Live chat is a great way to drive customer satisfaction and sales. Not only does live chat have the highest customer satisfaction score of all support channels, but it also drives a 4 to 6x higher conversion rate when you chat with visitors compared to if you didn’t. Chat works.
The challenge with live chat is that it’s a lot of work to manage. By adding watch out to your website, you end up with a lot of chat volume, and you need to have proper staffing to handle the volume. As the volume starts to overwhelm your team, it’s natural to think, “Is this worth it?” for the business and the customer.
The good news is that, with just a few metrics, you can gauge the performance of agents and the happiness of customers. You can also fairly easily track sales produced from live chat. With these KPI’s in place, you can optimize them over time to drive better results.
At HelpFlow, we provide 24/7 live chat and customer service teams over 100 e-commerce stores. We’ve done millions of chats and have a robust process to measure the impact of live chat. In this post, I’ll share how you can easily gauge the performance of your own by chat efforts if you choose to manage and scale live chat in-house.
Let’s get into it…
Live Chat Agent KPIs
In order to effectively measure the performance of live chat, you need to measure the agents, the customer, and the overall capacity of the chat operation.
To measure agents, you need to gauge if they respond to visitors quickly enough, handle issues fast enough, and generally make sure customers are happy with the outcome. The metrics to measure these are:
- First Response Time – This is the amount of time between when a visitor first starts a chat, even if it’s by replying to an automated greeting, and the time of your agent’s first reply. The target for this should be < 10s. While this is tough to keep up at scale with a small team, it’s a key metric that causes the conversion rate to go down (for all visitors) if you take too long to reply.
- Average Handle Time – This is the amount of time it takes for the agent to resolve the entire conversation. While the first response focuses on immediately starting the conversation, average handle time is the measure of how quickly the overall solution feels to the visitor. To set a target it’s best to measure your own internal benchmark since every business is going to be different. In general, though, handle time should be around five minutes on average. Usually, less if the product is simple.
- Customer Satisfaction – This is a satisfaction score based on a customer survey provided at the end of the chat conversation. It should be worded to measure customer satisfaction with the overall experience, though you can also make it more granular to measure aspects of the experience (speed, resolution, etc.). A target of 90%+ across all chats is a good target here, as it accommodates visitors who were already unhappy before starting a chat that the agent couldn’t turn around. Having the context of the review from more granular questions is helpful to understand these situations, vs. simply having a thumbs up or thumbs down rating measure.
These metrics are typically trackable in most live chat software. If you’re using a system that doesn’t allow these, consider looking at a different provider.
Live Chat Performance KPIs
First response time, average handle time, and customer satisfaction or foundation metrics. Not only do they measure the performance of an agent, but they also quantify if customers are happy. Once you have those in place, you can begin measuring the sales performance from chat and on an agent-by-agent basis.
The best approach for tracking sales for chat is:
- Integrate your live chat software with Google Analytics to push events into Google Analytics when someone chats.
- Then create reports that show sales from visitors that chat, the conversion rate from visitors that chat, and other metrics such as AOV, etc.
By tracking sales data from chat directly in Google Analytics, you can get much more granular insight into how chat performs and how it affects the rest of the website. Simply tracking conversion rate from people that chatted within the chat software is too narrow of a metric.
Live Chat Staffing KPIs
In addition to tracking agent performance and sales performance, it’s incredibly important to track staffing-related metrics. Live chat takes a lot of time and people to manage, and if you don’t track staffing metrics well, the performance metrics will eventually slip. Not only does this affect sales, but it can tarnish your brand reputation if the chat experience is poor because you are understaffed.
Below are best practices:
- Set a target number of concurrent chats that an agent can handle, typically 2-3, depending on the complexity of the products.
- Track that number for active agents that are online as a % of max capacity. For example, if you have three agents managing two chats simultaneously, the max capacity is six concurrent chats. If you have five chats happening then you’re at 83% capacity. Track this over time across shifts to gauge when it’s time to hire someone.
Operationalize These Metrics
Chat drive to sales, but it’s hard to manage. With the right metrics in place, you can track how well Chad is working and also gauge the impact on your team. Get these metrics in place to make managing live chat easier.
Want to see how live chat can drive better results for you? Book a free Strategy Call at HelpFlow.com. Our team will review your data and share how live chat can massively increase conversions at certain points in the sales process. Even if you never work with us, you’ll get a ton of value by going through a Strategy Call since we’ve worked with so many stores.
Want to get additional ideas on how to use live chat effectively? Here’s a post about how to use live chat greetings effectively (without annoying visitors)
Just have a question about chat or e-commerce? Feel free to reach out!
Jon Tucker is CEO of HelpFlow, a provider of 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for 100+ eCommerce stores. Launched in 2015, their team of agents has produced nearly $100M in chat revenue for a wide range of stores using a conversion-focused approach to live chat.
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At HelpFlow, we've run live chat and customer service operations for 100+ brands since 2015. While we offer full service live chat and customer service solutions, we also support leadership teams to overcome challenges and pursue new opportunities through consulting projects.