The Best Live Chat Software of 2020

By Andrew Martins,
business.com staff
| Updated
Jun 22, 2020

Looking for affordable and feature-rich live chat support software? See our reviews for live chat software for your small or medium business.
Best Overall
Robust feature set
Built-in analytics and reporting
256-bit SSL encryption
Best Audio and Video
Easy-to-use platform
Web-based video chat capabilities
Robust toolset
Most Integrations
More than 170 integrations
Open and customizable API
Scalable for growing businesses
Best Budget Option
Extremely affordable
Excellent features
Intuitive interface
Best Enterprise Solution
Extensive reporting capabilities
Real-time customer monitoring
Tiered chat routing included
Looking for affordable and feature-rich live chat support software? See our reviews for live chat software for your small or medium business.

Though there are scores of live chat solutions available, our research narrowed the field to nearly a dozen potential vendors of note before our settling our five best picks. We examined a number of factors, including price, ease of use, features and compatibility. We feel confident that our five recommendations are intuitive, comprehensive live chat solutions that any small business with a reasonable budget could benefit from.

How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
27
Considered
11
Researched
5
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

  LiveHelpNow Comm100 LiveChat Provide Support Velaro

Onsite or SaaS

SaaS Both SaaS SaaS SaaS
Translation Powered by Google Translate Autotranslate for 13 languages Available as an integration Proprietary program translates 39 languages

Powered by Google Translate

Message encryption

256-bit SSL encryption AES-256 bit encryption 256-bit SSL encryption "Industry-standard" encryption 256-bit SSL encryption

Audio/Video

Neither Both Neither  Neither  Neither

Our Reviews

LiveHelpNow: Best Overall Live Chat Software

LiveHelpNow has a highly customizable chat interface.
The software offers real-time translation capabilities and native mobile support.
LiveHelpNow doesn't provide native video chat or co-browsing support.

There are plenty of good live chat solutions on the market today, but very few can boast the feature set, security measures and integration support while charging a relatively reasonable monthly fee that LiveHelpNow can. For several years, this company has been our best overall pick for live chat software, and it remains the case because of its ability to provide a clean, intuitive and customizable chat interface for any business's website. By facilitating a personal conversation between your employees and prospective customers, LiveHelpNow's superior options for customers and companies make it an excellent live chat option.

As a software as a service (SaaS) platform, LiveHelpNow meets most of the criteria that makes it an exemplary live chat software solution. Whether you have a small team or run a larger business, LiveHelpNow can scale its service to meet your needs. The platform is built in such a way that your live chat operators ( or chatbots, which are available for a separate fee) can handle multiple customer queries at once. That kind of multitasking capability vastly reduces any wait time experienced by web visitors looking for answers.

Chief among the reasons LiveHelpNow stands above their counterparts in our research is the long list of supported features that not only streamline the front-facing conversation with customers but also makes things more manageable for operators and managers.

One of those features aimed at making things easier for the general public is real-time language translation. The internet is used by billions of people around the world, so in the event that someone from another part of the world is interested in your business, LiveHelpNow relies on its integrated Google Translate functionality to parse what's being said. Customers type in their preferred language, and the application translates instantly into your implementation language.

To ensure customers receive the best service in other ways, LiveHelpNow also has a routing system that filters guests according to needs such as sales, billing or technical support. If a customer has a question, but there are no available operators to field it, an offline form can be offered to send the question in to the team. Once received, a team member can answer the question and reply at their earliest convenience.

On the other side of the conversation, operators and managers can leverage LiveHelpNow's tools to better understand their customers' needs and wants. Powered by an intuitive dashboard interface, LiveHelpNow comes with some of the more expected features like canned responses and proactive chat, which help kick-start a conversation with web visitors. When a conversation starts, LiveHelpNow can provide operators with information on the person they're talking to: their geographical location, what pages on the site they've visited and a look at their public social profiles. With that kind of information on hand, a good operator can tailor their responses to the person they're serving.

