Live chat software is the 'new phone' for customers and the 'new customer representative' for businesses. Why is that? Well, just take a look at the data below:
- Widespread user acceptance. The average global customer satisfaction for live chat is 83.04 percent. Plus, 51 percent of consumers are more likely to stay with a company or buy from them again if they offer live chat support.
- Low-cost solution. Live chat costs businesses 15 to 33 percent less than phone support.
- Instant and seamless support. Live chat offers customers instant, 24/7 support, which is a significant advantage according to a report by Forrester – "73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer service."
But it’s not just these impressive statistics; let’s look at some of the other benefits of using live chat software:
- It provides an open channel of communication for customers to connect with brands 24/7. Live chat software today is increasingly conversational – interacting with and educating customers in equal measure.
- It offers high-quality, in-depth support, placing convenience at the heart of the user experience.
- It encourages customers to self-serve by acting as a dynamic knowledge base – complete with answers to FAQs and routine queries.
- It can seamlessly integrate with your CRM database to offer more personalized support.
- It can tackle multiple customers at once, bringing scalability, flexibility, and speed to the customer experience, thereby boosting conversions and driving customer loyalty.
- Finally, when combined with chatbots, live chat can offer round-the-clock support to instantly and effectively assist users.
The benefits of AI-powered live chat software are many. If you're confused about which live chat software to go for, here's a complete low-down of the market’s top-10 players. Let's get the ball rolling:
Selecting live chat software: analyzing the top-10 players in the market
- LiveChat: 'Liven' up your customer experience & boost sales with this robust tool
- Olark: Live chat that allows you to listen, learn, & improve
- Acquire: 'Acquire' omnichannel live chat software
- Intercom: Smart automation & self-service at its best
- Hubspot live chat: The 'hub' for collaborative & customized chat support
- SnapEngage: 'Engage' your customers with a true-to-form live chat software
- Kayako: The key to unlocking a positive customer experience
- Bold360: The 'bold' AI-powered differentiation your business needs
- LiveAgent: The ultimate tool to build a strong CX culture
- LivePerson: Bridge the gap between customers & agents with multichannel messaging
- Zendesk: Create a personal connection with customers looking for support.
'Liven' up your customer experience & boost sales with this robust tool
Want to manage your sales team and offer multilingual support?
Wish to monitor your customer service team's performance?
Want to capture leads and host surveys?
You can achieve all this, and more, with LiveChat's rich functionality. This tool uses intuitive features such as message sneak peeks, ticket forms (for when employees are offline), custom pre-chat surveys, saved responses, user profiles, auto messages, and more to help you deliver a stellar customer experience.
And that's not all.
You can also provide customers with a preview of your store items using ‘product cards,’ including product imagery and a CTA button (you can even use carousels of cards). Finally, you can access rich reports with customer satisfaction and team performance data – including key metrics such as average chat duration, response time, agents’ activity, etc.
- Provides message sneak-peeks enabling you to see what customers are typing before they even send a message. This gives you more time to plan how to respond.
- Allows chatting on multiple websites at once.
- Offers seamless access to features such as chat transcripts and archives, visitor information, and canned responses.
- Provides access to widgets with eye-catching animations.
- Allows file-sharing with screenshots and documentation.
- Allows chatbox customization using company logos, social media buttons, and agent profiles.
- Offers features such as automated greetings, ticket forms, and popup windows.
- One of the best tools to qualify quality leads.
- Offers helpful ticketing features and detailed reports.
- It comes with desktop (Mac/PC) and mobile (iPhone, Android, iPad) applications in addition to having an integration marketplace.
- Easily integrates with Facebook Messenger.
- It offers a translation feature to cater to a global target audience.
- Inexpensive tool for businesses with tight budgets.
- Full functionality can get expensive as it is priced per seat.
- Offers limited visitor tracking, in particular, in plans.
- Mono solution only offers live chat services.
Companies looking for a simple and reliable live chat service without any complications. This tool easily integrates with various apps, making it useful for small brands all the way through to large enterprises, including eCommerce and service-based companies.
- The basic ‘Starter’ plan costs $19/mo per seat. It has limited functionality, so make sure to check the website for more details.
- The $39/mo plan offers full widget customization and basic reports.
- The ‘Business’ plan costs $59/mo and provides access to all the features without any limits.
- The 'Enterprise' plan costs $149/seat/month.
Note: A 30-day trial is available. Pricing differs when billed annually.
Live chat that allows you to listen, learn, & improve
Over 12,000 customers across 178 countries use the software to send more than 1 million messages a day.
