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.)
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.