The best live chat software makes it simple and easy to manage sales and support enquiries from customers and staff.
Best live chat: quick menu
Live chat has become much more common these days, and you’ve probably already seen many examples of live chat boxes on business websites. However, the additional rise of AI means live chat bots can now be applied to a wider range of examples, including staff support requests. This has especially become useful with so many people working remotely rather than in the office.
Even better, live chat software can be omnichannel, allowing communications not just directly through a chat box on the organization’s website, but also using social media, and email, making it both incredible useful and versatile when it comes to working through support from a single platform.
Despite its seeming complexity, though, live chat software is easy to set up, with integrations and analytics both available as standard. These means not only is it easier to integrate with other software platforms to improve productivity, but also provide real-time reporting.
Below we’ll list what we think are the best live chat software solutions currently available.
We’ve also featured the best help desk software.
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The best live chat software of 2024 in full:
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Best live chat software overall
Thanks to its ease of use and a great range of features, LiveChat is our choice for the best live chat software around.
With it, you can create a chat box to communicate with customers on your website. It’s possible to send files, links, calendars, and canned responses that answer common questions through this chat box. Another handy feature is the ability to send a live chat to another customer support representative, which is important for businesses with many different teams.
In terms of other live chat functions, you can see what customers are typing before they even send their message, assign contextual tags to each chat, or access previous chats using an archive. It’s also possible to receive chat notifications, ask customers to rate chats and complete short surveys, ask new visitors if they’d like to chat, tell customers about new announcements and products, and much more.
What’s more, LiveChat lets you organize all your communications (including emails, chats, SMS, apps, etc) in a user-friendly dashboard. It also sports integrations for more than 170 software platforms, including Facebook, Messenger, WordPress, Salesforce, Shopify, Dropbox, and many others.
Pricing starts from around $20 a month when paid annually, with additional plans offering further advanced features.
Read our full LiveChat review.
Best budget live chat software
HubSpot offers a completely free option for any business that doesn’t have the budget for a comprehensive live chat solution.
Using HubSpot Live Chat, you can initiate live chats with customers and other website visitors. If you begin chatting with someone and feel like their request would better suit a different team, you can easily pass them on to the right person.
When setting up the live chat widget, you can personalize it with your business branding and write canned welcome messages that target different audiences. Every time you engage in a live chat, the conversation will be stored in a centralized inbox for future reference.
Of course, not every business has the time and resources to respond to every customer chat. But you can easily create chatbots to answer commonly asked questions, set up customer meetings, and more. It’s actually pretty simple to create these, thanks to the integrated chatbot builder.
HubSpot Live Chat also offers a useful Slack integration, allowing you to receive live chat notifications and message customers directly from this platform. You also have the option of conducting live chats through the HubSpot mobile app.
While the software is somewhat limited as a free service, Hubspot offer paid-for content and marketing plans that could help you extend your live chat functionality into a single integrated and comprehensive CRM software platform.
Read our full HubSpot review.
Best combined live chat software platform
If you’re looking for a solution that combines a strong live chat and help desk system, look no further than LiveAgent.
This software allows you to add live chat boxes and email ticketing to your business website or app. Using the live chat function, you can create canned responses to answer frequently asked questions automatically, assign different support agents to chats, send surveys to collect customer feedback, set up multiple chat boxes or emails (depending on the plan you choose), and more.
LiveAgent provides integrations with major messaging platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, when we reviewed this platform, we realized that there isn’t a chat-to-SMS feature like many other providers offer, which is a minor criticism.
The platform also offers a comprehensive ticketing system that allows you to auto-route tickets, assign tickets to different agents and teams, transfer tickets, and lots more.
The back-end platform is straightforward to use and provides a range of tools to boost productivity across customer support teams. For example, there’s an internal messaging and tickets system. LiveAgent also warns when customer support agents are responding to the same request.
Read our full LiveAgent review.
Best popular live chat software platform
Zendesk enables you to speak to your customers in real-time, initiate targeted and customer behavior-driven chats, send files via chats, ask customers to rate chats, as well as to log and analyze all the live chats that happen across your business.
What’s also great about Zendesk is that it boasts a powerful chatbot function. Whether you want to respond to customers out of working hours or reduce your overall workload, you can create chatbots that will automatically answer frequently asked customer questions.
When it comes to customer service software, Zendesk is one of the largest and best known providers, and the software giant offers a comprehensive live chat solution.
