As expected, the growth in overall volume of chats from January-March to April-August was matched by growth in the number of chats per agent, which rose 18% on average. As teams faced more chat queries, agents were forced to deal with a greater number of chats, which may partly explain why chat duration also dipped (see Chat Duration for more detail) as agents sped up conversations in order to keep their heads above water and wait times under control.
However, the fact that chats per agent didn’t increase at the same percentage as overall chat volume suggests that organizations – in particular the largest segment – were playing a part in keeping chats per agent low. Firstly, companies may have been predicting a sharp increase in chat volume and so hired or trained more agents in response. As a result, these teams were able to handle the uplift in queries without too great of a drop in customer satisfaction (see Customer Satisfaction for more detail). From April to August, Comm100’s customer success team was in regular discussions with companies or all sizes to add more licenses as they looked to expand their teams in response to the uplift in chat volume.
Given the emotionally-fuelled nature of the pandemic, organizations may have also given more care to the agent experience. In doing so they may have been less focused on enforcing chat concurrency and workload, and more on agent well-being. This would have led to a drop in per agent chat volume.
Many customers also launched chatbots during this period, which contributed to the drop in chats per agent. Comm100’s AI Chatbot can handle up to 80% of queries without any agent involvement, allowing agents to spend more time on more challenging queries.
The 26+ band experienced by far the greatest rise in chats per agent with an increase of 84%, which closely reflects their overall rise in chats. It is important to note however, that despite this rise, their average chats per agent is still far lower than every other team size; 117% lower than teams of 11 to 25 for example. This strongly disproves the claim that agents of large companies are customer service ‘factory workers’ ordered to prioritize speed and efficiency over high-quality, helpful support. On the contrary, the low chat volume per agent coupled with the longest chat duration (see Chat Duration for more detail) suggests that the larger teams are prioritizing customer experience – even during (or because of) the unpredictability caused by Covid-19. And with the highest CSAT scores (see Customer Satisfaction for more detail) of all team sizes, their strategy seems to be working.