If you're looking for a live chat software that can offer end-to-end customization and contextual information all in one place, Olark is the way to go. You can analyze:
- Chat messages by seeing which page the customer has viewed and pulling up the conversation history.
- Data gathered pre-chat.
- Critical information such as name, email, team size, product preferences, or customer pain-points.
This tool can send targeted messages to visitors on specific pages that include in-app messages, emails, help docs, etc. Additional features include visitor insights to assist you in scoring leads, prioritizing chats, and customizing your sales approach with the data at hand.
- Offers saved responses, custom chat forms, and auto-messages.
- Allows easy integration with third-party tools such as Groove, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Slack.
- Offers advanced customization tools to match chatboxes to your brand's aesthetics.
- Provides access to critical metrics (think: customer satisfaction, chat volume, agent activity, team performance, busiest hours, etc.) in real-time chat reports for analysis of customer behavior.
- Offers automation tools such as canned responses to speed up the workflow.
- Gives access to transcripts, providing a 360-degree view of conversations, agent performance, and customer feedback.
- Allows distribution of chats to other agents at the click of a button.
- It offers an elegant, informative, and powerful dashboard to initiate and manage chats quickly.
- Integrates easily with popular platforms such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Salesforce.
- Offers add-ons, including visitor screen sharing, live chat translation, and visitor insights.
- A relatively low-cost solution.
- Allows for real-time visitor tracking.
- Functionality could be considered too simple/basic.
- No provision for manual chat messages.
- Limited scope for widget customization.
- Access to features and chat counts is limited on the free plan.
Companies who wish to integrate with other business tools like Salesforce and are looking for a reliable and affordable live chat feature.
- $0 for the free plan (20 chats per month)
- Monthly subscription for $19/agent/mo.
- Yearly subscription for $15/agent/mo.
- 2-year subscription for $12/agent/mo.
Note: Add-ons like the cobrowsing feature cost $99/mo, chat widget localizations cost $29/mo, and removing Olark’s branding costs $59/mo.
'Acquire' omnichannel live chat software
Acquire is a multichannel messaging platform offering live chat features. Its cobrowsing and screen sharing features on mobile and desktop set it apart from the rest. The 'Cobrowse' feature empowers agents to take over the customer’s browser and guide them with visual cues in a two-way interaction. By using cobrowsing in tandem with live chat, you can resolve issues within seconds. All you have to do is launch cobrowsing from the live chat widget and get going.
The chatbot can quickly onboard new customers and answer common questions using smart suggestions and automated and canned messages. This then allows for speedy, personalized support. Furthermore, it offers profile management, which can help you to escalate certain customer conversations and address them as a priority:
By offering multilingual support and a 'Chat Notes' feature – where your team members can privately scribble important information about customer conversations – it enables your team to provide effective and contextual assistance.
- Screen sharing and smart suggestions.
- Instant file sharing and live call recording.
- Live chat and video assistance.
- Data-driven analytics and chat reports.
- Offers built-in video and audio functionalities for live chat.
- Allows for 50+ integrations:
- Provides innovative features such as live call and video recordings.
- Does not provide outbound marketing tools.
- It is expensive.
- Offers only live chat support without a Facebook Messenger chatbot or an SMS marketing option (as opposed to its competitors.)
Businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their customer experience and capture quality leads.
- Contact them for pricing.
Smart automation & self-service at its best
Intercom is a live chat software that's custom-made for all things sales-related – from routing leads and booking demos, to targeting contacts via email and offering round-the-clock support. More importantly, it integrates with popular software such as Slack, Zoom, and HubSpot. Think of it as a conversational relationship platform that allows for smart routing and high-quality lead qualification.
Moreover, it allows for hyper-personalization of your content – whether that’s introducing new products to customers or triggering outbound emails based on the visitor's history. You can also integrate a ‘Help Center’ directly into the chat so that customers can self-serve and proactively look for solutions themselves. This frees up your agent's valuable time, which they can spend on enhancing the user experience and improving customer satisfaction.
- Allows customers’ smart routing by offering real-time reports, capturing critical information such as potential leads, deals won, and pipeline information.
- Offers seamless lead qualification by allowing bots to book demos for the most promising leads.
- Offers advanced email automation functionality.
- Offers a variety of chatbot add-ons.
- Allows for a seamless knowledge base integration.
- Offers the 'Product Tours' feature, which allows your brand to provide guided experiences to the customers.
- Too expensive for smaller businesses.
