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2015 study: 37% of studied websites are not available via live chat during the day

live chat buttonIn June and early July, we studied the availability of live chat among 163 Dutch websites. These websites, ranging from webshops and online travel agencies to company websites from various industries, all offered live chat to their visitors in that period. Research shows that on 37% of the websites, the live chat was offline during the day. In many cases, the website indicated that no employee was available online. Last year, this percentage was 42%.

I see a slight improvement in the availability of live chat, but it still surprises me that companies are so poorly accessible through chat, while they are generally easily accessible by phone. Especially young people contact companies via chat more often than by phone. The studied companies should start thinking about how they can better organise their contact centres in terms of live chat.

Of the studied sites, nearly three quarters are not available through live chat in the evening, while 70% are not available during weekends.

Waiting too long

The response time of live chat on the studied websites was also measured. On average, it took 51 seconds to be able to chat with an employee. With 12 of the 162 studied websites, there was no response even after 5 minutes, despite the chat session having started. The average Internet user is impatient and is willing to wait no more than 30 seconds. 72% of companies the researchers chatted with did not meet this expectation.

Good accessibility of online shops, online travel agencies, and other websites is a must in today’s 24/7 economy. Most people shop online in the evening or during the weekend. Even B2B companies should continuously have live chat available on their websites, because more and more purchasers and decision-makers are working on their computers outside of regular working hours.

Travel agencies score badly

Like last year, the best performing industry was ICT. With 69% of the ICT companies, the live chat is online during the day.

Travel agencies stand out in the sense that they are hardly accessible via chat during the evening (8%), even now during the high season. Many people are on their laptops or tablets in the evening and might have questions while booking their vacation or want to ask questions about their booked trip. You would think that the time travel agencies want to be accessible to their customers, including through live chat.

The study has since appeared in the media in Emerce, Automatiseringsgids, CustomerFirst, and CustomerTalk.

The full research report can be requested from us.

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