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50 Key Live Chat Statistics

Written by:

Victoria Yu is a Business Writer with expertise in Business Organization, Marketing, and Sales, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

50 Key Live Chat Statistics

50 Key Live Chat Statistics

In the digital era, one crucial element of a good customer service strategy is a live chat feature on your website and other communication channels. Live chat services provide online customers with immediate service, adding an additional touchpoint through which consumers can obtain answers to their questions and concerns.

But before your business decides to invest in a live chat service, it’s best to fully understand exactly what you’re getting and how it can improve your business. To help you understand the full scope of live chat’s offerings, so that you can make a data-driven decision about whether to purchase one, we’ve curated 50 key live chat statistics.

Key Takeaways

  • Live chat is a popular and growing communication channel for businesses to improve their customer engagement and satisfaction.

  • Live chat solutions are primarily used by customer service teams but can also be used to improve marketing and sales efforts.

  • Though live chat cannot replace traditional email or live phone support for complex issues, it is nevertheless useful for improving customer engagement and the customer experience with fast, touch-and-go service.

  • Customer satisfaction with chatbots is quite high, as website visitors receive quick service from a live support agent.

  • While chatbots are becoming increasingly popular with businesses, consumers are failing to be satisfied with this technology and its unwieldiness and lack of human touch.

Industry Trends in Live Chat

Live chat is becoming an increasingly popular method of communication for customers. As more customers expect company websites to offer live chat support, the market for live chat software is expected to grow proportionately. 

Though live chat satisfaction and conversation length vary by industry, a surefire way to improve your live chat service is to offer a good user interface on both mobile devices and desktops.

  1. The global live chat software market was valued at $755.23 million in 2020 and is projected to reach $1.7 billion by 2030. Allied Market Research
  2. In 2022, the top three live chat software providers by market share were (21%), Facebook Customer Chat Plugin (18%), and Zendesk (9%). Statista
  3. More than 30% of customers expect live chat on company websites. Forrester
  4. The industries with the highest live chat satisfaction rates were transportation, healthcare, and government services. Help Scout
  5. In 2021, the industry with the longest customer live chat duration was technology, and the industry with the shortest duration was media, entertainment, and recreation. Statista
  6. For both B2B and B2C companies, live chat tools are used more for sales than support. For B2B companies, the percentages are 85% for sales and 67% for support, while B2C companies are slightly lower at 74% for sales and 66% for support. FinancesOnline
  7. Live chat conversations are started as often on mobile devices (50.5%) as they are on desktops (49.5%).

Live Chat in Customer Support

The most popular use of live chat services is for customer support issues. Live chat is the most popular customer service channel, taking the lead ahead of the more traditional phone and email support methods. 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of live chat customer support tickets has increased drastically. Despite this increased volume, support teams have been able to meet customer expectations for speedy response times. 

Businesses, however, should take care not to prioritize speed over service quality. Why? Because customers would prefer slower support if it means higher quality customer service.

  1. In 2022, 58% of customers used chatbots for simple customer service. This is a major increase from 15% of customers in 2020. Salesforce
  2. In a survey of the most preferred customer support channels, live chat took the lead with 41%, followed by phone (32%), email (23%), and social media (5%). Kayako
  3. The number of customer support tickets received by a company jumped by 20% since the start of the pandemic and has not gone down since. Zendesk
  4. In a 2020 survey, about three out of ten (28%) consumers expected a reply in under five minutes when using a live chat tool. Zendesk
  5. Customers wait an average of 60 seconds for support during live chat conversations. Upscope
  6. In a study of 1,000 websites’ live chat support requests, 21% of them went unanswered. SuperOffice
  7. The average time an operator spends on a live chat from start to finish is around 6 to 12 minutes. Upscope
  8. Almost all (95%) of customers would rather receive slower-speed and personalized expert support over fast, low-quality support. Kayako
  9. While a newer customer service agent can only balance 1-2 chats at a time, a more experienced agent can handle up to 4-6 chats simultaneously. Zendesk
  10. Although 70% of customers try self-service during their resolution journey, only 9% are wholly contained within self-service. Gartner

Impact of Live Chat on Lead Generation and Sales

Beyond customer service and support, live chats can also be used to generate leads and encourage purchases through social media and the company’s website. 