Along with LiveHelpNow's chat functionality, the service allows for users to fully customize their chat's aesthetics to match the business's branding. For businesses that rely on a range of commercial software, LiveHelpNow integrates with dozens of today's top software options. Security-minded users can also rest easy, thanks to LiveHelpNow's use of 256-bit SSL encryption and transparent data encryption as well as their adherence to HIPAA and PCI regulations.

LiveHelpNow's pricing structure is based on the number of agents who will use the service. Their website has a handy calculator to figure out the price based on your needs. For a team with just one agent accessing the service, businesses can expect to pay $21 per month, or $226.80 if billed annually. The price goes up as more people get access to the system.

While we found their prices to be a little higher than some other options, we felt that LiveHelpNow's overall excellence warranted the slightly higher price tag. For anyone on the fence about the service, the company can schedule a live demo, though it also provides a free 30-day trial if you want a more hands-on approach.

Comm100: Best Audio and Video Live Chat Software

Comm100 supports native video chats.
The software is available both as a SaaS or on-premises solution.
Compared to other options, Comm100 is more expensive.

Thanks to the ubiquity of broadband internet, video chatting has become a commonplace technology that some live chat software solutions are adding to provide a more personal touch to the conversations they facilitate. Comm100 is one of those vendors, and after examining their visually enhanced contemporaries, we came to the conclusion that the omnichannel communications platform not only made face-to-face chatting over the internet possible but also provided a solid live chat platform overall.

Regardless of the type of business you run, video chatting can add a human touch to customer service, sales or tech support questions that your operators will eventually face. Provided only through Comm100's Business service plan, and built to require zero additional downloads or plugins, Comm100's video capabilities are browser-based, giving both your operators and web visitors the option to start a video chat with one click. While in a video chat, both parties can also send text-based messages, share files or use the company's co-browsing feature. Without the need to verbally communicate the concepts your operators will try to convey, Comm100's video chat allows for easier problem resolution while also helping humanize both sides of the discussion.

Along with their video capabilities, Comm100's general live chat functionality also excels compared to their competitors. The overall system supports the use of ready-made responses, proactive chat, an offline form for customers to use when they need an answer after regular business hours, and automatic translation services covering 13 languages.

With a mobile-friendly interface that supports Android and Apple devices, users and operators alike can converse wherever they may be. The system supports Mac, Windows and Linux installations, with the option to be used as an onsite piece of software to be hosted on a physical server at higher service tiers. An AI-powered chatbot is also available for use in the system, though that requires an additional fee. Other nonstandard features can be added to the platform through one of its many supported software integrations.

Managers can also benefit from the use of Comm100's communications suite, since it offers message-routing features, a pre- and post-chat survey of a customer's experience, and real-time agent and visitor monitoring functionality at all service levels. Through the service's comprehensive data reporting system, managers can quantify and understand how their customers are interacting with the company site, the live chat agents on staff and their likeliness to commit to a purchase after their chat, among other items.

As for the platform's security measures, managers can further bolster security by banning specific IPs or IP ranges from the website altogether. Furthermore, Comm100 is SOC 2 Type II compliant, ISO 27001 certified, PCI and HIPAA compliant, and has the options for credit card masking and visitor single sign-on. The platform is hosted in a secure data center and is TLS encrypted.

While we liked what we saw with Comm100, we were somewhat disappointed that the video chat feature required a business account. Like many live chat providers, their pricing is based on service tiers and the number of users expected per month. Comparing their monthly per agent rate of $49 for a Business Live Chat account versus their Team Live Chat account at $29 per month, per agent, it's a more expensive option than other live chat service providers.

LiveChat: Best Live Chat Software with the Most Integrations

LiveChat offers more than 170 integrations.
The company provides customer support 24/7.
Some third-party integrations cost extra with LiveChat.

When it comes to live chat software, integrations can increase efficiency and help create a user experience that helps both employees and customers. Through our research, LiveChat remains our best pick for most integrations because of their feature set, reasonable price, ease of use and, yes, large number of integration options.

