Live chat has become one of the most preferred tools for a customer seeking instant help; as a result, more and more businesses start to build their teams ready for live chat.
During this process, we are often asked questions like:
This report, based on our own customer base, was created to help you get a general idea about the chat to visit ratio. It covers 608,268,516 visits, resulting in 5,725,191 chats over a 12-month period of 2015. You can use this real-world report as a reference when forecasting your potential chat volume, or to compare to your own ratio.
Additionally, you’ll also see our findings in this report about the number of agents/operators a company needs to support their chat volume.
Here is a quick glance at the contents below:
The PDF version of the report is also available. You can download it to your local drive for future reference. Download PDF Version
The chat to visit ratio trend in this report is provided from 2 dimensions, by visits and by month, to give you a clearer picture of how the ratio performs in different situations.
The number of visits a company receives may directly affect its chat to visit ratio. To measure how the ratio varies with number of visits a website receives, we have divided our customer base into 7 segments based on the average monthly visits they receive on the website:
Considering every third company participating in the report comes from the United States, we have also generated a report solely for the US companies.
In the results below, the blue line in the chart represents the ratio on the global level, and the orange line represents the result from the US companies.
The chat to visit ratio in the report moves inversely to the visit volume a website receives, from 8.96% for the 0-5K segment down to 0.34% for the 500K+ segment. It seems that the larger the website’s traffic is, the harder it is to achieve the same level of visitor engagement through live chat.
The 25K-50K segment looks to be the tipping point of the ratio. The sharp drop of the ratio happens from 5K-10K to 25K-50K, and passing the 25K-50K segment, the drop becomes much slighter.
In general, US companies get a lower ratio than the average global level. This is especially obvious in the 5K-10K segment. Although the biggest chat to visit ratio decrease occurs in a different segment on the global line, the overall trend for both lines is the same.
For different businesses, their peak/off-peak periods may not be the same. Yet chances are, they overlap at a certain point. To see whether this also applies to the chat to visit ratio, we created the following report showing how the ratio changes over the 12 months in 2015, and whether different businesses perform similarly in certain months.
The ratio in this report is much lower when compared with the By Visits report. This is because we have included companies in all the traffic segments. As we know, large figures always skew the average. Thus, the ratio here roughly floats between 0.62% and 0.77%, which is above 0.34% for the 500K+ segment in the By Visits report, and below 1.42% for the 100K-500K segment.
Companies sometimes do complement each other, as some businesses’ peak month might be other businesses’ off-peak time. So we don’t see sharp changes between months in this report.
This being said, we do notice some relatively high changes occurred between January to February, May to June, October to November, and November to December. It seems that November and January are the down months for live chat. However in-between these low months, we do see an obvious upturn in December. This is not surprising because many people start to get off work in early December, preparing for the coming holiday season through online shopping, thus contributing to the upturn of the ratio in December.
The correlation between operator number and chat volume, according to our data sample, appears very different from that between chats and visits. On average, to serve 2272 chats per month, a company needs 6 operators. When it comes to how many operators are usually required for a given chat volume, however, the participating companies don’t suggest a trend in mathematics. Instead, the nature of a company’s business, the way they use live chat, and the case-handling methods prove to be much more influential on the operator to chat volume ratio.
Below are the average monthly chat volume, operator number, industry and chat content about some of our customers who participated in the report. (For privacy reasons, their company names have been made anonymous.)
|Company||Avg. Monthly Chats||Operator Number||Industry||Chat Content|
|A||210||3||Retail||Answer questions about pricing, order, shipment and the like.|
|B||301||58||Retail||Dealers in diﬀerent areas answer questions about pricing, policy, installation and others related to the local product.|
|C||456||24||Finance||Answer questions about banking packages, business loans, investment plans and the like.|
|D||968||34||Education||Answer questions about enrollment, course, degree and the like.|
|E||1140||20||Travel||Book and change ﬂights for clients.|
|F||1173||10||Healthcare||Provide consultancy and advice on health questions.|
|G||1198||1||Retail||Answer very simple questions about shipment, price and order.|
|I||1385||8||Retail||Answer questions about pricing, order, shipment and the like.|
|J||1687||12||Software||Pinpoint technical issues and recommend suitable packages.|
It appears that for different companies, even of the same industry, the number of operators needed to serve similar amount of chats varies greatly. This is particularly obvious when we look at the companies of the Retail and Software industries.
Company A, B, G, and I are all retailers. The operator number in Company A and I looks normal to their monthly chat volume. Company G answers very simple questions about shipment, price and order, and thus 1 operator is enough to cover all the chats. While the results for Company B, which targets a wider market and has franchises, were much different. As a result of having franchises, Company B has more operators in order to serve the local customers in different regions. Although they didn’t see a great number of chats each month in the past year, their number of operators is larger than any of the listed companies.
Company H and J are both software providers. However, there are significant differences concerning how they handle issues during chat sessions. Imagine you used live chat as the initial touch point of collecting contact numbers. During a chat, you asked for a contact number, and told the customer that a callback would be arranged after the chat. Since this is a relatively simple and fast procedure, operators can handle chats quickly. Thus, 1 operator is enough for Company H to serve the received chat volume
Business in Company J is different where operators need to recommend suitable packages when sales opportunities are found, or pinpoint the technical issues if any cases are reported. So more operators are required in Company J than Company H.
Besides the nature of companies’ business and procedure, other influencing factors can be the chat purpose, chat availability (the online time of the company), operator capability and availability, and more. Hence, we suggest that this operator number is looked at on a case by case basis.
To enlarge our data base, and at the same time, qualify for the report, we gathered data from all our customers in both shared and dedicated platforms with the following limitations:
This removes some factors that may influence the accuracy of the result, and excludes the testing and trial companies that don’t represent the actual use of live chat on website; thus the report is more accurate and reliable.
There are always “outliers” in a group; the chat to visit ratio is no different. Several companies, as listed in the list as below, received a phenomenal ratio of over 50%.
|Company||Chat to Visit Ratio||Industry||Chat Content|
|A||60.22%||Finance||A virtual cards provider. Customers purchase cards, deposit and the like through live chat.|
|B||66.64%||Online Game||Customers get help with credits, deposit, bonus, promotion code and the like through chat.|
|C||67.83%||Online Game||Customers get help with credits, deposit, bonus, promotion code and the like.|
|D||74.08%||Psychic Services||Customers ask future and fortune questions from Tarot readers and clairvoyants through live chat.|
Due to the fact that their ratios would change the entire trends when calculated, these companies are not included in the Chat to Visit Ratio trend reports.
Due to the different SLAs, online time, operator availability and resources, different companies may vary greatly in terms of the missed and refused chats. In order to ascertain that our report is not influenced by these factors, “Chat” in our “Chat to Visit Ratio” was derived by adding up the total ACCEPTED, MISSED and REFUSED chats.
We hope you find this report helpful when forecasting your chat volume and calculating the staff you need to cover all the chats. However, every business is unique. You cannot solely rely on this report, but need to find your own best way of engaging visitors and providing help in live chat. We welcome any of questions or suggestions you might have.
Last but not the least, we’ve also kicked off another benchmark report regarding first response time, average chat duration, customer satisfaction and more. Please stay tuned.