An email has long been the most used digital customer service channel. However, the Customer Benchmark Report in 2021 by SuperOffice has revealed that:
- 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails.
- 90% of companies do not acknowledge or inform the customer that an email has been received.
- 97% of companies do not send a follow-up email to customers to see if they are satisfied with the response.
- Only 20% of companies can answer questions in full on the first reply.
- The average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes.
The research also shows that a majority of the 1,000 companies in the study (including both large and small organizations across the world) are failing to meet customer expectations and costing millions of dollars in lost customers and unnecessary internal follow-up work.
Meanwhile, along with the need of providing consumers with instant support and quick replies, live chat has grown into one of the most essential functionalities of a website for customer service.
What is live chat?
When you visit a website, you may usually see a chat bubble or small window, which often locates at the bottom right corner of the page. It often starts with a greeting or question like “How can we help you?”, and once you leave your message in the window chat, you can immediately receive the answer instead of sending emails and waiting for a reply.
Businesses can use live chat as a customer service and marketing channel. The advantage of live chat is that it is similar to instant messaging conversations. Compared to phone calls or emails, consumers don’t have to navigate to other applications to continue the conversation. Through the live chat window, a user can exchange messages with a company representative or the chatbot software.
Why should your website use live chat?
Increasing and keeping customer satisfaction high is extremely important to any business’s survival. Along with the quality of the products and services that you are selling, your customer service performance plays a very big role in retaining and attracting customers. Surfing a website is similar to going to a coffee shop if you need any support – surely faster is better. Through live chat, you can reduce the waiting time of your customers to give them proper support, or at least provide them with appropriate information and assistance, as well as keep them in touch with you by asking for their email address and contact information automatically.
Some web users may prefer calls to chat. Some may prefer receiving a formal support letter via email to a short message. But there are also web users who tend to lose their patience with log-in into their email accounts for getting service. And some will prefer talking with a real person to a chatbot. With live chat, you can set up your automatic message to give your customer the kind of service that they prefer without much human involvement, which means that the process will take less time. In terms of customer experience, live chat is way doing better than any customer service channel.
According to statistics:
- 52% of consumers tend to keep loyal to a company that offers live chat support.
- 79% of businesses state that offering live chat service has had a positive impact on their sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
- 63% of people who often spend at least $250 online shopping are the most likely to buy from companies that offer live chat and stay loyal to those vendors.
- 51% of consumers say that they tend to buy again from a company if they offer live chat support.
- 38% of consumers prefer buying from a company if they offer live chat support.
How to choose a good live chat software for your website?
There is a handful of live chat software that is easy to integrate with your website. To make it easier for you to choose one that suits your needs, the list below is the best 5 live chat software that are popularly used by small and medium-sized businesses.
1. Live Chat
LiveChat.com is an online customer service software for eCommerce sales, customer support, and lead generation. It now supports online chat in up to 41 languages.
- Sign up with no credit card required
- Paste a piece of code onto your website
Live Chat features:
Live Chat offers a wide range of chat tools and supports many customer engagement features, customization, as well as reports and analytics, and security.
Key features include:
- Chat client
- Chat agent console
- Automatic messaging
- Offline mode
- Shortcuts/canned messages
- Tracking/live analytics
- Ticketing system
- Integrations and add-ons
- Team management
- Mobile support/apps
- Ban users
- Log creation
(Monthly prices based on a one-year contract for one agent)
|Starter||$16/month||For small businesses|
|Team||$44/month||For a full-time support team|
|Business||$50/month||For a customer service department|
|Enterprise||$149/month||A solution for Fortune 500 corporations|
|Well-designed||Pricing – LiveChat is more expensive than most other live chat tools, especially when you need to set up different agent groups or add multiple automatic triggers.|
|Lots of features and apps||Automations – The automatic greetings are not quite sophisticated as with some other live chat tools. For example, you can’t trigger a live chat when the visitor is leaving the page.|
|Apps for iOS, Android as well as PC and Mac||Live Chat doesn’t allow changing the Welcome Message without moving up to another tier.|
Tidio Live Chat is a live chat service that allows you to keep live chat, chatbots, messenger and email in one place. It is designed specifically for the WordPress Community. However, Tidio is also well-supported for Shopify, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, AmeriCommerce and it is considered as a young live chat software with a focus on automations and smart integrations.