Integrations help smooth out a business's workflow by connecting one program's functionality to another. LiveChat's integration support allows for more than 170 integration options, covering numerous uses like email marketing, CRM, analytics and e-commerce needs. With support for major business software solutions like Mailchimp, Shopify, Salesforce and Google Analytics, LiveChat's users can customize the platform to exactly fit their needs. In addition, LiveChat can integrate with other popular online chat platforms, including Slack and Facebook Messenger. If your company needs an AI-powered chatbot, it's possible to integrate the ChatBot service.

Along with their deep roster of integration options, LiveChat offers a solid multiplatform SaaS chat solution. The service offers many of the main features you would expect from a live chat solution, such as canned responses, geotargeting functionality, proactive chat and customizable branding.

A clean and understandable dashboard is available for operators and managers alike. Its host environment enables operators to access the tools, webpages, canned messages and background information it needs to properly engage customers. Additional tools allow operators to add multiple tags to chat logs so that answers to frequently asked questions can be used to reply to new queries. Visitor tracking allows operators to see when someone visits the site, which web browser they're using and the customer's native language. Operators can also call up any past chat history and the search terms used that brought them to the site in the first place.

Through LiveChat's data reporting features, managers can view chat ratings given through customer-run surveys, check up on an operator's efficiency and even monitor ongoing chats to keep a close eye on how the company is being represented. In that last example, managers can then take advantage of LiveChat's Whisper function, which allows you to type comments directly into the chat window that only the operator will see. Other reports include things like how many times an operator offers a coupon or incentive and turns a hesitant visitor into a purchasing customer. Customer satisfaction can be charted based on post-chat surveys, and you can see how an operator has been rated by customers, among other reports made available through the software.

Aside from features found in LiveChat's backend, more front-facing features make the experience of chatting with a company representative easier for web visitors. While chatting with a representative, users can have their conversations on most Apple or Android devices, as well as PC, Mac and Linux-powered desktop computers. Files can easily be transferred in the chat window, though screen sharing and co-browsing functionality require additional integrations.

Every chat is SSL 256-bit encrypted and stored in the cloud. You can personalize access for individual operators by allowing them to see as much or as little information as is appropriate or by disabling their ability to share files. If you notice spamming or inappropriate visitor chats, LiveChat lets you block a visitor's IP address, barring that person from further contact with the company.

LiveChat's pricing follows the industry model of charging per month and per agent. The company's prices are relatively reasonable, with the Starter tier charging $16 per month, per agent, if billed annually, and $19 per month, per operator. Each following tier comes with more features, with the Team tier costing $33 per month, per operator billed annually ($39 if billed month to month), while Business goes for $50 per month, per operator when billed annually ($59 if billed month to month). The Enterprise tier requires an individual contract, so pricing is not available. There's also a 14-day free trial if you would like to evaluate the service before committing.

While there was plenty to like with LiveChat, some things were a little worrisome. While looking at the company's list of integrations, we noticed that many came with additional fees. When considering your needs against the total cost those needs would bring, LiveChat's reasonable rates could balloon past your business's budget.

Provide Support: Best Budget Live Chat Software

Provide Support provides a wealth of features at a lower price.
The software offers built-in multilingual support.
No reporting features outside of Google Analytics are available.

If you're unsure that a live chat function is something you really need, or you just don't want to break the bank on a solution, we suggest Provide Support, as it is our best pick for a budget option. Most free or low-cost services are often devoid of major functions, but this intuitive platform is nearly just as full-featured as some of the more costly options we examined.

When it comes to live chat software, the feature set a provider offers is among the most important considerations. When you start reducing the price tag, those features become even more of a value add. Compared to their other best pick counterparts, Provide Support offers much of the same functionality. Live chat is easily managed and added to any business's website with zero software needed. With proactive chats to reach out to website visitors, native file transfer support, canned messages, and easily managed and transferred chats between operators and customers, Provide Support looks and acts like a more expensive service in many ways.

While a predominantly SaaS platform that can run on any browser, Provide Support has apps for iOS and Android devices as well as a native Windows desktop app. In both instances, operators have access to robust features at their fingertips. With the company's real-time visitor monitoring suite, operators can immediately see how many people are visiting the website, where those visitors are located, details about their web browser and operating system, as well as things like what keywords they used to search for the site and what website they left to get there. That level of information on a customer can help inform the conversation as it happens, giving the operator the most insight into how they can help.

