Best Live Chat Software
Live chat software has become an increasingly popular customer service solution for websites across all industries. From lead generation to sales support, troubleshooting, and general inquiries, the use cases for live chat are seemingly endless.
People are always looking for an immediate response. Phone calls with long wait times, email support, and other communication methods don’t provide the same instant gratification as live chat.
That’s why 46% of customers prefer live chat over email (29%) and social media (16%) support.
Aside from the improved customer experience, live chat makes things easier for your customer service agents as well. They’ll have easier access to resources, the ability to route messages to the right department, and can resolve issues faster.
By leveraging the power of AI and automation, you can enable live chat on your website 24/7. Users won’t be forced to call your office between 9 AM and 5 PM local time Monday-Friday.
All websites that provide any level of customer service can benefit from adding live chat to the site. From small businesses to medical facilities, global ecommerce sites, and everything in between, live chat must be implemented.
The Top 10 Best Live Chat Software
After conducting extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the top ten live chat solutions on the market today. I’ll cover the features, benefits, use cases, pricing, and potential drawbacks in the reviews of each one below.
#1 – Intercom — Best Overall Live Chat Software
• Starts at $39 per month
More than 30,000+ businesses trust Intercom for live chat software. The platform has everything you need to benefit from live chat for lead generation, customer engagement, and customer support.
From basic use for single users and live chat at scale with advanced workflows, bots, and automation, Intercom has a plan for everyone.
Customize targeted messages on your homepage and internal landing pages for different types of people, such as leads vs. customers. Use this software to give users a product tour or guide them through the conversion funnel.
Intercom seamlessly integrates with 100+ powerful apps and tools that you’re already using, like Slack, Facebook, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Stripe, and more.
Here’s a quick overview of the starting price points for Intercom:
The Start and Grow plans come with one seat and five seats, respectively. These plans provide all of the basic tools you need to get up and running with live chat. The Accelerate and Scale plans each come with ten seats and advanced features like custom bots, automated assignment rules, and a multilingual help center.
Intercom has other add-ons for product tours, advanced lead generation, advanced customer engagement, and advanced support automation. Those add-ons range from $199 to $499 per month.
Try Intercom free for 14 days.
#2 – LiveChat — Best For Multichannel Support
• Starts at $16 per month
More than 177,000 customer support representatives across 150+ countries use LiveChat. The software facilitates over 27 million chats per month. It’s used by industry leaders like Sony, Ikea, Lexus, Samsung, LG, and more.
For those of you who are managing customer support across multiple channels, LiveChat will consolidate those messages into a single platform.
The software integrates with more than 170 different third-party apps and tools. These apps give you the capabilities to do things like manage orders, accept payments, and add customer information to your CRM.
Let’s take a closer look at the plans and pricing for LiveChat:
The Starter plan is fine for basic use. It comes with a 60 day chat history and a built-in ticketing system. For unlimited chat history, branding tools, and other advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher tier.
LiveChat has separate products for AI chatbots, help desk support, and knowledge base tools. So if you’re interested in those features, you’ll have to buy that software separately.
Try LiveChat free for 14 days. It takes just five minutes to install.
#3 – Olark — Best Live Chat Software For Sales Teams
• Starts at $12 per agent
Olark is live chat software that’s specifically intended for sales teams.
Use this software to set up customized pre-chat forms, triggered messages, and allow for offline messaging when your team is unavailable. You can chat in real-time and organize the customer data in Olark or within your own sales CRM.
Other features and benefits of Olark include:
Olark also offers automation tools for things like chat routing, canned responses, proactive chat, automatic greetings, and more.
Pricing starts at $12 per month per agent with a two-year contract. The one-year and month-to-month rates are $15 and $19, respectively. Add-ons for advanced features range from $29 to $99 per month.
Try Olark free for two weeks.
#4 – Pure Chat — Best Unlimited Plan
• Starts at $39 per month
Pure Chat is a fast and easy way to add live chat to any website. It’s currently used by 14,000+ users across 150+ countries worldwide.
You’ll have complete control over how your chat widget looks with customizable features to match your website color scheme and branding. With Pure Chat, it’s easy to manage customer support on the go with iOS and Android mobile apps.
Pure Chat has an extensive feature list, including:
There are two different Pure Chat plans; Growth and Pro. The plans cost $39 and $79 per month billed annually, respectively.
The growth plan includes four users. Additional users cost $13 per month. Even the entry-level plan has unlimited chats. The Pro plan comes with ten users and costs $8 per month to add more seats. In addition to unlimited chats, the top-tier plan also comes with unlimited chat history and can be used on an unlimited number of websites.
There is an exceptional level of value in these plans. But Pure Chat lacks advanced features like AI and automation.
Try it free for 30 days.
#5 – LiveAgent — Best For Ticketing Support
• Starts at $29 per agent
LiveAgent has a wide range of product offerings. In addition to live chat, the company has solutions for help desk software, call center software, and more.
Businesses use LiveAgent’s chat software to increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce support costs. The platform has predictive chat invitations, website monitoring tools, and real-time typing previews to ensure exceptional support from your agents.
LiveAgent’s primary focus is customer support.
The live chat software comes fully-integrated with helpdesk features like ticketing. LiveAgent’s plans are very affordable, especially with a ticketing solution.
Live chat and ticketing starts at $29 per agent per month. The all-inclusive plan for live chat, ticketing, and call center support starts at $39 per month per agent.
Unfortunately, LiveAgent doesn’t offer advanced features for AI automations or chatbots. But it’s still a great customer service tool at an affordable rate.
