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What is Live Chat Software?


Live chat software enables your business to interact with customers in real-time, directly on your website or mobile app via a chat interface. This software solution provides your support center’s representatives with a complete platform to interact and converse with potential clients and customers.

Live chat solutions generally include tools to send targeted emails, in-app messages, or direct messages via chat windows on your website to support customers instantly. These tools can assist in lead generation and conversion via visitor monitoring or asking a few common questions.

There is a direct intersection between available technologies and the evolution of customer service and help desks. Today, providing support to customers and clients is about much more than providing a phone number or an email address as contact points.  Customers are looking for answers to their questions as quickly as possible in each chat session and live chat tools keep them from waiting.

The demand for instant support has spawned technology offering a direct line to a representative for real-time communication. Live chat tools are the latest technology to take advantage of the demand for customer satisfaction.

It enables large and small businesses to handle support requests and customer inquiries in a matter of minutes. Live chat includes a host of add-ons to equip your support agents with the tools they need to follow up with leads and provide the best chat experience possible.


What Are the Key Benefits of Live Chat Tools?


While it seems like live chat is just one aspect of your whole contact center, these solutions offer a powerful platform to transform the way you offer customer support. Integrating live chat software has a host of unique business benefits.


Reduced Resolution Times

Traditional support methods like phone and email are time-consuming. They require a significant time dedication from the customer or prospect.

Live chat shrinks this resolution time into a matter of seconds or minutes, providing real-time support for your website visitors when they need it. You’ll improve overall customer engagement when they know that you’re listening and that you value their time. You may even learn tactics that you can implement in your email marketing and sales efforts.


Boosted Sales and Conversions

Quickly engage customers during their journey on your website or enable them to find answers to their questions instantly, while they are shopping. Informed customers are likely to buy and potential leads can be converted into sales through a real-time conversation.

Your live chat agents can directly cater to the needs of shoppers and provide support instantly.


Cost-Effective Support

Live chat solutions are generally more cost-effective than traditional phones or VoIP call center solutions. They can also easily be scaled up or down, from low-impact chat widgets to complete customer support chat options.

Most agents can also handle multiple chats at one time, improving overall efficiency by reducing the required number of overall agents.


Improved Customer Experience

By interacting directly with customers and prospects with a chat box on your website, your agents can provide answers to inquiries and support. They’ll address any potential customer issues in a matter of minutes while the customer is in the middle of their shopping experience.

This enables agents to work with customers and provide a seamless experience. This keeps customers from interrupting their buying journey, making a phone call, and then waiting on hold for support.


A Competitive Advantage

Your business can stand out from the rest by introducing live chat directly onto your website. By providing this direct line of contact with a representative conveniently, your business can offer support and connection that competitors can’t.

Live chat creates trust and loyalty with your customers and prospects, keeping leads warm and building a repeat client base.


What Features to Look for in Live Chat Software


When shopping for live chat tools, you should know that no two solutions are the same. That’s why it’s important to match your support center’s needs with the features that create an ideal live chat solution. There should also be ample opportunities for your staff to grow by training and onboarding your support team with these tools.

Every solution has its strong suits but there are critical features and plug-ins we recommend to always be looking for.


Multi-channel Support

Live chat does not have to be limited to just visitors to your website. Instead, many live chat solutions are capable of being embedded directly into a smartphone app or even within social media messenger windows.

Find a solution that allows you to be where your customers are. Your live chat should enable your business to integrate into these multiple channels.


Team Inbox

With one centralized team inbox, your support center can manage and respond to all customer interactions from one single location. This gives your whole team access to everything, giving customers the best experience by spreading the workload around.

A shared team inbox ensures no conversation goes unnoticed and that different representatives can chime into different inquiries when their expertise matters.


Chatbot Support

Chatbots are already a popular customer support trend, as they emulate live representatives from the moment customers need assistance. This allows your team to focus on more complex issues while chatbots handle simple inquiries.

With live chat software, a chatbot can interact directly with customers. They’ll provide insight and support by asking your lead customized questions to provide the best context to a human agent.


Real-Time Traffic Monitoring

To stay on top of every interaction across your business, your live chat solution must include real-time traffic monitoring. By analyzing the data as it comes in, your support team can respond in real-time. With tools allowing for concurrent chats and chat routing, you can get help from staff who have extra bandwidth during high traffic moments.

Real-time traffic monitoring allows managers can make important changes on the fly to ensure you’re getting the most out of your leads. Having access to chat transcripts will help managers get a complete picture of past and present traffic. There are even tools to integrate with Google Analytics to see how your traffic matches your engagement.


Automated Visitor Engagement

Before an agent interacts with a visitor on your site or mobile app, live chat solutions can generate automated messages. Auto attendants greet customers and alert agents as soon as customers interact with them. The initial messages engage visitors based on your set criteria, setting them on a path to getting the service they need.

For example, some solutions make it possible to automate engagement with customers when they enter the “shopping cart” stage of the buying process. Others will engage customers when they click your “about” or “contact” pages.


Visitor Lead Scoring and Insights

The best live chat software will provide your business with lead scoring. This helps by quantifying the strength of each lead that visits your website and mobile app.

Some solutions will go even further to provide insight into your data. This live chat feature provides stats on conversation volume, response times, total leads, and team workload to build your overall knowledge base.