As for the user experience on Provide Support, the live chat window is fully customizable, letting a business set its visual style to the company's overall branding aesthetic. During setup, businesses can make it so the chat window can do things like set whether it will be embedded into the website or opened as a popup window, or movable and resizable on the screen. Throughout the conversation, both parties can see when the other is typing out a response. Additionally, the platform has multilingual support for nearly 30 languages and a spell checker for 12.

Security is also handled well by Provide Support, despite the price. All chats are handled over an encrypted connection, with additional privacy settings available in the platform's dashboard. Furthermore, Provide Support is GDPR compliant. For further security, managers can use an IP-blocking feature to either keep a single IP or an entire IP range from accessing the site, blocking potential bad actors from ever wasting your operators' time.

Like other solutions, Provide Support charges by the month and by the operator. Unlike many other platforms, however, the service allows it to be installed on an unlimited number of websites or individual webpages. According to the company's pricing structure, the Small Business tier allows for a single operator and costs $8.25 per month. At the Corporate tier, three operators are allowed for $16.50 a month. The Enterprise tier allows for 10 operators at $33 per month. It should be noted that these prices are for plans billed at an annual rate.

Though Provide Support impressed us with their feature set and low price, it is missing some key tools. There is no video chat support, nor is there a co-browsing feature. We were also a little put off by the lack of reporting functionality aside from the use of Google Analytics. Not being able to make informed decisions based on collected data is an oversight that some users may consider a bridge too far.

Still, if you're looking for an affordable live chat solution that's packed with features, you can't go wrong with Provide Support.

Velaro: Best Enterprise Chat Software

Velaro offers more than 50 in-depth reports.
The software is easy to implement.
elaro is priced for much larger companies.

Aimed at helping more complex and larger businesses, enterprise chat software solutions like Velaro offer in-depth tools that offer strong security measures, data collection, and reporting methods and monitoring capabilities, albeit at a much higher cost than their small business competitors.

Just as with other live chat services, Velaro is a SaaS solution that, at its very basic level, gives company representatives the tools necessary to help web visitors find the right answers to their questions. With an easy-to-tailor host environment, Velaro bills itself as an easily customizable chat tool, with options available to make chat windows, buttons, pre- and post-chat surveys, triggers, keywords, reporting, canned messages, and more fit your company's needs.

When chatting with a potential customer, operators using Velaro get access to a large amount of customer data that can help them better understand the needs of the other person on the conversation. Through the software's real-time website visitor monitoring functionality, operators can customize their desktop view to quickly parse that information. Once in that view, operators can determine which customers would benefit from live chat support and then deploy a proactive chat invitation. Velaro also employs "intelligent engagement," a marketing tool that gives your chat operators options to view information about your web visitors. Right from the operator dashboard, an agent can see the customer's name, browser, country and the webpages they are visiting from.

The agent can also apply filters that highlight a customer's specific needs and act as another marketing tool. With this corporate chat software, your marketing team can methodically track the search engines and keywords that bring customers to your site. In addition, the operator's chat window can focus on visitors that have lingered on a certain page, set off various SEO or site triggers, have high-volume shopping carts, or have trouble with shipment information or filling out a membership form. Whatever your visitors are doing on your site, your operators are informed and alerted immediately.

To better serve potential customers, Velaro can integrate with numerous popular commercial software suites. For example, the platform's exceptional shopping cart and CRM integration helps businesses that rely on e-commerce to encourage customers to complete their checkout process. If the sale is not completed promptly, the software allows the operator to send an incentive or coupon to help sway the customer to complete the transaction. Other major integration options include CRM, help desk systems and e-commerce applications, such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Magento, Microsoft CRM and Zendesk.

Aside from their integrations, Velaro offers several other powerful features that any business can successfully leverage, like tiered chat routing to help ensure customers get sent to the right department for help, native file-sharing capabilities, and automatic translation functionality powered by Google Translate.

