Live Chat Benchmark Report 2021

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Chapter 3

Wait time

Average wait time dropped from 50 seconds in 2019 to 35 seconds in 2020, representing a 30% average decrease. Given the stories and social media anecdotes of overwhelmed customer service teams, this would come as a surprise – if it weren’t for the fact that we know chats per agent also dropped in 2020 (see Chapter 2: Chats per agent per month) which has helped to keep wait times low.

Based on our findings, this decrease in wait time has also helped maintain, and in some cases even improve, customer satisfaction (more on this in Chapter 5). This is particularly impressive during such a difficult year and again points to how important speed and efficiency is to the success of live chat.

When segmented by team size, we can see that in 2019, teams of 26+ were struggling with high wait times of 117 seconds; more than four times higher than the next largest band size. This was clearly a concern for them and something they appear to have worked hard on as
they achieved a 52% decrease in wait time in 2020. This was in part the result of significantly reducing their chats per agent (see Chapter 2).

It’s also interesting to note that, despite achieving the greatest drop in wait time, this team size of 26+ also experienced the largest increase in chat duration from 2019 to 2020. A contradiction or the result of well-balanced customer service operations? More on this in the next chapter.

Given how difficult a year it has been for customer service teams around the world, a 30% drop in wait time is an undeniably great achievement. Even more impressively, it’s the lowest recorded wait time in Comm100’s annual benchmark reports since its 2015 launch. Technology has made us all a lot less patient and customer service teams are clearly acting on this with fast response times. Strict SLA policies are critical to this, but even more so is an agent-friendly platform. If you hear your agents complaining that the software is difficult or clunky to use, listen to them. It could be the difference between ok or amazing customer support.

Kaye Chapman
Learning and Development Manager, Comm100

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