- Complicated and inconsistent pricing model.
Large enterprises with a huge customer base and an increasing need for advanced add-ons, product tours, and custom bots.
- The basic live chat functionality costs $38/mo and includes only one seat.
- More advanced subscription plans cost up to $153/mo (without the add-ons).
The 'hub' for collaborative & customized chat support
Hubspot's live chat feature is completely free. It can be easily integrated with HubSpot CRM, allowing you to chat with customers in the right context and improve the user experience. Plus, you can quickly route inquiries to the appropriate customer agent.
You can also use HubSpot’s all-in-one ‘Conversations’ feature, which includes free tools for live chat, Facebook Messenger, chatbots, team email, and a universal inbox to manage incoming chats and collaborate with greater ease. Your sales and CX teams will be able to view, monitor, and respond to conversations instantly and seamlessly.
- It offers an integrated chatbot builder, making it simple and easy-to-use. It also allows for seamless collaboration and customization.
- Allows for easy integration with Hubspot's other services (CRM included), eliminating the need for complex integrations and dependency on multiple tools to sync.
- Enrich your chat's functionalities by integrating with Hubspot’s CRM.
- Customize the live chat widget to match your website's look-and-feel. Customization features include adjusting the color, changing the name and image of a chatbot, and experimenting with placement on the page.
- The free plan comes watermarked with Hubspot branding. Removal is through payment only.
- No CRM contacts on the base plan.
All kinds of businesses that already use the Hubspot CRM to manage their customer data.
- $0/month for ‘Free’ plan
- $50/month for ‘Starter’ plan
- $800/month for ‘Professional’ plan
- $3200/month for ‘Enterprise’ plan
'Engage' your customers with a true-to-form live chat software
SnapEngage is an enterprise-focused live chat solution. This tool’s useful feature is its HIPAA compliance – meaning it can be used by healthcare companies. If you're worried about how to use the platform, some specialists can help with account setup, integration, and training, while also allowing you to understand how to optimize your sales.
And that's not all.
This omnichannel tool integrates with various CRM databases and offers custom workflow mapping for an efficient sales process. Plus, you can manage chats across a broad spectrum of channels such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Tweet-to-Chat via Hootsuite.
- An omnichannel HIPAA-compliant live chat solution.
- Offers a robust design studio enabling you to alter color palettes, white-label products, and add personalized backgrounds as per your requirement.
- Allows full customization of your live chat.
- Offers unique features such as SSO, audit logs, and more.
- Provides a mobile-optimized chat window that can be adjusted to the user’s device.
- Fewer sales-oriented features than other platforms.
- It can become an expensive tool for larger teams.
Small and large medical and healthcare companies that handle sensitive patient information.
- $16/user/month for ‘Essentials’
- $26/user/month for ‘Professional.’
- For ‘Enterprise,’ contact them
The key to unlocking a positive customer experience
Kayako’s help desk software comes with powerful out-of-the-box functionality (including live chat) that makes it easy for your CX team to manage requests and conversations over any channel and support customers. Plus, by linking up with customers’ emails, its live chat tool maintains the live chat experience, even when you're not online:
And that’s not all.
You can help customers in real-time using diverse channels such as email, social, website, iOS, and Android apps.
- Offers alerts/escalation.
- Provides knowledge base and self-service portal.
- Enables workflow management.
- Enables appointments and email management.
- Offers live chat and social media integration.
- Provides a virtual assistant.
- Allows you to easily track your customer's journey.
- Provides context and a holistic view of every customer interaction.
- Features can be confusing for a beginner.
Companies of all types and sizes – from micro-businesses to large-scale enterprises.
- The free option provides access for 3 agents, live chat and email functionalities, access to a basic Help Center, and 600+ integrations with Zapier.
- The ‘Inbox’ plan costs $15/agent per month.
- The ‘Growth’ plan amounts to $30/agent per month.
- The ‘Scale’ plan costs $60/agent per month.
- The ‘Enterprise’ plan starts at $90/agent per month.
The 'bold' AI-powered differentiation your business needs
Bold360 offers seamless AI integration in its chat processes while providing immediate, personalized engagement. A host of live chat solutions are available – conversational AI, live chat, proactive AI, and omnichannel engagement, to name but a few. It even helps pinpoint where optimizations are needed and singles out opportunities to enhance customer outcomes.
- Provides AI-led self-service options that are easy-to-use.
- AI bot automatically pops up for customers and guides them as needed.
- All elements are customizable, including how the bot converses and what the chatbot widget looks like.
