If you’re not using live chat software solutions to connect with your website visitors, you’re missing out on an easy way to build relationships and endear your visitors to you with high-quality customer service. When you consider that more than half of consumers prefer to live chat instead of calling a business for support, live chat is no longer an option, it’s a must. In fact, 41% of consumers expect websites to offer live chat.
Live chat has been around since the 70s. Wild right? But the “Talkomatic” of 1973 is a far cry from the brilliant live chat software solutions available today. But not all live chat software is the same. Before you grab the first live chat software solution that comes up in your Google search, check out this article for all the details on the features and pricing for 10 of the best live chat software solutions for 2020.
Before we jump into the list, let’s take a look at some reasons your business needs to add live chat to your website.
10 Best Live Chat Software Solutions for 2020 (Free and Paid):
Benefits of Live Chat Software
Live chat is one of the most cost-effective and time-effective ways to communicate with your customers and other website visitors. Not only can single agents handle several conversations simultaneously but customers are also able to continue what they’re doing on their computers while still getting the assistance they need.
Plus, live chat conversations happen in real-time. This helps visitors get their questions answered quickly so they can complete their purchase and go about their day. 79% of live chat users love the medium because they get fast, timely responses, according to eConsultancy. Here are a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy by adding a live chat software solution to your website:
- Faster resolution. According to SuperOffice, emails can take 12–17 hours to get a resolution, but the average response time for live chat is 2 minutes.
- More sales and conversions. Live chat can boost conversion rates by 40% and average order values by 10%.
- Greater customer satisfaction. Live chat has a satisfaction rate of 92%.
- Better customer loyalty and trust. 63% of customers who used live chat said they were more likely to come back to that website again and 62% said they were more likely to purchase from that website again, according to eMarketer.
How to Choose the Best Live Chat Software Solution
With all the live chat software solutions out there, how do you choose the best one for you, your business, and your customers? To get it right, there are a few things you’ll want to look at a couple of things: the type of live chat software, and the main features it includes.
Types of Live Chat Software
There are two basic types of live chat solutions. The first, stand-alone live chat solutions, offer only live chat and the features you need to use live chat with your website visitors. The second is an all-in-one customer service tool that has live chat as well as other customer service tools like support ticketing, social media integration, a knowledge base, and more. If you think you might want those features in the future, your best bet is to choose an all-in-one solution right from the start.
Main Features of Live Chat Software
There’s more to live chat software than chatting in real-time. To choose the best live chat software solution for you, you’ll want to make sure that it has the features that you need to help your agents and customers alike. Some live chat software solutions even include features that help you anticipate the needs of your website visitors so you can proactively engage with them.
In this section, we’re going to talk about a few key features to look for when choosing a live chat software.
- Automated messages. Sending messages proactively can help you capture visitors before they leave your site based on their behavior.
- Canned responses. If you handle a lot of the same questions over and over, being able to save canned responses is a huge timesaver and ensures consistency in your answers.
- Contact forms. With forms, you can collect contact information before starting a live chat conversation. This is helpful if you get cut off or want to follow up with the visitor later or get permission to add visitors to your email marketing list.
- Broadcasts. If you want to make announcements about news or features to your website visitors, a live chat solution with broadcasting features is helpful.
- Ratings. Letting users rate their live chat experience can give you valuable insight into how your agents or chatbots are doing.
- Widget customization. Chances are, you want your live chat solution to blend in with your existing branding and website design. A live chat software that offers customization of your chat windows will help it feel like a cohesive part of your platform.
Now that you know more about the types of live chat platforms and features you might come across, let’s dive into our list of live chat solutions.
10 Best Live Chat Software Solutions
Here are 10 of the best live chat software solutions we’ve found for 2020.
Drift is a live chat software solution that makes it easy to automate your chat process. You can create personalized messages targeted to specific people or accounts to increase engagement and even use LeadBot to qualify sales and schedule meetings so you can get more conversions, faster.
You can integrate Drift with other tools like Marketo, HubSpot, and Salesforce to ensure that Drift knows when your target accounts are active on your website.