Since live chat often deals with sensitive customer data, Velaro helps with enterprise security built on a Microsoft ASP.NET framework. Data is stored in a Tier 1 SAAS Type II secure data center, though you can also store data on the server of your choice. Other security features include the ability to disable file transfers as well as record and archive chat transcripts and email. You can also encrypt chat transcripts or ban a user by blocking their IP address.

As one of the more powerful solutions found in our research, Velaro also ended up as one of the most expensive. The company offers two main service tiers: Small Business and Professional. Both tiers offer varying levels of service, with Small Business costing $64.95 per user, per month and Professional charging $179.95 per user, per month. The company offers an Enterprise tier as well, though that setup is custom tailored to your company's needs and requires a consultation with Velaro's sales department for a price quote.

While we were impressed with Velaro's powerful tools, we did find the lack of video chat and co-browsing features a curious omission from such an expensive service. Ultimately, the high price tag may be the biggest deterrent for most companies since the service is really aimed at larger companies from the get-go.

Pricing

When searching for the right live chat solution for your business, the most important thing to keep in mind is the number of users you intend to give access to the software. Live chat companies offer their services as a monthly subscription with the option of paying on an annual basis instead, with prices largely based on the number of people that will use the service. Different companies will call these users by different names: "licenses," "operators," "seats" or some variation – but the consideration remains the same.

As with most online-based business solutions, live chat software pricing can be fragmented. While many companies are upfront with their pricing structure and offer details on their website, many still require that you call or fill out an online form to get a pricing quote based on your needs. In our research, we noticed that most monthly rates ran from $10 to $30 per month, per user for similar tiers of service. Prices could, of course, go significantly higher for a more comprehensive set of features – the highest price we found was $1,134 per year for five "agents" for an enterprise live chat solution.

Along with your monthly payment, live chat solutions often charge additional fees for things like setup and installation, though those add-ons are rare since this service is supposed to be easy to implement. Other add-ons include things like extra audio and video functionality, ticket customer support or an AI-generated chatbot to field initial questions.

With all that in mind, it's important to note that how much you ultimately spend on a live chat service will depend entirely on your needs.

Buying Guide

Live Chat Software Features to Consider

Live chat solutions, at their core, largely offer the same service. Every vendor enables the integration of a web chat window on a business's website to let designated operators guide current and potential customers to the answers they need. What sets each vendor apart from one another is the feature set each provides.

In addition to facilitating online communication with your customers, many chat solutions give you valuable insight into your website visitors and their behavior, which can help you market your products and services more effectively or better tailor your business's offerings to your customer base.

Most chat software includes:

  • Real-time visitor monitoring. You can see which pages your website visitors access and how long they spend on them. This information can be used with other features, such as routing directs chat requests to agents in departments corresponding to the page the visitor is on when they initiate chat, like sales or tech support.

  • Visitor tracking. Chat software shows where your website visitors are coming from, and which search engines and terms they used to find you. You can also see whether visitors are new to your site or returning guests. This information gives you a better understanding of who your customers are and what they're looking for on your website.

Depending on the industry your business is in and how you intend to use chat software, these are some other features to look for:

  • Data collection and reporting: Most modern live chat solutions come with features that let an operator know where a customer is located, the types of browsers they use, which website they visited before coming to your company's site and other tracking methods. With that information in hand, a good live chat solution lets operators more easily serve a customer.

  • Video chat. Of the world's largest companies, 1 in 5 are expected to implement video chat by 2020, according to a Gartner report. Chat software allows small businesses to get in on this trend.

  • Integrations with the other business programs you use. Many chat solutions allow you to connect the software to Google Analytics as well as your e-commerce platform, email marketing service and CRM.

Benefits of Live Chat Software

In today's broadband world where customers want answers as soon as possible, businesses of all sizes have had to contend with the fact that a slow response could mean a lost sale.

According to Hubspot, the average consumer expects answers within 10 minutes. Thanks to live chat software, the amount of time between query and answer can be significantly reduced. Whether the solution you choose is automated or operated by one of your employees, live chat gives prospective customers a chance to directly ask their questions with the expectation of getting a quick answer.

While the customer will only experience a seamless chat conversation online, the real star will be the live chat software's administrator toolkits and chat options.

