Customer Service Report

What makes online service tick

– November 2015 –

About the Authors

Jacob Firuta

Jacob writes reports, blog posts and other pieces of content to help businesses offer better support and sales services. You can check his latest articles on the LiveChat Blog and in the Resources section

  

Filip Jaskólski

Filip takes care of the technical side of preparing and publishing LiveChat content online. Whenever you see something new added to our website, there’s a good chance that Filip had something to do with it.

01Introduction

This report will bring you up to date on the current customer service trends in your industry. You can use it as a benchmark for your customer service.

If you are just starting out, the report will show you what metrics you should aim for when it comes to getting high customer satisfaction.

Since this is the 3rd edition of the report, we’ll also show you what kind of changes in customer service happened over the course of last year.

This time, there’s also a new addition to the report: information on the use of tickets in customer service. We’ll compare the use of tickets to the use of live chat by measuring the same metrics for both these channels.

02Data and
Methodology

The data discussed in this report has been gathered over the course of eight months, from the 1st of January, 2015 to the 31st of August, 2015.

Over the course of the year, websites with LiveChat on them record over 7 billion visits, which is close to the number of people in the world.

Over 8.4 thousands of companies from 21 industries and 118 countries was taken under consideration for the report.

We reached this segment after applying the following limitations:

  • only paying customers with established LiveChat implementations were taken under consideration,
  • to qualify for the report, a company had to have at least 30 chats per month,
  • similar businesses were grouped into broader industries.

These limitations helped us to filter out trial accounts that are not representative of the actual customer service a company provides and those that didn’t get much traffic and could skew the satisfaction results as a consequence.

We monitored 6.07 billion website visits and 65.6 million chats.

All in all, the companies accumulated over 6.07 billion website visits during this eight-month period. Those visits resulted in over 65.6 million chats.

Customers using LiveChat can leave a positive or a negative rate during a conversation with an agent. In total, customers left over 3.6 million ratings. We can use them to gauge the customer satisfaction levels.

The total amount of chatting time discussed in this report adds up to 582 years. If we would add the chats up into one long conversation, it would have to start in in 1433 to finish by today.

Apart from chats, the companies participating in the report also managed to receive over 2.5 million tickets using the built-in ticketing feature of LiveChat.

228 thousand tickets were rated, which allowed us to calculate the customer satisfaction levels for tickets too.

03Main
Findings

We used four main customer service metrics to measure the customer service efforts of the tested companies.

The metrics are:

Customer Satisfaction
Average percentage of happy customers
First Response Time
Average time of first answer in a chat or a ticket
Handle Time
How long it takes on average to finish a chat or resolve a ticket
Number of Cases
How many chats or tickets a company has on average

We’ve checked the data for this four metrics for both chats and tickets.

03.1Customer Satisfaction

CHATS

86.63%

Down from 87.05% in 2014

TICKETS

79.81%

Customer satisfaction is the measure of your customer service success. It is the ratio of satisfied customers to the total number of your customers.

In LiveChat, we check if a user is satisfied by giving them the option to rate a chat or a ticket. They can leave a positive or a negative rating.

The reason for the slight decline in this metric may come from the increased number of participating companies. The test group grew almost 40 percent. This makes this year’s results fairly good when compared to the score from last year as the score dipped only a little when a much larger set of data was introduced.

The 79.91 percent satisfaction score for tickets, which are a new addition to the LiveChat Customer Service report, is an mediocre result. The lower score can be the results of fairly long ticket resolution times, which are discussed later in the report.

03.2First Response Time

CHATS

58 sec

5 seconds faster than in 2014

TICKETS

35 hrs

This metric shows how quick a company’s customer service is. It’s the average amount of time it takes for an agent to respond in a new chat or ticket.

The first response time metric deals with only the first reply made by an agent. All subsequent agent replies are counted towards average response time.

It takes less than a minute to answer a chat for an average company.

This year, the tested companies managed to score a 5 seconds faster result when it comes to chats. This means that it takes less than a minute to answer a chat for an average company.

The awfully long average result for tickets shows that companies use them differently: as means to make a follow up rather than resolve a case quickly.

Expert
commentary

by Shep Hyken

Customer Service Expert,
New York Times bestselling author

“If I wanted my question answered in 35 hours, I would have waited 35 hours to ask the question!”

