grow, organizations need to optimize their mobile chat user experience (UX) or risk limiting service for over half of their customers.
- AI and humans working better together: Bots need humans behind them. 2019 was predicted by some to be the year of “bot backlash” but we firmly believe that only by striking a balance between bot capabilities and agent handoff can organizations truly take advantage of all the benefits of this emerging tech. Customers are increasingly comfortable with interacting with bots as long as they’re effective, useful and saves them time.
Providing great customer experiences is no longer optional in today’s competitive business landscape. Balance your organization’s needs with the needs of your customers by improving how you use live chat. Use our benchmark data to adjust your customer experience strategy, measure what’s important to you, and take a relentless approach to continuous improvement. Don’t forget: every interaction matters and there’s always room for improvement.
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