2014 study: 42% of studies websites are not available via live chat during the day

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During the first two weeks of this month, we have studied the availability of live chat on 108 Dutch websites. These websites, ranging from webshops and online travel agencies to company websites from various industries, all offered live chat to their visitors in that period. This study showed that live chat was offline during the day on 42% of the websites. In many cases, the website indicated that no employee was available online.

It surprises me that more and more websites are indicating they have live chat, but that the employees of those companies are not available. It is like being a customer walking into a store, but nobody is there to help you. It seems that the companies behind these websites do not have sufficient staff to continuously operate the live chat.

Of the studies websites, almost three quarters were not accessible via live chat in the evening, while during the weekend, as much as 88% were inaccessible.


We have also measured the response time of live chat on the studied websites. On average, it took 44 seconds before we were able to chat with an employee. On 13 of the 108 websites, there was no response even after 5 minutes, even though the chat session had started. The average Internet user is impatient and will wait no more than 30 seconds. Over 60% of companies we chatted with did not meet this expectation.

Good accessibility of online shops, online travel agencies, and other websites is a must in today’s 24/7 economy. Most people shop online in the evening or during the weekend. Even B2B companies should continuously have live chat available on their websites, because more and more purchasers and decision-makers are working on their computers outside of regular working hours.

Performance differs between industries

The best performing industry was ICT. With 65% of the ICT companies, the live chat is online during the day. In additions, the response times were shortest, 30 seconds on average.

The worst performing companies were the financial service providers. 4 out of 5 service providers were unable to speak to us during the day.

What is remarkable is that the response time was very high among insurers: it took an average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds before the visitor was able to chat with someone.

The positive thing about the results of this study is that there is a clear overview of where the opportunities and improvements are located. However, an important step that needs to be taken first by many companies is to realise that customers want to communicate with them through different channels, including live chat.

In the meantime, this study has been picked up by the media. Emerce, CCM Online, Telecommerce, and Automatiseringsgids have written about it. We therefore intend to carry out a similar study next year.

The full research report can be requested from LiveChat Pro.