“The difference between average response time on LiveChat (58 seconds) versus service tickets (35 hours and 55 seconds) is huge. I realize that there are situations where a service ticket is a more appropriate form of managing a customer’s requests, problems, etc., but if I had a choice to do business with similar companies and one of them offered chat versus a service ticket option, I know which company would get more consideration.

Today customers want quick response time, regardless of the channel they use to communicate with the companies they do business with. Quick response time creates confidence. Confidence creates trust. And, trust can help create the coveted loyal customer.”

03.3Handle Time

CHATS

12 min 5 sec

4 minutes 10 seconds faster than in 2014

TICKETS

6 days 8 hrs

The average amount of time it takes to finish a chat or solve a ticket.

In the case of chats, this is the time between the first customer message and the end of a chat. A chat ends when either a user or an agent decides to manually close it or when it is closed automatically after a set amount of time. The average time it takes to solve a case via chat is around 25% shorter than in 2014.

Chats this year are 25% shorter than in 2014.

When it comes to tickets, handle time is the time between the ticket creation and marking the ticket as solved. It appears that companies use tickets to either handle more difficult cases that take a couple of days to sort out or are really slow to move tickets toward resolution as it takes more than 6 days to resolve a ticket on average.

Expert
commentary

by Adam Toporek

Customer Experience Expert,
owner at CTS Service Solutions

“Handle speed metrics should never be primary objectives and should be balanced with other goals.”

“Organizations in all industries are best served by remembering that metrics are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Here are three ways organizations can improve on the metrics from the report:

1. Handle time puts speed of interaction ahead of quality of interaction. Handle speed metrics should never be primary objectives and should be balanced with other goals.

2. The most important time-based metric is response time. People want answers fast, and when the answers can’t be fast, such as with complex tickets, communication that sets expectations should be.

3. First contact resolution can be misleading. The service rep’s idea of ‘resolved’ often doesn’t match the customer’s. If first contact resolution is improving but cases are increasing, watch out.

It is easy for organizations to be come metric blind. By focusing on the goals behind the metric and not the metric itself, organizations can better achieve their ultimate goal: a better customer experience.”

03.4Number of Cases

CHATS
PER MONTH

976

down by 33% since 2014

TICKETS
PER MONTH

34

The total number of chats and tickets handled by companies during an average month.

Chats that happen during a single session are counted as one, continuous conversation. Each ticket is counted separately. Tickets that have been reopened are not counted as new tickets.

If all customers asked only one question during the chats considered in the report, it would take 994638 perfect episodes of Jeopardy to exhaust all those questions.

The sudden drop in the number of cases is caused by the inclusion of a bigger group of companies, including small and medium businesses. These companies tend to generate less chats on average than bigger, more established businesses.

The small average number of tickets can result from the fact that some companies using LiveChat rely entirely on chats or use dedicated ticketing systems.

04Sectors

The customer service data has been divided into various sectors to give you a better idea how live chats and tickets perform in different situations.

We divided the customer service data by:

  • industry,
  • country,
  • company size,
  • purpose (Sales, Support),
  • audience (B2B, B2C, Internal use).

04.1Industries

Businesses taking part in the report have been divided into 21 industries.

Each category consists of businesses that deal in the same or similar products/services. For example, automotive companies will deal in car parts but also will offer car repair.

Business owners can use the industry data to check how good is their customer service when compared to other similar companies.

