Study of 50 largest webshop responding fastest to customers via live chat

In late September, we studied the response times through the various communication channels of the 50 largest online retailers from the Twinkle Retail Top 100, which was published last week. We studied how quickly companies respond to questions or complaints from customers via phone, e-mail/contact form, Twitter, Facebook, and live chat. We then looked at companies who use at least 3 of these 5 channels. The study shows that Foppen E-tail responded the fastest, with an average reaction time of just over 15 minutes. This consumer electronics chain responded to an incoming e-mail within 45 minutes and via phone within 47 seconds. They responded the fastest via live chat, namely within 13 seconds. Wijnvoordeel ended in second place with an average of 18 minutes across all channels.

The webshop that answers questions and complains the fastest via webcare is Coolblue, another retailer in the field of consumer electronics, with an average response time of 11 minutes via Twitter and 21 minutes via Facebook.

The companies respond much faster on Twitter than on Facebook (2 hours and 44 minutes versus 5 hours and 18 minutes, respectively). A caller must wait an average of 1 minute and 39 seconds before speaking to someone. E-mailing is the slowest; the customer must wait over 27 hours for a response. In 9 out of 48 cases, there was no response via e-mail whatsoever. There wasn’t always a response via live chat either, because the operator was not available.

With incoming chat requests, companies are fastest; within 22 seconds on average. Live chat is being increasingly used, because people are starting to see the benefits. For website visitors, it is a low-threshold, free communication channel where customer requests are answered rapidly. The customer has the answer even before leaving the online store.

In order to respond so rapidly, the webshop must be very well organised. Think of shift work in order to also serve the customer during nights and weekends, sufficient capacity to cover peaks and backup capacity in case of illness or leave, and the use of experienced chat operators and careful configuration of the software to optimise the live chat. Unfortunately, many webshops underestimate how difficult it is to properly set up live chat.

A study from July of this year by LiveChat Pro showed that nearly half of the examined websites with a chat function do not have live chat available for visitors during the day.

We intend to carry out a similar study next year.

The full research report can be requested from us for free.