Live Chat: How to Start, What to Expect

Research shows that visitors who chat are 7.5 times more likely to complete a purchase than visitors who don’t. This indicates that chat not only leads to greater customer satisfaction, it’s also responsible for increases in repeat business.

Though the theory behind chat is simple, putting it into practice… not so easy.

So, is chat right for your business? What are the costs and benefits? The potential ROI? Should you manage chat in-house or should you use a service? What’s a budget-conscious way to get started?

After more than one year of extensive data collection with 300 chat customers, we have answered these questions, and many more. Our chat customers range from small rural one-doctor, one-location practices to home service professionals and more. We serve more than two million annual web visitors and answer about 80,000 chats per year.

Would you rather your customers bounce from your website, anonymous forever, or would you prefer to capture their email today?

What to Expect


Capture business and increase web-conversions around the clock.

What’s more effective, chatting with a real, live person or a lifeless “Request a Consultation” button? With chat you convert more web visitors, whether your office is open or closed, through real, meaningful connection.

The goal isn’t just to capture a new customer. The goal is to meet your potential buyer where they are, delight them, and build a loyal customer base.

Lower the communication barrier.

Our statistics show that 3-6% of non-bounced web visitors are likely to engage with online chat. Of those chatters, 40% are likely to become new customers.

Without live chat, those people would have to call your business, fill out an online form, or physically visit your place of business to become customers.

Improve your organic search rankings.

When people chat, they stay on your site. Longer sessions lead to higher organic Google search result. And, in the cyclical way of the internet, higher organic search results drive more people to your website.

The average chat conversation is between seven and eight minutes long, resulting in a 10% average session duration increase, according to our research.

Increase in satisfaction.

When you make your business more accessible, satisfaction increases. It’s as simple as that!


Online live chat is an investment, at a fraction of the price of an in-house hire.

Ruby’s live chat service starts at $249/month–a fraction of how much you’d be spending to have an employee monitoring your website for inbound chats. See pricing

Potential increase in bounce rate.

We’ve noticed a slightly higher bounce rate after installing chat on websites. Do you know why? Because visitors to your website don’t have to dig to find what they’re looking for. All they have to do is ask. And while this can show up as a slightly higher bounce rate, the increased lead flow and improved Google organic ranks outweighs the impact.

How to Start

There are three options for online chat implementation.

Outsource chat to real people.

Real people make real connections. Ruby’s chat specialists are well versed in the nuances of different businesses and industries. Humans adapt in a way a robot never can—leading to better experiences and more effective collection of new patient information.

Plus, if your chat agent knows more about your business, they can build value and communicate effectively.

Use a bot.

Using a bot is cheap, sure. But who actually likes interacting with a robot? If your plan is to use chat to answer one of a few questions very quickly and without human management, this might be the right option. That said, at Ruby we’re pro “boot the bot” because we believe in the power of human interaction.

Manage chat in-house.

Putting chat software on your website is easy. There are plenty of options available for all kinds of websites. Quality, cost, and ease-of-use vary. The disadvantage—you have to have an employee available to monitor and respond to chats as they occur.

This works best for large businesses with filled-out teams. Whichever team member is responsible for chat must have the time and skills necessary to turn those chatters into real leads!

Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

Having a pre-chat survey.

Simply put, a pre-chat survey is just another form on your website. With no idea if their question will be answered, do your leads really want to fill out a form up front?

Making the chat box look “spammy.”

Your chat box is part of your website, so it’s key that it looks the part! You don’t want it to look spammy or offputting.

Not tracking your results.

Is chat working for you? Do you need a new eye-catcher? Should it pop-up? Do you know?

Trackign chat effectiveness is key! It empowers you to continuously improve the experience, and generate more leads.

Not having a “pop-up” greeting.

In theory, nobody likes a pop-up. But pop-up chat has been shown to start productive chats 75% of the time.

When chat is implemented deliberately and correctly to your website, it can be an extremely effective tool for driving revenue and wowing existing customers!

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