Last Updated: March 29, 2021
If you are up to date with industry trends, you are already familiar with the growing popularity of live chat. The related growth in sales and customer loyalty is prompting many businesses to give this communication channel a try.
To help you understand why this is such a hot topic, we have put together the most comprehensive set of live chat statistics you will need to enhance your own customer support systems in 2021.
These include important data points related to why customers are demanding live chat support, the estimated growth of the live chat support industry, the key areas where there is a mismatch between what customers desire and what businesses are able to provide. And most importantly, the benefits it brings if done right.
For example, did you know that:
- 75% of people prefer live chat over any other channel.
- 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
- 51% of customers want businesses to be available 24/7.
- 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support queries answered by live chat.
- 38% of businesses say their users find their scripted responses most frustrating.
- The global live chat software market is expected to grow to $987M by 2023.
- The average customer satisfaction using live chat service in the technology industry exceeds 87%.
Let’s begin with an appetizer of what’s happening with the live chat industry in 2021.
Eye-Opening Live Chat Statistics for 2021
Do people still avoid talking on the phone in 2021? Let’s see:
1. 60% of customers expect an immediate response when contacting live chat.
This is based on a study of 1000 participants. 60% of them indicated that they needed an immediate response when reaching out to a live chat support team.
2. Live chat is used by 67% of B2C businesses solely for customer support.
(Source: Finances Online)
Live chat stats in 2021 show that this form of customer support is the most common use for B2C businesses. However, this isn’t the only use of live chat. 74% of B2c and 85% of B2b businesses use live chat for sales. While 31% of B2C and 54% of B2B companies also use live chat for marketing.
3. Live chat conversion statistics tell us that adding live chat to your website can improve conversions by 12%.
(Source: LTV Plus)
This is because, as already discussed, most customers require an immediate response. Therefore, if they’re left waiting too long, they’ll probably leave without buying anything.
4. The average return for a single chat is $249.
This has been calculated by dividing the sum of all tracked sales by the number of chats associated with a sale. For a more accurate figure within your industry, visit the LiveChat site and filter at the top of the page.
5. 63% of customers said they’re more likely to return to a website that has a live chat.
(Source: Furst Person)
In other words, 37% of customers are less likely to return to a website if it did not feature live chat.
Live Chat vs Phone Support Statistics
So. How does live chat support measure up against phone support?
6. 71% of people believe that live online chat will surpass traditional support channels by 2021.
This is most probably happening because people increasingly want to chat rather than having to make phone calls.
7. In fact, over 50% of all customers prefer to use real-time online chat.
In short, live chat is overtaking phone support, and furthermore, only 23% of customers prefer email. For social media and forums, the number falls even lower, at just 16%.
8. The main reasons more customers prefer live chat are no wait times (34%) and convenience (26.9%).
Statistics for live chat tell us that the main reasons customers prefer this method are the sheer convenience, and not having to wait, unlike on the phone. Customers also say they are able to better engage with the brand, outline concerns, and get immediate outcomes.
9. 82% of customers are satisfied with their live chat experience.
(Source: Help Scout)
Live chat customer service statistics released by Comm100 revealed that the majority of customers were happy with the help they received over live chat. While this figure fell to 61% for email support, it plummeted for phone support to just 44%. So, businesses can either work on improving phone support or focus their efforts on live chat instead.
10. ‘Chatters’ spend on average 60% more per transaction than ‘non-chatters’.
So why has this been mentioned in a discussion of live chat vs phone support statistics? In a nutshell, if you only have telephone support, you could be losing a fair amount of money to competitors!
General Customer Service Statistics
Customer care has never been more important. Almost 100% of clients prefer high-quality support even if it’s not that fast. More than 44% say that having a live person answer their questions is one of the most important features an online shop can have.
11. 97% of global consumers say customer service is important in their choice of a brand.
(Source: Customer Think)
Customers across the world are demanding a higher standard of service. With the wide choice available to them in most sectors, attracting them is not just a game of getting the price and product quality right. To win and retain customers in 2021, brands have to work consciously towards providing consistently flawless service. Furthermore, branding statistics reveal that 89% of marketers claim building brand awareness is their top goal. That said, customer support is one of the pillars of successful branding.
12. 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do when it comes to customer service.
