Live Chat Statistics 2021: What Every Business Should Know


[Updated January 22, 2022]

Conversations have always been a foundational element of customer experience (CX), service, and support. Real-time communication via web chat, live chat or instant messaging platform or software (ex: Comm100, ICQ and other SaaS messaging products) provides connective points for users and customers of any profile to ask questions, share their problem and get help, give a word, and feel confident about spending money on your website, web page or omnichannels— this is at the core of what CX is all about! 

Naturally then, online chat has become a critical piece of the CX puzzle, giving customers and potential customers a way to engage with businesses in the moment. To consumers, chat is the preference for one-to-one conversation with your company.

The benefits of engaging customers via online chat include:

  • Higher Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores
  • Better user experience
  • More repeat customers
  • Improved brand loyalty
  • Increased ROI
  • More lead generation

But, not all chat experiences are created equal.

Chat, executed well, can be the reason and the epitome of successful conversational commerce in the NOW CX era. But if the chat channel is misused (or missing altogether), you’ll likely end up with A) no conversation and B) no commerce to speak of.

The best way to understand the features and benefits of live chat is to see how other businesses and industries, whether in the B2B or B2C area, are using it to their advantage.

Live chat statistics, data, report and trends for 2021

Meeting Customers’ Live Chat Expectations in 2021 

Today’s customers (aka “NOW Customers”), especially the millennials in the United States, expect on-demand, rapid-fire responsiveness and customer service convenience at all hours of the day. This is true across all customer service channels or business communication platforms, including telephone or call center #, mobile devices, email, chat, text messaging, social media DMs and other digital channels or widgets. Considering the proliferation and popularity of mobile technology and the sky-high standards set by best-in-class businesses, it’s no doubt that consumers are comparing your website’s usability experience to the best experiences in the world. 

There is no other digital tool more amenable to the NOW Customer than online chat — it’s fast, it’s easy, and it takes place in real-time. “Exceptional” live chat interactions make customers feel valued and excited about returning to your business. 

Key customer demand statistics, surveys and research for 2021

  • Conversations with solution providers revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven growth in the adoption of live chat, both to give consumers choices and create cost efficiencies. (Source article)
  • 65% of consumers expect customer service to be faster now than it was five years ago. (Source)
  • 81% of brands say customers expect and demand faster resolutions than just 2 years ago (Source)
  • 75% of consumers will spend more money with retailers that support digitization and in-store experiences with messaging experts. (Source)

What’s at stake with live chat?

As you evaluate your options when it comes to live chat, let’s take a closer look at the consequences of not having online chat enabled on your website. 

Live chat has consistently been proven as a method to engage would-be customers on your website. Think of your chat as the sales driver on your store’s floor; someone who proactively engages shoppers and makes them feel confident and excited about their purchasing decision.

  • For every one visitor who contacts support for queries and comments or leaves a response on NPS, there are 10 others you never hear from. (Source)
  • 49% of ecommerce brands do not offer live chat consistently on their websites during “business hours” (Source)
  • 62% would trust an online retailer more if associates were available on online chat. (Source)
  • In a study of 800 online retailers, the brands that had the highest experience score answered live chats in a speed of under 30 seconds. (Source)

Live Chat vs. Chatbots: Brands still need humans! 

Chatbots and automation are sold as tools to make it easier for businesses to improve and scale customer support. But do they make the onsite experience easier for the customer? Not necessarily. There’s a certain disconnect sometimes that can make the experience poor.

In 2021, insights prove that while automation in ecommerce customer support is highly beneficial for post-sale interaction (ie order status, return policies), pre-sale support is still an important factor and heavily dependent on the personal touch. It’s critical and a major competitive advantage for businesses to dedicate time and staffing resources to the pre-sale live chat experience, because that’s the place where browsers become buyers and customers become superfans or brand friends and ambassadors. 

  • 95% of ecommerce shoppers interacting with chatbots said that their pre-sale experience would have been a perfection or at least better with human help. (Source)
  • Only 28% of brands believe the automation they use to interact with customers is effective and accurate (Source)
  • Experienced agents can handle between five and seven text-based conversations and content simultaneously. (Source)
  • In escalations between bots and humans, ecommerce shoppers had to repeat or reshare information 16.2% of the time. (Source)
  • The average and compiled customer effort score for interactions with human intervention is EASY. (77.4/100). The average customer effort score for interactions with chatbots (without
    human intervention or integration) is DIFFICULT. (24.6/100) (Source)

Live Chat and Revenue

Given that more and more companies take a NOW CX approach to customer service outsourcing, we can see and track how online chat can generate more sales and possibly boost brand legacy. On-site communication, also known as conversational commerce, is the equivalent of helpful salespeople in the traditional retail space. 

Conversational commerce leverages the power of conversation in offering or promoting a personalized, consultative shopping experience that ultimately drives sales and revenue. Customer service online chat is a critical and noteworthy component of conversational commerce in the digital environment, whether desktop or mobile. 

  • 79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty (Source
  • Customers who are engaged by a brand make purchases 90% more often, and spend 60% more per transaction than those customers who aren’t engaged. (Source)
  • Repurchase intent based on chats with no human intervention is 11%. Repurchase intent based on chats with human intervention is 88% (Source)

“Customer service should be called something other than the ‘customer support center.’ It should be called the ‘customer loyalty center,’ it should be called the ‘revenue generation center,’ it should be called the ‘customer retention center.’ Because that’s what you do.” – Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert

Live Chat in 2021

Companies that invest the time and resources into live chat have a higher chance of generating more revenue and cementing a customer’s lifetime value. If you aren’t using chat for CX yet, now is the time to get started give your company permission to thrive in CX. And as you expand your development and usage of chat and dive into conversational commerce, be sure to harness NOW CX to balance the irreplaceable qualities of human interaction with the efficiency boost of technology. 

When you do, you’ll be setting your CX operation up to give your customers an engaging, low-effort experience while delivering revenue results that provide conversational commerce pays off.