Average chat duration increased by 18% in 2020, rising from 9 minutes 17 seconds to 10 minutes 57 seconds. At first glance, this seems out of place – why wouldn’t team leads encourage shorter chats as a direct strategy to copy with the increase in chat volume, rather than achieve the opposite?
Firstly, this is partly due to the drop in chats per agents that we discussed in Chapter 2. Every team size experienced a decrease in the volume of chats per agent per month in 2020, which would mean that team leads wouldn’t be pressured to encourage shorter chat
However, the key reason behind this lies in the growing emphasis on customer experience. Over the past year we have increasingly seen managers shifting value away from time to resolution (and so shorter chat duration) in favor of developing relationships with customers, and allowing agents to take longer to resolve queries. This is not to say that time to resolution is not still highly valued, as it should be. Instead, these stats indicate that customer service managers are recognizing the need to balance speed with quality of service.
This is a strong indication that customer service managers are recognizing the importance of the customer experience. Over the past year we have increasingly seen managers shifting value away from time to resolution in favor of developing relationships with customers, and so allowing agents to take longer to resolve queries.
Teams of 26+ agents are the perfect example of the positive impact of valuing customer experience. From having the second lowest chat duration in 2019, this band shot up the leaderboard to have by far the longest chat duration of all team sizes in 2020 (balanced by having the lowest chat volume chat per agent of all team sizes). As a result of this strategy, they achieved by far the highest customer satisfaction rate of all team sizes at an impressive 89% – an 8.4% actual increase from 2019. More on customer satisfaction in the next chapter.