What is Live Chat? Metrics, KPIs, and Best Practices for Effective Implementation

12 min read
May 6, 2024
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Looking for ways to boost customer satisfaction? Consider adding a live chat option to your website. This powerful tool supports agents and allows them to respond instantly to customers. On top of all that, you get access to valuable customer data that helps you advance your services even further. 

If you want to find out more about the main advantages and best practices for using live chat, keep reading.

What is live chat support?

Live chat has become a critical component of a positive customer experience for thousands of companies around the world. Live chat support is one of the best online service options for a client who wants assistance right away. It is similar to a chatbot, as it combines real-time interaction with the capacity to exchange links, gather information, and preserve a complete transcript for later review.

According to Statista, live chat has consistently been selected by customers as the top choice of communication — over the period between 2015 and 2022, customer satisfaction rates for the companies that were leveraging live chat services were from 80% to 85%.

Live chat can be in the form of a proactive chat pop-up, so when you click on it connects you to a live agent. Customers can also start a live chat if they need a quick answer. There is also an option for a button (usually lower on the page) that customers can click to connect with an agent.

While setting up live chat support is easy, it requires careful planning and work to make live chat a long-lasting, helpful component of your customer care strategy. Continue reading to find out why live chat support is essential, how to include it in your support strategy, and what it takes to provide excellent live chat help.

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The difference between chatbot and live chat

Live chat connects customers with support agents to resolve issues in real time. It's similar to a chatbot in that both are real-time support communication tools, however, the main difference is that you communicate with a bot. Chatbots can help in beginning the support conversation, but for more advanced inquiries, it makes sense to change to live chat with human support reps.

The main disadvantage of chatbots is that they require a lot of training and maintenance. 

AI-powered chatbots can work well when dealing with simple, straightforward questions. Often, those can be answered less expensively by a simple knowledge base article or even a rule-based chatbot. Another aspect is that due to technology's early development stage, AI chatbots may often create more frustrating customer service experiences compared to either a simple rules-based bot or a traditional help system.

The top benefits of live chat support

There are several advantages to live chat support for both customers and businesses. According to Forrester, the average order value increased by 10% for clients who had a chat session before making a purchase. This study also highlighted that live chat increases income per talk hour by 48% and conversion rate by 40%, proving that live chat brings businesses excellent benefits.

Better lead generation and customer acquisition

For steady business growth, you need to make sure you continuously have new customers checking out your website. With advanced tools, you can track all user interactions and engagement on your site to see how they discovered your page and how long they stay on the site. The statistics mentioned above prove that live chat is very beneficial when converting casual website visitors into paying customers for your business.

Promote proactive outreach

Follow-ups, emails, and cold calls are examples of repetitious procedures that demand a lot of time and resources but frequently yield outcomes that are not worth the effort. Customer outreach is made elegantly simple with live chat solutions. Chatbots that are automated and driven by AI can engage with every website visitor. Live chat instantly attracts potential clients rather than having to go through email and phone lists.

Additionally, you may include automated live chat tools in your customer outreach approach. It is possible to send pre-written message templates in response to particular consumer actions. For instance, the live chat widget may notify visitors who have visited a specific product page on your website more than once and invite them to schedule a free trial.

Reduce costs

Phone support is tedious and pricier than live chat. Maintaining open lines at all times is a challenging task that calls for a whole team of operators to function effectively. On the other hand, a small team of customer support representatives can manage a significantly higher discussion volume using live chat. You will soon realize how live chat makes 24/7 customer support economical, even for small and medium-sized organizations when you take chatbot help into account.

You can save on operating expenses and provide a superior client experience with live chat. It removes monotonous work and inefficiencies from the customer support staff, enabling them to bring the most value to the company.

Live chat metrics and KPIs to measure the success of live chat 

Engagement metrics

Measuring engagement metrics is a valuable approach to assessing how well online customer interactions work on different digital platforms. You can then actively implement improvements to provide your clients with the best possible welcoming experience. 

Total chats

The total chats metric allows you to keep track of all incoming chat requests you receive during the day. You also get access to data that gives you a sneak peek into the intensity of incoming chats and whether there is a particular time or day of the week when you see rapid growth in inquiries. It's worth mentioning that total chats indicate not only the number of chats you received so far but also the ones you've already resolved.

Missed chats 

Asynchronous communication, like messenger chats, tends to leave your customers with unanswered questions and missed opportunities. The missed chats metric will help you see the total number of chats without response over a specific time. You can use a variety of filters, such as hours, days, weeks, or months, to see when and at what time your support team missed out on incoming chats.

A missed chat report helps a lot with this issue. It tracks all your unanswered chats in one place, so you know precisely how many conversations need your attention as soon as possible after your chat line comes back online. 

This report not only allows you to save time but also lets you provide excellent customer service without missing any critical chat. You will see any issues with the offline parts of your customer service channels, allowing you to cover shifts with your team members more effectively.

Average queue time

Support queue reports are a handy tool for customer service professionals. You can better understand how your service is performing by analyzing average waiting times, queue times, and how effectively live chat is being used.

Knowing average wait times helps you independently assess whether the support team meets customers' expectations. It also allows for additional insights, including the times of day when you can expect higher numbers of incoming chats. The higher the queue abandonment rates, the more you should focus on either decreasing the wait time or providing self-service options.

