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Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

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Chapter 5

Customer satisfaction (CSAT)


Positive customer satisfaction rate (% of score 3/5 or higher)

Overall, the live chat customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate increased by 1.5% from 2019 to 2020, hitting an all-time new benchmark peak of 85.6%. In 2017 this was as low as 80.6%, so it’s a fantastic achievement, especially given the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic.

However, although CSAT rate improved across team sizes on average, some did not fare as well as others. Both smallest teams experienced a slight dip in 2020, while both larger teams achieved impressive increases that more than made up for those declines. Teams of 1-5 agents had the lowest CSAT rate of all team sizes at 82.5%. However, although this represents a 3.3% actual drop YOY, this is by no means a poor score. In 2018, this team size achieved an 82.7% rating, so given the uncertainty and challenges of 2020, these teams did well to maintain this high level.

The last year has been a difficult one for both customers and brands. Some customers demonstrated a lack of patience and even anger. Some were scared. For companies, dealing with these emotions wasn’t easy. The winners in the customer support world were those who understood what their customers were going through. They offered a painless process, quick responses, minimal hold times, and well-trained agents. Customers want to feel a connection to the brands they do business with, more than ever. A convenient experience and meaningful conversations that give them the answers and help they are looking for, combined with a feeling that they are being heard and understood, is the recipe for success.

Shep Hyken
Customer service/experience expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author

On the other end of the CSAT rating, teams of 26+ experienced an 10.3% actual increase to achieve an 89% CSAT rate – by far the greatest improvement and overall score of all the bands in 2020.

To help explain how teams of 26+ achieved such an impressive CSAT rate, we must look to their most notable shift – chat duration. As discussed in Chapter 4, teams of 26+ increased chat duration by 47% YOY. One might assume that a high chat duration (which would indicate a long time to resolution) would result in a poor CSAT score, yet it was the opposite. This shows us clearly that customers are willing to have longer conversations with agents, so long as their issues are resolved.

The fact that longer chat duration correlates with higher CSAT also points to the importance of first-time resolution. Customers are willing (and even happy) to have longer conversations if their issue is resolved in the first interaction. There are many tools that live chat agents can use to help achieve this, and which we have seen increased adoption in 2020. Audio and video chat is one such tool that has become particularly important in 2020 as the pandemic limited, and continues to limit, the ability to meet with customers face-to-face. Video chat also helps to improve the customer experience by allowing agents to develop more genuine, personal connections with customer, as well as showing that they have their full attention. With benefits like this we expect audio and video chat to continue to gain ground.

Read more about the importance of video and audio chat.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much a video is worth! Video can be a difference-maker especially when there is a DIY component to your product (think IKEA furniture) or when there is what I call a "blind transaction," where the customer can't see what's actually happening (think auto repairs or dental procedures). By clearly explaining things to customers in layman's terms and with accompanying video, companies can increase trust and loyalty and enhance the overall experience.

Dan Gingiss
Customer experience speaker and coach


CSAT satisfaction score (out of 5)

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