Having an online business is more important these days, as almost everything is being done online. One of the many ways to improve your business, and the ratings it gets from users, is to have a strong customer support system in place. And this is where having a strong live chat platform can make all the difference. Live chat software makes it even easier to manage, organize, and respond to customer requests, and issues online. In this article, we will give you the information you need to discover the best live chat software and website chat apps that are out there.
Ranking methodology of the best live chat software
Our list is designed to help you when you search for the best live chat software available. To create this list we first looked at the top-ranking products listed by other comparison sites and whittled this down to the top 100 or so best website chat services. Then we looked at numerous user and expert reviews for our shortlisted products and highlighted the top features and key MetaData for each product.
In addition, we used the demo versions of each live chat app, in particular investigating the usability of each one. Finally, we looked for additional features such as canned responses, chat routing, customization options, real-time visitor monitoring, and a whole lot more. By looking at all of these aspects, we could assign a score and rank each of the live chat software solutions.
When you come to use a live chat app, it’s not just about being able to respond quickly to a customer in real-time. There are a wide variety of other very important functions that the top live chat software needs to perform. For instance, not only do you need to be able to respond quickly, but you need to have shortcuts such as canned responses, monitoring of traffic, customization, online forms, automation, and more.
As such, creating this list is not so straightforward. In order to identify the best of the best, we take a look at each live chat app and make sure it has all these features as well as integration options, mobile compatibility, and more. All the options listed here provide stellar chat services to help you build a relationship with your clients.
Depending on your needs, the option you go for will differ. For instance, if you’re a smaller business you may not need such a wide array of services. All websites will need mobile compatibility for full support though. Our list is selected from the top 100 best live chat software solutions and each fits into a specific niche. Any of the options here will be high-performing and give you great customer relationship outlooks.
Best live chat software overview
To keep clients happy you must be able to respond to queries or issues in a timely fashion. And that’s the case whether you are a small independent or a large business. A great live chat app will give you control over this providing you with real-time response options, automated messages, full integration, and mobile optimization.
What is live chat software?
Live chat solutions are a growing essential for any online business. This type of software allows you to respond, in real-time, to your clients. Not only does it simply impart information quickly to people visiting your site, but it can have long-lasting ramifications for your business too. Having a live support tool helps you to capture leads and convert them right away.
The best thing about live chat is that it enables customers to get all the information they need right away. Your staff can respond with detailed answers helping to build trust and rapport with the potential client. It can increase website engagement and garner your site a strong reputation especially if you responded to every query in a timely fashion.
For example, if you are selling items in a shop, it can be hugely beneficial to customers to be able to ask you questions about your products. Even if you provide all the information, it may not be easily accessible or a customer may have found it confusing. Having a live chat option enables users to get support if they are uncertain about something like where you ship to and what costs this might incur. By only having a slower customer response system such as email, you run the risk of losing some potential clients who don’t want to wait that long for an answer.
What does live chat software do?
Live chat apps have a wide array of very similar features, though these can differ in some software options. For the most part, website chat solutions will have these features in common:
- Canned responses — Having this as an option does mean that you can reduce the amount of time needed for someone to be online. Canned responses are pre-set responses to some of the most commonly asked questions. These standard replies can be used to reduce response time.
- Chat routing — Provides the option to prioritize certain chats, and also send the query to the right department for a better customer experience.
- Customization — By having customization options, you can make your live chat fit your brand. You can enable emoticons for a more friendly experience, have a chat widget, provide customized greetings, add your logo, and more.
- Real-time visitor monitoring — This gives you the option to monitor the behavior of a visitor in real-time. By doing this, you can get an idea of when to reach out to the customer, what the traffic patterns of your customers are, and identify where the most engagement is found on your site.
Live chat meaning
Live chat software is a way of getting in touch with your clients and customers very quickly. If they have a query, then there’s a fast response time from your end enabling you to build a better, more trusted relationship with your clients. In the long run, this will only serve your business well.