Drift Key Features:
Manage different types of conversations by creating multiple Drift inboxes
- Use Saved Replies to save time answering common questions
- Get feedback from your visitors using Conversational Ratings
- Communicate with teammates within conversations using Internal Notes
- See who is active on your site with Live View
- Understand your conversations on a deeper level with Conversational Analysis
Drift has a limited free version. Paid plans start at $400/month when billed annually.
Crisp is a France-based live chat software solution with tons of features. It has a team inbox to gather all customer conversations in a single place, making it easier for anyone on your team to step in. Like Drift, Crisp can send automated messages to potential leads to get them into your marketing funnel quickly.
One of the Crisp features we really like is live-translate. With this feature, you can translate real-time conversations, replying to visitors using your own language, and automatically translating to the visitor’s language.
Crisp Key Features:
- Build advanced chatbot scenarios to automate customer onboarding
- Share files, images, and documents directly from the chat widget
- Connect the Crisp Live Chat to social networks like Messenger and Twitter
- Create personal and modern conversational experiences using GIFs and videos
- Users can access help articles and resolve issues directly from our Live Chat
Crisp offers a free plan that comes with two seats. Paid plans start at $25/month/website.
HelpCrunch is an all-in-one customer service platform that includes a live chat solution. It offers a broad selection of customer service tools, but the focus of the software is definitely live chat. It offers a customizable chat widget and the standard live chat features you’d expect like chat ratings, file sharing, canned responses, etc.
You can also download the HelpCrunch app on your mobile device and support clients from wherever you happen to be.
HelpCrunch Key Features:
- See what your customers are typing before they hit “Send”
- Automatically send chat rating to visitors after closing conversation
- Share files with your customers to speed-up support
- Manage customer conversations from all channels in one place
- See visitor's personal and behavioral data (e.g last page)
- Automatically send chat transcripts after closing a conversation
HelpCrunch pricing is set up in two tiers: Live Chat and Live Chat + Emails. The Live Chat plan starts at $12/month/user when billed annually (Live Chat + Emails starts at $23/month/user when billed annually).
LiveChat is one of the oldest live chat software solutions and it shows with the level of sophistication in the software. It’s powerful and robust, offering an excellent set of features. LiveChat also has detailed reports for team performance and customer satisfaction and integrates with more than 170 other tools.
There are, of course, the standard features like canned responses, automated messages, chat ratings, and more. But, LiveChat also allows you to send cards with images and buttons or even carousels of cards to users.
LiveChat Key Features:
- See what your customers are typing before they hit “Send”
- Add tags to your chats to give them context (and filter reports using those tags)
- Use filters to quickly find archived conversations
- Agents can work as a team and transfer chats when necessary
- Use eye-catchers to make the chat widget stand out on your website
- Add Chat Boosters to let customers complete actions that don’t involve talking to your team
LiveChat pricing starts at $16/month/agent when billed annually.
Olark is a reliable live chat software solution with a no-nonsense approach. It includes canned responses, chat forms, and automated messages, as well as a real-time visitor list so you can see who’s browsing your website (and reach out to them proactively).
While Olark’s customization settings are a bit limited, you can use attention grabbers to attract visitors’ attention and get reports on your team’s performance and customer satisfaction rates.
Olark Key Features:
- Easy-to-configure live chat automation rules
- Detailed live chat reports that update in real-time
- Full access to your complete transcript archive
- Custom chatbox forms to collect information from your visitors before a chat begins
- Start a conversation with anyone browsing your website
- Provide a personal experience for purchases, shopping, support, and other tasks with Visitor Co-browsing
Olark pricing starts at $15/month/agent when billed for 1 year, or $12/month/agent for a 2-year subscription.
Intercom is an all-in-one customer communication tool built with sales in mind. You can use it to route leads to your sales team (or specific salespeople), continue messaging in email, or target visitors by their browsing behavior. Intercom’s live chat widget offers a knowledge base, chatbot, news integrations, and more, making it a ridiculously robust customer support software.