As the cliché goes, time is money, and this statement has never been truer than in 2021. An overwhelming majority of customers equate good service with businesses responding to them super fast. Therefore, an online live chat can go a long way when it comes to customer service.
13. 95% of customers rate high-quality support over speed.
But an even higher proportion of customers value useful customer support over time saved. They don’t mind a short delay if they get a high-quality response. Satisfactory answers in one go, after all, can save customers the time they might waste in asking more questions or in trying to find the solution on their own.
14. 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Live chat stats show that many businesses don’t opt for this feature because they feel it will disrupt the online experience or because they are unsure how to implement it. However, customers often require assistance during online shopping, and they want this assistance provided as they shop by someone who doesn’t offer stock responses.
For the other 56%, you can use Facebook chatbots as the first line of support.
On the other hand:
15. 47.5% of US internet users feel the greatest challenge with chatbots is they provide too many unhelpful responses.
One of the biggest issues with not having a live person, according to a live chat study, is the time it wastes with scripted responses that do not apply to the specific situation and end up wasting the customer’s valuable time.
16. 52% of consumers say they view companies more favorably when the customer service is more personalized to them and their interests.
A real person is also more likely to modify the response based on the customer’s specific details. Personalization of services and even products is a key feature of today’s economy, and you won’t impress your customers unless you achieve this.
17. 51% of customers want their businesses to be available 24/7.
Another major pro of a live customer chat. Considering the wide geographical spread of many businesses, it’s only expected for companies to be contacted at odd hours. Customers are not interested in waiting for a shop to open its doors at 9:00 in the morning for their queries to be answered.
18. 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions.
Responding immediately to your customers is important because you might lose as many as half of them if you don’t satisfy them in the short window of time you have with them. Not providing quick answers to your customers’ queries is seen by them as not valuing their patronage. Still, keep in mind that the global cart abandonment rate is 75.52%, so make sure your customers find their answers quickly.
Live Chat Statistics 2018/2019
Live chat seems to be the rock star of customer care. Customers love it, and experts believed live chat grew 87% between 2017 and 2018. The market for live chat software will reach $1 billion by 2023.
19. The number of consumers that use live chat over the phone and email support has increased by more than 50% since 2012.
The point above is substantiated by actual usage data. According to these figures, there has been a surge in people moving towards live chat support from competing channels since 2012.
20. Live chat has overtaken other options as the most preferred channel for customer communication.
In light of the points above, it is no surprise that live chat, which ticks important boxes like quick response and satisfactory solutions to queries, is the preferred communication channel for many customers. According to the survey cited, 42% of customers prefer live chat, compared to 23% preferring email and only 16% social media. Still, although users don’t prefer waiting for an email, this channel is still one of the most effective for marketers. If you use the right email marketing tool, that is. If done correctly, email marketing has an ROI of 3200%.
21. Service leaders anticipate customer chat to have grown by 87% in the 2017-18 period.
(Source: Customer Think)
In fact, experts from the service industry believe that live chat volume has increased by nearly 90% in just the eighteen months since early 2017. As many companies get their live chat systems right and consumers spread the good word around, the shift towards live chat is expected to continue.
22. The global live chat software market is expected to grow to $987M by 2023 from $590M in 2016.
(Source: Live Person)
While the level of reporting for the live chat industry is not deep enough to estimate its overall value, the global live chat software market is growing at a CAGR of 7.3%. This growth is driven mainly by the desire on the part of businesses to offer greater customer satisfaction and consumers’ growing comfort with live chat.
23. Retail and e-commerce are the fastest-growing segments for live chat software.
(Source: Business Wire)
This is because of the rapid growth of major e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba. The other top segments are travel and hospitality, as well as IT and consulting.
24. The top three players in the live chat software market in 2020 were tawk.to (21.10%), Zendesk (12.11%), and Facebook Customer Chat (10%).
Other prominent players include LiveChat, Tidio, Zoho SalesIQ, Purechat, Intercom, and Drift. The market is extremely fragmented, and businesses choose their vendor based on their specific needs.
25. 61% of live chat software buyers are B2B businesses.
This is a surprising fact as one would expect B2C businesses, who have a much bigger customer base, to use live chat more. Only 33% of live chat software buyers are B2C customers, while B2G and non-profits make up the balance.
