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Live Chat Maturity: What the Most Profitable Programs Have in Common

You already know that live chat is a powerful tool that has fundamentally shifted the way consumers connect and interact with brands. This type of real-time connection has quickly earned its place as the preferred method of digital communication. As a result, the adoption of live chat has grown by 400% since 2015, and the trend continues with live chat predicted to grow by 87% over the next 12 to 18 months.

The problem? Only a small fraction of those leveraging live chat on their website have had the time to optimize their approach. As a result, thick stacks of money are being left on the table. Money that you could be reinvesting back into your business or keeping to drive up your margins.

Without a holistic, optimized approach to live chat under your belt, you’re at high risk of chasing down another trend that won’t scale as you grow.

At Marketlinc, we work with businesses at every phase of live chat maturity—from organizations just getting started on the live chat journey who have yet to adopt and implement a program, to advanced live chat teams looking to deliver effective and profitable conversations at scale—and help them adopt a more intelligent and profitable approach to live chat.

After 15 collective years in the live chat industry, here’s an important truth that we’ve learned:

Just because you’ve adopted live chat onto your website does not mean you’re fully cashing in on the opportunities live chat has to offer. In fact, you’re probably unaware of the fact that you’re just scratching the surface of live chat ROI.

The good news? As this channel continues to rise in popularity, live chat optimization is becoming more of a strategic priority. But before you can improve your approach to live chat and start raking in the big bucks, you’ll need to understand the current state of your program and where it has the potential to be.

If you’re ready to generate real revenue with live chat and deliver an unparalleled experience to your customers, you’re in the right place. In this post, we hope to arm you with answers to the following questions:

  1. What does a mature approach to live chat look like?
  2. At what level of live chat maturity does my program currently fall?
  3. What are the most profitable live chat programs getting right?
  4. What can I do now to help my program stack up?
  5. How can I overcome the hurdles that are holding us back?

Live Chat Maturity: A Deep Dive

Our live chat maturity model was built off of the assumption that live chat success stems from mastery of four key competencies: your ability to target site visitors, personalize chat presentation, engage visitors effectively, and measure success.

An ideal approach looks different for every team and is completely dependent on your unique business and goals. Regardless, taking an honest look at your maturity in each of these areas is pivotal for the evolution and growth of your live chat program.

So, what does live chat maturity look like in practice?


How are you consistently identifying your best, most qualified visitors?

Did you know that over 50% of live chat requests come from unqualified leads? How can you build a profitable live chat program if you don’t even know who you’re chatting with? Here are some signs of mature targeting:

  • You have a way to predict which website visitors are the most likely to yield results.
  • You have a system in place to prioritize these profitable engagements.
  • You’ve struck a balance between offering a personalized live chat experience without exhausting your internal resources.


Are you continuously looking for opportunities to optimize when and how you present chat?  

The best live chat programs learn from the past and make improvements for the future to provide the best possible experience to web visitors. Here are some signs of a mature approach to personalization and testing:

  • You can align the experience to specific visitor segments.
  • You are using A/B testing to optimize your live chat message, graphics, timing and placement.
  • You’re using chat invitations as marketing tools to create more order (even from visitors who don’t engage in chat).


Are you interacting with visitors at the right points of their online journey?

The majority of live chat practitioners spend the majority of their time and effort in this pillar of live chat success, and yet so many are missing the mark. Here are some signs of mature engagement:

  • You’re leveraging dynamic data to tailor your live chat messaging and personalize the experience over time.
  • You’re using smart forecasting to better align your staff with live chat volumes.  
  • You are delivering a highly personalized and flexible live chat experience.


Do you know where ROI is coming from and how to improve your results?

To evaluate and prove the value of your live chat program, you’ll need to understand how to turn results into actionable insights. Here are some signs of mature measurement:  

  • You have a way to leverage live chat results to improve future performance.
  • You have a way to measure performance improvement of each visitor type.
  • You have a system in place to measure incremental revenue.

Based on your unique approach to each of  these four pillars of live chat success, you may find that you’re a live chat: Newbie, Enthusiast, Expert, Visionary.

Does My Program Need to Mature?

Maybe you’re thinking “no, not MY live chat program.” Here’s the deal—we all want higher profits, more ROI, incremental revenue, and greater business success. If you’re just getting started with live chat, a more basic approach may be serving you just fine. But if you’re operating in a scale environment, there will come a time when you hit a wall and will be forced to make a decision: do I stay stuck or evolve my program?  

Staying stuck in a phase of maturity that is no longer serving your business can create growing pains. Here are a few tell-tale signs that it’s probably time to bite the bullet and evolve your live chat program.

Wasted time or resources

  • You’re wasting time on unproductive chats
  • You’re dealing with an overwhelmed or unproductive staff due to misalignment of staffing to chat volumes

Cannibalized or disrupted revenue

  • Your chat feature is annoying visitors and disrupting already effective self-serve flows
  • You’re experiencing low response or conversion rates through chat
  • You’re booking a lot of sales through chat but your overall revenue isn’t growing enough

Missed opportunity

  • You’re losing visitors by asking for too much upfront information before establishing trust or acknowledging their need
  • You’re losing visitors thanks to automation flows that dead-end or dump customers
  • Your chat response misses the “moment of truth” for site visitors and doesn’t live up to the expectation of immediacy that chat provides

Lack of visibility

  • You don’t know the true impact chat is having on your site, sales revenue, and cost of delivery and are unable to defend the investment
  • You have no control over creating revenue on purpose because there is little or no visibility into what is and is not working across the chat strategy

So, what’s next?

Take this live chat maturity quiz to identify your organization’s live chat maturity level. We’ll show you exactly where your program currently falls and where it has the potential to go. You can use this detailed breakdown as a roadmap to develop your live chat maturity as your program grows.

No matter where you are on your live chat journey, there are actions that you could take today to evolve and, ultimately, improve the outcomes of your live chat program. We’ve seen companies double to triple their conversions after graduating to the next phase of live chat maturity. There’s nothing to lose and incredible insights and profit to gain.

Take our quiz!

Why are we uniquely qualified to assess the maturity of your live chat program, you ask? We’ve generated millions of dollars in incremental revenue for our clients through intelligent live chat optimization. We integrate with your existing live chat tools to help you deliver a more personalized and profitable live chat program.

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