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UK contact centres now handling 250m live chats per year

12th Oct 2014
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Fresh from the knowledge that consumers are getting tired of automated telephone messages and call centre buck-passing, it’s no surprise to see figures from ContactBabel showing a marked increase in the use of live chat tools over the last 12 months.

However, the proliferation rate is somewhat of a revelation – by studying the volume of live chats handled by UK contact centres over the last 4 years, ContactBabel found an increase of 60% through 2013/14, with 250 million chats being conducted– a rise of 300% since 2011.

Earlier this week, a study from Moxie found that live chat was increasingly becoming the go-to channel for call centre support via mobile phones, however, web chat tools still have a fair way to go before they become the conventional channel for all consumer interactions.  

ContactBabel’s stats show that web chat between customers and agents has risen from under 0.7% of all inbound traffic to UK contact centres in 2011, but the figure still stands at a relatively low 2.7% in 2014. Despite this, 40% of survey respondents offer web chat today, with a further 28% expecting to implement it within the next 12 months, the highest planned uptake of any contact centre technology. 

"With the huge growth in online shopping, research and self-service, there is a need to offer customers and prospects a live service channel in cases where the browser needs assistance,” says ContactBabel’s Steve Morrell. “Rather than forcing the customer to break channel by using the phone, or to wait for hours or even days for an email response, web chat offers a quick and flexible service option, allowing the customer to continue with what they were doing.

“Increasingly, businesses are offering both virtual and live web chat options to customers. A Virtual Agent is an automated piece of software which looks at the customer’s initial request and attempts to answer it by accessing the correct part of the knowledge base, directing them to the right part of the website, and sending relevant links. If the Virtual Agent cannot answer the request successfully, it will seamlessly route the interaction to a live web chat agent who will take over.”

The UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers' Guide (12th edition - 2014) is a study of 215 UK contact centre operations, looking at all areas of contact centre performance, investment, technology, HR and strategy.  

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