Chat software provider LiveChat recently released its 2017 Customer Service Report. The latest report is a treasure trove of data on chat. Here is a snapshot of what was included:
- 13,500 companies that use chat
- 22 different industries
- 24 billion website visits
- 235.7 million chats
- 11.1 million tickets
A number of important trends jump out. You can read the entire report here or skim below to see what I think are the top three.
Trend #1: Tech Support Loves Chat
Tech companies had the highest customer satisfaction for chat among the industries covered in the report:
- Web Hosting: 92.91% satisfaction
- IT Businesses: 92.66% satisfaction
- Software: 91.17% satisfaction
One of the natural advantages of using chat for technical support is agents can have a nearly real-time conversation with customers while also sharing helpful links and screenshots.
The slight delay between responses actually creates another advantage. LiveChat was kind enough to quote me in the report:
The natural latency of a chat conversation gives customers built-in time to implement the steps required to fix their issue.
Trend #2: Chat Demand is Increasing
The average LiveChat customer saw a 4.11 percent increase in chat demand in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Forrester’s Kate Leggett offered one explanation why customers may be increasingly choosing chat—they want to avoid the phone.
Organizations can quickly connect customers to an agent with the right skills to answer the question without them having to navigate an arduous interactive voice response.
That high demand leads us to the third big trend.
Trend #3: Companies Are Struggling to Keep Up
The report noted businesses experienced a 31.15 percent increase in the average number of monthly tickets.
This number stands out because a ticket is created in LiveChat when a chat agent isn’t available (due to high demand or after hours) or a customer’s issue can’t be resolved on the initial contact.
Meanwhile, average first response time is 56 seconds, which can feel like an eternity to a customer who is waiting for assistance.
Customer service expert Shep Hyken noted that making chat easy for customers is much more important than the length of a chat.
When I get on live chat, whether it is a live agent or AI [artificial intelligence], it doesn’t really matter whether it takes 6 or 12 minutes. If I’m having my question answered and there is little friction between the time I start and the time I get the answer, I will be completely satisfied.
What You Can Do
These trends all suggest a few key actions for contact centers that offer chat:
- Empower your agents to resolve issues in the first conversation
- Staff chat adequately to prevent long wait times and excess tickets
- Take advantage of chat’s natural latency to provide value-added service