Industry
Cases / Day
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Web Hosting
37
1m05s
18m35s
94.95%
Media & Telecom
58
1m03s
12m44s
92.58%
Manufacturing
9
1m26s
17m12s
90.52%
Web Apps
39
37s
9m41s
89.30%
Retail
36
53s
10m10s
88.30%
Software
26
1m00s
14m28s
88.07%
Games & Gambling
49
40s
13m22s
87.26%
Entertainment
54
46s
13m09s
86.51%
Finance
20
1m05s
14m06s
86.43%
Education
18
1m07s
14m06s
86.42%
IT
26
1m00s
14m50s
86.19%
Professional Services
21
46s
8m14s
84.47%
Government & Non-profit
9
1m13s
11m47s
83.03%
Support Services
43
34s
12m10s
82.64%
Healthcare
16
1m20s
11m34s
81.56%
Human Resources
11
1m24s
12m59s
79.34%
Real Estate
12
1m12s
13m16s
77.60%
Marketing
34
1m11s
11m28s
77.47%
Travel
24
1m39s
13m49s
76.17%
Wholesale
8
1m44s
17m33s
76.00%
Automotive
93
1m28s
16m35s
72.73%
Industry
Cases / Week
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Web Hosting
2
10d10h
8d16h
79.55%
Media & Telecom
11
1d05h
7d13h
81.29%
Manufacturing
7
1d09h
7d14h
82.43%
Web Apps
7
20h
18d24h
77.82%
Retail
18
1d06h
4d22h
82.61%
Software
13
15h
4d09h
74.24%
Games & Gambling
10
19h
6d23h
79.34%
Entertainment
17
11h
1d22h
71.01%
Finance
10
1d19h
10d12h
75.08%
Education
10
1d20h
6d08h
85.98%
IT
5
1d13h
14d24h
71.03%
Professional Services
3
8d17h
18d09h
81.22%
Government & Non-profit
11
1d05h
3d07h
86.73%
Support Services
4
1d05h
11d10h
82.83%
Healthcare
9
1d10h
5d02h
85.73%
Human Resources
9
1d13h
7d10h
85.34%
Real Estate
5
1d07h
5d11h
81.32%
Marketing
7
11d16h
15d09h
64.87%
Travel
23
1d00h
5d11h
83.44%
Wholesale
5
1d03h
13d21h
80.32%
Automotive
9
1d02h
18d22h
84.63%

Web Hosting Dominance

This year, we see some changes in the top five industries with the best customer service.

Web Hosting companies, which took the 5th place last year, have jumped to the front of the pack with an average satisfaction rating of 94.95 percent. This is quite the jump as the server-hosting industry managed to score 88.40 percent customer satisfaction last year.

What’s interesting to note is that the hosting companies are not the fastest to respond to a chat or a ticket. It seems that the customers of hosting companies value the quality of the response much higher than its speed.

Expert
commentary

by Robert C. Gregory

Sr. Director of Hosting Support
at GoDaddy

“Hosting Customers are looking for resolution on first contact.”

“My response to the data would be that Hosting Customers are looking for resolution on first contact. If you build a chat team like we did at Media Temple and now at GoDaddy to resolve the customers issues over chat, not escalate to another channel, then customers will appreciate the level of support and rate them high.

Most people that contact us via chat are doing other tasks online and do not mind waiting a little longer than phones because the channel is web and they can perform their tasks in the background. Once we do resolve what they were chatting about and not just provide canned answer only support or escalate/deflect to another channel or department, then the high satisfaction ratings occur.

It’s all about making sure you are providing a consistent customer experience in terms of the level of knowledge of your reps with their shared focused goal on resolution on any support channel you offer your customers.”

Media & Telecom takes the 2nd place

Last year’s winners, the Media & Telecom businesses took the silver this year. They reached an average chat satisfaction score of 92.58 percent.

It seems that service provided by these companies in 2015 has been a bit slower than in 2014. On average, Media & Telecom companies were 8 seconds slower to respond to a chat with an average response time of 65 seconds. Despite that, they still managed to snatch the 2nd place.

Top 10 Industries – A green bar represents a gain and a red bar represents a loss when compared with last year’s data.

Manufacturing Scores Biggest Rise

The 3rd place has been taken by the Manufacturing industry.

It seems that the Manufacturing companies are the dark horse of this year’s report as they managed to rise from an average chat customer satisfaction of 85.91 percent and 11th place last year to a whooping 90.52 percent, which gave them the 3rd place this year.

The Manufacturing industry seems to be a place of a few words as it has one of the lower average number of chats per day. This makes each contact that much more important and good customer service necessary to make those contacts count.

High Quality Service in Web Apps Sector

Up next, we have the Web Apps industry taking the 4th place with 89.3 percent chat satisfaction.

These companies managed to pull out one the fastest average response time. On average, it takes only 37 seconds to get a reply when starting a chat with a business making a web app, which is a third of a minute faster than the global average.

Expert
commentary

by Suzie Blaszkiewicz

Research Analyst for GetApp

“Cloud-based web apps have the default advantage of already using less traditional channels.”

“As Shep Hyken mentioned in GetApp’s quarterly GetRank report on trends in the customer service industry, a lot of business are uncomfortable with using less traditional channels to contact their customers. Cloud-based web apps have the default advantage of already using less traditional channels, not to mention themselves being the creators of these channels.

