Today, when running an online business, there are more options for sales and support channels available than ever before. There are increasingly more and newer ways by which a business can communicate with its customers and users – via phone, email, WhatsApp and even social media such as Facebook and Twitter. However, nowadays, the channel that is becoming an extremely popular means of communication is “live Chat.”
While you are shopping online and are looking for the best deal on your purchase, you may notice a chat box popping up on your computer screen asking if you need help. And, if you actually provide the details of what exactly you are looking for, the agent at the backend may be able to get you a good deal on your purchase. These little chat boxes that appear on your computer screen are known as live chat and are extremely useful to connect with your customers, not only via your website but also via text messages and other messaging platforms.
Not only is live chat a hot favorite amongst the millennials, today more than half of the adult population use chat support. The option of live chat has become so popular that several companies are doing away with the email option completely.
So, how does live chat work? Live chat is essentially a simple little window that pops up on a website and displays text. Customers or users can type in the box and you can see the query and respond to it from your backend. You can also see the list of users on your website and reach out to them like they would experience in a real store.
Typically, live chat software includes:
- Real-time chat along with visitor monitoring.
- Canned and automated responses.
- Chat widgets that are customizable.
- Details of the visitor including their browser, operating system and language details.
- CRM integration in order to track interactions with the customers.
If you are planning to incorporate live chat in your website, but don’t really know where to start, then it is a good idea to go through our list and check out some of the chat tools discussed below.
Started in 2002 in Poland, LiveChat is among the largest and most popular live chat solutions. It is used in over 150 countries by over 24,000 business and supports over 25 languages. The online live Chat Software lets customer service representatives contact the customer directly on the website through social media or via the mobile, messaging app or the web.
LiveChat is extremely easy to set up. It can be set up in just 5 minutes and is loaded with features. The neat interface makes interacting extremely super easy. They have apps for your Mac, PC, Android and iOS smart devices. And, if there are queries that the live chat cannot solve, then you have access to their helpdesk for a solution.
LiveChat offers several integrations that allow you to connect the live chat with your CRM tools like Salesforce or your newsletter tool such as MailChimp, GetResponse, etc. LiveChat is ideal for businesses that have the budget and are on the lookout for a reliable live chat and want to take advantages of their array of features.
- Starter: $16
- Team: $33
- Business: $50
- Enterprise: $149
Each of the plans offers a range of features. You can try out LiveChat for 30 days free of cost.
Started in 2009, Olark Live Chat has around 12,000 customers in 178 countries and handles over 1 million messages in a day. Olark offers a wide array of features that can help you to manage and customize your live chat experience. The main feature that Olark offers is its chat automation feature or targeted chat which allows you to send automatic messages to people who are visiting specific pages. This allows you to send the right message at the right time.
Olark makes it easy for you to communicate with people who are browsing on your website and enables you to uncover more leads, answer questions in real time and close sales. There is no limitation on the number of conversations per month and if your chat volume is higher than normal, there is no additional cost in the case you subscribe to a paid Olark plan. And, you only pay for the team members who will be on chat.
Olark gives you real-time reporting on the chat volume, so you can monitor the day and time you are most busy, which of the agents are handling most of the chats and the customers’ rating of their chat experience.
- Cost: $0
- No. of Agents: 1
- No. of Chats: 20 chats/ month
- Cost: $17 per agent per month
- Cost: $15 per agent per month
Billed Every 2 Years
- Cost: $12 per agent per month
All premium plans offer the same features. Olark offers a 14-day free trial.
Tidio Live Chat
Tidio Live Chat is a live chat software that is web based. It combines messages from Facebook Messenger, website chat widgets and emails into a single agent interface and allows agents to handle all customer messages at the same time using the same tools irrespective of the channel they come from.
Tidio chat offers different types of chat options and users can choose from dedicated chat pages, sidebars and chat widgets that can all be customized and you can choose from the 3 chat widget styles i.e. business, modern and classic. You can customize the popup using button positions, different colors and status messages that can be edited. You can also customize the chat pages by making use of welcome messages and background images. You can set up several automations to enable preset actions when a specific action is fulfilled.
Tidio Chat offers an app for Android and iOS, 3rd-party integrations and supports up to 3 operators. The messenger options for Tidio include email, Facebook Messenger and chat widget. On an upgraded plan, Tidio offers features such as live typing visibility, opening hours and a list of visitors that allows you to see where the visitors are coming from and the automation features include auto replies, auto introductions and recover carts that have been abandoned. And, you get 5,000 automated events for an additional fee of $15 per month.
