Customers no longer compare you to just a competitor. You are now compared to the best service the customer received from any company and that raises the bar for everyone.
Get the 2019 Customer Service Report and check:
• The reason behind dropping customer satisfaction and how to stop it.
• Upcoming communication trends for 2019 (and why chatbots are the biggest one).
• What and why you should learn from tech companies.
• The insights and advice from ecommerce experts and LiveChat top-performing customers.
table of content
2019 Customer Service Report
Key Customer Service Findings and Trends
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This report gives business owners and customer service decision makers an insight into the state of customer service in 2019. By looking at the customer service data from 2017 and 2018, we found out the current customer expectations and help you understand the benchmarks for meeting those expectations. You can compare your results with those in your industry or to global statistics.
It’s also a great insight into customer service trends that will help you plan your goals and priorities for 2019.
Data we considered
This Customer Service Report is based on data gathered from January 2018 to December 2018. We also looked at data from previous years to describe the trends.
We’ve gathered data from 25k companies representing 19 industries using live chat and tickets for customer service and online sales. We’ve considered only the companies that had at least one chat a day. All in all, the report is based on 47.4 billion website visits, 437 million chats and 21 million tickets.
the author of
The Service Culture Handbook
head of support
customer service expert
and New York Times bestselling author
editor in chief
The Chat Shop
How this report can help your business
Comparing your customer service to the global average or the average in your industry can tell you a lot about the condition of customer service in your company.
Find out if you’re doing a good job or if you’re far behind other providers in your industry. Advice from the experts shed a new light on customer service aspects you may not have considered. We encourage you to dig in.
01Main customer service metrics
Down from 83.54% in 2017 (- 1.5%)
This is the global benchmark for customer satisfaction. This number is dropping slightly every year. Partially, because customers keep rising their expectations. You should try to buck this trend by improving customer service inside your company.
first response time
3s faster than in 2017
This is the average first response time – the time of customer service agent’s reply to a first customer’s message. Every year, businesses keep speeding up their first response time.
Make sure your customers don’t lose patience and leave the website before you reply. You’ll find tips to achieve faster first response time inside the report.
11 m 24 s
10s faster than in 2017
The amount of time it takes to finish a customer’s case remained relatively unchanged, even though it got shorter year to year. Customer service agents keep getting better in providing service through live chat. However, short handle time doesn’t guarantee better customer satisfaction. You should focus on solving a case in one touch point, even if handle time is longer.
number of cases - chats and tickets
up from 976 chats in 2017
It’s the average number of chats that businesses handled monthly. The number stayed relatively the same and is still high. The overall number of chats though rose more than 1 million.
down from 52 tickets in 2017
This is the average number of tickets businesses handled monthly. The number of tickets keeps dropping every year, which may mean that companies meet customers’ needs by providing 24/7 service without having to rely on offline forms that create those tickets.
02 Key findings
1 Demand for live chat keeps growing
A typical business handled 978 chats on average. It remained high compared to 2017 when businesses had 976 chats on average. We noticed a big increase in the overall number of chats though. In 2017 it was 334 million chats and in 2018, 437 million chats. It means that live chat becomes a more popular and natural form of contact between companies and customers.
2 Customer satisfaction keeps dropping
The average customer satisfaction dropped by 1.5% in 2018, compared to the previous year. It’s now at 82.26%. It’s not a big drop, but it seems like customer expectations keep rising.
3 Medium companies still need to improve
Medium-sized companies (10-99 employees) had to face the worst customer satisfaction when compared to businesses of different sizes. Companies with 10-49 employees had 79.93% satisfied customers and those with 50-99 employees had 80.67% satisfied customers.
4 The end of the year is still the busiest time
Same as last year, October, November and December were the months with the highest number of chats. Responsible for this are mostly industries like: Games and Gambling with 8.3 million chats monthly on average, Retail with 2.1 million chats monthly on average, and Entertainment with 1.8 million chats monthly on average.
5 Summer months start to heat things up
We saw a slight increase from June to August in the overall number of chats. It was 20.9 million chats on average. A big part in this takes the Education industry, as we noticed their chats rose from May till October. It may be related to the end of the school semester and the application process that happens in Colleges and Universities at that time.
6 Tech companies have the happiest customers, third year in a row
Tech companies scored the highest customer satisfaction for the third year in a row.