Because a lot of web-based apps are also business apps, the urgency with which these issues need to be resolved requires quick response time, which is a huge factor for companies looking to purchase a web-based product. The SaaS industry is saturated and competitive, and things like customer service response time can make a huge difference for companies that need a lot of immediate support to be able to keep their business running smoothly.”

Retail is The Biggest Industry

The Retail industry comes in 5th, with a strong presence across the board.

Every fifth business participating in the report is a Retail business.

The retail companies managed to score above average in all categories, both for chats and tickets. The industry’s average chat satisfaction of 88.3 percent is nothing to scoff at, especially considering the huge size of the group.

The Retail industry also takes the crown of the industry where live chat is the most popular. Every fifth company participating in the report is a retail company that uses LiveChat to communicate with customers.

Honorable mentions go to the Software and Games & Gambling industries for getting above average chat satisfaction scores. This is 88.07 percent for Software and 87.26 percent for Games & Gambling companies.

Support Services are The Fastest

Businesses from the Support services industry are as fast as Ronda Rousey who got a KO in her fight against Bethe Correia in 34 seconds. That’s some speed!

The title of the fastest industry goes to the Support Services sector.

It should come as no surprise that professional support companies manage to pull the fastest first reply times averaging 34 seconds. This is nearly twice as fast as the global average.

Automotive Still Low

When we take a look at the other end of the ranking, the Automotive industry is still in the last place.

Despite raising its average chat satisfaction score from last year’s 69.38 percent to 72.73 percent, it still wasn’t enough to rise in the ranks this year.

Poor chat response time with an average of 88 seconds and average handle times of 16 minutes and 35 seconds seem like a big contributor here.

Wholesale Suffers Biggest Drop

The title of the industry that suffered the largest drop in the quality of provided service goes to the Wholesale sector.

Last year, Wholesale companies managed to get a fairly decent score of 87.5 percent, which was just above the average in 2014. However, this year Wholesale companies got the 2nd lowest average chat satisfaction score of 76 percent.

The longest chat first response time of 1 minute and 44 seconds is probably the reason for the huge drop.

04.2Countries

To measure how customer service looks in different parts of the world, we checked the metrics for companies from various countries.

The data shows that for different parts of the world, different aspects of customer service will have greater or lesser meaning.

All in all, we have collected customer service data for 118 countries. To give you more reliable data, we decided to only show the metrics for the top 20 most represented countries where substantial amount of data was available.

Country
Cases / Day
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Thailand
35
1m12s
15m43s
93.12%
Australia
32
55s
11m40s
92.27%
United States
23
1m00s
12m45s
90.38%
Canada
18
1m07s
10m23s
90.37%
Indonesia
75
34s
13m37s
90.35%
Netherlands
14
1m13s
13m24s
88.97%
Sweden
58
1m15s
13m33s
88.39%
United Kingdom
17
1m12s
11m52s
87.61%
Poland
30
1m20s
12m35s
85.65%
Mexico
30
1m19s
13m22s
85.56%
Brazil
93
46s
8m34s
84.53%
Italy
15
1m20s
15m06s
82.90%
India
53
55s
11m31s
82.00%
Cambodia
72
47s
13m09s
81.93%
Vietnam
45
1m16s
17m00s
81.72%
Malaysia
54
54s
15m22s
80.66%
Germany
20
1m02s
12m42s
79.00%
China
69
53s
14m48s
76.41%
France
14
1m52s
18m18s
74.45%
Turkey
66
58s
9m18s
64.61%
Country
Cases / Week
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Thailand
10
1d14h
5d20h
78.25%
Australia
7
1d14h
10d19h
79.10%
United States
8
1d05h
6d02h
82.64%
Canada
5
1d09h
14d02h
83.17%
Indonesia
4
14d09h
29d20h
49.78%
Netherlands
4
18h
9d11h
81.56%
Sweden
14
19h
6d02h
84.03%
United Kingdom
6
1d10h
10d11h
80.87%
Poland
11
21h
5d20h
79.20%
Mexico
11
1d15h
4d08h
86.13%
Brazil
25
22h
7d12h
93.17%
Italy
16
1d03h
4d20h
85.27%
India
15
3d15h
7d23h
60.45%
Cambodia
6
13h
15d20h
92.78%
Viet Nam
26
23h
5d23h
71.03%
Malaysia
7
3d11h
9d02h
69.44%
Germany
7
21h
11d10h
83.06%
China
36
1d03h
4d13h
67.23%
France
8
1d14h
10d01h
69.31%
Turkey
15
1d02h
5d15h
73.46%

Once again, United States took the lead when it comes to the size of its representation. Every third company participating in the study comes from the USA.

