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Can E-Commerce Stores Survive Without Live Chat?

As today’s society moves rapidly towards an even more digitized age, the e-commerce industry continues to grow and develop at a proportional rate.  Many businesses are starting to go completely online or develop an online section. One of the key struggles for online businesses is to stand out from the competition and catch the attention of potential customers.

A way to do this is to have a strong customer support channel that increases customer satisfaction. Live Chat is the latest customer support channel that enables businesses to offer immediate and personalized support to customers anywhere in the world at customer’s local time.


Live Chat is starting to increase in popularity within the e-commerce industry. Recent studies have reported that 92% of online consumers prefer Live Chat as their option for customer support. It takes approximately a business 48 seconds on average to respond to a Live Chat question. The responses are immediate and personalized to each customer and tailored to answer any question or query a customer may have.

A good example would a customer browsing through items on an e-commerce website – if he runs into problems or has inquiries, initiating a live chat session with a rep would be easier and more convenient than having to dial the support number or send an email. The best part is that the chat history is stored, the customer never has to repeat the story, even if the chat for some reason ends abruptly. This scenario is best illustrated in a recent LinkedIn update by customer experience expert Alex Mead

LinkedIn update by Alex Mead

Live chat is essential in the e-commerce business industry and has been proven to help improve the performance of the business.  A recent survey conducted reported that 63% of the respondents who chatted said that they more likely to return to the website and make purchases. In addition to this, live chat can be used as the platform to create loyal customers. 40% of online buyers who use live chat were likely to make online purchases, at least once in a week. This is compared to 22% of the buyers who never chatted at all.

Live Chat is utilized all around the world and is currently being utilized the most in Mexico, followed by Australia and then Canada. Each country needs to have its own Live Chat agents to ensure that Chats are responded to immediately not matter what the time difference is between countries. It has reported that the majority of chats happen between 10 am and 3 pm, local time.

In 2009, Live Chat was used by 38% of online customers.

This percentage increased to 43% in 2012 and in 2014 58% of online consumers were engaging with Live Chat as their main channel of customer support.

In modern society, there is an increased emphasis on efficiency and immediacy in almost all aspects of day to day live. Customers expect the same immediate assistance as soon as an issue arises and are not happy to be kept waiting before they receive assistance. This is the key issue that Live Chat addresses and is the main reason why Live Chat is increasing in popularity.

The longest wait time within the e-commerce industry is approximately 1 minute and 13 seconds.

As stated above it takes on average 48 seconds for a Live Chat agent to respond to a customer. This indicates that Live Chat is reducing the main issue for customers of waiting to be responded too and ensuring immediate support.

Live chat has increased customer satisfaction rates in businesses that have utilized Live Chat as their customer support method. Findings from the Zendesk Benchmark report revealed that in the e-commerce industry –

  • Live Chat has a customer satisfaction rate of 87.5% and the global customer satisfaction rate stood at 95% during the first quarter of 2015.
  • 92% of the surveyed respondents said that Live Chat was their preferred channel for customer support communication. 

It is interesting to note that customer support channels of Voice, email, and social media also had high ratings from customers. It was found that Twitter is the least popular channel of customer support. Twitter had a customer satisfaction rating of 77%. This is the lowest rating with the majority of other channels having positive ratings above 80%. (The rating is based on a “good” or “bad” score provided through survey submitted to the customer after their ticket has been deemed solved).

Live Chat is a customer support strategy that e-commerce businesses should consider implementing. The infographic below reveals more great statistics about Live Chat.

Infographic by skilled.co

Published by

Kelechi Okeke

Kelechi Okeke is a Customer Experience Analyst in a leading financial institution in sub-Saharan African. He helps businesses develop strategies that improve customer loyalty and enhance profitability. He is also a customer service trainer, content developer and graphic designer