Buying Considerations for Live Chat


Beyond live chat software pricing and features, there are even more factors that can impact whether or not this solution is the right fit for your business. For example, if your business has an international presence, it is important to find a provider that has data centers overseas.

Make sure that you have a full picture of the provider you work with before you integrate your company with live chat. Most live chat solutions integrate with eCommerce and productivity software like Salesforce, Shopify, WordPress, HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Slack. Consider the following elements of the chat solution you choose.


Provider Locations

When choosing a provider, try to search for one that is located within the same country as your business. If your business has an international presence, you will want to look for a provider that also has data centers and offices overseas.

Companies with an international presence need to look at stats showing not only where their customer base is located but which region requires the most live chat support.



Most providers will offer more than just one product or solution. For those companies, live chat tools are just a part of a bigger platform.

Seek out a provider that makes it possible to scale your solution beyond just one feature or product.


Product Customization

When it comes to live chat, product customization is an important aspect. Look for a solution that enables your business to integrate your live chat solution directly with your business’ website or mobile app design.

Consider a tool that integrates with your CMS and omnichannel communication tools so that you can manage and track your customer interactions. Tools with screen sharing and co-browsing can help sales team agents to guide customers through their journey.

This way the live chat fits right in with the overall user experience both in look and in feel.



Thankfully most cloud-based software solutions offer strong integration with other products and services. Live chat solutions do this better than many other types of customer service solutions. Tools like Olark, Intercom, Zendesk Chat, Zoho and Pure Chat integrate with marketing solutions like Google Analytics, email marketing software, and even Whatsapp to allow for omnichannel communications and lead conversions.

Your live chat solution needs to integrate with other vital business software. This included your CRM, WFO, and unified communications platform. Tools like Magento, Clickdesk, and Liveperson provide more robust communications solutions than dedicated tools like Smartsupp, Snapengage, Drift, Userlike, and Freshchat.


What Do Live Chat Vendors Offer?


Finding the best provider has to do with more than just features. With so many competing companies, there are sure to be some companies offering similar features that don’t appear different on the surface.

For example, some live chat software offers solutions like lead scoring to keep track of your client base. However, a smaller number will give you advance metrics like team workload and response times.

Recognizing these distinctions is vital to finding the best solution for your needs.


Pricing Structure

One of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a provider will be their pricing structure and available plans. Some providers will be more cost-effective than others, but watch their features list.

There are free live chat software solutions but their features might be limited. Signing up for a free plan could get you started but you might be missing vital features like unlimited chats, video chat, video recordings, and access to your chat history.

It’s important to find a provider offering the most bang for your buck, covering the necessary features while staying within your budget. They should be able to scale up and down as you grow or streamline.


Support Options

While it seems ironic to contact support for your company’s support software, but it’s an important feature. When service is disrupted, you want to ensure that your provider has a solution in place. They need a robust ticketing tool to ensure you can hold them accountable.

It should be easy to get in touch with your service provider and you should know they’re willing to go the extra mile to fix any issues as soon as possible.


Service Limitations Versus Added Fees

In conjunction with pricing, it’s important to be aware of the different limitations providers might place on their service. Less expensive plans will generally place limitations on service, like the number of messages sent or the number of users on the system. Pro plans offer more expansive features, customizable interactions, and visitor tracking.

Some paid plans place added fees for the most important features. If you exceed their limitations, you could pay steep fees that end up costing more than a system upgrade.

You don’t want to see a surprise bill for every message you’ve sent over the month after you unknowingly exceeded a limit written in the fine print.


Mobile Apps

Mobile integration has become a necessity for any business operating in the modern era. Your live chat solution is no exception to this rule. Whether you have a workforce that’s on the go or have a remote team, you have to ensure that your customers are still a priority whether they’re contacting you via iOS, Google, or Android devices.

Your live chat provider should include a mobile app to keep your contact center agents in touch with customers and leads even when they are out of the office.


Network Reliability

Every second that a network is down, you could be losing untold numbers of sales. When your live chat software goes down because of a network error, customers who you could acquire might not take the chance to reach out again later.

Your provider needs to be built on a solid network with the evidence to back it up. You should have status tools to track the current state of the network and services.


Live Chat Software Forges a Stronger Bond Between Customers and Companies


Live chat software can completely transform your organization’s customer service and support by opening up new channels for real-time chat conversations. Live chat enables customers and prospects to reach out for support when they need it and receive help as soon as possible.

Live chat offers a happy medium between phone and email support. Live chat provides a real-time human interaction of phone support, with the ease of a text conversation from email. It improves overall efficiency by cutting the time associated with each channel.

By providing the best customer experience possible, your business can increase your conversion rate and sales while fostering better customer loyalty. That’s because your leads will appreciate lightning-quick support and fast resolution times.

As part of a complete suite of call center software, live chat is one of the best business support channels for companies dealing with web or in-app sales.

While live chat solutions enable agents to handle more interactions, balance is necessary. Piling customer support interactions on your contact center can degrade the overall service quality. Live chat solutions are a supplement to a full customer service experience supporting calls, emails, and social media interactions like Facebook messenger.

Complex issues should always be escalated to the most direct form of contact available.

As a start to your customer service funnel, live chat tools help you to stand out from the competition and provide your customers with direct contact. Having a channel to reach out and interact with a representative during their buying or researching process makes it that much easier to convert from a lead to a sale.