Much has changed since the first “live chat” solution was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Computation Center in 1961. The live chat enabled up to 30 users to log in and send messages to each other at the same time. Thousands of people used the once-popular ICQ in the past, as well as many similar instant messaging solutions that are no longer in use. However, the very idea of chatting with each other online and connecting instantly is still very popular.
Many people have quit using traditional forms of communication like the good old telephone in favor of instant and more convenient forms of communication, such as chats. This change has affected businesses and customers alike. Live chat may have been formerly perceived as just an accessory widget on a website, however, as customer behavior and expectations are shifting faster than ever before, it has become a key indicator of a website’s attractiveness and user-friendliness for many eCommerce consumers, customers looking for assistance, and potential clients who want to find information about your products or services.
More than half of all users point to live chat tools as their preferred form of business communication. The numbers don’t lie, which is why we’ve gathered some noteworthy statistics that are sure to convince anyone with lingering doubts that live chat is a super-powerful solution that should be added to the tech stack of any business.
Most of the data presented below are statistics gathered from research and surveys conducted between 2020 and 2021.
A profile of live chat users
As stated at the very beginning of this article, live chat isn’t necessarily a new communication method. However, certain groups of people are still not big fans of this tool, so it’s essential to know which users are the fondest of instant messaging software.
- 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support queries answered via a live chat widget vs. traditional channels (Icmi).
- 36% of Gen Zers (consumers aged 18 to 24 in 2019) would use live chat when contacting a company with a customer service-related inquiry. Unsurprisingly, they’re also more likely to use not-so-mainstream messaging channels like Whatsapp or live video support (HubSpot).
- 61% of customers under 24 admit that they purposely avoid calling companies, and 60% of millennials prefer live chat to traditional media (WhosOn).
- Is live chat the realm of the young? Of course, they are the ones who use this tool the most. However, 45% of people aged 55 or older also admitted that they had used live chat on a website at least once, and this number is continuously growing (99 Firms).
Consumer expectations towards live chat services
Utilizing live chat is not only about placing a chat button on your website. To unlock the tool’s full potential, you need to be aware of consumers’ expectations.
- More than 41% of customers expect a live chat window on your website (Forrester).
- Approximately 44% of chat queries were initiated from a mobile device in 2017. In 2018 that figure rose to 52% (Forbes).
- 62% of consumers expect to access live chat widgets through their mobile phones (Icmi).
- 51% of customers want businesses to be available 24/7 (Inc).
- 42% of consumers indicate that they prefer to live chat over other support options because they don’t have to wait on hold (Inc).
- 79% of customers say they prefer to chat with agents purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels (Econsultancy).
- Live chat offers real-time support, however, according to Forbes, organizations that score 90% or higher for customer satisfaction have an average wait time of 46 seconds while those with the lowest customer satisfaction have an average wait time of 25 seconds (Forbes). This may indicate that, in the end, the immediacy is not a deciding factor when it comes to customer satisfaction. Customers are the happiest when their query is resolved, even if it takes a bit longer.
- 59% of users would rather use different channels to reach out to customer service than use their voice to communicate (Business Insider).
- 41% of customers think that companies offering live chats on their websites are more trustworthy than those that don’t (WhosOn via techjury.com).
- 70% of consumers prefer human agents to AI technologies (99 Firms).
- 54% of US online consumers expect interactions with chatbots to affect their quality of life negatively (Forrester).
Positive user opinions about live chat
You should be aware of the fact that consumers expect almost immediate assistance from service agents or any other representatives from your company these days, as they are not eager to wait for help. Is a live chat tool the right solution to meet these expectations?
- 92% of users have a positive experience after using a live chat tool compared to other forms of contact (phone: 88%, email: 85%, Facebook: 84%, Twitter: 77%) (Inc).
- Another survey indicated that the customer satisfaction rate of live chat experiences based on post-chat surveys increased from 80.6% in 2017 to 83.1% in 2018 (Forbes).
- 63% of customers agree that they are more likely to return to a site if they have the possibility of talking to a representative via live chat (eMarketer).
- 42% of customers choose live chat over a phone call because they hate being put on hold and appreciate that live chat can also provide an instant answer to their questions (J.D. Power).
- The E-tailing Group discovered that 52% of Americans who interacted with brands using live chat windows highly approved of it as an efficient communication channel, while 77% said that they were satisfied with the answers provided by representatives (ReferralRock).
- Many people need help when shopping online. 44% of customers consider a real-time conversation with a representative to be an essential function of an online store website (Forrester).
