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Thinking of investing in a livechat tool? Read this article to find out why it's a great investment.
How to increase sales using live chat software
Learn how to increase conversions through talking to your site users.
15 best practices when using live chat software
There are some things you should and shouldn't do when chatting with website visitors.
What is live chat software
New to this strategy? Read our primer here.
25 Popular Websites That Use Live Chat Software
Look at screenshots of how some of the biggest sites on the web using live chat services.
$16 - $50
Feedback and chat stats
Automation & Rules Based
$15 - $60
Highly Customization Interface
Real Time Monitoring
Stand Alone Application
$15 - $219
Automation & Rules Based
$0 - $99
100% Free Plan
$0 - $99
Free Plan Available
Integrations & White Label
Robust .NET Software
$49 - $139
Rules Based Messaging
High Security & Scalability
$0 - $19
Best Looking Software
Simple, Easy Platform
Multiple Tools For Cheap
$7.20 - $11.40
Good Analytics & Reporting
Advanced Invitation Rules
$0 - $17
Group Chat Capability
Online & Offline Capability
Fresh Modern Interface
$0 - $14.99
Text & Voice Chat
Deep Customer Insights
Powerful App Interface
What is live chat software?
Live chat software is a handy piece of software that businesses of all sizes can use on their website so that visitors to the site can chat with a staff member in real time.
When a visitor browses to the website, they'll see a small text box or place they can click to chat now, or start a live chat (the exact look and wording can be configured to suit the business). They simply click to initiate a chat, and the software connects them to a staff member. The business and their customer can then work through any questions or issues in real time.
Live chat is easy to use and set up. There's no download necessary – most applications work simply by providing the business with a small piece of code, which they then copy and paste into their website's HTML It really is as simple as that. Once the code is in place, the live chat box will appear on the website.
At the back end of the software, the business will have access to a web browser based dashboard. This dashboard will allow them to see and manage their chats, view the queue of customers waiting to be connected, get notified when a customer wants to start a chat and more. Whenever the dashboard is open, the business' representatives are shown as online, and customers can start a chat with them.
Most live chat software is paid for monthly, with package prices based on the number of operators the business needs to connect to the software. Many packages also offer advanced features for a higher price.
As long as there are representatives available to accept chats, customers can get help with whatever they need, right there from the business' website.
Why use live chat software?
Live chat software is a worthwhile investment for any business. From increased customer satisfaction to better profits, live chat software offers many benefits to businesses.
First of all, live chat can quite simply boost profits. In fact, a study by Marketing Power showed that customers who used live chat software were up to three times more likely to make a purchase. Being able to talk to a person in real time can help customers make a decision to purchase. Offering live chat means customers can get any queries sorted out there and then. They're much more likely to buy that way, than if they have to contact customer support and wait for an answer before making a purchase decision.
Live chat software also helps businesses to upsell. Chat representatives can find out what a customer is looking for and interested in, and point them to products and services that match their needs.
As well as boosting profits, live chat helps businesses provide excellent customer support that will keep their customers coming back again and again. Unlike email or telephone help desks, live chat is convenient for customers. There's no waiting around for a response and no tolls. Instead, customers can start a conversation at a time that's convenient to them, and know that they'll get instant answers. In fact, research by Forrester showed that 44% of customers see being able to chat live while making a purchase as one of the most important features a website can offer.
Offering live chat can help a business build strong and lasting customer relations. Offering live chat lets customers know that their custom and their time matters to the business. A real time chat with a staff member is much more personal and memorable than an email exchange. Being able to talk live lets the customer know that they are valued, and that the business is dedicated to answering their queries and solving their problems. The result is a customer relationship based on trust; one which will ultimately be profitable to the business.
Live chat software can also help a business to better understand their customer service, and see what is going well, and where there is room for improvement. Most live chat software comes with access to metrics regarding everything from chat volume to waiting times to customer satisfaction. These stats give businesses a chance to fine tune their customer service.
It's clear that customers like and want live chat – and it's clear that offering it can help a business build long lasting and profitable relationships with customers.
What to look for in live chat software?
Businesses looking to choose the right live chat software for them and their customers should be on the lookout for these fifteen key features:
1.) Easy set up - The software should be quick and easy to set up in just a few clicks. Businesses should be able to get their chat box online and start chatting with customers with minimal effort.