Intercom can help with capturing and converting leads, onboarding, engaging, supporting, and retaining customers, and offering self-service options.
Intercom Key Features:
- Automatically assign sales inquiries and support requests to the right teams and individual teammates
- Automatically qualify, prioritize, and route leads 24/7 with Custom Bots
- Offer 24/7 support and provide real-time answers to 33% of common questions with Resolution Bot
- Provide real-time support at scale with a collaborative inbox, automation, and proactive self-service
- Introduce customers to your product with guided experiences
- Welcome target accounts to your site and instantly connect them to sales
The Start plan is priced at $39/month. You’ll pay extra for things like Product Tours, Advanced Lead Generation, Advanced Customer Engagement, and Advanced Support Automation.
7. Zendesk Chat
Zendesk started out as a ticketing system in 2007 and added a live chat feature later after purchasing Zopim. While its live chat offering can feel a bit limited, it does include all the usual chat features you’d expect to see (chat routing, tags, canned responses, etc.) as well as features geared toward help desk solutions.
Zendesk offers a great selection of reports on customer satisfaction, site analytics, and agent performance, but to track them in real-time you’ll need an Enterprise subscription.
Zendesk Chat Key Features:
- Send targeted and behavior-based messages to customers
- Use pre-chat forms to ask visitors for their contact information before starting a chat
- Monitor website visitors and the pages they’re browsing
- Use chat ratings to gather feedback that will help you improve your performance
- Automate simple, time-consuming tasks with chatbots
Zendesk Chat Pricing:
Zendesk offers a limited free plan. Paid plans start at $14/month/agent.
8. Help Scout
Help Scout is another all-in-one solution with a great feature set. It has canned responses, tags, and private team notes, as well as a Help Bot that collects emails, taking the place of the standard chat form. You can also use Help Scout to send targeted messaging campaigns to visitors based on their data.
Help Scout has an integrated knowledge base that offers users a great self-service solution. In the chat widget, users can choose between “Ask” (live chat) and “Answer” (knowledge base) options.
Help Scout Key Features:
- Manage all your email, chat, and phone conversations in a shared inbox
- See who else is viewing or replying in real-time to avoid duplication of efforts
- Use the sidebar to see everything you need to know about the user
- Manage phone, email and chat conversations all from a single mailbox
- Trigger messages based on one or more conditions that you set
Help Scout Pricing:
Help Scout’s pricing starts at $20/month/user when billed annually.
Tidio is one of the free live chat software solutions featured on our list. It integrates with email and Facebook Messenger and lets you add up to 3 agents to your account. It also offers canned responses, customer profiles, email forwarding, and more. The free plan even includes basic trigger-based chatbot scenarios to engage with visitors and pre-qualify them.
Tidio also includes live visitor tracking and new visitor notifications that let your agents respond to activity as it happens on your site.
Tidio Key Features:
- Use browser, desktop, and mobile apps to provide customer service wherever you are
- Customize your chat widget to match your brand
- See who is browsing your website in real-time
- Automate chats with AI
Tidio offers a free plan. Paid plans start at $18/month.
Tawk is pretty much the ultimate in free live chat software solutions. They make their money by offering outsourced chat agent solutions. This is a free live chat solution that offers literally everything you need: triggered automated messaging, canned responses, message sneak-peek, live visitor tracking, tags, departments, visitor information, and a whole lot more.
Customization options are pretty limited, but Tawk doesn’t have limitations on how many agents you can have or how long your chat archive will be available.
Tawk Key Features:
- Deliver personalized and real-time customer service
- Monitor traffic on your website in real-time
- Initiate a chat with your website visitors and app users proactively
- Frictionless conversational eCommerce
Tawk is a 100% free live chat software solution.
What Is the Best Live Chat Software for You?
Live chat software is a must for today’s instant gratification world. Customers want instant solutions to their problems and if you’re not going to provide answers to their questions quickly, your competitors surely will. Fortunately, you now have 10 of the best live chat software solutions to choose from. Do yourself a favor and choose a live chat solution today.