Top live chat metrics and KPIs to improve customer support

We all know live chat is an indispensable customer support tool, enabling businesses to provide instant assistance to customers, foster great customer relationships, and drive loyalty. In fact, customers expect every company they're doing business with to have live chat on their website and mobile app, and to even offer chat support on instant messaging channels.

However, setting up live chat for your business is not a one-and-done task. To ensure that your live chat support consistently exceeds customer expectations, you need to monitor its operation constantly and implement strategies to keep it running smoothly. Wondering how to do that?

You're in luck! We've made a comprehensive list of essential live chat metrics and KPIs you need to monitor, along with actionable insights on how you can improve them. Let's dive in.

Live chat performance metrics

What are live chat metrics?

Live chat metrics are parameters that give you a quantifiable measure of your live chat operation's effectiveness and quality, as well as your team's performance. These live chat KPIs and metrics encompass different aspects of customer support like agent productivity, communication quality, and customer satisfaction, and continuously measuring them can give you insights on areas that need improvement and help you implement strategies and live chat best practices to improve customer experience.

Importance of measuring live chat metrics and KPIs

Regularly measuring and analyzing live chat performance metrics is crucial for businesses looking to optimize their customer support operation and improve the overall customer experience. Here are some key benefits: 

Evaluating performance: Live chat performance metrics provide valuable insights into how your live chat team and individual agents are performing. They tell you how quickly your team responds to customers, how efficiently it resolves queries, and whether it meets established service level standards.

Identifying areas of improvement: Measuring live chat metrics, analyzing trends, and comparing them with benchmark KPIs for chat support helps you identify areas in your live chat support operation that need improvement and implement strategies to fix them.

Optimizing resource allocation: Live chat metrics like chat volume trends and peak chat hours help you understand the load on your team at different times, and transfer rates and escalation rates tell you if chats are being attended by the right agents. This helps you optimize staffing and routing.

Training and development: Live chat metrics also give you an insight into agent proficiency and skill levels. This helps you identify specific areas where your agents may need more training, like product knowledge, communication skills, or problem-solving techniques.

Top live chat metrics you need to track

Operational metrics

Operational metrics provide insights on how your live chat support is running and help you ensure its smooth functioning.

Visitors-to-chat ratio

The "visitors-to-chat ratio" is a metric used to measure the proportion of website visitors who initiate live chat conversations with your support team. It's a valuable metric that helps you understand the effectiveness of live chat as a support channel.

Live chat metrics- Visitors-to-chat ratio

A high visitors-to-chat ratio may suggest that your live chat button is attracting visitors' attention, your visitors find value in the live chat option, and they're actively seeking assistance. Conversely, a low ratio may indicate that visitors prefer other support channels or that improvements are needed to encourage chat engagement.

How to improve the visitors-to-chat ratio
  • To improve live chat engagement on your website, ensure that your live chat button is prominently displayed and easily accessible. Place it in pages where customers may need help, like product pages, pricing, checkout, order tracking, etc., and use a clear and compelling chat CTA.

  • Send personalized proactive chat invites to customers who spend a long time on important pages but don't take action or initiate a chat themselves.

Chat volume 

Chat volume is the total number of chat requests that are initiated in a particular time frame. This live chat metric by itself doesn't give you much to work with and needs to be analyzed in combination with other chat metrics.

For example, if your chat volume is a lot higher than your team's capacity, you'll need to set up a chatbot to lend a helping hand. If a lot of these incoming chat requests are focused on a particular set of topics, you could create a live chat knowledge base that customers can refer to before reaching out. If you regularly get a substantial amount of traffic from a page and there's a sudden dip, it could indicate a page loading error or that your chat widget isn't working.

Peak hours 

Peak hours signify specific time periods during which the chat volume is significantly higher than usual. Looking at past data and identifying your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal peak hours can help you allocate resources effectively so that a higher number of agents are available during these times to handle the chat influx.


Chat tags are labels assigned to chat conversations to categorize them for later reference. If a significant percentage of your chat volume falls under a specific tag—that is, they're about a particular topic—all you have to do to take some load off your team is either provide that information upfront on your website or create a live chat knowledge base. In addition, you could also deploy a knowledge base chatbot that can assist customers with frequently asked questions.

Chat tags also help you with agent training and resource optimization. If a lot of customers need help with a particular product/module, it signals the need to train your team in that area. You can also assign agents with the most expertise in these topics to specialized departments identified through chat tags, allow agents to select the topic before a chat, and route them to the corresponding department for swift assistance.

Chats per agent 

This chat metric measures the average number of chat conversations handled by each support agent within a specified period. It helps you assess agent productivity, workload management, and the overall operational efficiency of your live chat support.

Live chat metrics- Chats per agent

Determining the optimal number of chats per agent depends on several factors like the complexity of inquiries, agent experience and efficiency, available resources, and customer expectations. Monitoring other live chat KPIs like average handling time, first contact resolution rate (FCR), and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores alongside chats per agent can help determine if agents are managing an optimal workload. A high number of chats per agent along with an unsatisfactory FCR and CSAT score may indicate a heavy workload that could lead to burnout or a compromise in support quality, while a low number could suggest underutilization of agents.

How to optimize the chats per agent metric
  • Effective use of a live chat knowledge base for self-service and a chatbot to handle routine inquiries can take some load off your team.

