Customer is indeed the king. In today’s market, we – as customers – have become accustomed to getting what we want. From personalised interactions and connected experiences across channels, we have set the bar high and this is no different with customer service. In fact, according to a HubSpot study, consumers are now more impatient than ever. Nearly 90% of them deem “immediate” online response (within 10 minutes) from businesses very important when they have questions. It’s no wonder live chat software is becoming increasingly important and popular among marketers and salespeople.
Many of you are probably familiar with live chat software as they literally seem to be ‘popping up’ everywhere these days. So what are they, what do they want and how do you know if they’re right for your business? In this article, we will identify the benefits of using live chat software as well as outline our top 10 favorite live chat software providers!
What is live chat software?
Live chat software is a way for your business to engage with online visitors, by initiating conversation with new visitors, interacting with returning customers and supporting existing users in real-time. From users’ perspective, these types of tools are recognised as those small, pop-up chat boxes that can often be spotted on the bottom right of websites.
To initiate a conversation, many live chats start by asking online visitors if they would like their question(s) answered by an online agent. From a business perspective, they are often seen as a convenient way of communicating one-on-one with your website visitors – on their terms.
Benefits of using live chat software
- Instant gratification – With an online agent available on the other end, visitors are quickly provided with answers to their questions.
- Visitors can multi-task whilst waiting – Visitors have the freedom to do what they want while waiting for a response as they are not stuck on the line with a support representative.
- Builds up loyalty – 63% of customers said that they were more likely to come back to a website that offers live chat
Additionally, if utilised effectively, live chat software empowers businesses to provide better customer service, collect real-time feedback, improve user experience, and ultimately boost conversion rates. Leads no longer stay as leads for weeks and can be instantly qualified and converted. It’s a win-win for demanding customers and businesses craving new sales.
Keeping these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at our favorite top 10 live chat software…
LiveChat is a clean and easy-to-use live chat software that boasts PayPal, IKEA, Huawei, and more big corporations as clients. It allows you to seamlessly integrate more than 130 popular tools such as Salesforce, Messenger, and Shopify. If you’re not sure it’s right for you, you can always start with 30 days free trial with Team features. One cool thing about LiveChat is that, unlike most that charge per agent, it charges per seat and multiple agents can share one seat.
Pricing: Starter: $16, Team: $33, Business: $50, Enterprise: $149 per month (per seat – logged in agent, billed annually)
2. ZenDesk Chat
Best known as a popular customer service and helpdesk software, ZenDesk also offers live chat called ZenDesk Chat. It’s suitable for small business and startups due to its low, competitive pricing. Its live chat is highly customisable, allowing users to choose templates and tweak designs. Besides, it also features live chat analytics that provides insights into agent performance, customer satisfaction, and so on.
Pricing: Lite: $0, Team: $14, Professional: $29, Enterprise: $59 (per agent, per month)
Olark is another live chat software that is easily customisable and features automation. You can easily customise your live chat to reflect your brand. Its automation features automatically send greetings and custom messages to customers based on their behavior and route conversations to the right team. Another great thing about Olark is that you can instantly retrieve insights and data from all of the live chat transcripts searchable on the platform. It also features 2-week free trial, pre-chat survey, and chat ratings.
Pricing: Billed monthly: $17, Billed yearly: $15, Billed every 2 years: $12 (per agent)
SnapEngage is more than your typical live chat software; beyond website’s live chat, it lets you manage all the chats from multiple channels such as WeChat and Messenger all in one place. Besides, it supports seamless integration with popular CRM tools to offer an enhanced and unified experience. Also, if your customer leaves an email address, its Social Discovery feature automatically finds his/her social media profiles for you. However, one of the drawbacks of SnapEngage is that it requires a minimum of 3 users to sign up its Essentials and Professional plans.
Pricing: Essentials: $16 (minimum 3 users), Professional: $26 (minimum 3 users), Enterprise: $40 (minimum 5 users)
ClickDesk is one of the few live chat software that supports voice and video functions. Beyond text-based live chat, agents can have voice or video calls with customers via Google Talks and Skype. Like most live chat software, it integrates smoothly with various popular third party platforms and services such as WordPress and MailChimp. For issues that can’t be solved with live chat, you can leverage its helpdesk platform that is well-integrated. One unique feature of ClickDesk is that it lets you add a social media toolbar (Twitter, Facebook) to chat box and increase social media engagement.
Pricing: Free: $0, Lite: $14.99, Pro: $24.99, Enterprise: $39.99 (per month per agent)
Best known for helpdesk software, Kayako also offers live chat software that works seamlessly with its helpdesk application. It’s available on website, iOS, and Android. Through the software’s customer activity tracking and access to all of the users’ data at a glance, agents can effectively offer personalised customer experience. For instance, agents can see what purchase and marketing emails users have made and received. Additionally, whenever a user returns to the website, the user can simply pick up where the chat left off instead of starting over. It offers 14 days free trial.
Pricing: Inbox: $15, Growth: $30, Scale: $60 (per agent per month)
Tidio is one of the few live chat software that offers attractive ‘forever free’ plan that includes 3 agents and unlimited chats. It’s also available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. For multilingual websites, Tidio is one of the best options because of its multilingual chat setup. You can also use bots to automate simple yet engaging custom responses to visitors.
Pricing: Forever free plan: $0, Communicator: $15 (per 3 operators per month), Automation: $15 (per month for 5000 unique users)
8. Pure Chat
Like Tidio, Pure Chat also offers a free plan that boasts unlimited free chats with up to 3 agents. It’s also available as mobile apps on iOS and Android. With its Pro plan, you can gain access to real time visitor analytics and automatic chat alerts. This way, you get to know in real time when high value customers visit. For developers, Pure Chat is highly flexible and works well with Zapier. However, its Pro plan carries a hefty price tag.
Pricing: Free, Pro plan starts at $79 per month (billed annually) or $99 per month (billed monthly)
To stay ahead of Tidio and Pure Chat, Smartsupp goes as far as offering a ‘free forever’ plan that boasts unlimited chat and unlimited agents. But ‘free forever’ plan users only have 14-day chat history. It’s worth pointing out that its paid plans are actually affordable. And paid users get access to its Smartlook video recordings of visitors (mouse movements and clicks) for insights into visitor behavior. Paid users can also use Google Analytics to track the software’s impact on conversion rates.
Pricing: Free: $0, Standard: $8, Pro: $19 (per agent per month, billed annually)
Drift markets itself as a ‘conversational marketing’ platform that lets businesses replace time-consuming email and forms with quality conversations. With a Pro plan, you can enjoy automation by utilising its platform’s bot to qualify leads and route conversations to the right agent. It spares your sales team from answering basic questions and qualifying leads. However, it’s worth noting that its Pro plan is much more suitable for big businesses.
Pricing: Free: $0, Standard: $50, Pro: $500 (per month)
Let the chatting begin
There you have it… an overview our top 10 live chat software. As always, be sure to conduct further research, try a few out, and give it some time before you make up your mind. When you decide to go with a particular one or two, you will see a significant increase in your lead generation, customer happiness, and sales over time. Remember to improve based on instant feedback from your customers too.
Our advice? Combine your online feedback surveys and chat tool and let them complement each other. Think of it this way, if you have a live chat tool on your site, you can always provide quick customer support and advice to those who wish you contact your business right away. On the other hand, your online feedback surveys will help collect and analyse how you are performing in terms of loyalty, satisfaction and even usability.
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