- Free-trial offered
- Paste a piece of code onto your website
Tidio Live Chat key features:
- Canned Responses
- Offline Form
- Proactive Chat
- Third-party integrations
- Website Visitor Tracking
Specific features for Customer Satisfaction:
- Feedback Collection
- Complaint Monitoring
Specific features for Customer Support:
- Email management
- Knowledge Base
- Multi-channel communication
|Free-trial||Free||+ 7-days free trial
+ Free version available starts at $10 for Mailing plan
|Chatbots||Starts from $18/month||+ Unlimited active chatbots
+ Chatbot templates
+ Increased limit of unique reachable visitors/month from 1k to unlimited
+ Visual chatbot editor
+ Zapier integration
|Communicator||Starts from $18/month||+ New Incoming Visitor Notifications
+ Live Typing
+ Viewed Pages
+ Live Visitors List
+ Additional chat operator seats (10$ per seat)
|Email Marketing||Starts from $10/month||+ Unlimited contacts
+ No daily sending limits
+ Email templates
+ Email address validation
+ CAN-SPAM and
+ Contact segmentation
+ Automated and
+ Visual email editor
+ Increased email
|Easy setup multi language home page chatbot||Doesn’t automatically straightens the lines for users and adds the correct spacings between actions and branches either|
|Intuitive and simple-to-navigate interface||Some users find that integrations are all manual|
|Fully customizable, powerful, and fairly priced||The message box is only refreshed when the page is opened, so if a visitor is using multiple tabs, they will not receive replies|
3. HubSpot Live Chat
HubSpot Live Chat is a basic live chat software integrated with a free CRM. It is offered by HubSpot with the messaging tools and context to have personalized conversations with prospects and customers at scale for free.
Once logged in to your HubSpot account on their free live chat software website, click the button Add chat to your site, and then you can easily add the software to your website by following the instructions.
HubSpot Live Chat features:
- Contact and Lead management
- Pipeline management
- Contact & company insights
- Email tracking
- Gmail & Outlook Integration
- Facebook & Instagram Lead Ads
- Forms (mobile optimized forms, pop-ups, banners, etc.)
- Contact activity
- Conversations Inbox
- Meeting Scheduling
- Live Chat & Bot
The software is free, but if you want to upgrade to additional capabilities, it costs $50+ per user/month.
|Live chat for free with the HubSpot CRM||Some users find it too easy to miss conversations|
|No integrations required
Integration with other HubSpot tools and contacts
|Doesn’t support internationalization|
|Synchs conversations with a contact record||HubSpot doesn’t publish anything specifically about the security features of its live chat application|
|Conversations are recorded and transcribed|
|Works on WhatsApp|
|Provides immediate assistance to shoppers when questions arise|
Tawk.to is a free live chat app that lets you monitor and chat with visitors on your website or from a free customizable page. Tawk uses a different business model than other live chat services. It offers a free live chat and generates revenue from up-selling their live agents’ support which they provide for $1/hour.
Easy to set up by pasting a piece of code onto your website.
Tawk.to Chat features:
- Real time monitoring
- Native Mobile Apps
- Automated triggers
- Customizable Widgets
- Ticketing Built-in
- Remove Branding
- Canned Shortcuts
- 100+ integrations
There is no ‘premium’ version, just one feature-packed version for everyone. However, if you want to remove Tawk branding from the chat widget, you’ll have to pay at least $9/month.
Pros & Cons:
|It’s free, which is great for small companies that want to give the concept of live chat a try||It’s free, which means that you don’t get any guarantee that it will work or that you will get help|
|You get all the basic tools you might need for your first live chat||Tawk does not provide email features that are indispensable to follow up and re-engage your customers|
|Fairly painless implementation|
|Notes feature that allows you to keep track of previous contacts with customers|
Respond.io is a business messaging platform that connects contacts from Email, Whatsapp, Social Media, Website widget in one place to create a holistic view of chats with powerful broadcast and survey functionality. It uses self-learning AI and automation to generate leads, automate engagement & support customers.
How to setup
After log in to their website, you will get started with filling out some basic details about your company, then just follow the instructions. At the dashboard interface, you can start to choose the channel that you want to connect with the live chat.
- Email & Desktop Notifications
- Send & Read Receipts
- Comments (Note) & @mentions
- Chat Assignment & Transfer
- Canned Responses (Snippets)
- Shared & individual inboxes
- Multiple Roles: Admin, Manager, Agent
- Granular Permission Control
- Third Party Integration
- Offline Form
Respond.io pricing starts at $29.00 per month, but there is a free version.respond.io. It also offers a free trial.
Pros & Cons
|Easy to use||Doesn’t have a mobile app, only available on browser|
|No knowledge is needed thanks to the full guide provided|
|Best for companies that want to communicate with customers without involving scaling staff|
Thanks to free trials, it’s pretty risk-free to choose a live chat tool these days. In general, to be able to opt for a live chat software that most suits your company’s needs, you should base your experience on the free trial, the support from the vendors. Moreover, do not forget to make a comparison on prices between different apps, as well as consider what features you typically need. Have a look around first, then run your trial and let your experience help you make a decision for a live chat software that best suits your website.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!