The mere presence of a live chat feature makes a good impression on online consumers and can help them in the early stages of their purchase decision. On the business side, interacting with a live chat agent could be a good way to qualify a lead.

A good live chat experience could also encourage consumers to recommend your business to friends and family, bringing in more customers.

However, most companies fail to implement live chat tools in all stages of their customer journey, preferring to use it for only one stage (i.e., customer service).

  1. When making a new purchase, 43% of customers say receiving excellent customer service on social media is important. Emplifi
  2. If a company website offers live chat, 48% of customers are more likely to return. Upscope
  3. A lead who uses the website’s live chat is, on average, worth 4.5 times as much as a non-chatting visitor. Upscope
  4. Interacting with a chatbot can increase customer purchase intention for both utilitarian and hedonistic products by over 20%. Italian Journal of Marketing
  5. Eight out of ten (79%) of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty. Kayako
  6. Rather than enabling an online purchase over chat, the largest effect of live chat is influencing purchase decisions by providing product recommendations, describing inventory availability, and scheduling in-store appointments. Forrester
  7. Though 20% of consumers have told friends or colleagues about a poor live chat experience, 29% of consumers have told others about a positive live chat experience. Kayako
  8. Though consumers want to use live chat tools at every stage of their customer journey (marketing, sales, and customer service), most companies only use live chat for one out of these three stages. HubSpot

Live Chat’s Role in Customer Engagement

Though live chat customer support is popular (especially among younger generations), this technology is by no means customers’ primary choice for overall communication with a brand. For most engagement, customers prefer email, phone, and in-person communications.

Nevertheless, live chat is more popular than video or phone chat because of its relative privacy, anonymity, and bandwidth friendliness.

  1. In a ranking of the top 10 preferred channels consumers preferred to use to communicate with companies, online chat ranked 4th place and video chat ranked 9th. The top three channels were email, phone, and in-person engagement. Salesforce
  2. In 2021, four out of ten (42%) of US online adults said that it was important for retailers to offer live chat on their websites. This is a significant increase from 27% in 2019. Forrester
  3. In a survey of US and UK consumers, only 16% listed website chats as their top method of communicating with a brand. This figure was slightly higher at 18% in the UK, as opposed to 14% in the US. Emplifi
  4. As compared to Gen Y, Gen Zers are 100% more likely to prefer online chat. Forrester
  5. As compared to live chat’s popularity, only 15% of consumers in 2020 were amenable to using video chat. This is likely due to a preference for anonymity and privacy. Microsoft

Evaluating Customer Satisfaction with Live Chat

Overall, the customer satisfaction rate for live chat is quite high, as consumers find response times within acceptable limits and enjoy the freedom of multitasking while waiting for a response.

However, a large portion of online consumers still experience negative live chat experiences due to factors such as poor user experience, scripted, canned responses, long wait times, and being forced to repeat themselves. Additionally, only half of companies provide transcripts of the live chat once the conversation ends. 

The following statistics represent areas businesses should focus on to improve their average customer satisfaction rating for live chat services. 

