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Study shows increase in live chat usage during lockdown

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Lockdown has seen many businesses scramble to adapt to the new government guidelines and social distancing laws. Companies have seen a big increase in customer service calls and emails, with people panicking and trying to organise their accounts whilst stuck in isolation.

This spike in enquiries has meant that businesses have had to adapt their forms of communication for lockdown, and this has resulted in a big boost for live chat.

Lockdown sees a spike in live chat messages

Here at Moneypenny, we analysed our internal data which clearly showed how lockdown led to an increase in live chat. Our data highlights that there are more live chat users in April or May compared to February.

Live chat has managed to fill the gap between the ease of email and the speed of phone calls. In times of panic and high stress, live chat has kept people connected and relieved some of the pressures faced by customer service teams.

Busy times also saw a shift during lockdown, mirroring the amount of people having to switch to working from home as isolation rules became more strict. During the peak of lockdown, the study shows live chat at its peak at 1pm; lunch time for those remote working. However, in the week commencing the 11th of May (week 20), after the Prime Minister’s announcement that some employees can return to work, we can see an even higher increase in live chat by 37% at 10am and 41% at 1pm.

Graph sowing the usage of live chat by hour of day

With live chat becoming one of the best ways to get real-time answers and customer service support, the amount of time customers spent on the chat also saw an increase. With the average being around 491 seconds since lockdown, chat times soon saw an increase (week 20) to 508 seconds. With live chat being one of the only ways customers can get quick and easy solutions to their problems and queries, it’s no surprise to see questions that may have been previously handled over the phone, taking up more time on live chat.

Graph showing how long we chat for by sector

The large business sector saw the highest uptake with a 9% increase in live chat length. This is closely followed by the Automotive sector with a 7% increase.

Transitioning out of lockdown sees a spike in automotive and property enquiries

With lockdown affecting businesses across all industries, the study also focused on the changes to specific industry enquiries. The large business sector saw the biggest increase in the volume of chats, followed by the automotive sector who had the second-highest increase.

Image showing volume of chats by sector

The data shows a huge spike when it comes to enquiries around letting and property. This industry saw a massive increase in live chat messages, reaching a 94% increase in usage during lockdown.

Graph showing daily volume of chats

The graph shows the increase from week 16 to week 20. Week 20 is clearly outperforming across all days, except Sundays. The busiest day also shifts from Tuesday in week 16 to Wednesday in week 20.

When looking at the busiest time of the day. The data shows a check mark effect at 5pm for weeks 16 to 19. However, week 20 stays busy after 5pm with a natural decline in volume through the afternoon and evening.

Graph showing the busiest week for live chats

Live chat for estate agents

The property market has been on pause over the last few weeks, but with lockdown slowly easing up, more people are starting to think about moving.

Since letting agents transitioned to virtual viewings as lockdown rules were relaxed and in week 20 (week commencing 11th of May), we saw an increase in letting viewing enquiries by 210% and sales viewings by 184%.

Graph showing chats for lettings and sales enquiries

Lockdown has demonstrated just how valuable live chat is for businesses. The ease and speed of live chat is becoming increasingly popular and customers are expecting it to be available on your website more and more.

Find out about how our outsourced Live Chat service will help your business through lockdown and beyond. Looking for support for your switchboard? Our FREE Digital Switchboard service is keeping UK businesses and their customers talking right now.

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