In 2018, Software industry had 90.6% of satisfied customers (90.69% in 2017), Web Hosting had 89.2% (89.64% in 2017) and IT 83.6% of satisfied customers (86.84% in 2017 - they noticed a slight drop).
Try to beat these scores!
Join more than 26 k companies and see how good your customer service is. Give LiveChat a try to start 2019 prepared for the growing customers’ demands. Sign up now for a free 30‑day trial and get 50% off your first payment!
In 2018, businesses experienced a small increase in chat demand comparing to the previous year
In 2018, businesses experienced a small increase in chat demand comparing to the previous year. In 2016 a typical business handled 924 chats a month, in 2017 they talked with 976 customers on average and in 2018 it was 978.
It means that, year-to-year, live chat becomes more and more of a natural channel for customer-business relations. The more we think about it, the more clearly it seems that LiveChat is not just a cool feature anymore – it’s a necessity to fulfill clients’ needs. With their growing demands for immediate responses and excellent service, it’s reasonable.
When it comes to tickets, their number decreased by 6.1%. In 2017, a typical business handled 52 tickets on average, and in 2018, it was 49 tickets.
It means businesses understand the need of providing constant support and solving cases right away.
There might be two reasons for tickets number decrease. There are less tickets created from offline forms: when there are no agents available on a website and customers leave a message. It would indicate that companies understand the need of providing 24/7/365 support and they try to be available for customers as much as possible.
The second reason for the smaller number of tickets is that agents themselves don’t need to create ticketsones. Agents don’t need additional time to solve cases, as they’re able to solve them in one touch point.
the author of
The Service Culture Handbook
It’s no surprise that demand for chat continues to grow since customers often view chat as a more convenient alternative to calling a company and waiting on hold. There’s also a danger that comes with that growth. When chat volumes spike, customers can easily get irritated by a long lag between responses as busy chat reps juggle multiple sessions. Companies need to adequately plan for that increased demand.
Demand for chat continues to grow
2 Customer satisfaction keeps dropping in 2018
The average customer satisfaction dropped down by 1.28% in 2018 compared to the previous year. It’s now at 82.26%. Let’s visualize what it means.
For every 100 customers who rated their chatting experience, 82 were happy with it (1 less than in 2017). In 2017 we saw a decrease by 3.26 percentage points compared to 2016. Customer satisfaction keeps dropping a little, and one reason behind it might be that customer expectations have never been higher. Customers expect instant replies, efficient solution in one touch and 24⁄7 availability. They’re not willing to accept anything less.
In 2018, the highest satisfaction was around mid-year, reaching 83% on average in May, June and July
What also changed when comparing 2018 to 2017 are the months with the highest customer satisfaction. In 2017, the highest satisfaction was at the beginning of the year, and then it was systematically dropping.
In 2018, the highest satisfaction was around mid-year, reaching 83% on average in May, June and July. Maybe customers were more understanding during summer?
head of support at
In my opinion, the decrease in customer satisfaction results from a combination of higher expectations and the initial boom connected to AI. While customers were expecting better and better support, companies were replacing real support managers with bots, having little knowledge of proper implementation, as it’s still an uncharted territory. Despite the fact that automation tools are being developed, the support business can’t neglect the focus on personal approach.
The support business can’t neglect the focus on personal approach
3 Medium size companies still need to improve
Medium-sized companies (10-99 employees) have to face the worst customer satisfaction among other business sizes. Companies with 10-49 employees had 79.93% of satisfied customers and those with 50-99 employees scored 80.67% customer satisfaction. It’s below the global average.
On the other hand, small businesses (1-9 employees) improved their customer satisfaction. It was 81.9% in 2017 and now is at 82.69%.
The best customer satisfaction was achieved by the biggest companies with 500+ employees. They had 86.16% of satisfied customers. The biggest companies have dedicated support teams that work on improving their service on a daily basis and that’s their leverage. Medium size companies work on their product and try to provide the best support they can with limited resources.
The advice for medium companies is to automate LiveChat in a way that will unburden employees from simple and most common cases while still providing great support. One way to do it is by trying out ChatBot – a bot that is an extra pair of hands that never gets tired, answers questions, fills out forms and takes orders without any assistance. We had to wait over fifty years to see high changes in technology that turned chatbots into more than just a geeky fantasy.
