Wrexham-based Moneypenny has revealed substantial increases in live chat usage during the lockdown.

With face to face customer service on pause and many large businesses' phone lines struggling to cope with large call volumes, live chat has stepped up to help the nation with their customer service enquiries.

With lockdown affecting businesses across all industries, the study focused on the changes in specific industry enquiries.

Larger businesses saw the biggest increase in the volume of live chats, with weekly live chat volumes up 215 per cent on pre-Covid weekly levels.

This is followed by the Automotive sector which had the second-highest increase (206 per cent), followed by Estate Agents (190 per cent), Legal sector (118 per cent) and finally SME's with an increase of 109 per cent.

With lockdown slowly easing it would appear that more people are starting to think about moving and buying property. Letting agents transitioned to virtual viewings as lockdown rules were relaxed and in week 20 (week commencing May 11), Moneypenny saw an increase in letting viewing enquiries by 210 per cent and sales viewings by 184 per cent.

The amount of time customers spent on the chat also saw an increase.

With the average chat time being around 491 seconds during the lockdown, chat times soon saw an increase for the week commencing May 11 to 508 seconds.

Large business live chats saw the highest increase in chat length of 9 per cent, followed by Automotive sector with 7 per cent increase, then SME's with 6 per cent and then Estate Agents 2 per cent.

Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny, the world's leading outsourced communications provider, said: "The lockdown has shown just how valuable live chat is for businesses and particularly as they have had to adapt to the new government guidelines and social distancing laws.

"Live chat has managed to fill the gap between the ease of email and the speed of phone calls. In times of panic and high stress, live chat has been able to keep people connected and has relieved some of the pressures faced by customer service teams."