Live Chat Benchmark Report 2017

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Chapter 1

Key Metrics

Customer Satisfaction Rate

84.06%, down 1.33% from 85.39% in 2015

Our data shows that customer satisfaction is slightly down from 2016. As our customer base is growing, this change may be due to a growing data set. Regardless, it’s important to be aware that in an increasingly demanding customer service environment, the onus is on you to keep raising the bar in terms of the service you provide, to consistently meet and exceed increasingly demanding customer expectations, year on year.

Behind every superior customer experience, regardless of the mechanism or channel of delivery, is emotional intelligence that capture customers' hearts, minds, and loyalty. There will always be differences in what channel customers prefer yet the experience they want is quite consistent.

Kate Nasser
President of The People Skills Coach™

There is no doubt that customer expectations continue rise in all service channels, which will make that Satisfaction Rate more and more difficult to achieve. Short wait times and fast, friendly resolution are the keys here.

Dan Gingiss
Host of the Focus on Customer Service podcast

Wait Time

45s, 3s faster than 48s in 2015

Customers hate waiting. Because of this, businesses are striving to reduce the time customers have to wait before being connected to the company. Over half of the companies in our sample recorded a wait time less than 30 seconds. This shortened wait time may indicate that companies are utilizing new advances in our software such as advanced routing rules to reduce queue length and speed up the connection with visitors.

For all interactions, wait times must be minimal. Customers don’t like to wait, especially on technology, so it is imperative for a company to focus on response or wait time.

Shep Hyken
Customer service expert & New York Times bestselling author

Chat Duration

14min 25s, 1.4% faster than 15m 28s in 2015

The amount of time it takes to end a chat with customers is slightly down compared to that in 2015. This shortened handle time may indicate that companies are utilizing new advances in our software such as canned messages shortcuts to reduce overall chat duration and speed up the time customers spend on chats. The fact that there isn’t a huge decrease in these stats, however, indicates that companies are recognizing the benefits of quality, considering interactions, and ensuring that where handle times drop, customer experience isn’t taking a hit too.

One of the biggest advantages to chat vs. email and social media is that it eliminates the lengthy back-and-forth and replaces it with real-time resolution. So as 24-hour response times in email have given way to an hour or less in social media, chat essentially brings that time down to nearly zero. This is a great experience for customers. As to why a chat session would still take an average of more than 14 minutes, perhaps this is because the customer service inquiries are becoming more complex.

Dan Gingiss
Host of the Focus on Customer Service podcast

Chats Per Month

2956, 2.6 times of 1143 in 2015

There has been a significant increase in the number of chats an average business has to handle during the course of a month in 2016, which is a signal that customers are increasingly choosing live chat as a preferred channel of communication with businesses.

Live Chat is a great customer service technology that has been increasing in popularity over the years. There are several important points to remember about Live Chat, the most important being that it typically is replacing the phone call. There must be a benefit to the customer opting to use Live Chat over the traditional phone support. That typically comes in the form of convenience, speed and the right information.

Overall, Live Chat is a major customer service channel. And, as AI (Artificial Intelligence) improves, it will make the customer experience even better.

Shep Hyken
Customer service expert & New York Times bestselling author

Chats Per Agent Per Month

395, 44.2% more than the 274 in 2015

Live chat agents are handling more chats than ever. Our data shows that compared to last year, agents are handling 121 more chats per month. This has obvious resource implications for businesses of all kinds, as well as underlining the need for frequent, effective training to ensure your agents can improve their skills as live chat popularity grows.

Agents are handling more chats than ever, but that’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, contact centers can serve customers more efficiently when their chat agents are kept busy. Reducing costs while providing excellent service is a major selling point for live chat, so this is a big win.

On the other hand, service declines when chat agents try to handle too many chat sessions simultaneously. The most obvious problem is the delay between responses increases, which can frustrate the customer. Another less-obvious problem is agents become much more prone to mistakes when they try to handle too many sessions at once.

Smart managers should keep a close eye on their agents to optimize productivity without overloading them.

Jeff Toister
Author of The Service Culture Handbook

To avoid agent over-whelm, it would be useful to take a closer look at the reasons behind the chat requests. This would help in the identification of themes and recurring problems that could be assuaged with other solutions. For example, research has shown that up to 60% of all requests into a contact center come about because the customer wasn’t able to find the answer they were looking for on the company’s website.

Adrian Swinscoe
Author of How To Wow

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