Thanks to the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence, now you can incorporate smart and flexible assistance into your businesses. More about it later in the report.
customer service expert and
New York Times bestselling author
Customers no longer compare you to just a competitor. You are now compared to the best service the customer received from any company and that raises the bar for everyone. Where can you save your customers time? Do you resolve their issues? What technologies (such as chatbots, AI, etc.) are you using to create a better experience? How easy are you to do business with – especially when there is a problem?
Answer those questions and compare how you deliver service, not just against your competition, but against the companies who have set the bar high. Take action and you’ll be prepared to buck the trend of declining customer satisfaction.
How easy are you to do business with – especially when there is a problem?
4 The end of the year is still the busiest time for support agents
Same as last year, the end of the year was the busiest time for Customer Service Agents around the world. On average, in October, November and December agents from all companies had to operate 21.9 million chats monthly. Let’s look closer into the industries that handled the most chats.
Games and Gambling industry was the busiest during the Holiday season
Games and Gambling industry was the busiest during the Holiday season, handling over 8.3 million chats on average during these three months. In October it was 8.015 million chats, in November 8.2 million chats and in December 8.7 million chats. By comparison, in February they handled “only” 6.43 million chats.
Is the end of the year encouraging people to try their luck? If we were to bet, we’d say Christmas shopping craze might have something to do with it. What’s more, people have more time off in December, spending time at home. The increase in the number of chats in that month may indicate that there are many new players that look for help through chats.
The second industry with the highest number of chats is the Retail industry. It also noted a big increase in the number of chats as the year came to an end. This industry has big deals twice a year: Black Friday (November 29th) and Cyber Monday (December 2nd). Also, the previously mentioned Christmas shopping craze, when the shopping spree beats all the records, increases the chat numbers. More people choose to buy online these days, as it’s more convenient. During last three months of 2018, Retail industry had an average of 2.1 million chats monthly.
The third busiest industry in 2018 that noticed an increase in the number of chats during Holiday season was Entertainment, with an average of 1.8 million chats monthly. We all know that when autumn and winter come and evenings are longer, many of us look for indoor activities. Entertainment also had the most chats in December.
editor in chief
Online shoppers begin looking for holiday deals in late September, early October. And by October, brands are already sending out their pre-Black Friday emails and alerts. That’s when consumers begin to reach out to brands –– on social media, in chats, in emails, however they can –– to understand the differences in product, prices, deals, etc. Keep in mind, consumers have so much choice. Customer service via chat and other channels is a big differentiator for brands. Consumers wants to be heard, listened to and helped ASAP.
Consumers wants to be heard, listened to and helped ASAP
5 Summer months start to heat things up
The end of the year still leads the prime when it comes to the number of chats. But there’s one new thing we noticed. The chart jumps up in summer months too, from June to August, with 21.2 million chats on average per month.
Until now, summer months were the “quiet months” with the less numbers of chats compared to the whole year. But seems like summer is heating up.
A big part in this takes the Education industry, as we noticed their chats rise from June to October. It’s probably related to the end and the beginning of the new school year. It’s also the time of applying to Colleges and Universities, which generates more inquiries on chat, as students need help with finishing their application process.
We also saw a slight increase in the chats number in December alone, mostly in India. They have the end of the semester that month and that could be a reason.
04 Interesting customer service observations
1 Online Retail industry keeps on growing and investing in AI
We can see that the Retail industry is growing and demand for live chat among retail companies is constantly rising. Retail companies will invest in live chat tools and also AI solutions. Customer expectations and competition are forcing retailers to evolve.
Global retail sector technology spending will grow 3.6 percent to reach almost $203.6 billion in 2019, with similar growth rates for the next two years.
Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, says e-commerce is getting more conversational, visual and intelligent:
Conversational interfacesmake the shopping experience more intuitive, but incorporating images, video and immersive technologies like augmented reality are more powerful techniques for engaging and converting customers.
According to Gartner, Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology that will have the most profound impact on all aspects of ecommerce. By 2022, at least 5% of e-commerce orders will be predicted and initiated by AI.
You can meet customer expectations now by trying ChatBot and rich messages inside your chat. Rich messages are the mix and match of text, images and buttons, so you can show off your products inside your chat. You’ll notice higher click-through rate and more responses from customers. More about it in our conclusions.