- Live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as a staggering 46% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 29% for email and 16% for social media (Icmi).
- 21% of customers stated that the convenience of shopping online at work is the key reason for choosing live chat as their preferred contact method, and 51% of them use it because it allows the possibility of doing several things at the same time (Econsultancy).
- Comm100 discovered that 82% of customers were satisfied with their live chat experience, compared to just 61% of email users and a worrying 44% of phone users.
- 52% of customers said that if they did not find answers to their questions quickly enough, they would probably abandon an online transaction (WhosOn).
- BoldChat found that 31% of online shoppers from both the US and the UK said they would be more likely to complete a purchase after a live chat conversation with a rep. (Econsultancy).
- Emarketer discovered that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Learn how to run an NPS survey for your customers to assess how likely they are to recommend your business. Moreover, you can conduct such a survey via live chat software!
What do users dislike about using live chat?
Using live chat is not all rainbows and butterflies for end-users. There are certain things that your potential customers may dislike about reaching out to you via live chat. You should be well aware of their negative feelings or experiences and tackle any possible problems proactively.
- 29% of live chat users hate scripted responses (99 Firms).
- 80% of live chat representatives had to access multiple systems to find the information they needed (CCW Digital).
- 11% of website users dislike proactive chats (Econsultancy).
- One-third of companies admitted that their knowledge base is either not easy to use or not updated frequently enough. All of these obstacles prevent live chat agents from devoting their full attention to customers (CCW Digital).
How businesses approach live chat
Not so long ago, the topic of live chat was covered almost everywhere. You might think that this is a well-known solution implemented on websites owned by most online businesses. Surprisingly, however, this is not actually the case. There are still many companies that haven’t added a live chat widget to their tech stack, although data indicates that many organizations plan on doing so.
- The global live chat software market size is projected to reach $987.3 million by 2023 (Knowledge Based Value Research).
- Many service leaders expected live chat to grow by as much as 87% in 2017 (CustomerThink).
- 87% of companies that adopted a live chat solution did so in order to connect with web visitors in real-time. (99 Firms).
- Only 17% of companies said that they planned to add live chat in 2019 (Aircall).
- 71% of businesses believe that online chat will be the most popular communication channel by 2021 (Bold360 via 99 Firms).
- More than 68% of companies use canned responses in their live chat service. (Forbes)
- 79% of surveyed contact centers say they fail to see the big picture of a customer’s interactions across different service channels. (Customer Think)
- 67% of B2C businesses use live chat for customer support. (99 Firms).
Live chat return on investment (ROI) and benefits
Live chat has a much higher ROI than any other communication channel, as long as it provides true value to your customers.
- Live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate (Icmi).
- Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies (that include live chat support) retain an average of 89% of their customers (Aberdeen Group via Internet Retailer).
- Chatters are 2.8x more likely to convert than visitors who don’t use live chat (WoshOn).
- 33% percent of proactive conversations initiated by live chat agents received a response from website visitors without them taking any particular action before being contacted (99 Firms).
- Proactive chat earns 105% ROI (Forrester).
- Goinflow noted that there was a 3.84% increase in conversion rates and a 6% overall lift in revenue thanks to live chat implementation.
- Companies report approx. 2.4x greater annual increase in revenue from cross-selling and up-selling when live chat is in use (Icmi).
- Website visitors that engage with your company via live chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors who don’t. (Icmi)
- Companies offering live chat report a 34% improvement in customer satisfaction rates and a 2.6x improvement in customer care costs. (Verint)
- Forrester found out that there was a 10% increase in the average order value of sales from customers who engaged in a chat before making a purchase compared to those who didn’t.
- 22% of surveyed companies recorded a 5-10% increase in revenue via live chat. (99 Firms).
Live chat is a must-have communication platform for all businesses. Companies that harness the power of live chat can reap the benefits it brings — such as an increase in sales and revenue, faster customer support, higher customer service levels, brand loyalty, and deliver an overall better customer experience. In addition to all this, users love live chat, despite some minor drawbacks of this solution.
Although the efficiency of live chat has been proven by numerous studies and surveys cited above, many businesses still don’t use it. However, the number of companies that do use live chat continues to grow, so it’s just a matter of time before all your competitors implement it. This means that if you decide to add a live chat widget to your website now, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition. Take advantage of this situation is right now, and unlock the power of live chat software.
If you are looking for the best live chat tool, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out LiveAgent’s live chat software or schedule a demo today.