- Agents can access insights to evaluate how each customer journey is mapped out.
- Chatbot simulates human conversations by understanding intent and not depending on matching specific keywords to knowledgebase articles.
- Engages effortlessly with users and allows employees to work smart with knowledge and speed.
- Offers omnichannel live chat support for chat agents.
- Acts as a conversational chatbot powered by NLP, which is easy-to-use and straightforward.
- Offers intelligent routing and analytics for the management of large teams.
- More useful for large businesses with fewer verticals.
- It takes time to set up.
Businesses with large support teams that want to improve and automate the customer service in addition to delivering personalized, seamless customer experiences. It can also be useful for organizations that are not afraid to experiment with artificial intelligence.
You can request a price quote to get the plan pricing details based on your needs.
The ultimate tool to build a strong CX culture
Think of LiveAgent as a suite of useful features – from live chat and ticketing to call center software and knowledgebase tools. Its free live chat tool comes as part of the free help desk software.
You can view chat conversation transcripts in real-time in the form of a ticket. This provides you the information needed to converse with customers in the right context. Plus, it offers customization and multilingual support. Hailed, as one of the fastest performing live chat widgets on the market, you can deliver excellent customer service on the fly by integrating it into your Android and iOS apps.
- Offers chat invitations and visitor monitoring for relevant communication.
- Allows feedback management for gathering information from customers.
- It offers a useful forum and knowledge base to help customers self-serve.
- The mobile app allows live communication with customers on the phone/tablet.
- A centralized chat dashboard provides a snapshot of the active chats, agent activity, user information, etc.
- Access to the live chat feature as well as the ticketing and video call capabilities.
- Different functionalities are sold in various plans – you must specifically opt for the 'Chat' plan to get the live chat functionality.
Small to medium-sized businesses across all industries looking for a holistic and affordable customer service suite.
- The prices start at $0 with one chat and one email support seat with a limit of seven days of history.
- The next tier plan with ticketing systems costs $15.
- The 'Ticket+Chat' plan costs $29 per agent per month.
- The 'All-inclusive' plan costs $39 per month.
Bridge the gap between customers & agents with multichannel messaging
The LivePerson chatbot tool can automate nearly 70 percent of consumer inquiries. You can scale your business operations by building, monitoring, and optimizing chatbots across diverse channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. From answering questions to assisting users in the sales process, this enterprise-grade software offers multichannel integration and powers your live chat needs both on-site and off-site.
- It offers a tool called BotStudio that comes with industry-specific pre-built templates to build bots quickly.
- Offers easy integration with 170+ tools.
- Enables multi-channel messaging across Facebook Messenger, email, Whatsapp, Apple Business Chat, websites, etc.
- Delivers AI-powered conversations acting as every customer's handy virtual agent.
- It comes with a call-to-message feature allowing the user to convert to a text-based conversation instantly.
- It contains multiple features other than live chat, which require payment.
- Not a good fit for non-enterprise businesses.
Large enterprises looking for software can act as a one-stop-shop to manage all kinds of communication.
You can request a price quote to get the plan pricing details based on your needs.
Create a personal connection with customers looking for support.
Zendesk powers customer engagement with sophisticated tracking of customer interactions, so you can engage with them at just the right moment. Zendesk Chat's trigger features let you tailor engagement to their specific needs, while agent tracking and monitoring keep you informed.
- Email, chat, web, phone, and social media support
- Knowledge base and support community
- Over a hundred integrations with third party apps
- Group rules, macros and triggers
- Native iPhone, iPad, and Android apps
- Flexible trigger and macro options.
- Integrates easily with Facebook and Twitter.
- Includes time-saving self-help customer tools/
- Adding all the necessary features could prove costly.
- Tagging/sorting could use improvement and report customization options are not as robust as they could be.
Larger companies who have more sophisticated needs or want greater customization and control. The higher-end plans are feature-rich and offer powerful flexibility.
Zendesk's "Lite" package offers one concurrent chat and 14-day chat history for free. The "Team" plan, at $14 per agent per month, offers unlimited chat, public apps, and more. The "Professional" plan adds chat and agent reports, and conversion tracking for $29 per agent per month. The "Enterprise" plan is $59 per agent per month and adds 24/7 support and even more features.
Free trial available.
Live chat software is no longer a nice-to-have feature; it’s an absolute necessity for modern businesses.
But, to get the most out of your live chat solution, you must do your research and find the right fit based on your business needs. Only then can you give your customers the extraordinary experience they've come to expect from big and small brands.