26. 85% of B2B live chat buyers use it for sales; the figure is 74% for the B2C sector.
The education sector is a notable exception, where live chat is used more for support than sales. Customer support is the next most important use for live chat; marketing follows next.
27. At 73 to 81%, live chat has the highest satisfaction level for any customer service channel.
The exact figures may vary across different studies (with some going as high as 92%), but the message is undeniably obvious – live chat benchmarks for customer satisfaction are consistently higher compared to other channels like email (61%), apps (53%), social media (48%), and phone (44%). The reasons for this higher satisfaction, as we see in some of the points made later, are manifold.
28. 20% of shoppers prefer using live chat to contact a retailer compared to other communication methods.
If they had to initiate contact with the business they were shopping with, one in five active shoppers would prefer doing it through live chat. Note that this survey was conducted in 2012, when live chat was not nearly as widely used as it is today.
29. 41% of consumers prefer being offered support over live chat, more than any other channel.
A comprehensive survey by the live chat software firm Kayako showed these preference figures had almost doubled in just a few years. When asked about how they would like to be contacted by the business they shop with, more than two out of five consumers opted for live chat for sales.
30. 75% of survey respondents stated they would prefer to live chat versus calling to speak with an agent.
And a more recent survey revealed even more striking numbers. Almost four in five customers now find live chat a more convenient channel for communication if they have to get their queries answered by a representative of the business they are interested in.
31. 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support queries answered by live chat versus traditional channels.
Younger consumers, who drive a large chunk of online sales volumes across the world, find live chat particularly convenient as it offers them the familiarity of talking to friends using messaging apps. Baby Boomers are still equally likely to opt for traditional, offline channels like phone support.
32. 42% of businesses think consumers prefer the phone.
Kayako live chat statistics also show that even though phone communication scores lower than live chat in consumer preference, well over one-third of businesses seem to continue with the former. Instead of overstaffing a channel that doesn’t find favor with their customers, businesses have the opportunity to both improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs by routing their resources toward live chat support. The next few points showcase some other glaring examples of expectation-reality mismatch.
Customer Expectations vs. Business Reality
Customers demand online chat support, but not a lot of companies have it. In fact, less than 10% of businesses offer live chat as a feature. Good for them!
33. More than 30% of customers expect live chat on your website.
Today, close to one-third of the customers who land on your website expect to find a live chat system there so that any queries arising while they browse through your products are answered immediately. That’s another bite of live chat conversion statistics for you.
34. This number is 62% for customers visiting your website on a mobile device.
You would expect people on mobiles to be more comfortable with talking on the phone. But, it turns out that the expectation for live chat support is twice as high when customers visit your site on a mobile device. As e-commerce continues to move to mobile devices, the importance of a web chat customer service becomes more pertinent.
35. Only 9% of companies use live chat.
(Source: Super Office)
It is quite surprising that not even 10% of companies have adopted live chat support as their primary or secondary communication channel. Resources keep getting spent on phone, email and social media. That way, the valuable opportunity to improve customer satisfaction levels is squandered.
36. 38% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers live chat support.
Live chat statistics show it makes sense to offer this communication channel because it improves conversion rates for your website. It directly translates into more visitors opting to make a purchase.
37. 52% of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support.
But it’s not just the first purchase you ensure that makes live chat useful. More than half of your customers are more likely to come back to you because they know that their doubts will be cleared without delay with you.
38. As many as 77% of customers won’t make a purchase on a website that doesn’t offer a live chat option.
(Source: Furst Person)
That’s what statistics of live chat on websites generally indicate. If you do not address this important demand, you put off a far higher number of customers. This shows that live chat support is not even a luxury that attracts customers; it is a mere hygiene factor the absence of which can be a source of major dissatisfaction among visitors to your site.
39. 41% of customers think a company that offers live chat on its website is more trustworthy.
Trust is critical for building a long-term relationship with your customers. Live chat stats indicate that a large proportion of them associate this important quality with businesses that offer live chat support. Adding this extra feature is a signal that you care for your customers.
40. 38% of customers have said that they have ended up making a purchase due to a good live chat session.
And it’s not just consumer intent that is affected by this extra feature on your website. Actual consumer behavior statistics also prove that if you deploy live chat support well, you are rewarded with increased sales.