Average chat duration

It's essential to see how actively engaged your support agents are during a live chat. Like any other metric, you can add specific filters to this one. This will help you see when your support representatives were active and engaged the most with the clients. Additionally, you can track the total time each support agent spends assisting the client over a chat. 

Customer satisfaction metrics 

With customer satisfaction metrics, businesses can assess how customers are reacting to the support services they provide. These metrics give businesses insight into whether clients are satisfied with the quality of customer service overall.

Net promoter score (NPS)

This score allows you to understand the likelihood of returning and loyal customers after live char interaction. This NPS question about whether the customer would recommend your services helps you see who the brand loyalists and promoters are but also points out the need to engage passive customers.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

A live chat metric called the customer satisfaction score reflects how happy consumers are with a business or product. Organizations usually employ a customer survey to collect quantifiable, countable input, which is then converted into a score between one and 10. The better the service or product a consumer receives, the higher the score. 

CSATs are a fantastic tool for businesses to prioritize changes that will help them in the long run as they forge lasting ties with their clients and consumers. Gaining confidence and, eventually, clients' loyalty is an invaluable advantage. You can remain ahead of the competition using it.  

Overall average rating

Finally, the overall average rating is also one of the crucial live chat metrics. It helps you measure your support team's overall success and performance and the live chat software. This provides the average rating maintained by your support team and shows how many chats were highly rated.

Agent-level metrics

Companies may use agent-level analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of their customer support teams on an individual level by tracking the average handling time for chat requests, resolution rate, number of conversations, and other critical indicators for each agent.

First contact resolution rate (FCR)

FCR is essentially an indicator of the effectiveness of your customer support staff. It measures the frequency with which consumers' problems are remedied upon their initial interaction with customer support agents, whether via online tickets or live chat. The greater your FCR rate, the better customer service your business is doing.

Average resolution time

The resolution time is determined by subtracting the first visitor message from the end of the live chat session. This statistic enables the comparison of timings across various channels and provides improved insights into departmental performance. 

Ultimately, you should strive for quicker resolution times because they will directly affect your clients' satisfaction. If a response is too lengthy, canned or copy-pasted responses may be helpful in speeding up the process.

Agent feedback

An important indicator for live chat support to keep monitoring is the operator's rating and customer feedback. Your clients are quick to tell how good or bad their experiences with your service and assistance were. The same goes for their comments about your support agents. That's why you should ensure your agents do their best to receive favorable feedback.

Response time

By looking at their response time, you can determine how long it took your operators to react to a conversation. This statistic is a fantastic approach to monitoring agent efficiency and assists you in determining your clients' satisfaction levels. When consumers have inquiries about sales or marketing, over 80% want answers immediately. When their inquiries are limited to sales, this percentage jumps to 90%.

In addition to employing prefabricated replies and integrating a knowledge base, you may work on chat routing rules, which allow you to alter each operator's chat settings according to their performance. 

Take a look at the chat queue to see if you should hire new operators for the support team. If the chat queue is too long for users, so that some leave while others fill out the offline message, then you should definitely hire more customer support representatives to handle the chat.

Live chat support best practices

Take a look at these live chat best practices—manage many chat requests without compromising quality—that will assist your agents.

Train support agents

Before launching a live chat support channel, think about the training your team will require. What knowledge and skills will they need to be successful with this tool?

While they monitor incoming conversations, will agents be providing help for other customer care channels? If so, you should show them how to use the different capabilities of your CRM. Support agents who can converse with many clients simultaneously in an organized way can assist customers in resolving more problems faster.

Additionally, you may train representatives on using internal and external assistance content resources by leaving a chat window open while they conduct research. Your agents will come back well-equipped with the means to resolve problems. 

Analyze live chat software data

Live chat tools and software provide helpful information regarding the customer journey, even if their features differ. This information includes:

LiveChat users have access to comprehensive statistics on client engagement. Simple data visualizations that track several important variables and distill complicated information into insights are included in its reports.

Agents can customize their chat conversations with this information. They will know how to reply accordingly if they notice a consumer is using a mobile device since nobody wants to spend all day typing on a smartphone keyboard. Representatives can provide basic information about the business and its items to clients who are new to the corporate website.

Use AI to strengthen your live chat experience

Include chatbots and AI in the live chat experience to enable users to resolve issues on their own without contacting a representative. A chatbot may use AI to recommend specific help center or knowledge base links to users so they can fix problems independently. It's okay if the chatbot doesn't respond to the query. The bot can forward the inquiry to a live agent.

Stay conversational

Live chat is a conversational medium. Agents should converse with consumers as they would with a friend or coworker. Providing good support for website users may be achieved by adhering to chat etiquette guidelines. Creating a comfortable environment tends to increase client comfort. When representatives use a conversational approach, clients could ask several inquiries or even wish to improve their package.

Use the live chat to exceed customer expectations

Customers' expectations and needs are constantly changing. Using live chat solutions, you can proactively satisfy their demands. Contacts with your consumers can be swift and personalized, so customers feel taken care of.

From a company's standpoint, live chat isn't limited to just one-time conversations. Data and conversation history offer a variety of insights for businesses looking to enhance their client experience.

You can sign up now for a free 14-day trial of LiveChat to discover how it can push your business forward using a smart live chat platform. 

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