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2016 study: Dutch websites are becoming increasingly available via live chat

Last month, we conducted a study among 135 Dutch websites concerning the availability of live chat. This is the third year that this study was conducted. These websites, varying from webshops and online travel agencies to company websites in a variety of sectors, all offered their visitors live chat in that period. This study revealed that of 27 percent of these websites, live chat was offline during the day, while the live-chat functionality was offered on the site. Last year, this percentage was still at 37 percent; the year before, 42 percent.

Of the investigated sites, 70 percent were not available via live chat in the evening, while 72 percent were unavailable at the weekend.

Shorter waiting times

An improvement could also be seen in the response time. On average, it took 41 seconds before one could chat to an employee. The average waiting time was 51 seconds last year. Nonetheless, there are still companies that respond slowly. The average internet user is impatient and only willing to wait a maximum of 30 seconds. Fifty-eight percent of the companies with whom the investigators chatted did not meet this expectation. For 7 out of the 135 investigated websites, there still wasn’t a response after five minutes, despite the fact that the chat session had already commenced.

This is the third year in a row that we conducted this study among the same companies that we investigated in previous years. I am happy to see that companies are becoming increasingly professional in the way they are tackling this beautiful channel. On the one hand, it is because they are dedicating more personnel capacity internally to live chat, but, on the other hand, it is because they are increasingly outsourcing this contact channel to professional companies that deliver managed live-chat services.

Webshops score badly 

Like last year, the best performing sector was the IT sector. They also did well this year, at least in terms of their response speed. On average, IT companies respond within 30 seconds of a visitor commencing chat.

It is remarkable that retail did so badly. In the evening and at the weekend, they are almost entirely unavailable (85 percent of webshops are not available in the evening; 77 percent are not available at the weekend). Many people spend time in the evening sitting behind their laptops or tablets and may have questions concerning a product they’d like to purchase or would like to ask a question concerning a placed order. You’d think this would be the primary time for live chat to be available for their customers.

The complete study can be requested from us.

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