Read our full Zendesk review.
Best live chat software for bargain chatbots
Tidio is a live chat, chatbot, and ticketing solution aimed at mid-size businesses looking to solve customer problems while generating sales. Its extensive chatbot template library covers both support and sales scenarios, and an advanced AI response bot can hold a conversation for a heftier price tag.
Tidio grabs attention with a slick design, quick messaging, and straightforward features. It gives customers plenty of support options, from live chat and chatbots to ticketing, Instagram messages, and Facebook Messenger chat. A self-learning AI response bot sets it apart from similar competitors, while the free plan offers a basic option for the budget-conscious.
However, while Tidio’s neatly-designed live chat, chatbot, and ticketing combo is great if you’re starting out or growing, for advanced support and analytics features you may need to look elsewhere.
Read our full Tidio review.
Best live chat software for small business
Olark is straightforward to set up and operate, so it’s a great option for small businesses that have never used one of these services before.
One of the best things about Olark is that it’s highly customizable, allowing you to change the colors, position and shape of chat boxes. To humanize your live chats, you can add welcome text and a customer support agent photo.
The platform also offers some helpful automation features. You can automatically engage with people, create canned responses, direct chats to different departments, and more. Olark also provides live reports and analytics on metrics like the number of chats in your business, customer satisfaction, your support agents’ activities, and other info besides.
Like many other live chat solutions, Olark sports integrations with CRM software like HubSpot and Salesforce, automation tools like ActiveCampaign and Zapier, email services like MailChimp, reporting platforms like Google Analytics, ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, as well as content management systems like WordPress and Drupal.
However, unlike other options there are no individual plans with different feature levels as everything is all-inclusive for $29 per agent. While this may seem initially the more expensive option, it’s actually more than competitive if you want a full-featured solution rather than a basic option you might need to upgrade anyway.
Best live chat software for video
Most providers in this list focus on text-based live messaging, but ClickDesk goes even further by letting businesses video or voice call with their customers.
ClickDesk allows businesses to quickly and easily set up a browser-based voice and video chat facility on their website. The best thing is that you don’t need to download any software to conduct video or voice calls with customers.
While ClickDesk focuses on video and voice calling, it does provide a text-based live chat too. You can send custom greetings; ask customers to provide their name, email, and message before starting a live chat; as well as speak to customers via smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Best live chat software for unlimited agents
Should you use Slack or Microsoft Teams in your business, Social Intents will allow you to chat to customers in real-time directly from these platforms.
As well as being able to respond to live chat messages via Slack or Teams, you can also benefit from a user-friendly internet dashboard with Social Intents. Chats are mobile-friendly, too.
Social Intents offers all the features you’d expect to see on a premium live chat solution, including the ability to customize your chats, draft canned messages, direct messages to appropriate departments, get customer feedback, and use automated chatbots.
Compared to some providers that limit the number of employees who can speak to customers via their live chat software, Social Intents provides unlimited agents across all its different plans. So, it’s a great live chat tool for teams of all sizes.
We’ve also featured the best video conferencing software.
Live chat FAQs
What’s the difference between live chat and help desk software?
If you’ve been looking at different types of customer support software, you’ve probably come across both help desk and live chat solutions. While both of these make it easier for businesses to respond to customer support requests, they’re slightly different.
Using a live chat solution, you can add a real-time messaging capability to your website. Live chat software lets human employees speak directly to customers, but it also allows businesses to create chatbots that automatically answer common customer questions and requests.
On the other hand, help desk software is used by businesses for managing and responding to customer service tickets. With one of these solutions, firms can create an online help desk where customers can raise support tickets. This software will also provide a back-end dashboard that will enable agents to view and answer these tickets.
Which live chat software is best for you?
When deciding which live chat software to use, first consider what actual needs you have. For example, someone simply wanting to communicate with a handful of people on a casual basis may find a a free options such as email or social media cheaper is the more cost-effective. However, for professional or business purposes, especially with a large number of people and on a regular basis, then you will probably want to look to the higher-end live chat software options to properly cater for your needs, while also providing for all of the more advanced tools that are included.
How we tested the best live chat software
To test for the best live chat software we searched for a range of popular options as well as took recommendations from people we know who use live chat software regularly. We then tried each platform to see how user-friendly each was, as well as determine what range of tools and advanced options were available. Pricing also came into account when determining our best list.
Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.
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