Main features of the best live chat software
Each of the live chat app options has a number of different features and services available. This includes the type of reports available, the level of automation and canned responses, the type of customization offered, and more. Here are some of the important features you should be carefully considering before you choose your website chat software.
- Chat forms — The top software will give you the option to add chat forms. This is a must because it can get the information or query to you even faster. There are a number of different options such as a Pre-Chat form, which can help you to figure out exactly what the issue is. Offline message forms are perfect to keep clients engaged even if you’re not operating. Finally, the Post-Chat form gives customers the chance to provide feedback that can help them with future interactions.
- In-depth reports — Good live chat software will give you reports too. These can help you track each individual, as well as calculate overall ratings on your site. You can monitor the number of chats that are completed, any missed chats, the average time of response from your operators, and a whole lot more.
- Chatbot automation — Most website chat apps should have additional plugins that allow you to add a chatbot. While these can be annoying, they do bridge the gap and are preferable to leaving a client without any support at all. The chatbot should only be responding to the most Frequently Asked Questions though, and a real person should take over if this is not the case.
- Mobile options — It’s also very important to make sure that the live chat service has a mobile app option. In this way, you can keep in contact with your clients and customers no matter what device they are using.
- Multiple integration options — For large companies, multiple integrations is a must. You need to consider what integration options and platforms are available. It can also be important to check whether the app offers CRM, help desk, analytics, email marketing, and other options.
- Easy UI — The live chat solution should also be very easy to use and install. Long setup times should be avoided as it can mean the software is complex to teach and use down the line — everything needs to be easy and efficient from both sides.
Benefits of using the best live chat software
If this wasn’t already obvious, there are a huge number of benefits to using live chat tools. The type of live chat options and the way you use them will depend on your company or business. For instance, larger companies will need to put focus on the multiple integrations offered, whereas smaller companies may focus more on the customization options to create a recognizable brand.
Use case scenario
Almost everyone will need to have a live chat option when running a business. Imagine you are selling clothing items from an online store. A customer may need to get in touch to ask about sizing to clarify which size they should get as the measurements can differ. Having someone on hand to answer these questions instantly can mean a sale. If your operators know the merchandise well, they can even talk the customer through the measurements and help them to select the right size. Leaving customers hanging in this type of situation will often mean losing a sale.
Benefits of live chat software
As mentioned, there are a range of benefits to using live chat solutions. Here we have outlined some of the best and most important ones.
Increase sales and conversions
This is probably the number one reason to get and use live chat software on your website. Customers will always have questions about your products. Having someone on hand with the ability to answer these questions instantly is a major plus point for any potential buyer. They’re still on your website throughout the entire exchange. They will gain a positive response to your site and the operator can help them overcome any doubts they might be having resulting in a sale. Studies even show that 35% more people were likely to purchase online after chatting on the live chat app.
Support cost reduction
Traditional call centers have been the long-standing method to allow customers to get in touch with a business, but live chat is taking over. Not only is it more efficient, but cheaper too. A single live operator can be having six chats on the go at any one time, thus handling more issues in a given time period.
In-store shopping enables customers to trust a brand and build rapport with the sales representatives. This is harder online unless you have live chat. This software can bridge that gap and engender trust between you and your customers making them more likely to buy and return.
Gain competitive advantage
Live chat services don’t just mean you gain sales but the value of the sale is increased too. If you use live chat options and show you understand the client, then you’ve won half the battle. By talking with the client, you can also expand their purchase options, encouraging them to buy other products related to the original one as well.
Improve customer satisfaction
All the above points funnel down to customer satisfaction. With attentive live chat operators, your customer’s experience will be improved. They will likely recommend you, rate you well, and come back.
Which companies should buy the best live chat software
In this day and age, there’s really not a single company or person that would not benefit from adding a live chat app to their website. In fact, in order to compete with the current market, live chat software is a must. This software allows you to interact in real-time with your customers, thus providing a much-improved customer experience that results in return clients. Here are some of the companies that should consider using a live chat app.