41. 79% of customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers.
The main reason behind live chat’s popularity is that customers get their queries answered without delay. It has been found that customers expect a response time of about 6 hours with email, the next most popular communication channel. But, live chat industry standards are expected to be better – customers want immediate response.
42. 42% of customers choose live chat over phone because they hate being put on hold.
Phone, another popular way for businesses to contact their customers, is also losing out because of this need for immediate response. Another study found that 68% of people would prefer to have root canal without anesthesia, a tax audit, or dinner with their mother-in-law than have to be put on hold on the phone.
43. Most problems on live chat get resolved in 42 seconds.
(Source: Snap Engage)
And this faith in the immediacy offered on live chats is not unfounded. Live chat statistics show that, on an average, most problems on live chat do get resolved in far less time than they would by email, or even on the phone.
44. The average wait time for live chat support requests is 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
(Source: Super Office)
Not all chat sessions proceed smoothly, though. A lot more time gets wasted because enough resources haven’t been allotted to live chat and the customer is put on wait till a representative gets free from another line.
45. 21% of live chat support requests are not answered.
(Source: Super Office)
According to data on live chat industry standards, as many as one in five chat support requests do not even get addressed. It would be difficult to find another more effective way to annoy your customer than not being available when they need you.
46. 51% of live chat users prefer chat as it allows them to multitask.
Another 21% prefer it because they can shop while they work. Clearly, with everyone juggling multiple chores at any given time, live chat is the most convenient communication method for customers.
47. 72% of customers now expect a customer service agent to know their contact details, product information, and service history as soon as they engage and without being asked.
(Source: Customer Think)
There was a time when only the most high-profile customers expected instant recognition and tailored service. Customers know that, thanks to tools like CRM, internet cookies, and tracking software, you have access to their data now.
48. 23% of companies do not ask for contact information before a chat begins.
(Source: Super Office)
It is baffling that so many live chat systems do not capture the customer’s details if they aren’t available already. This doesn’t just save previous time for both you and the customer, but also helps in offering more useful service and tracking your chat support system’s performance.
49. 45% of companies do not ask users for feedback once the chat has ended.
(Source: Super Office)
Live chat stats seem to indicate that nearly half of the companies that offer live chat support are not interested in whether the recipient of this support is satisfied. Operating a customer-focused service without information on how it affects your customers is like shooting in the dark.
50. 55% of companies do not offer transcripts once a chat has ended.
(Source: Super Office)
Chat transcripts, which are readily available in most live chat applications, help customers recall important information that was shared during the chat. Transcripts also help companies immensely in training their support staff and making the website content more informative.
Key Customer Issues
Even if your business offers chat support, it doesn’t mean it will instantly attract loads of customers willing to buy. There are some issues that will stave clients off. Here’s what you should look out for.
51. 56% of consumers cannot recall an exceptional live chat experience.
The points we have covered so far show why this is a big loss to businesses. The next few points cover the main reasons why so few chat sessions actually leave customers completely happy.
52. When starting a live chat, 40% of consumers are not confident they’ll get the support they need in a reasonable amount of time.
Owing to poor experiences, a significant number of customers begin their live chat sessions with a low expectation of them getting what they are looking for. They still prefer it over other channels.
53. 84% of consumers have given up on a live chat due to frustration at slow responses or poor replies.
Live chat benchmarks strongly indicate that far too many businesses are using live chat as an afterthought and not investing in the necessary training for their personnel. This results in greater strain on other support channels and a spike in churn among your customers.
54. 84% of businesses say providing unique and memorable customer experiences is a priority for their team.
Most companies seem to know that a memorable experience is vital to retain customers and encourage them to spend money.
55. 38% of customers are most frustrated by poor user experience on live chat.
But many of these companies don’t seem to be managing the connection between knowledge and action. Typical frustrations faced by live chat users include support personnel not being online, getting disconnected during a chat, and effort required to begin a chat, especially when there are pre-chat forms to fill.
56. 43% of businesses know their user experience is not good enough.
And nearly half the businesses also seem to realize that they are failing their customers in providing the right user experience. It’s a question of using this knowledge to strengthen the areas that are found lacking. Maybe it’s a question of hiring more live chat people.