2 In Vietnam demand for LiveChat is growing year after year
We saw an increased number of chats in Games and Gambling companies in Vietnam. In 2017 it was 0.51 million chats and in 2018 it was almost twice as much: 1.01 million chats.
In Vietnam, online gambling is prohibited, as well as other forms of gambling entertainment, with the exception of the state lottery. Due to such strict restrictions, illegal gambling in this country is booming, as its inhabitants are very big fans and they love casino games, lotteries, online poker and sports betting. As in neighbouring states, access to international and home websites is not limited, and local authorities are not trying to block them. That’s the reason new websites are created. They want to be part of that market. And they also offer LiveChat.
05 The best customer service results in 2018
1 Tech companies have the happiest customers, third year in a row
Tech companies scored the highest customer satisfaction third year in a row. In 2017 Software, Web Hosting and IT companies had 89% of customer satisfaction, on average. In 2018 they had 87.3% on average. Software had 90% of satisfied customers, Web Hosting 89% and IT noticed a slight drop to 83.8%.
These companies didn’t have the fastest response time. It was quite the opposite. Software and Web Hosting companies had the longest handle time and their first response time is one of the slowest one. It may mean that even though they weren’t the fastest to reply, they were able to solve the case in one touch point.
We believe that for customers, waiting for a response for more than a minute is like an eternity and we encourage to shorten it. At the same time, it seems like as long as the issue is solved, customers are happy.
Tech companies also had the lowest number of tickets among other industries. Being available on chat whenever customers need you, so they don’t need to use offline form, impacts the overall customer satisfaction.
partner manager at
Solving customer issues efficiently often means having everything in one place. From Zapier’s vantage point, 2018 saw consistent usage of tools that streamline work so you don’t waste time looking for necessary context to answer a question and satisfy a customer. Many businesses keep customer data spread out across a few different services - contact info in a CRM, invoices in an accounting tool, and previous conversations in a chat app. LiveChat integrations make it possible to centralize all the disparate info you have on a customer, so that teams large and small have all the info on hand to give a complete answer in fewer touchpoints. Seems like for tech companies, it’s easier to handle it.
LiveChat integrations make it possible to centralize all the disparate info you have on a customer
2 Countries with the happiest customers
In 2018, Philippines and Thailand outrun Australia when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Philippines scored 91.71% and Thailand 89.39% customer satisfaction.
It’s worth mentioning that up until now, Australia has had the happiest customersthree years in a row. It’s good to see that other countries caught up. In 2018, Australia had 87.46% satisfied customers.
Philippines also noted the fastest first response time among these three countries. It was 25s (while global average is 48s). It’s a really good score! In Thailand, first response time was 45s and in Australia 51s. Handle time was similar in all three countries, but again Philippines had the shortest one. Their handle time was 10m 22s on average, in Thailand it was 11m 34s and in Australia 12m 04s. Global average in 2018 was 11m 24s for handle time.
06 Conclusions and advice from LiveChat customers with great scores
1 Adjust your service to meet customer expectations
Fast handle time doesn’t always mean better satisfaction. As shown in the report, many companies with longer handle time have satisfied customers, because they were able to solve a case in one touch point. Focus on solving customer issues first, then later improve your response time and efficiency of your service. Answering customers’ questions quickly is good, but it’s not enough if it’s not followed by a resolution.
What you can do is to keep customers informed of the process of solving the issue. Don’t leave them hanging, not knowing what’s going on. It seems like customers don’t mind spending a little more time with you on chat. If, at the end, their case is solved, they leave satisfied with the service.
Follow advice from Jon Tucker, CEO at HelpFlow. Their agents keep on updating customers on the progress of solving a case.
We found that visitors really appreciate being informed on the progress of the agent handling their chat. Even if you don’t have a full resolution, keeping the visitor updated on your progress frequently will boost your chat satisfaction score. Most visitors don’t multiple task while they’re chatting with you, so this simple update helps build their confidence that you’re going to resolve their issue.
The most powerful impact for us was measuring average response time in real time for each chat conversation as it’s happening. Using LiveChat’s great API, we’ve been able to customize the agent interface to show a range of key metrics, including a “response time since last message” timer. This puts our agents solely in charge of the visitors experience with average response time, and they’ve done a great job keeping visitors updated according to our targets.
