Get the latest live chat benchmark data broken down by team size & industry

Read more


CCW Special Report: Live Chat

Next Chapter Download PDF

Chapter 3

Measuring Success

According to the CCW Digital Market Study on the Future of the Contact Center, improving digital capabilities represents a top priority for 2019. Embracing the reality of the omnichannel revolution, organizations plan to deliver more meaningful experiences in channels like live chat.

The effort to improve capabilities involves increasing accountability.

If live chat is to be a meaningful engagement channel – and not merely a “bonus” offering – it needs to meet performance standards. It needs to deliver the experience customers seek as well as the results organizations desire.

By leveraging the ideal blend of metrics, organizations can hold their live chat program accountable for performance. They, moreover, will gain substantive insight into how chat can become a more impactful component of the customer experience journey.

Conventional "call center" metrics

To emphasize that live chat is as “legitimate” as the voice channel, it is imperative to hold chat accountable for the same core metrics.

These metrics include wait time, transfer rate, accuracy, first contact resolution, abandonment, and customer satisfaction.

Even if the organization makes the conscious decision to only use live chat for specific sales or transactional purposes, the aforementioned “call center” metrics are essential for evaluating the success of the endeavor. They, moreover, are the key to managing workflows and processes.

Agent concurrence

A fundamental advantage of live chat is support for concurrent communication. Whereas agents can only handle one live telephone call at a time, they can handle multiple chats. As a result, customers should theoretically endure shorter wait times, while agents should be able to perform more productively.

The concurrency advantage does, however, create a risk. Hoping to capitalize on the benefit, some organizations may drive agents to simultaneously juggle too many chats. When extended too thin, the agent will deliver slower, less personal, less valuable communication.

By measuring the average rate of agent concurrence, the organization can ensure agents are handling the optimal number of conversations.

Four forms of escalation

With any contact channel, it is important to understand how many interactions require escalation. It takes more than “escalation rate,” however, to assess the health of the live chat initiative.

A customer-centric organization will instead consider four distinct forms of escalation:

  1. Interactions that require escalation for legal or regulatory reasons.
  2. Interactions that require escalations because chat agents are not in position to resolve the issue.
  3. Chat-friendly interactions the agent technically could solve but chooses to escalate.
  4. Chat-friendly interactions the customer chooses to escalate.

Each form of escalation reveals a different opportunity for improvement.

Although legal-driven escalations may be impossible to avoid, it behooves an organization to consider whether it can introduce additional security measures to its chat framework.

Process-driven escalations reveal that the organization is not truly treating live chat as a full-fledged engagement channel. Knowing that customers obviously want to use live chat, organizations should consider empowering agents to handle more complex tasks.

Agent-driven escalations reflect systemic issues with training or workflow; customer-driven escalations reveal the need to improve the quality of conversations.

Chat acceptance rate

Whether evaluating an inbound or outbound chat strategy, it is imperative to consider acceptance rates.

For inbound chats, a customer-centric organization will consider the percentage of conversations it was able to accept. How frequently do customers receive a “no agent available” message? Low availability reflects the need to rethink staffing as well as the use of automation and bots.

For outbound chats, a winning organization will consider the percentage of invitations customers accept. Low acceptance rates will reveal some combination of poor messaging, incorrect placement within the customer journey, or a customer aversion to chat conversations.

Agent and customer effort

Due to its convenience, alignment with the demand for digital, and “native” placement within user journeys, chat theoretically should lead to an easier customer experience.

To ensure it is delivering on that expectation, customer-centric organizations will pay careful attention to effort level. They will consider the ease with which customers can access live chat, the amount of qualification and authentication at the start of the chat, the amount Of questions it takes to achieve a resolution, and the process by which customers can switch to another channel.

"We're looking into how to make their journey easier, how do we get that customer to need us less," explains Jeff Arnold Of Verizon. "Customers don't want to pick up the phone or chat with us if they don't have to, they just want their problem solved."

 Jeff Arnold
Jeff Arnold
Sales Chat Operations Consultant, Verizon

Since difficult backend processes manifest as frustration on the frontend, organizations will also account for agent effort. They will quantify the extent to which systems impact productivity.

CaIl deflection

Although they still involve time. attention and effort from agents, chat and messaging interactions are generally more efficient than voice conversations. When measuring the chat program, it therefore makes sense to consider the impact on call volume.

A “call deflection” metric is particularly important for organizations that engage in asynchronous messaging with customers. Since these conversations can span hours or days, they will not fare well against the conventional average handle time metric. Since they deflect costly calls and meet a growing customer demand, they nonetheless favorably impact productivity.

"Messaging is disruptive to traditional AHT metrics per customer contact," explains Flynn-Ripley. "Asychonronous conversations can span many minutes or hours and still deliver compelling customer satisfaction and increased productivity. It is also critical to measure the reduction in phone calls - get ready for some compelling economics in a short period of time!"

 Meredith Flynn-Ripley
Meredith Flynn-Ripley
VP, Digital Engagement, Salesforce

Get started today

Join thousands of happy Comm100 customers

Start Free TrialBook Demo