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Customer service expectations have hit all-time highs. For companies to remain competitive, it’s now necessary to provide fast, personalized, customer-centric support – even more so while face-to-face service isn’t possible.
As companies strive towards this level of support, live chat has become an integral channel – but the hard work doesn’t stop here. To truly provide effective support via live chat, teams must look to benchmark data to understand how well they are performing, and where they can improve.
Thankfully, with Comm100’s 2021 Live Chat Benchmark Report, analyzing 66 million live chats that passed through the Comm100 Platform in 2020, we can see:
In this blog, we’ll be looking at the benchmark data for four of the most important live chat stats, alongside the best practices to hit these benchmarks.
1. Wait Time: 35 Seconds
Among live chats on the Comm100 platform, the average wait time dropped from 50 seconds in 2019 to a benchmark of 35 seconds in 2020, for a 30% decrease. In today’s world of technology and instant gratification, customers expect quick responses and this drop in wait time clearly shows that businesses are responding to this consumer demand.
What can you do to reduce wait time?
While one approach to reducing live chat wait times is increasing your total agents, it’s certainly not the only way. By utilizing omnichannel customer engagement and live chat tools, it’s possible to support your customers with less hands-on support. In 2020, we saw three key approaches to omnichannel customer service that helped to improve the experience for customers and agents alike.
I. Knowledge Base
Encouraging self-serve options for customers through knowledge bases can help to reduce the load on live chat agents, allowing for faster responses to more challenging customer issues. Knowledge bases can be integrated both into your website and your live chat software. When integrated into live chat, self-serve options can divert customers who realize that they don’t need to engage with an agent. Usability improvements in this area mean that customers are empowered to help themselves on their own terms.
AI chatbots allow for smart and capable automation of your most common customer queries. As with knowledge bases, chatbots help reduce your live chat wait times by diverting repetitive issues, while providing customers a more personalized response for their questions. Chatbots can also be deployed for 24/7 support, reducing the need for additional agents to keep up with demand as volume increases.
III. Pre-chat surveys
By using pre-chat surveys to collect data from your customer, you can capture customer information quickly and accurately, and ensure that your customers are routed to the right person or team. This helps to reduce your wait times as your agents can spend more of the interaction working toward a resolution without the need to request customer details.
2. Chat Duration: 9 Minutes and 45 Seconds
In 2020, the benchmark for chat duration was 9 minutes and 45 seconds. However, while teams should ensure chat duration doesn’t become too high, a slightly longer average chat duration isn’t necessarily an indication of poor customer experience. As organizations focus on customer experience, it makes sense to spend increased time with customers as quality of services improves. Live chats across the Comm100 platform demonstrated this shift in 2020 with an average increase of 18% in live chat durations.
What can you do to reduce chat duration?
With live chat duration often indicating a high quality of service, it’s important to balance how your live chat software reduces the overall duration of these interactions. The key here is efficiency and not reduced service, ensuring that customers aren’t left waiting for your agents, and your agents aren’t left waiting for answers to customer questions.
I. Agent-facing AI
By utilizing an agent-facing AI within your live chat software, you can ensure that agents have answers to customer questions provided in real-time. Having readily available answers allows your agents to deliver better service, and your customers benefit from more consistent and faster overall service. This means less back-and-forth to find a resolution, and more time that your agents are focused on the needs of your customers.
II. Automatic chat routing
The adage to “work smarter not harder” also applies to your live chat software. As the name implies, automatic chat routing uses automation to route chat messages to the right department or agent based on a customer’s query, location, source, and navigational history so less time is spent passing the customer around until they find an agent who can help them.
III. Canned messages
One of the key methods for reducing your live chat durations is to make use of canned messages. With access to canned messages and keyboard shortcuts, your agents can send faster responses to reduce the delay that your customers see while waiting for a response.
3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: 4.3 / 5
Measuring your CSAT score is one of the best ways to see how well your customers are being served, and to identify areas for improvement across the channels you support. The benchmark live chat CSAT score across the Comm100 platform in 2020 was 4.3 out of 5.
What can you do to improve CSAT?
CSAT is more difficult to target than other live chat benchmark metrics. Boosting customer satisfaction requires a holistic approach to support, with an omnichannel platform at the core.
I. Unified console
A unified console is supported by CRM integration and gives your agents more information about the customer. By bringing together all the customer’s data and conversations in one place, your agent’s response can be more customer centric. This unified approach also has implications for your other live chat stats, as your agents spend less time looking for customer data across applications.
II. Audio and Video Chat
With the pandemic often limiting face-to-face customer interaction throughout 2020 and 2021, audio and video chat has been increasingly important in allowing agents to provide more personalized service to customers. Video chat also allows customers to see that they have the agent’s full attention. This is expected to be an area of growth as organizations seek to differentiate their service as they focus on customer experience.
III. Auto Chat Translation
Keeping with the theme of providing personalized service, auto chat translation makes it easy for agents to chat with visitors who speak different languages. Since increasing your live chat CSAT is all about improving the customer experience, it makes sense that language is crucial. With auto chat translation, you can meet the needs of international visitors to deliver service that is tailored to each customer.
4. Mobile Chats: 54%
Mobile chats have been growing year on year, so it makes sense that live chats optimized for mobile are an important aspect of an effective customer service model in 2021. Mobile chat saw the highest utilization among smaller teams in 2020, showing that mobile chat is something that companies of all sizes should pay attention to.
With so many people spending time at home during the pandemic, the percentage of mobile chats in 2020 saw a small decreased from 2019, but overall remained high. The benchmark for mobile chats in 2020 was 54% across all industries.
What can you do to improve mobile chat?
I. Optimized Live Chat Button
One of the best ways to make sure that your mobile customers are being well served is to ensure your live chat button is optimized for mobile. This includes chat button positioning, size, and color that are optimized for mobile, and ensuring compatibility across all major mobile devices.
II. Adjustable Live Chat Window
As with your chat button, an effective mobile strategy requires a chat window optimized for mobile customers. To accommodate this, your live chat solution should automatically adjust the size of your live chat window to accommodate a variety of device types. Again, this will need to be compatible across all major mobile devises to ensure a seamless customer experience.
III. Offline Message
Setting up an offline message can allow your customers to seek support during offline hours, allowing your agents to follow-up later. You never want to turn away customers, and if your agents aren’t available, an offline message can be used to provide customers with reassurance that they’ll receive help in a timely manner regardless of your current availability.
As we’ve already seen, the continued growth of live chat software is inevitable. To remain competitive, companies are adopting new live chat features to improve the customer service experience in a meaningful way.
Live chat in 2021 is reducing the time that customers wait for a response, improving customer satisfaction, and allowing customers to get more efficiently. If you haven’t yet implemented live chat within your customer service platform, or you don’t have access to these features, you can book a live demo now to see what your customers have been missing.