Speed and convenience are the de facto virtues of live chat customer service. It goes without saying that you need to be providing some sort of live chat channel on your website to assist customers and other visitors.

Live chat is the fastest way to address customer inquiries without compromising quality.

How can live chat help you provide speedy and convenient customer service? What stats can help you improve?

The question then becomes: how can you ensure that you are providing the fastest, most convenient live chat service, without compromising the quality of the customer service your team is providing?

The online reviews site, Software Advice, (Review us on their site here.) recently put together an infographic on live chat that can help illuminate this (find it at the end of this article, or here).

As you’re looking at it, you should note some key stats from the infographic:

  • 60% of consumers dislike being on hold even for just 60 seconds.
  • 33% of consumers prefer live chat if only to avoid calling and waiting on hold (at all).
  • 49% of all online shoppers prefer to ask their questions via live chat.
  • 56% of Americans 18-34 *always* prefer live chat to phone.

It’s clear that speed is critical, but also that there are simply some people who prefer not to use the phone, even if they aren’t kept waiting very long.

Ensuring Live Chat Quality

So, how can you keep your live chat response time impressive without compromising quality?

First, your goal should be to respond to a request for chat in seconds, not minutes (recall the 60% figure above). Second, consider how you will measure both speed and quality for your live chat customer service. Some metrics you might consider include:

  • Wait Time (already noted)
  • Handle Time – how long does it take a live chat agent to resolve a visitor’s inquiry?
  • Abandonment Rate/Missed Chat Rate – how many visitors initiate chat but leave before being helped?

Other data-points that might be valuable for you to pay attention to, to balance live chat speed with quality, are:

  • First Contact Resolution – was the visitor’s inquiry resolved entirely in this first interaction?
  • Bounce Rate – how many visitors exit your website after receiving a proactive invitation to chat? These may be individuals who would have entered chat but chose to leave because your invitation to chat was ill-timed, ill-designed, etc.
  • Queue Size Trends – if you find your live chat agents are overwhelmed with a surge in chat volume, or are bored out of their minds because there’s not enough active chats to merit all of the agents you have staffed at the moment, it may be worth your time to investigate what live chat volume trends your site might experience (i.e. surges and lulls) based on time of day or time of year. Making sure your staff size is commensurate with chat volume ensures both convenience for your customers and efficiency for your company.