In general, US companies score well above the average chat satisfaction level with their 90.38 percent, which increased ever so slightly since last year and is the 3rd best result this year.

The 2nd most represented country, the United Kingdom, managed to significantly improve the last year’s result and reached 87.61 percent average chat satisfaction.

Every tenth participating company comes from the British Isles.

The gold medal for the best average chat satisfaction goes to Thailand for the 2nd consecutive year.

Thai companies take the lead with 93.12 percent average chat satisfaction.

Thai companies have proved once again that despite having fairly long chats with customers on average, they make most of those chats counts reaching 93.12 percent average chat satisfaction.

Australia, who is this year’s runner-up, managed to move up a peg since last year.

Thanks to the fast response time (3 seconds faster than the average) and quick handle time (26 seconds faster than the average), Aussie companies managed to score 92.27 percent average chat satisfaction this year.

Canada and Indonesia are the remaining two countries that broke the magic barrier of 90 percent customer satisfaction score this year. This is a significant upgrade for Canadian companies (customer satisfaction up from 86.54 percent to 90.37) and Indonesian businesses (customer satisfaction up from 87.83 percent to 90.35 percent) when compared with the 2014 data.

However, it seems that companies from both these countries reached the results in completely different ways. For Indonesian businesses, it seems it was all about speed. Indonesia had the shortest first reply time for chat among the top 20 countries with their 34 seconds. The main reason for the success of Canadian companies seems to be the relatively quick average handle time of 10 minutes and 23 seconds.

Top 10 Countries – A green bar represents a gain and a red bar represents a loss when compared with last year’s data.

Other countries that placed above the average chat satisfaction are the Netherlands (88.97 percent), Sweden (88.39 percent) and the previously mentioned United Kingdom (87.61 percent).

When we take a look at the end of the list, we have another country that will hold its title for 2nd consecutive year. However, in the case of Turkey, it will be the title for lowest average chat satisfaction score.

Over the course of 2015, the score dropped even lower to 64.61 percent. This seems odd as Turkish companies seem to have sped up their service a bit bringing the average first reply time down by 5 seconds. If it was done at the cost of chat quality, it definitely seems that it wasn’t worth it.

04.3Company Size

The size of a company can be directly tied to its customer service possibilities. The larger a business is, the more resources and manpower it can allocate to creating a good customer service atmosphere.

We divided the businesses participating in the report according to the number of employees into 6 size ranges:

  • 1-10
  • 10-50
  • 50-100
  • 100-500
  • 500-1000
  • 1000+

Here’s how the results for them look like:

Company Size
Cases / Day
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
100-500
73
57s
11m19s
90.53%
50-100
31
1m03s
11m58s
87.21%
10-50
27
1m00s
12m23s
86.99%
1000+
101
1m06s
15m57s
86.39%
500-1000
40
1m11s
11m45s
81.91%
1-10
18
51s
13m24s
79.65%
Company Size
Cases / Week
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
100-500
22
1d11h
4d12h
76.10%
50-100
16
2d18h
4d11h
76.89%
10-50
12
1d08h
5d23h
86.32%
1000+
16
1d13h
5d18h
73.24%
500-1000
15
2d08h
11d10h
77.69%
1-10
7
1d05h
8d17h
81.47%

Nearly a half of the studied companies fall into the small business group, i.e. they have 1-10 employees. This is also the group that potentially has the least experience with chats, which shows in its below average chat satisfaction result of 79.65 percent.

The small amount of chats the companies in this group receive allows them to keep a fairly good first chat reply time of 50 seconds.

Every fourth participating company belongs in the 10-50 group. This is the 3rd best performing group with an average chat satisfaction score of 86.99 percent.

Bigger companies tend to get better results.

When we take a look at which group is 2nd and 1st, it seems that the bigger a company is, the better is its satisfaction.