57. 84% of businesses say offering a personal customer experience is an important or very important priority for their team.
Most companies also know that it is important to make their customers feel special through personalized responses.
58. 29% of consumers find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating.
Companies use scripts to ensure quick responses, but, as live chat statistics show, end up annoying more than a quarter of their customers who are smart enough to see through this. Using scripted responses is an art, which many businesses seem to find difficult mastering.
59. 38% of businesses say their users find their scripted responses most frustrating.
The trick is to train the chat support team well so that they can modify even canned replies when necessary.
60. 24% of consumers say long wait times are their biggest frustration.
Waiting in a queue continues to haunt at least a quarter of customers who use live chat. Even though waiting was the reason they switched to live chat in the first place.
61. 19% of businesses say their customers are most frustrated by long wait times.
Thankfully, at least some of the businesses realize this too and intend to invest in increasing their chat support team.
62. 9% of consumers say having to repeat themselves is the most frustrating part of a live chat experience.
Consumers want to be recognized and not be seen as just a ticket number. Having to endlessly repeat themselves makes them feel exactly this.
63. 16% of businesses say their customers are most annoyed by having to repeat themselves.
As per live chat stats, businesses appear to be finding it difficult to ensure a unified and consistent approach to customer service across all their communication channels.
Sales Impact of Live Chat
Live chat support is a great asset, but only if you use it right. Customers will cheer if chat support is good. They will spread some bad words about your company if customer support sucks.
64. 20% of consumers tell friends or colleagues about a poor live chat experience.
You don’t just lose out on one potential customer if you fail to measure up in one chat session. One in five consumers admits to spreading a negative word based on a bad experience, resulting in a snowballing effect.
65. 29% of consumers tell friends or colleagues about a positive live chat experience.
Fortunately, good sessions get talked about slightly more than bad ones. Live chat, if done right, contributes to positive word of mouth, helps win new customers, and results in business growth.
66. Website visitors that engage with your company via live chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors who don’t.
Live chat statistics show that potential customers who are more curious about your products and services use the information provided by you to make bigger purchases on average. All the more reason for you to ensure you are around when these visitors are looking for assistance.
67. 63% of people who spend between $250-300 a month online are the most likely to both buy from, and be loyal to, companies that offer live chat support.
Prolific online shoppers are generally also more likely to engage in online research before they fork out their money. If you can help them in their research with useful answers to specific queries, they’ll show their gratitude with continued purchases.
68. Live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate.
Live chat has a much higher ROI than any other communication channel, provided it provides true value to your customers.
69. 79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
And, if you still had any doubts, reported figures from live chat sales statistics 2017 should dispel them. Investing in live chat has had a positive bearing on immediate and long-term earnings for four out of five companies.
70. Companies offering live chat report 34% improvement in customer satisfaction rates and 2.6x improvement in customer care costs.
Finally, live chat benefits aren’t just limited to growth in direct sales. Apart from the two metrics above, live chat is known to result in 2.4x annual increase in cross-sell and sell-up revenue, 20% annual improvement in customer contact abandonment rate, and a staggering 9.3x annual improvement in the agent utilization rate.
Key Takeaways From The Live Chat Stats
- The changing service expectations of customers are driving the need for a faster, more personalized, and more accurate channel for business-customer communication.
- Live chat fulfills these criteria better than traditional channels, ensuring a more satisfying customer experience. This is reflected in the steady growth of the live chat industry.
- Businesses, realizing that they are not always leaving customers with a memorable experience, continue to tinker with their live chat support processes.
- Live chat statistics show that the upside of getting it right is immense, as shown by the positive effect on metrics like sales, customer retention, and agent utilization.
Similar to instant messaging, a chat appears in the customers browser window, allowing them to type their messages into the live chat box and send them to an operator who can do the same.
Because most customers want their queries resolved quickly and live chat enables this.
A form of customer service where customers communicate with a service rep online, live. It saves customers having to call up and wait to have their questions answered.
Yes, it’s the preferred method of communicating compared to telephone, social media, or email.
According to live chat statistics, it does – by as much as 40%!
- Finances Online
- LTV Plus
- Furst Person
- Help Scout
- Customer Think
- Live Person
- Business Wire
- Super Office
- Furst Person
- Snap Engage