2.) Customer queue information - A business should be able to see at a glance how many customers are in the queue to chat, and who has been waiting the longest. This makes sure no one gets missed, and helps representatives to prioritize their chats.
3.) Multiple chats at a time - Allowing multiple chats means staff members can multi task and help more than one customer at a time, which ultimately improves response time and means less customers are left hanging.
4.) Canned responses - Being able to send pre-written responses to common questions will save representatives valuable time spent typing out the same response over and over.
5.) “Party is typing” notifications - It's a simple thing, but a “party is typing” notification lets the customer know that the agent it still there and talking to them.
6.) Geographic and system information - Being able to see where a customer is and what operating system and browser they are using helps staff to troubleshoot issues.
7.) Feedback - Giving customers a way to leave ratings and reviews is vital. Customer feedback options give a business a way to see what customers think of their live chat, and what needs to improve.
8.) Branding - It should be easy to customize the live chat window to fit the look of the brand and website. This keeps the website looking professional while still offering live chat functionality.
9.) Chat logs - Staff members need to be able to go back and check chat logs. This is important for quality control, and to see a customer's history if they need to chat more than once.
10.) Integration - The best live chat software options are designed to be integrated with other software applications. These might include social media, CRM software, shopfronts, telephone helplines and more.
11.) Security - Customers will often offer personal details or may even need to give payment details during a live chat, so stringent security is a must.
12.) Statistics - Statistics regarding chat volumes, response times, customer satisfaction, specific team members and more are a must. Access to statistics lets a business see how well their live chat service is working, and where they need to improve.
13.) Chat invites - Chat invites mean the chat box will pop up periodically and prompt customers to click if they need to chat. Customers will be reminded that the chat is there if they need it, and won't need to go searching for help.
14.) Team management - Businesses need to manage which team members have access to chat, who is logged in at which time, and whether specific team members are assigned specific roles. The ability to monitor chats or start a group chat is also useful.
15.) Mobile friendly - Businesses shouldn't be constricted to providing great customer service only when an agent can be at a desk or using a laptop. Mobile friendly chat software means customers can get the support they need even if the agent is out and about.
Live chat software strategies, tips and tricks
Live chat software has the potential to greatly improve the customer experience, and ultimately boost sales for a business. For businesses who want to really make the most of live chat, these six tips are a great place to start:
1.) Know the business inside out - It sounds simple, but knowing the business inside out is absolutely key to success with live chat. Every person who answers live chat calls needs to have an excellent working knowledge of the business and its products and services. Good working knowledge translates to a professional presentation and the ability to understand and solve any customer query.
2.) Make chat accessible - Some businesses put a chat widget on their home page and leave it at that. A widget on the home page is important, but customers should be able to access chat from any point on the website and at any stage of the purchase process. The chat box should be readily available.
3.) Personalize the experience - Customers want to know that they're talking to a real person who cares and understands their needs. Using an agent photo for each chat will help them put a face to the name, while offering an appropriate greeting for the customers' geographic location is a great idea. Most importantly, the chat software should be fully integrated with CRM software so agents can see the customer's purchase history and any other chat history at a glance. This will make it easier for them to speak directly to the customer about their issues and experiences.
4.) Set clear wait time expectations - Being left hanging will frustrate customers and make them feel as if they don't matter. Businesses can avoid this by clearly advertising the hours during which live chat will be available if 24/7 hours aren't an option. When chat isn't live, the chat box should offer a contact form so customers can still send their query. When chat is live, details on wait times and position in the chat queue will help customers to feel like they're being taken care of and not simply left to wait.
5.) Train agents to understand customer needs and responses - Good training for chat agents is an absolute must. Agents need to understand when to help, and when a customer is subtly signalling that they don't require any help. The ability to listen carefully and respond to customer's needs will help build a good rapport and provide good customer service.
6.) Always ask for feedback - Inviting customers to leave feedback means a business can collate information on how they're doing and what is working.
Top 10 Best Live Chat Software Compared
It's been proven time and time again, in order to successfully sell something, you need to effectively communicate with potential customers. Using live chat software on your website is an easy and effective way to facilitate conversations with users browsing your site. Within a few minutes, and without any programming knowledge you can easily download live chat support software and install it on your website to begin talking to your visitors today.