Small businesses can benefit from a cloud-based website chat solution as it can help to build customer engagement. By opting for a live chat tool that has customization capabilities, smaller businesses can build their brand through the chat function too. Having a live chat option also helps to engender trust, with customers using it both to get information quickly and to get a feel for the business as a whole.
Larger companies will also benefit from live chat options, although they will likely need additional functionality. Automation, canned responses, bots, and other AI tools are going to be more important here, especially when covering a larger set of products and multiple websites, possibly in different languages. By utilizing live chat software, these larger companies can offer streamlined responses and maintain good customer interactions despite their size.
What does a live chat app cost?
There is a wide variety in the cost of a good live chat app. For starter options, it’s generally around $16 per month, although you can get package deals through a website host software provider too. The cost for live chat does increase with the number of features required as well as the size of the business and the number of operators necessary to use the system. Some of the higher-end business options for live chat apps come in at around $50 per month or even more.
Types of live chat software
There are a couple of different live chat types available. The option you choose will partially depend on the budget you have, but also on the needs you have for the service. For example, you may need the service to be on your own infrastructure so that you have complete access to the software all the time. Here are some of the different types of live chat software available.
This is the more popular option when it comes to website chat software. By having the software based in the cloud you can enjoy regular automated updates for the software. Cloud-based live chat also enables a more flexible payment plan with companies only paying for what they use. Finally, it can avoid infrastructure investments as these products will run on third-party servers. By default, this also reduces any big security issues too, as those third-party servers will handle that too.
A self-hosted website chat solution works on the organization’s own infrastructure. It means that the company pays for the infrastructure, but it does mean that there isn’t anytime access to it from anywhere either. This can be a major drawback when it comes to operating efficiently around the clock. Additionally, this type of live chat option can also mean there is reduced security.
Trends in the best live chat software
Everything is online and so having a live chat function to engage with your customers is now a must. However, with technology proceeding apace, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest trends. What might have been a great live chat option one year, might not be so great the next. So, without further ado, here are some of the current trends to look for when choosing your live chat app software this year.
- Bots and AI — While bots and AI might be annoying to customers at the moment, they are here to stay. As bots and AI improve, their ability to respond to customer behavior is also improving. For unhappy customers, bots can be programmed to offer discounts, provide refunds and cancel services all without a real human being involved. Intelligent chatbots can also increase customer engagement when utilized correctly.
- UI — The interface and its ease of use still need to be up to scratch. And this isn’t just from the customer’s POV, but also from the operators so that they can get the information out quickly and easily.
- Integrations and APIs — Recently, there has been a growing impact of digital communications and cloud computing. The rise of integrations means that these systems can provide very targeted functions. However, these ‘best of breed’ systems need to be flexible, robust, and have proper integration with their other systems.
Which is the best live chat software?
Selecting the perfect live chat option can be complex. Whether you’re a small company or a large one, the need for instant access to customers cannot be overstated. Some live chat options are great for smaller companies offering the minimum at a reasonable price. However, larger companies will need more integration and APIs, a wider array of chat options, more access to automation solutions, and so on. This is where we can help you to find the right option. We suggest you start by looking at our top list as these cover all the main areas required for a great live chat software solution.
How to choose the best live chat software
Any live chat solution must meet your needs. Depending on the company size, you will need to scale up or down when choosing the best option. We have looked at all the possible options and chosen the top list with the best features.
Excitingly, many of these have a trial or demo version available so that you can take a look at your preferred option and the way it works before purchasing the software. When taking a look at these products, it’s important to see what types of automation are available, how the system will integrate, the setup process, mobile compatibility, and more. If you try out one of the solutions, and it’s not for you, you can simply try one of the others on our list.
At the end of the day, customer engagement and retention are a must if you intend to build your business – and there’s no better way to build leads in real-time than with live chat solutions. You can assist clients instantly, helping them to build trust in your brand and encouraging them to make a purchase. No matter whether you’re a large or small business, live chat is a must. We have provided all the information you need to make a good choice when looking at all the live chat app solutions out there. Take a look at our top list and pick your perfect website chat tool today.