Web Chat FAQ: Average Costs vs. Handle Time and Efficiency


Download your free web chat eBookWeb chat is a hot topic in the contact center space right now, with more consumers clicking that “chat now” button rather than picking up a phone and dialing an 800 number.  But rolling out a strategic web chat initiative is not as simple as funneling chat sessions into your existing agent queue.

Knowing what to expect in terms of costs and implementation can go a long way to ensuring the success of your web chat program.

Q: What are the costs involved?

One of the biggest initial draws of web chat that businesses may see is its comparatively low cost per interaction. If best practices are followed, cost per web chat session will be around $8-$10 on average. Compared to the average phone call session cost of $35-$50, this sounds like an amazing bargain. But don’t forget to factor in the increased handle time associated with web chat. The speed of type can’t match the speed of conversation, and there is a natural lag time between the send-and-receive on each end for both the agent and consumer.

Q: How many chat sessions should an agent run simultaneously?

The answer to this question will depend on your industry and the complexity of the support being offered. However, on average the benchmark for simplistic chat sessions run concurrently is six, whereas the benchmark for more complex chat sessions is four. Web chat agents who have the training in effective business writing and the capacity to type at least 65 words per minute – and who are supported by an integrated knowledgebase – can effectively provide this level of support and productivity.

Q: Does this concurrency benchmark affect the customer experience?

Concurrency has zero effect on customer satisfaction. The customer who is engaged with a skilled web chat agent will not be aware of the fact that this agent is simultaneously assisting other customers. When conducting concurrent web chat sessions, businesses should examine the “time between chats” metric, which is the time a customer is required to wait before they receive a response from the agent. This metric should never drop below 35-40 seconds; when time extends beyond this measure, customer satisfaction begins to drop.

You can find the answers to more questions like these in the eBook we recently produced in collaboration with Moxie, The Do’s and Don’ts of Web Chat. Take the guesswork out of getting web chat right. Download your free copy today!