2 Invest time in adding bots and AI to your service
The quickly developing AI and chatbot technologies may be just the thing to get on a new level of scaling your customer service
ChatBot platform (one of LiveChat’s products) delivers advanced technology packed in an intuitive, code-free interface that allows building powerful AI bots to anyone. Plain text can be varied with cards, images, carousels, quick replies and multiple actions that help users navigate throughout a bot’s scenario, and collect user data.
Advantages of incorporating chatbots:
automating faqs and forms
Human analytical skills might be invincible but when it comes to receptive cases chatbots definitely win the game. They can process thousands of cases at the same time without stop, errors and delays and relief agents from typing same answers over and over again.
rich messages and collecting data
Chatbots aren’t just simply ask-and-answer-based technologies. Modern platforms, including ChatBot, offer bots that can show images, cards, carousels, and interactive buttons so the conversation and be smooth also on mobiles. Furthermore, collected data can be automatically passed to other services and databases so purchases, bookings and much more can be fully automated and proceed without human touch.
powered by ai
Chatbots require supervision, training, and updates from time to time. ChatBot has a unique training tool that allows refining chatbots based on clients’ input without even going inside the scenarios. Your AI assistant can get better on daily basis without requiring much work and analyses.
ce support agent at
ProctorU implemented ChatBot and witnessed immediate relief within our support operation. Currently, our bot provides instantaneous support to 60% of all chatting customers and has reduced our queued visitors by over 50%. The benefits seen with ChatBot allowed support leaders to decrease agent chat limits and increase quality standards for our support team.
3 Take a closer look at the number of chats throughout the year
The end of the year is still the busiest when it comes to the number of chats. But it seems like what we always thought was a low season is now changing.
Summer months are heating up, and facing more chats. Take a look at your stats and see if they changed in the last year. You may be surprised by an increase in the chat numbers, and therefore the bigger customer demand in the months you haven’t thought would be busy for you. Once you know that, you can implement some changes, like more people on chat or longer availability for customers (if you don’t offer 24⁄7 support already).
Remember that, these days, customers compare you to their best experiences, not only your competitors. So don’t limit yourself just to your industry and their scores, go beyond that.
The Chat Shop
Don’t be complacent. Your competitors are always looking to stay ahead of you. Have structure, measure what’s important to you and take a relentless approach to continuous improvement. Balance your business needs with the needs of your customer by investing in improvements. Don’t forget: every interaction matters. Have the goal in mind and make sure you’re working towards it. Every time.
4 Look to tech companies and big businesses for best customer service practices
Tech companies are ahead of the pack third year in a row when it comes to happy customers. You may want to take a closer look at their practices and implement them in your business. Many businesses keep their customer data spread out across a few different services - which makes providing smooth service far more difficult.
It seems like tech companies mastered the art of keeping everything in one place and having required information on hand. No wonder, as they have developers handling such things in a flash. But don’t worry, many solutions are built for people without specialized IT knowledge, and they’re very intuitive. So take tech companies as an example and try different integrations that will make your service more efficient. You have a lot to choose from. LiveChat offers over 140 apps and integrations that will help you to centralize customer info, manage your sales directly from a chat window and many more.
head of developers program at
Today it’s completely natural for the workplace to be a mesh of multiple tools. In the last year, the number of app installations grew four times! Over 25% of LiveChat customers installed one or more apps from the Marketplace. The industries installing the most apps are Retail, IT and Software.
It’s not only apps that gained traction. We see a rising trend of service marketplaces in all variety of industries. Retailers offer electronic equipment with installation service, product companies sell solutions with human support. A bare-bone product is simply not enough to get to the hearts of customers.
At LiveChat we anticipate the shift from the apps marketplaces to the service marketplaces. We’re tightening the bonds with our partners to support your business even better with both quality apps and reliable services.
Good luck providing amazing service this year from the whole LiveChat Team!
Remember, in case of any questions and doubts – we’re always there to chat!
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LiveChat is created by a team of over 130 passionate people. Our goal is to develop and support the most efficient and easy-to-use live chat software for business. We’re also the people behind ChatBot, KnowledgeBase and HelpDesk. What we enjoy the most is seeing our customers’ business grow with the help of our products.