Try LiveAgent free for 14 days.
#6 – HubSpot Live Chat — Best Free Live Chat Software
• Free live chat widget
HubSpot is one of the most popular CRM solutions on the market today. The HubSpot CRM is free and comes with tons of other free tools for marketing, sales, and customer service.
Free live chat is part of that package.
HubSpot makes it easy for you to chat with website visitors, prospects, and customers in real-time.
Customize your live chat widget to match your branding and color scheme. Set up targeted welcome messages for different landing pages or audiences. All of your conversations will automatically be saved in the contact’s records. So your entire team has access to every interaction.
You can even leverage free live chatbots to automate your conversations at scale.
To get the most out of HubSpot, paid plans start as low as $40 per month. Product suites and bundles start at just $50 per month. While the free CRM and free live chat might be suitable for getting started, you’ll definitely want to upgrade at some point.
#7 – SnapEngage — Best Live Chat Bots
• Starts at $16 per user
SnapEngage is a robust live chat solution. The platform has use-case specific tools for sales, customer service, and even healthcare solutions with HIPAA-compliant chats.
For those of you who want to fully leverage automations and chat bots on your website, SnapEngage will be the best option for you.
Here’s a quick look at the plans and pricing for this software:
Live chatbots available on this software include:
Even the entry-level plan comes with the information capture and approval bots.
SnapEngage has all of the tools you need to manage support at every stage of the customer journey. The plans are affordable and feature-rich, but do have a three-user minimum to start.
#8 – Chatra — Best For Multilingual Live Chat
• Free plan available
Chatra is one of the world’s most popular live chat solutions. It’s trusted by 31,000+ businesses and ecommerce shops.
The software has tools for website monitoring, multichannel communication, conversions, and so much more.
Chatra has a free forever plan for a single agent. Even the free software comes loaded with features like:
The list goes on and on. Another standout of the free plan is the multilingual chat widget. Customers can see your chat widget in their preferred language based on browser settings. Other solutions charge extra for this feature.
For multiple agents and advanced features like bots, targeted triggers, and detailed visitor information, the Pro version of Chatra costs $15 per agent per month.
#9 – Zendesk Chat — Best Live Chat Software For Helpdesks
• Free for basic use
Zendesk Chat is a simple and powerful tool for improving customer support via live chat. The software is easy to use, works with multiple communication channels and delivers detailed analytics.
Some of the top features of Zendesk Chat include:
Here’s a closer look at the plans and prices for this software:
As you can see, Zendesk Chat has a plan for everyone. You can even get the software for free if you’re a basic user.
For those of you who want the full helpdesk experience, in addition to live chat, try the Zendesk Support Suite. The software starts at $89 per month and includes everything you need for a virtual customer support center.
#10 – Drift — Best Live Chat Software For Lead Generation
• Free for basic use
Drift is another popular live chat solution for sales teams. It’s trusted by 50,000+ organizations across the globe.
With features like live chat for account-based marketing (ABM), meeting scheduling, and chat-to-call, this software is perfect for lead generation at scale.
Businesses use Drift to help shorten the sales cycles by connecting with prospects on the spot. You can even qualify your leads in real-time, directly within the live chat box using automations and AI chatbots.
Here’s a look at the Drift pricing:
The free plan allows you to chat with your website visitors in real-time but doesn’t include any of the other features and benefits associated with Drift.
For custom bots, lead routing, and sales integrations, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Drift is definitely more expensive than other solutions on the market. It’s also worth noting that the prices above are just the base monthly rates billed annually. Chat seats start at $40 per month per agent.
Startups with less than 20 employees are eligible for a 93% discount.
How to Find the Best Live Chat Software For You
Finding the best live chat software for your website can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration as you’re shopping around.
This is the methodology that I used to narrow down the top picks on our list.
What do you need live chat for?
Some solutions specialize in sales, while others focus on customer support or lead generation. There are even live chat tools for things like omnichannel or multilingual support.
If you have a specific void that needs to be filled, make sure you choose a live chat solution that can accommodate those needs.
Automation is a crucial component of live chat. The best automations ensure that your website visitors get a fast response, even if a live agent is unavailable at the time.
Advanced automations go as far as routing customers to the right department or agent. Some AI-powered chatbots have the ability to answer questions and guide customers through the conversion funnel without ever connecting to an actual human.
Not every software comes with these types of tools. In most cases, automations and chatbots are considered a premium feature.
How many live agents do you have?
Some plans have minimum and maximum agent restrictions. For example, if you’re going to handle live chat support on your own, there’s no reason to pay for a plan that comes with five agent seats.
For those of you planning to scale your team, look for a software that charges on a per-user basis, with the ability to add-on as your team grows.
In addition to basic live chat functionality, there are lots of other features to keep in mind as you’re shopping around:
Not all of these features should be a deal-breaker. It depends on what you’re looking for. Some businesses will have specific needs that must be met. For example, a medical business would need live chat software that’s HIPAA compliant.
What’s the best live chat software on the market today?
Intercom is our top overall recommendation. But there are plenty of other great options for you to choose from.
For sales teams and lead generation, try Olark or Drift. For ticketing and customer support, use LiveAgent or Zendesk Chat. Chatra is the best software for multilingual live chat, and LiveChat is the best for omnichannel support.
If you want to leverage chatbots and automation, use SnapEngage. For those of you looking for free live chat software, check out HubSpot.
No matter what type of website you have, you can find the best live chat software for your needs using the recommendations in this guide.
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June 14, 2020 at 11:25AM