Nearly every solution we examined touted a range of tools that not only help the operator find the right answers but also help managers understand how the solution is being used. Through comprehensive data analysis gathered by in-depth reporting features, administrators can find out details like how fast a question is answered, what pages a visitor views before reaching out for help, whether a chat resulted in a successful transaction and how your operator's performance was rated. Armed with that information, managers can then place the right people in front of the keyboard to ensure customers get the help they need when they need it.

The best live chat software enables your company and your customer to converse in real time. Whether by computer, smartphone and tablet, your staff can answer questions, suggest appropriate purchases and build stronger brand loyalty. Some solutions allow for your employee and prospective buyers to chat face to face with video chat functionality, further driving a more personal approach to customer service. Few endeavors provide a both a vastly improved customer experience and a business data goldmine, but live chat software does both.

Methodology

Over a considerable amount of time, we researched a range of live chat software solutions, taking note of their feature sets, service plans and other major factors. We started by compiling a list of vendors. In addition to the vendors we were already familiar with from past reviews, we considered other companies found during our research as well as those that regularly appeared on other reputable online lists and reviews. In some cases, we also looked at companies that reached out to us asking to be considered for review.

After compiling our list, we visited each vendor's official website, taking notes of their features and pricing structures. When possible, we downloaded and tested the free trial. When a trial period wasn't an option, we watched product demo videos and tutorials to get a feel for how the product worked and to understand its key features.

After the testing phase, we reached out to our finalists, posing as a potential customer with questions about their platform. We asked everyone the same set of questions when applicable while taking note of the quality of service we received.

Finally, we arrived at our final determination by considering which software solutions struck the best balance of price, feature set and ease of use.

Here are the criteria we used to evaluate each option:

  • Pricing: A company can have the largest feature set on the market, but if it's too costly for small businesses to adopt, it's going to have a harder time finding itself as one of our finalists. We consider pricing to be an important data point in all of our reviews, so we take special note of the various pricing options offered to better understand how they could benefit small businesses with varying needs and budgets.

  • Features: We looked for features that bolstered a vendor's basic live chat functionality. Co-browsing capabilities, geotargeting, proactive chat and other features give customers more ways to reach out to a professional while offering the business with important data that can help improve customer interaction.

  • Ease of use: Having a live chat solution that's too hard to implement or is unintuitive for web visitors is of no use to anyone. People have been using live chat technology in some form since the 1990s, so if a vendor's solution doesn't live up to either the business's or customer's expectations, it's not worth consideration.

  • Compatibility: Today's average consumer has multiple internet-enabled devices in their home spanning multiple platforms. A live chat solution that can run just as well on an iPad as it does on a high-end PC or Android smartphone means more customers can be helped without fear of things breaking.

  • Integrations: When looking at live chat software, we considered how well it integrated with today's more popular business software suites. For example, CRM applications can take the data you gather from your live chat, and use it to synchronize sales and marketing with customer service. That kind of functionality can be a huge boost to all departments involved.

  • Security measures: Data security is important to today's internet user. Proper protections ranging from high-end encryption methods to GDPR and HIPAA compliance are commonplace in most live chat solutions. We also paid attention to the self-moderation tools that a vendor offered, such as IP blocking and visitor banning.

Community Expert Insight

Live chat software can have numerous applications for a litany of business types. The good ones generally work over most major platforms and are easy enough to use that your employees can quickly help people better understand what your business has to offer. Since the industry is so varied and different uses value different aspects of live chat software, we reached out to the small business community to ask what services they relied on and what drove them to make that choice.

One of the biggest reasons for small businesses to fold live chat functionality into their website is the ability to quickly and easily respond to customers. That kind of immediacy can not only make things easier for your customers but could also help push a prospective buyer to commit to a decision. To that end, Eimantas Aukstikalnis, the owner and manager of NordFur, said his company relies on Zendesk's chat functionality on their site.

"I think Zendesk helps a lot when it comes to quick questions from my customers that are important for them, but not important enough to write and send an email or make a phone call," he said. "When I compare questions my customers ask via email and questions I receive on live chat, I see a pattern that people on live chat tend to ask very simple questions about the product they are about to buy like 'What is the color of the lining?" or 'Can I wear it in summer?" Instant customer support allows a customer to make a buying decision right away."

