Live Chat Statistics 2021: What Every Business Should Know


Conversations have always been a foundational element of customer experience (CX), service, and support. Real-time communication via live chat or instant messaging provides connective points for customers to ask questions, get help, and feel confident about spending money on your website— 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
  • More repeat customers
  • Increased revenue
  • More lead generation

But, not all chat experiences are created equal.

Chat, executed well, can be 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 benefits of live chat is to see how other businesses and industries are using it to their advantage.

Live chat statistics for 2021

Meeting Customers’ Live Chat Expectations in 2021 

Today’s customers (aka “NOW Customers”) expect on-demand, rapid-fire customer service at all hours of the day. This is true across all customer service channels, including mobile devices, email, chat, text messaging, and social media DMs. Considering the proliferation of mobile technology and the sky-high standards set by best-in-class businesses, it’s no wonder that consumers are comparing your website’s 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 for 2021

  • Conversations with solution providers revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven increased adoption of live chat, both to give consumers choices and create cost efficiencies. (Source)
  • 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 digital 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 tool to engage would-be customers on your website. Think of your chat as the star salesperson on your store’s floor; someone who proactively engages shoppers and makes them feel confident and excited about their purchase.

  • For every one visitor who contacts support or leaves a response on NPS, there are 10 others you never hear from. (Source)
  • 49% of ecommerce brands do not have live chat enabled 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 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 scale customer support. But do they make the onsite experience easier for the customer? Not necessarily.

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 heavily dependent on the personal touch. It’s critical 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. 

  • 95% of ecommerce shoppers interacting with chatbots said that their pre-sale experience would have been 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 simultaneously. (Source)
  • In escalations between bots and humans, ecommerce shoppers had to repeat or reshare information 16.2% of the time. (Source)
  • The average 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) is DIFFICULT. (24.6/100) (Source)

Live Chat and Revenue

As more and more companies take a NOW CX approach to customer service outsourcing, we see how online chat can generate more sales. 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 to offer a personalized, consultative shopping experience that ultimately drives sales and revenue. Customer service online chat is a critical component of conversational commerce in the digital environment. 

  • 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. And as you expand your 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.