The 2nd place goes to the 50-100 group with an average chat satisfaction score of 87.21 percent.

The 1st place goes to the 100-500 employees company with a whooping 90.53 percent average chat satisfaction score. Despite a big number of chats this group receives, the combination of experience, procedures and available resources allows it to get faster than average first chat response time of 56 seconds.

It would seem that bigger companies in the 500-1000 and 1000+ groups should do even better. However, there seems to be a point of diminishing returns where the size of the organization can become a deterrent and that the quality of the provided service falls. Hence the results for the 500-1000 group, which reached 81.91 percent average satisfaction, and the 1000+ group, which got 86.39 percent average satisfaction.

04.4Purpose

Businesses use live chat for three main reasons: support, sales or both. Depending on the purpose of their live chat, companies will prioritize different aspects of their customer service.

Here are key performance metrics for these three groups:

Purpose
Cases / Day
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Support, Sales
27
1m01s
14m00s
88.56%
Support
35
59s
12m00s
85.67%
Sales
24
57s
11m18s
85.08%
Purpose
Cases / Week
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
Support, Sales
12
1d13h
5d19h
82.32%
Support
13
1d05h
3d18h
79.25%
Sales
7
2d09h
8d21h
83.47%

In this year’s report, we can notice a split similar to the last year’s data. The Support and Sales group (58.06 percent of companies) grew a bit while Sales group (19.25 percent of companies) got smaller.

This can signal that more and more companies use live chat both as a tool for customer support as well as lead generator or a conversion booster.

The three groups are ordered in the same way as last year when it comes to the chat satisfaction metric. Support and Sales takes the lead with 88.56 percent average chat satisfaction.

Support takes the 2nd place with 85.67 percent satisfaction. A close 3rd goes to Sales companies, which managed to get 85.08 percent average chat satisfaction.

Sales companies rank 3rd in satisfaction despite good response times.

The result of Sales is especially surprising considering that Sales-oriented companies managed to get the best chat first response and handle times. Their average ticket rates are also fairly decent. However, the margin seems to be fairly small here and one or two over-performers could have swung the results in favor of support-oriented companies.

04.4Audience

Companies using LiveChat will offer their customer service to three main audiences: individual customers (B2C), businesses (B2B) or to company’s employees (when LiveChat is used internally).

In the same way the purpose affects the customer service of a company, its audience will also have a big impact on its metrics.

Audience
Cases / Day
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
B2B
18
1m12s
13m52s
85.75%
B2B, B2C
33
59s
14m14s
86.31%
B2B, B2C, Internal use
34
42s
12m26s
84.10%
B2B, Internal use
21
1m33s
18m05s
64.76%
B2C
32
1m01s
11m57s
88.55%
B2C, Internal use
33
1m05s
12m44s
77.98%
Internal use
20
51s
15m41s
85.73%
Audience
Cases / Week
First Response Time
Handle Time
Satisfaction
B2B
5
21h
9d04h
86.60%
B2B, B2C
10
1d13h
7d14h
81.84%
B2B, B2C, Internal use
9
2d06h
10d09h
82.01%
B2B, Internal use
6
24h
2d19h
87.64%
B2C
17
1d14h
4d18h
81.28%
B2C, Internal use
10
1d13h
3d08h
86.53%
Internal use
4
1d20h
21d12h
81.50%

The B2C companies once again prove to be the biggest and the most popular group. Although they make less of an impact this year, they still make nearly a half of the studied companies. B2C companies also managed to snatch the 1st place for the best average chat satisfaction with 88.55 percent, improving their result of 86.18 percent from 2014.

The 2nd biggest group, businesses that cater to both B2C and B2B companies, reached 86.31 percent chat satisfaction average, just below the global average for this metric.

Every fourth business participating in the report deals with both business and individual customers.

The last fairly substantial group, the B2C companies, scored the lowest average chat satisfaction of 85.75 percent.

B2B companies seem to be more adept at using tickets for customer service, reaching good average ticket rates (86.6 percent) and relatively quick ticket first response times (20 hours 52 minutes).

Lower handle time means more serviced clients.

B2C companies, on the other hand, seem to prioritize chat handle time (average of 11 minutes 57 seconds). This can be done to maximize the number of potential opportunities. The lower the chat handle time for one customer, the more customers can be serviced via live chat.

