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 20 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 20 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)
Acquire is another standalone Live chat software which mainly focuses on onboarding, customer support, and sales. It is built for sales and customer support teams to talk to website visitors and users. Main features that come with live chat software are chat history, triggered messages, in-app campaigns, real-time conversation, profile management, canned messages, targeted messaging, two-way communications, customization, analytics, and reporting and intelligent message routing. It runs smoothly on the web, mobile apps (IOS or Android) and desktop and is compatible with every browser.
Pricing: Standard plan starts with $25/month and Team plan starts with $300/month (includes 10 agents) (Billed Annually). For Enterprise plan quotation needs to be requested.
LiveAgent’s Live Chat Software is another great live chat software that is based in Eastern Europe (Slovakia) and is used by brands such as Huawei, BMW, and Airbus. It comes with a chat and visitor overview for overall monitor purpose, automatic live chat invitations, customised chat settings and routing, and chat feedback. What is even better is its unique video chat feature that allows you to live chat with your customers face to face. However, because it has come with a lot of rich features, its user interface might be overwhelming to those who are new to live chat software.
Pricing: Ticket: $9 per agent, Ticket+Chat: $29 per agent, All-inclusive: $39 per agent (per month)
Chatra is one of the few live chat software that offers a free forever plan for one agent and an affordable paid plan that starts at $15 per month, per agent with full features. Typical live chat features aside, it also supports complex chat triggers, multilingual website setup, and typing insights that let you see what your visitors type before they actually send the messages. It is also available as mobile apps on Android and iOS. Another benefit of Chatra is its seamless integration with Google Analytics, Slack, Facebook and more.
Pricing: Free forever: $0, 1 agent, Paid: $15 per month, per agent (billed annually, $19 per month, per agent if billed monthly)
Formilla is live chat software that is focused on generating sales leads and providing great customer support. With Formilla, you can monitor your website visitors in real time (see their basic information and how they behave on your website), use Smart Messages to automatically target visitors with customised messages, and even utilise saved replies for quick response. Besides, it also groups chat agents based on departments and an agent can easily seek help and transfer a chat to another agent for resolution. Also, you can integrate Google Analytics to track the impacts of your live chat campaigns.
Pricing: Standard: $0, Premium: $11.99, Premium Plus: $16.99 (per month, per agent, billed monthly. Cheaper prices for annual billing)
HelpCrunch’s Live Chat 2.0 describes itself as a more flexible and intelligent platform for all your customer communication. It allows you to chat with your customers and look up chat history for context across all channels, from email to live chat, all in one place on desktop, iOS, or Android. You can also automate email messages and send instant follow-up emails to your visitors right from the chat. Another great thing about HelpCrunch is that it offers a forever free plan with limited features. However, its complete-feature premium plan can be a little bit pricey, costing up to $160 per month for 10 agents.
Pricing: Free: $0, Basic: $12, Premium: $21 (per agent, per month, billed monthly)
Tawk.to is live chat software that claims to have more than 2.2 million subscribers among corporates such as Mercedes Benz, Pizza Hut, and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. What is more interesting is that it is completely free with complete features. What’s the catch? It makes money by letting subscribers hire chat agents from them at $1 per hour if you contract them 24/7. Chat agents will be tasked to look after your website’s live chat 24/7 and to generate and capture more sales leads. If you are not into that, it has many rich features you have come to expect: built-in ticketing, customisable chat widgets, real time monitoring, available as mobile apps, integrations, and more.
Pricing: Completely free
AliveChat by WebsiteAlive is Texas-based live chat software that can be easily accessed right on all major browsers with optional desktop or Mac downloads. It has a modern and easy-to-use interface that requires little or no training. Besides it comes with agent knowledge base that saves previously used answers and phrases and lets agents retrieve them for quick, future response. AliveChat also has built-in email management (aptly called AliveMessage) and management features for reporting purposes. But the major drawback of AliveChat is its hefty price tags which start at $30 per month, per agent.
Pricing: AliveChat: $30, AliveChat Plus: $50 (per operator, per month)
MyLiveChat is yet another live chat software that offers a forever free plan and paid plans that as low as $15 per month. Right off the bat, the great benefit about MyLiveChat is its forever free plan that offers 1 seat for unlimited agents, unlimited chats and websites, and even 3-year chat history. Its free plan also boasts the same features as all other plans, with the only differences being the number of seats and the length of chat history. Visitor monitoring, proactive chat, canned response, live co-browsing, email chat transcript, file transfer, and multi-language supports are some of the impressive features offered in both free and paid plans. On the downside, its design and interface is probably not the modern and clean looking type you are used to.
Pricing: Free: $0 (1 seat), Starter: $15 (1 seat), Basic: $29 (2 seats), Corporate: $59 (5 seats), Enterprise: $99 (10 seats) (per month)
Userlike is a Germany-based live chat software that is trusted by global brands such as Allianz, Trivago, and NIVEA. It’s comprehensive live chat software that has an intuitive, clean interface, supports up to 7 different chat widgets in different languages, and comes with smart customer profiles for personalised services. Another great thing about Userlike is that it offers a permanent free plan with 1 operator for getting started. A pretty good deal if you don’t want to commit yet. Also, another thing that stands out is that agents are able to request screenshot from their visitors for clear communication.
Pricing: Free: €0 (1 operator), Team: €29 (3 operators), Corporate: €99 (5 operators), Business: €299 (10 operators) (per month), Flex: quotation needs to be requested (unlimited operators)
ProProfs Chat is live chat software by ProProfs that is well-trusted by Sony, Dell, DHL, Cisco, and other renowned brands. With ProProfs Chat, you can easily set up and integrate its powerful live chat with your website in minutes and live chat with your customers to generate sales leads and offer customer support right away. Unlike others, it allows you to see that your customers are typing before messages are sent and you can build your own knowledge base to reduce the amount of tickets. Furthermore, it also integrates well with CRM, helpdesk, and more other tools such as Drupal, Zoho CRM, Shopify and many more.
Pricing: Free: $0 (1 operator), Bronze: $8 (1 operator), Silver: $15 (2 operators), Gold: $32 (3 operators), Enterprise: $149 (unlimited operators) (per month, billed annually)
Let the chatting begin
There you have it… an overview our top 20 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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