  • Training agents to enhance their product knowledge, problem-solving skills, and familiarity with support tools will help them handle chats more efficiently.

  • Typing preview (getting a sneak peek of the customer's question before they hit send), canned responses (pre-written response templates for common inquiries), and integrating OpenAI (ChatGPT) with your live chat software can also speed up chats and help your agents handle more chats without compromising on quality.

  • Efficient chat routing ensures chats are attended by the right agents, minimizing the time wasted on triage and chat transfers.

  • In spite of all this, if the chats per agent is still high, it means you need to hire more agents to optimize the agent workload.

Average wait time 

Average wait time or queue wait time is the average time a customer spends waiting to be connected to a support agent. It measures the efficacy of your live chat support operation.

How to improve the average wait time 

The strategies mentioned under "How to optimize the chats per agent metric" can help you improve the average wait time too. In addition, you need to:

  • Determine your peak hours and allocate more resources during those time periods. You can also inform customers about the estimated response time in the chat prompt or greeting.

  • Enable agents to handle multiple chats concurrently. To ensure this doesn't affect support quality, it's important to determine the highest number of concurrent chats your agents can handle effectively and restrict concurrent chats to this number.

  • Implement prioritization strategies to ensure that urgent tasks or high-value customers are attended to promptly, minimizing their wait times.

Missed chats 

Missed chats refer to instances where customers initiate a chat session but don't receive a response from a customer service representative within a reasonable timeframe or before they disconnect or abandon the chat. A high number of missed chats causes frustration among customers and defeats the purpose of having live chat as a support tool.

How to reduce the number of missed chats

The strategies mentioned under "How to improve the average wait time" are also applicable for missed chats.

Response metrics  

Response metrics measure the responsiveness of your live chat support—that is, how quickly and effectively support agents respond to customer inquiries.

First response time (FRT)  

First response time is the time taken for the first response from a support agent after a customer initiates a chat. It's a critical KPI for chat support as it sets the first impression about your business's customer support.

FRT is calculated by measuring the time difference between the customer's initial message and the agent's first response.

FRT = Time of agent's first response - Time of customer's first message

Live chat metrics- First response time

How to improve FRT

The ability of your team to respond to customer queries quickly at any given time is dependent on the chat volume, the number of agents available at the time, and the availability of the right technology.

  • Balance agent workload and availability to ensure agents aren't overwhelmed, allowing them to respond promptly to incoming chats.

  • Deploy chatbots to do the initial triage and handle common queries so your agents only have to take up the more complex ones that require human intervention.

  • Enable your agents to respond to customers in a single click with canned responses—pre-saved response templates for common inquiries.

  • During peak periods, set customer expectations by informing them about the estimated response time in the chat prompt or greeting.

Though it's a critical KPI for chat support, a low FRT alone doesn't guarantee customer satisfaction. Customers expect this initial responsiveness to last throughout the conversation, which is what the next metric is all about.

Average response time

Average response time is the average amount of time it takes for support agents to respond to all messages across live chat conversations over a specified period.  Customers expect quick responses throughout their customer support interactions, which makes it crucial to maintain a low average response time.

Live chat metrics- Average response time

Since this calculation is time-consuming, it's better to look for live chat software that gives you a report of each operator's average response time.

How to improve the average response time

All the points mentioned under "How to improve FRT" are applicable to Average response time too. In addition, you can:

  • Ensure agents have access to a comprehensive knowledge base with shareable resources they can use to respond to customers.

  • Display your knowledge base in your live chat window to reduce inbound inquiries and deploy chatbots to lend your team a hand.

  • Use efficient chat routing rules to ensure chats are attended by the right agents, minimizing the time wasted on chat transfers or internal agent-to-agent conversations.  

  • Provide regular agent training to enhance product knowledge, problem-solving skills, and familiarity with support tools.

  • Typing preview (getting a sneak peek of the customer's question before they hit send), canned responses (pre-written response templates for common inquiries), and integrating OpenAI (ChatGPT) with your live chat software can help with speedy responses without compromising on quality.

  • Integrate your live chat tool with your CRM and help desk software to allow agents to access relevant customer information like past interactions, customer details, purchase history, older support tickets, and more.

Agent response rate 

Agent response rate is the percentage of customer inquiries that are responded to by support agents within a specific period. This live chat metric tells you the efficiency and effectiveness of support agents in addressing customer queries promptly.

Live chat metrics- Agent response rate

A high agent response rate indicates that a significant portion of customer inquiries are being addressed promptly, which can enhance overall customer satisfaction.

How to improve agent response rate

All the strategies mentioned in the section "How to improve the average response time" help improve agent response rate too.

Measure and optimize your live chat metrics with Zoho SalesIQ's comprehensive reports

Analyzing different KPIs for chat support and correlating them with other metrics can be tedious and time consuming. That's why Zoho SalesIQ offers comprehensive reports and an integration with Zoho Analytics, a business intelligence and analytics platform that helps you make sense of your live chat reports and correlate them with other business stats. You can also get custom live chat reports delivered to your email inbox on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

In addition to robust reporting capabilities, Zoho SalesIQ offers a range of live chat features designed to help you optimize your live chat metrics and boost customer satisfaction. Sign up for a 15-day free trial or request a personalized demo to see it first-hand.


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