The remaining audience groups are relatively small. The biggest remaining group, the companies using live chat for B2C, B2B and internal purposes, takes the trophy of the fastest-replying group with 41 seconds average first chat response.

05Efficiency
Metrics

To offer a more in-depth analysis of the data, we decided to check how average First Response Time and average Handle Time can affect customer satisfaction.

05.1First Response Time

The speed of your response is the first thing that shapes a user’s experience. If you fail to deliver a speedy service, your customer service can be tarnished from the very beginning.

This is why first response time is such an important metric to follow. Let’s take a look at how first response time affects customer satisfaction.

To give you a better idea what kind of data contributed to these results, we will show you not only the trends but also the amount of data that contributed to these trends.

The white line represents how common a particular average chat response time is, i.e. how many companies had that result. The orange line represents the average chat satisfaction score associated with a particular average response times. The smaller lines represent the amount of data that was used to create the trend lines. The higher these lines are, the more data we had about that particular group.

Chat First Response Time
vs. Chat Satisfaction

The orange line represents the satisfaction level for a given average response time speed. The white line shows how many companies reach particular response time levels.

The best customer satisfaction scores are reached within the first 20 seconds after a user has accessed your live chat. If you manage to answer the chat before the 20 seconds run out, there’s a good chance you will impress the user with fast service.

Answer chats within 20 seconds for best results.

It seems that this perfect window is a bit shorter this year, meaning that companies have to put more effort to providing quick replies. Compared to the 2014 results, the sweet spot is now 9 seconds shorter.

Until the 1 minute mark, the average customer satisfaction seems to be still fairly high, reaching values of 88-90 percent. This is also the most popular result.

After passing the 1 minute mark, the average chat satisfaction seems to start dropping. At first, it is only a small decrease, but the more time it takes for an agent to answer a chat, the lower the customer satisfaction gets.

A similar state of affairs could be observed last year, when there was a big drop after the one minute mark from 88.16 percent average satisfaction to 84.13 percent.

What’s interesting, customer satisfaction seems to plateau around 2 minutes into the chat at around 75 percent satisfaction. This could suggest that users who had to wait for 2 minutes can wait for around a half a minute more without getting more dissatisfied.

You have, at most, two and a half minutes to answer a chat.

It remains at that level until about 2 minutes and 30 seconds, at which point there is a sharp drop in customer satisfaction.

As you can see, far less companies contribute to the lower scores, which makes the data on the right side of the chart more erratic and less predictable, as exemplified by the smaller lines that can be seen in the background of the trend lines.

Expert
commentary

by Jonny Everett

Director of Customer Development,
Co-Founder at The Chat Shop

“The correlation between response times and satisfactions rings true for us also.”

“It’s been another really successful year for chat in the UK and US markets where we operate. As a service business, our volumes handled have increased by 81% on last year. With the big volume uptick, the team has still managed to improve satisfaction ratings by 7%, taking our overall satisfaction rating across industries to a record breaking 98%.

The correlation between response times and satisfactions rings true for us also. We’ve reduced first response times by 19% and average response times by 20% meaning they sit at 29s and 32s respectively beating our sector average of 34s.”

When it comes to tickets, the first response time is much slower.

It seems that ticket first response is not as important as for chats. In general, the average satisfaction goes down very slightly.

The best average satisfaction rate, happens around the 10 hours mark and reaches 85-87 percent average satisfaction. Over time, the average satisfaction goes down a bit but there’s little difference between 20, 40 or 60 hours.

Surprisingly, the satisfaction is at its lowest for fairly quick first response times. However, this can be skewed by the number of cases for this time frame, which is also fairly high.

05.2Handle Time

This metric represents the amount of time it takes to handle a chat or a ticket. The faster your agents are at helping your customers, the lower this metric will be.

Handle time is calculated from the moment a chat is started or a ticket is created to the moment when the chat is closed or the ticket is resolved.

Here’s how the length of chats affects customer satisfaction:

Handle Time
vs. Chat Satisfaction

The orange line represents the satisfaction level for a given average response time speed. The white line shows how many companies reach particular handle time levels.

On average, it seems that the best results happen for the 12 minutes 30 seconds to 15 minutes range. Chats that last that long reach around 88-89 percent customer satisfaction on average. We observed similar results when checking the handle time metrics last year.

Chats finished within 12-15 minutes got the best ratings.