  1. In 2022, the average global satisfaction rate for live chat was 83.1%. Statista
  2. When asked why they liked live chat, 51% of customers responded that live chat allowed them to multitask by doing other things, such as checking Facebook or drinking coffee between questions and responses. Upscope
  3. When contacting a brand for marketing or sales, 82% of customers expected an answer in under 10 minutes. That number jumped to 90% for customer service-related questions. HubSpot
  4. Globally, the average wait time when using live chat was 30 seconds in 2022. Statista
  5. When surveyed, almost half (47%) of customers reported they had not had a positive live chat experience in the month prior. Kayako
  6. The top four frustrations consumers reported they faced when using live chat included poor user experience (38%), scripted, impersonal responses (29%), long wait times (24%), and having to repeat themselves (9%). Kayako
  7. When surveyed on factors that would make them stop using a product, service, or brand, 17% of Gen Yers and 20% of Gen Zers responded with slow responses for sales or customer service issues. Forrester
  8. Only about half (45%) of live chats provide customers with a transcript of their conversation once it’s ended. SuperOffice

Emerging Chatbot Technologies in Live Chat

Though live chat has been around since the dawn of the internet, a more modern live chat trend has been chatbots, whether powered through pre-designated dialogue routing or AI. 

Businesses see chatbots as the newest way to improve return on investment (ROI) for live chats, as they answer customer questions immediately, reducing handling time, call volume, and service call costs. 

On top of integrating chatbots into the company website, chatbots are also being used to handle social media support requests. 

From the available AI-powered chatbots on the market, consumers trusted Google Bard over other providers such as ChatGPT and Bing. 

  1. In a 2018 survey, 57% of business leaders felt that conversational chatbots delivered a large ROI for minimal investment. Accenture
  2. Gartner predicts that chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for about 25% of organizations by 2027. Gartner
  3. Chatbots implemented for specific customer intent have reduced assisted volume calls by 33% and increased customer visits to chatbots by 98.25%. Gartner
  4. The three most popular use cases for service AI or automation are routing requests to reps (29%), collecting and analyzing customer feedback (28%), and enabling chatbots or self-service tools to answer customer questions (26%). HubSpot
  5. Chatbot-augmented customer service agents reduced handle time by 10%. IBM
  6. Correctly routed chatbot conversations saved $7.75 per correctly routed call. IBM
  7. Of businesses that offered customer service through social media DMs, only 43% reported having a customer service rep respond to the messages; Forty-one percent asked the account marketer to handle messaging and escalate major issues, 13% used an automated chatbot, and 3% used something else. HubSpot
  8. When asked which AI chatbot consumers saw themselves using the most, a majority (52%) answered with Google Bard, 27% with ChatGPT, and 20% with Bing. HubSpot

Challenges and Issues with Chatbots

Though companies may be eager to replace live chat with chatbots, consumers are leery and less willing to use them, citing poor customer service offerings, a lack of empathy, and a lengthy questioning process before being routed to a live chat agent.

So, though chatbots might be able to answer basic questions and handle basic support tickets, customers prefer live chat over chatbots. 

  1. In a June 2023 survey, only 8% of customers used a chatbot during their most recent customer service experience. Gartner
  2. Though chatbots could resolve 58% of returns and cancellations, they could only settle 17% of billing disputes. Gartner
  3. In a survey of US consumers, 64% felt that companies had lost touch with the human element of customer experience. Most (71%) would rather interact with a human than a chatbot or other automated process. PwC
  4. More than half (54%) of customers name their biggest chatbot frustration as the number of questions they must answer before being transferred to a human agent. Zendesk


Should I use a live chat or chatbot?

Currently, we recommend you employ a live chat agent over an automated chatbot that relies on canned questions and AI. Though chatbots may provide the fastest responses, customers prefer live chat because it is more personalized and represents high-quality service.

What are the benefits of live chat?

Rather than being an optional communication channel, customers are coming to expect live chat support as par for the course when doing business online, and will be disappointed in your business should you fail to offer it.

Plus, a live chat tool can help you find and nurture more leads, increase the value of sales, reach remote online consumers, boost customer satisfaction, and improve customer loyalty.

What are some tips for adding live chat as a support channel?

The biggest takeaway tip for implementing live chat is that customers prefer high-quality support over fast support. Online visitors would be more willing to wait up to 10 minutes for a live agent than be answered immediately by a chatbot.

Additionally, we’d recommend optimizing your live chat tool’s user interface for both mobile and desktop views, as consumers shop and ask for support on the go.