Forever Free Plan
- Cost: Free
- No. of Users: 3
- Cost: $15 per month
- No. of Users: 3
- Cost of Additional Users: $10 per operator
- Includes live typing, live visitors list, opening hours, etc.
- Cost: $15 per month
- Automation for 5,000 unique users to the site
- Includes abandoned cart recovery, auto-reply, saying “Hello” to new visitors, building loyalty of returning visitors
Great for startups, Smartsupp Live Chat is an excellent live chat software that offers unlimited agents and unlimited chat in its Forever Free plan. This essentially means that even if your team grows, you don’t have to spend any money on the live chat software. The Smartsupp Live Chat is available in several languages.
The chat tool’s visitor recording feature lets you see the visitors’ behavior and movement when they visit your site. You can see a video of the movement and the clicks of the visitors’ mouse. And every time a visitor interacts with the Smartsupp chat, the agent gets a notification which enables them to respond very quickly. Smartsupp helps companies to boost their sales conversions, get an understanding of the customers’ behavior and improve customer loyalty.
The free version of Smartsupp Live Chat allows you to customize the chats and also provides your chat history for 14 days. The two premium plans include features like Google Analytics, API, group statistics, etc. Smartsupp Live Chat is a perfect solution for data-driven organizations which are on the lookout for live chat software that is loaded with features.
- Cost: $0
- No. of Agents: Unlimited
- Cost: $8 per agent per month
- Cost: $19 per agent per month
SnapEngage is a live chat app that was started in 2008 and is used by companies like T-Mobile, AirBnb, etc. to power their live chat. Today, SnapEngage has around 10,000 customers. The live chat software has been developed for use in organizations so that they can engage better with the visitors to the website.
The live chat software can be used by sales and support teams and offers innovative features that enable companies to increase the customer satisfaction and convert more leads into sales. SnapEngage is available in English and other languages such as French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
SnapEngage’s data management is HIPAA compliant and the PCI encryption makes the chat software ideal for use by any business. SnapEngage is customizable, draws customer information from social networks, can be integrated with other popular apps and also has a mobile app, which allows you to chat on the move.
The software also has the co-browsing feature that enables you to control the user’s browser while chatting and help to fill forms and also fix problems. You can also collect credit card data, embed a form into the chat box and get other private information inside the chat to book an appointment or close a sale.
- Cost: $99 per month
- No. of Team Members: 5
- (Includes basic integrations, chat tools and design studio)
Ease of Implementation
All the live chat software options on our list are extremely easy to implement and can be done in just a few minutes. Once you sign up with any of the software services, all you have to do is follow the setup instructions and you are all set to explore the live chat features. Most of the services offer a free trial period and you are free to cancel your membership at any time you wish and you are not satisfied with the service.
How to Setup Live Chat on Your Website?
Setting up the live chat software on your website is extremely simple. And, here are a few steps that you can follow and set up the live chat in a jiffy.
Sign up with the Live Chat Service
This is an extremely simple process. You need to register your account by setting up a username and password. Most services provide a free trial of the software which lets you install the live chat software on your website and experience how it works in real time. You also have the option of taking a live demo of the software and run a chat session from your web browser without actually installing the software.
Add the Code of the Live Chat to Your Website
Adding the code of live chat software does not require in-depth HTML knowledge. All you need to do is, from the instructions page, you need to copy the required portion of the code and add it to the HTML code of your website. Basic knowledge of HTML will make the process easier as it will enable you to get through the tags and find a place to locate your chat button. However, it does not really matter if you don’t have any knowledge of HTML, you can always get help from the customer support of the chat service or if all else fails, you can get some help from your web developer.
Install the Live Chat on Your Device
The live chat console is a lightweight application that does not have any special system requirements and will also not consume a lot of your computer resources. Having a computer with an operating system of Mac, Windows or Linux and 32 MB free space is sufficient.
If you’re working on any computer or from an office that restricts downloading of any new software, you can use the web chat client and run it from your browser without actually installing the software, although this option may offer lesser features; nevertheless, you will still have access to the important features like chatting and monitoring.
Login and Start Chatting
Until you login to the operator chat client, you will remain offline even if you have logged in to the admin panel and have added the chat code. If you want to be online during specific hours, you will require to keep your chat console running and ensure that the status is “On.” You also have the “Away” option which will make you invisible to the visitors. Once you login with the credentials you receive, you are all set.
So, if you’re planning to include live chat in your website, then you could consider one of the website chat software that we have discussed in the article. Most of the services have a “forever free” plan which can help you get started with your customer communication in real time. While the free plan may have limited features, they are an excellent way, to begin with live chat and determine if works for your business. And, if you feel that you need more functionality and features, then you could consider upgrading the service too without switching to a different software.
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