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What is Live Chat Software?
Live chat software is a customer service solution that 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.
How We Rank the Best Live Chat Software
We use a comprehensive rating methodology to provide unbiased insights. Our rating takes into account pricing, ease of use, features, and support. We introduce the Genius Score, a unique rating system that ranges from 0 to 100 and is based on external reviews and internal testing. If you want a deeper understanding, check out our full rating methodology.
Main Features of 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 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.
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.
Who Should Use Live Chat Software?
- E-commerce and online retail: Improve customer support, increase conversion rates, and guide customers through the buying process.
- Customer care and service teams: Streamline interactions, resolve issues efficiently, and increase customer satisfaction.
- SaaS companies and startups: Engage with potential customers, offer live demos, and facilitate onboarding.
- Real estate and property management: Provide instant property information, schedule appointments, and respond to customer inquiries promptly.
- Education and e-learning platforms: Support students, answer questions, and provide real-time guidance.
How Much Does Live Chat Software 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.