Live Chat Benchmark Report 2018

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Chapter 1

Key Trends

Customer Satisfaction Rate

80.68%, Decreased 3.38% from 84.06% in 2016

While customer expectations are continuing to rise – it seems that organizations are missing the mark in meeting and exceeding these expectations to ensure customer satisfaction.

This fall in customer satisfaction represents a trend that has continued from our 2015 data (our benchmark customer satisfaction rate in 2015 was 85.39%, and the fall from 2015 to 2016 was a less significant 1.33%.)

This new fall of 3.38% from 2016 to 2017 represents a clear and accelerating trend, and a significant drop in satisfaction rate that is larger than we have seen before.

The customer is smarter than ever when it comes to customer service.

They don’t just compare you to your competitor, but to any company that delivers an excellent customer service experience. The bar has been raised, and companies must work harder to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.

Shep Hyken
Customer service expert & New York Times bestselling author

Wait Time

37s, 8s faster than 45s in 2016

Companies are responding even faster to customer queries in 2017 – and this trend has continued from 2015 to 2016, where we saw a 3-second decrease in wait time.
We found an interesting insight when looking at customers who use our auto accept chats function to connect automatically with customers so that they don’t have to queue. These companies saw an average satisfaction rate of 72.14%, which is 8.54% lower than the average.

Fast interactions don’t always make for quality, satisfactory interactions. These findings show that customers are willing to wait for quality service. Companies who prioritize reducing handle times need to be careful that this isn’t at the expense of providing considered interactions that truly fulfill the needs of their customers.

Let’s face it: No one likes waiting in line. And it’s also not OK to arrive at a website only to find that ‘Live Chat is not available.’

So just like in the telephone channel, companies absolutely must hire and train enough chat agents to handle the volume, including peaks. Otherwise, a channel that should improve the customer experience will instead ruin it.

Dan Gingiss
Author of Winning at Social Customer Care & co-host of Experience This!

Chat Duration

12min 20s, 14.5% faster than 14m 25s in 2016

Just like wait time, chat duration is also falling. This year’s drop of 14.5% (compared to a drop of just 1.4% shown in our last report) shows that over the last year, companies have matured in their live chat operations and have made significant strides in optimizing their live chat service KPIs.

Handling queries more quickly and efficiently sounds great on paper, as 14.5% less time spent on chats should free up 14.5% more resource, with obvious cost implications that can make live chat usage compelling.

But for organizations looking to pursue these cost savings, it will be increasingly important to consider the needs of their customers when making changes to their live chat strategy. Balancing service efficiency with service quality will be central in ensuring that improvements made to speed-related operational KPIs don’t happen at the expense of quality or decreased customer effort.

Chats Per Month

5268, 1.8x increase from 2956 in 2016

Organizations received more chat queries than ever in 2017 – showing that consumer preference and demand for live chat continues to grow.

It’s increasingly clear, as live chat becomes more widespread, that more customers are choosing live chat as a preferred channel of communication – and our data has proven this in three consecutive years.

This statistic also demonstrates potential increased return on investment from live chat implementation, since investment by organizations into live chat continues to be rewarded with an increasing amount of adoption by their customer base.

It's exciting to see an increase in average chats per month, as this shows that consumer demand for live chat is growing. I believe live chat truly is the customer communication channel of the future - not just because it's great for customers to get their queries answered in a low-effort and immediate way, but also because there's significant benefits for organizations looking to reduce the cost and resource burden of expensive or asynchronous channels through implementing live chat.

Quite simply, live chat helps organizations to become leaner and more sophisticated in their customer communications, and an increase in live chat numbers shows that even more businesses are now benefiting.

Kaye Chapman
Customer Experience Writer & Trainer at Comm100

Chat-to-Visit Ratio

On average, the percentage of website visitors versus chat users for 2017 is 3.48%. However, as chat to visit ratio is affected significantly by the level of website traffic that a company receives, this average may not be useful for companies looking to benchmark against their service levels.

Because of this, we’ve split our customer base into seven segments, defined by number of monthly website visits ranging from 0-5K to 500K+.

This data shows a couple of interesting insights.

Firstly, lower website traffic tends to correlate with a higher ratio of chats. Overall, websites with lower traffic experience a higher chat to visit ratio than websites with a much higher traffic level.

Secondly, more visits are turning to chats year on year. Looking at the data from 2015 and 2016 versus 2017, we can see that the chat to visit ratio is increasing year by year. 2017 showed increased uptake of live chat from website visitors, indicating that more customers recognize live chat as a channel of their choice

Chat Volume Distribution by Month

While individual businesses and industries often see their own service peaks and troughs, it can be useful to gain a wider understanding of how seasonal fluctuations generally can affect live chat volume.

We studied customers who have been using Comm100 Live Chat for the entire year of 2017 to calculate monthly chat volume averages.

Our data shows that October is the busiest time of year for live chat volume, with a definite seasonal dip occurring in June and July.

With this in mind, many live chat managers will turn to temporary seasonal hires to meet customer demand during these busy periods. For these managers, giving new hires adequate onboarding time and support from a strong knowledge base system is vital to ensure that customer satisfaction doesn’t take a hit.

Chats Per Agent Per Month

721, 85% more than 2016

Given that we’ve seen such a huge increase in chats per month, we wanted to see how this impacted the number of chats per agent each month. Our data for this year’s report shows that this statistic has increased by 85%, from 395 in 2016.

As chat volumes are increasing across all countries and industries, this statistic tells us that chat agents everywhere are busier than they were last year. Considering that we’ve also seen a 180% increase in average chats per month, it seems at first glance that agents may be overworked.

However, because multiple live chats can be taken at once, rising workload often isn’t such an issue as with other channels. We calculated that for full time agents handling this amount of chats per month with 3 average length chats occurring at any one time, there’s still ample time in their day for breaks.

While chat volumes are increasing, and even with this rise in chats per agent, our statistics don’t indicate that agents are overworked. This indicates that organizations are, overall, making well-balanced resourcing decisions when planning how to staff their live chat channels.

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