Another consideration our community experts said they looked for was a long list of software integrations. Today's small business owner relies on a bevy of software solutions to handle much of their day-to-day needs, so any opportunity to combine functions is generally regarded as a plus. Jakub Kliszczak, a marketing specialist at Channels, said the company relies on LiveChat for its integrations that help streamline the customer service process.

"LiveChat comes with a bunch of integrations that we utilize daily, and it even integrates directly with our software," he said. "Thanks to [those integrations], we can get better results no matter if our customers want to contact us via live chat or the phone."

Finally, in some instances, people chose a service's live chat feature because they were already invested in its overarching ecosystem. There are multiple instances where companies offer an omnichannel approach to customer communications, leading to instances where live chat will be just one aspect of an overall portfolio of options. Ringblaze co-founder and CEO Dennis Vu said his company relies on Freshworks' Freshchat solution because they were already using the rest of the suite.

"Freshchat works beautifully when combined with the other tools in the Freshworks suite," he said. "When a new customer comes in through the chat box, we can plug them into the Freshworks CRM so we immediately have their records. Moreover, we can connect their query to Freshdesk so that our customer support team has an overview of their issue and the ticket that is created in our system."

State of the Industry

Chat software makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to provide fast, high-quality customer service. While most companies offer customer support over the phone, researchers expect the live chat software industry to continue growing. According to a 2018 survey conducted by Bold 360, 71% of businesses around the world expected that live chat with people and chatbots will become the premier method of communication by 2021, surpassing traditional methods altogether. Companies with a target audience of millennials and younger may find that subset of customers prefer online chat to traditional, telephone-based customer service.

Customers who use live chat are also happier with their experience than customers who call, email or connect with company representatives on social media. A report by Zendesk states that 92% of live chat customers were satisfied with the service they received, compared to 88% of customers who called, 85% of customers who emailed and 84% of customers who contacted the company via Facebook. Furthermore, a study by Kayako estimates that 41% of consumers polled said they preferred live chat as the way to reach out to customer service, outperforming phone support's 32%.

Additional reporting by Lori Fairbanks.

Andrew Martins: Writer
Andrew Martins,
business.com Writer
See Andrew's Profile
I am a former newspaper journalist who has transitioned to strictly cover the business world for business.com and Business News Daily. I am a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner and prior to joining my current team, I was the editor of six weekly newspapers that covered multiple counties in the state.

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Bryan Headrick
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I like ClickDesk, and another good option is Zopim, but both start at 10/mo if you want to really get any use out of them. I'm currently using https://livehelperchat.com/ - which is self-hosted, and it's as easy to install as wordpress. There's no free mobile app, but they do have desktop clients for it, a chrome extension, and a really full-featured mobile app is available for $19. Which is a little steep as mobile apps go, but still cheaper than $10/mo.
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Greg Tokarev
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Hi Mia, I would have to agree with most of the comments that said LiveChat. However, if all you need is a simple way to respond to your visitors in real time and you will be handling the chats, you can use ClickDesk (https://www.clickdesk.com/). Their free trial does not expire while LiveChat's free trial is only for 30 days. Click Desk has support ticket options, live chat, and can be easily integrated. The chat box itself has great customization options for being free! You of course have...
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Ron Bentata
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Hello Thomas. Striving to give you customers a better service is great. But I think you can't give a better service by making it automated. I would advice to solve this by opening a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on the site, and filling it with more and more common question and answers. You can also implement a tool such as UserVoice (https://www.uservoice.com/) which enables site users to view help topics and raise one themselves. in time, you will add more and more content to...
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Melissa Moore
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Hi Bryan, there are some great strategies in addition to the recommendations below. I would start by determining your criteria. Are you trying to measure interaction time, efficiency, accuracy in providing answers, etc? Internally, you could generate a survey delivered to the customer's email after an interaction. Monitor interaction internally. Direct engagement can be done after an interaction by placing a call to your customers asking for feedback. Offer a coupon or discount for feedback....
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