You can notice a drop in customer satisfaction not only when chats last longer but also when they are shorter. In the case of long chats, customers may grow impatient. After all, the longer they need to wait to get something done, the poorer the experience.

On the other hand, if there is no immediate solution available, agents can only apologize before moving on to the next chat. This could be why the chat satisfaction is lower at the beginning of the chart – 80-82 percent – around the 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 7 minutes and 30 seconds mark.

A similar trend could be observed last year when chats that lasted less than 5 minutes got a custom satisfaction score of only 81.66 percent.

The trend is a bit different for tickets. In general, tickets take much longer to resolve. We had to use hours to describe the average ticket handle times instead of minutes.

Here’s how the ticket handle time data looks like:

The first thing you can notice about the data is that a great deal of tickets are handled within the first 7-8 hours. Despite the relatively quick resolution speed, these tickets receive rather poor rates, with average satisfaction level at around 60 percent.

The longest wait time for a ticket resolution we recorded was around three years. It’s just as if the responsible agent got hold up on a deserted island, along with a certain fellow named Wilson.

According to the data, the average satisfaction rate goes up for tickets that took longer to resolve until it plateaus at around 52 hours and 86-87 percent average satisfaction rate.

Complexity of the cases could account for these two trends. When an agent gets a case that can’t be resolved, e.g. due to product limitations, the case can be closed fairly quickly as there is nothing left to do. This could explain the lower score.

However, when a case is difficult but not impossible, the agent can ask for additional information before solving the ticket case. In the end, the ticket is resolved, even if it can take a while. This could explain the higher rates when considerably more time is spent on one ticket.

06Conclusions

This year’s data seems very interesting as there have been a lot of changes in the top-performing industries. With a data sample more than four times bigger than last year, the results are also more accurate.

Service quality is as important as service speed.

Although the live chat customer service is becoming faster and faster, it seems that not all companies benefit just from lowering response time or handle time. When looking at the results of the top performers like the Web Hosting companies, it looks like the quality of the response is just as important as its speed.

Managers and customer service team leaders should remember that the increase in speed of response should go hand in hand with better response quality.

Companies using live chat as well as tickets seem to focus most of their efforts on live chat, as tickets are used sparingly and are usually reserved for follow up activities and tougher cases. This results in worse overall scores for tickets.

Companies use live chat more often than tickets to help customers.

Larger businesses seem to benefit from having dedicated customer service departments. Although smaller companies are able to keep the chat response and handle times low, they often get lower customer satisfaction scores than bigger companies.

The experience, tools and set procedures present in bigger customer service departments produces better customer satisfaction results. However, there comes a point where the demand for customer service grows too fast and the biggest companies can struggle a bit with keeping the high customer satisfaction levels.

06.1Biggest Losses

Businesses from the Wholesale industry seem to have experience the biggest drop.

From a group of companies that scored above the average results in 2014, the Wholesale businesses dropped to one of the worst performing industries. The longest average response time can be probably blamed for that.

The Automotive industry, despite a better score this year, still ranks as the worst-performing industry. This state of affairs can be probably tied to a high average number of cases Automotive companies need to handle.

06.2Biggest wins

This year, we have two industries that have considerably risen in the ranks since last year.

Companies from the Web Hosting industry have jumped from the 5th to the 1st place. It also seems that they did it not by speeding up their service but by increasing the quality of their responses.

Even though the customers of web hosting companies had to wait a bit longer for their answers, they were the most satisfied group.

Manufacturing industry improved its customer service the most.

Another industry that gained a lot since last year is the Manufacturing industry which jumped from the far 11th place to the 3rd spot on this year’s ranking.

It seems that it was especially challenging for this industry as the manufacturing companies have less chats on average than other companies, which leaves them with a smaller number of chances to create amazing experience for their customers.

About

LiveChat, Inc. is the owner and developer of LiveChat, a real-time customer service tool for sales and support purposes.

Nearly 13,000 companies use LiveChat daily to service their customers, including brands like Adobe, ING, Samsung, Tele2, Orange Telecom, Better Business Bureau and Air Asia. Since its founding in 2002, LiveChat has been used all around the world in over 140 countries.

The company aims to create products that are simple, easy to use and powerful. Thanks to the quick implementation process, businesses can start using LiveChat within minutes.

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All rights reserved.

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