The State of Chat—new study shows its rising importance in business

by | Aug 31, 2020 | Marketing, Public Relations

Real-time communications app PubNub announced findings from its first State of Chat survey, revealing the importance of chat as part of a business’ offering, critical chat functionality, and trends in use cases beyond productivity and personal communication. As with any technology that enables remote interactions, the research finds that chat users need an experience that is well-designed, feels familiar, and feels as seamless as an in-person conversation.

There’s been an evolution of when and where chat is being used beyond talking with friends, family, and co-workers, with more “up and coming” use cases like in customer support, gaming, telehealth, and livestream (events, concerts) chat. For all non-productivity-related activities, more than 25 percent of respondents use chat, and for all of these there are many more traditional methods of communication such as phone or in-person. More than 85 percent of users use chat services every day, with 75 percent of people using chat a few times a day, and 62 percent using chat fairly often or all day long.

The State of Chat—new study shows its rising importance in business

When it comes to user experience and expectations of businesses providing chat services, key takeaways from the report showed:

  • 54 percent of respondents expect businesses to provide some form of chat service for sales and support.
  • 76 percent would prefer to chat in the application they’re using vs. a stand-alone/separate solution.
  • The most important chat features include basic functionality (it just “works”), having conversations via direct messages, and creating group conversations. These are followed closely by catching up on missed messages, message read and sent receipts, and rich media support.
  • 26 percent of respondents feel more engaged with the apps they use because of chat. This may have downstream effects on key business metrics such as user retention.
  • 58 percent of respondents agree that when they find a chat service they like they are loyal and don’t use others. This points to the importance of building chat experiences that users love.
  • 36 percent of respondents say having chat in an application makes them more likely to try it for the first time.

The State of Chat—new study shows its rising importance in business

This survey of 1250 respondents (aged 18+) was conducted using Pollfish in July 2020.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter