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Live Chat Benchmark Data 2021

Almost every industry has been impacted by the pandemic in 2020, but nowhere has this been more noticeable than in customer service teams. From customer panic to remote working relocation, 2020 shook up live chat teams across the world. But the question is – how did this really affect live chat operations? How did agent and customer experience change, and what does this mean for 2021? 

Our annual live chat benchmark report reveals the answers to these questions, pulling from over 66 million chat interactions. We hope it will help your live chat team understand how it’s performing compared to other teams of the same size, in the same industry.  

Read on for the key takeaways from the 2021 live chat benchmark report, then download the full report below for free with access to hundreds of data points, including the trends from 2020 and predictions for 2021. 

Download: Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

Download: Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

Download our 2021 Live Chat Benchmark Report to see how you stack up against your peers and get access to live chat insights from over 66M chat interactions.

Download Now

Key Takeaways for 2020

1. It’s not all about speed

In 2020, average chat duration increased by 18%. What this tells us is that despite the unique challenges they faced last year, agents are learning the importance of customer experience and developing relationships. Rather than focus purely on speed and time to resolution (and so keeping chats short), managers are encouraging agents to build rapport with customers and provide genuine, personalized support – and allowing chat duration to increase as a result. 

“Time to resolution is still incredibly important. Sadly, it’s also become a baseline expectation for support to be efficient. For those companies wanting to excel in their customer interactions, more is required. Micro-personalization can be used to quickly honor the customer as an individual, demonstrate that you understand their unique preferences, and ultimately earn their loyalty.”

– Nate Brown, CXO at Officium Labs and Founder of CX Accelerator

2. Agent experience became a focus

While customer experience has long been the buzzword in customer service, agent experience stole the limelight in 2020. Chat concurrency and volume have long been viewed as some of the most important of live chat metrics, but in 2020, we saw less focus on these KPIs and more focus on improving the agent experience. This was revealed by the fact that despite a rise in overall chat volume, chats per agent per month actually decreased. A growing school of thought believes that to provide a positive customer experience, you first need to deliver a positive agent experience. 

“Covid-19 has led to an increase in mental health issues, and awareness of this has rightly so trickled down into businesses. We have seen this particularly within customer support as many organizations have begun to show more focus on agent well-being. This can be achieved by providing better tools and systems to help them perform their job, as well as increasing on-the-job training. It’s also important for organizations to build engagement and show their agents the direct impact their work has on the organization’s goals. And finally, as we see in this data, shifting priorities away from workload and towards quality support is central to all of this.”

Colin Taylor, CEO & Chief Chaos Officer at The Taylor Reach Group

3. Customer satisfaction shone

Overall, live chat customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate increased by 1.3 points from 2019 to 2020, hitting an all-time new benchmark peak of 85.6%. In 2017 this was as low as 80.6%, so it’s a fantastic achievement, especially given the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. This shows us two things: 1) The quality of customer service and support is rising, and 2) organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of great customer service to their business and are diverting more resources into it. 

Predictions and best practices for 2021

1. It’s time for omnichannel

Of all team sizes, those with 26+ agents achieved the highest CSAT score. In fact, it was the highest CSAT score recorded in our annual benchmark reports since its launch in 2015. While there are many reasons for this, one that is at the heart of it is their ever-increasing embrace of omnichannel customer engagement.  

Recommending reading: What does omnichannel customer engagement mean? 

To provide the best customer service in today’s digital-first world, organizations must offer multiple communication channels so that their customers can pick the channel that best suits them and their query. As well as providing live chat, this means also offering email, social media, and SMS. Comm100’s omnichannel customer engagement platform provides this, and connects every channel together so teams can offer streamlined, accurate, and efficient support no matter what channel the customer reaches out on. As customer expectations continue to rise, so will the importance of omnichannel customer engagement. 

2. Mobile isn’t going anywhere

2020 saw most of us spending a lot more time at home than usual. This meant far greater access to our desktop or laptops, and less reliance on our mobile phones. However, in 2020 chats on mobile devices only dropped by 0.5% which is a remarkably low decrease given the accessibility of our laptops at home. This shows us again the importance of mobile and the need for companies of all sizes to optimize their chat for this device as we expect 2021 to reach an all-time peak for mobile chats. 

3. Live chat will keep on growing

2020 saw live chat volume grow by 7% from 2019 to 2020. The emergence of Covid-19 was definitely a driver of this, but our benchmark data shows that live chat usage has been steadily growing year-on-year. This is driven by two main factors: 1) increasing consumer-led appetite for digital customer support and 2) a demand for instant gratification. 

Live chat caters to both of these factors. Customers can receive immediate answers in real time with minimal effort – all within a digital medium that has become so integral to their everyday life. These two developments have undoubtedly contributed to the growing chat volume we see in 2020, and will continue to do so. 

Download: Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

Download: Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

Download our 2021 Live Chat Benchmark Report to see how you stack up against your peers and get access to live chat insights from over 66M chat interactions.

Download Now

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.