Finding the best live chat software platforms in a crowded marketplace can be tricky. But because there are so many choices, there’s bound to be an option that fits perfectly with your use case.
If you owned a store, you could speak directly with the customers who come in each day. The same principle doesn’t traditionally work with websites.
Sure, tools like Google Analytics can give you information about where your visitors come from and what they do while on your site. And some brands are using Facebook chatbots to handle conversations with customers to great success.
But what about visitors who are on your site right now? To convert them into buyers, you need to be able to quickly answer questions while they browse. Simply being available can make the difference between getting a sale and losing a potential customer.
In fact, live chat has become so popular, 63 percent of customers say they are more likely to come back to a website that has it.
In many cases, like on pricing pages or for customer support scenarios, live chat is now a feature that users expect.
20 Best Live Chat Tools to Consider
Whatever your goals, here are a few top chat tools that can keep your team in touch with your customers. They’re divided into categories based on their strengths to help you narrow down your options.
- Best Overall
- Best for 24/7 Availability
- Best for Customer Support
- Best for Multichannel Support
- Best for Lead Generation
- Best Free Chat Tool
- Best for Inbound Teams
- Best Video and Audio Chat
- Easiest to Use
- Best Agent Analytics
- Best for Limited Teams
- Best for Conversational Marketing
- Best for Boosting Sales
- Best Free Chat Software
- Best for Teams of All Sizes
- Best for Various Devices
- Best for Multiple Languages
- Best for Live Chat in Europe
- Best for Analyzing Your Customers
- Best Live Chat for Online Stores
1) Best Overall: Nextiva
Nextiva’s live chat platform, Nextiva Chat, rates as the best live chat software due to its focus on NextOS. This pulls data on customer interactions and puts that information to use.
This allows the technology powering Nextiva’s chat tool to interact intelligently with website visitors.
A winning feature is the built-in shortcuts, which let support operators choose frequently-sent responses to speed up the service they give to customers. Each chat can be easily converted to a case so that it’s logged in the system for later reference.
You can also set the hours team members will be available to chat.
Internally you’ll be able to see which team members are online, and support representatives can also chat with each other. This tool also makes it easy to send broadcast messages to the entire team.
Weaknesses: Currently, Nextiva Chat doesn’t include reporting on website visitors and agent performance, but both features are coming soon.
BBB Rating: A+
Target Customer: Sales and support teams
Price: $10-$35 per month, billed annually
2) Best for 24/7 Availability: Bold360
If automation is your plan, Bold360 should be at the top of your list.
Built by parent company LogMeIn, this app uses the latest artificial intelligence to provide realistic interactions with your customers. You can supplement your robo-support with live agents during the hours when you have someone available to help.
Bold360 is best for customer service teams, so it will help more with buyer retention than winning over new customers. It also attaches to your email and messaging solutions to guide your workers on making the most out of every sales conversation.
Self-service portals can be frustrating, but Bold360 empowers teams to offer useful answers to customers. Using analytics, Bold360 finds the best answers to customer questions.
You can then supplement your knowledge bases and customer service manuals to make sure every area is covered. Bold360 also uses intelligent routing, which means if a chatbot can’t help a customer, that person is routed to the appropriate representative.
Weaknesses: Bold360 focuses on powering customer interactions, which may make it ideal for customer service situations.
However, for businesses interested in learning more about their customers, it may be best to choose a platform that homes in on those areas.
BBB Rating: Bold360 is not rated, but parent company LogMeIn has an A+
Target Customer: Customer service teams
Price: Depends on deployment size.
3) Best for Customer Support: Acquire
Even a small amount of conversational friction between an agent and customers can lead to a terrible experience for the customers.
Acquire combines live chat and co-browsing into one integrated platform to focus on reducing friction points like long handle times and abandoned conversations.
Engage with your website visitors with the context of their full customer experience in mind. Agents can access past conversations, recently browsed pages, location, etc. to customize the conversation.
Automate — Auto-responders help simplify customer engagement and solve problems more efficiently and quickly.
Co-browsing — The customer support agent can see the customer’s screen live, and take temporary control of their screen to guide them to answers. The best part is that there’s no download required.
Weaknesses: Acquire is a relatively new platform on the market, and as you’d expect they’re changing quickly. Some users have reported that the release of new features can be hard to keep up with, but it’s also a sign that Acquire is continuing to invest in the product.
BBB Rating: Not BBB Accredited
Target Customer: Sales and Marketing teams in the Financial and banking sectors, or eCommerce and marketplaces.
Price: Starts at $25 per month
4) Best for Multichannel Support: LiveAgent
If you have been craving support for multiple channels, LiveAgent is your best choice. LiveAgent is one of the few help desk software which offers Instagram and Viber integration amongst other helpful features.
One of the core strengths of LiveAgent is its ability to connect a variety of communication channels into one convenient dashboard. It doesn’t matter if it’s email, live chat, phone, Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram, everything is smoothly connected.
Quick and easy to use — Setting up LiveAgent is intuitive and fast, so you can focus on the important things and not waste time with complicated installation. It’s browser-based, so you don’t need to install anything and you can log in from any computer. You also don’t need any prior experience or complicated guides to learn how to use it.
Excellent Live chat — LiveAgent’s live chat feature has been ranked as the fastest on the market, with chat displayed speeds at 2.5 seconds. And it’s quick to set up on your website. You can also choose from a selection of premade chat buttons to place on your web, or you can create your own.
Pricing — LiveAgent offers a variety of useful features for a very reasonable price. Its pricing plans are tailored for businesses of any size and you can additionally buy separate features if you need something extra to make your workflow more engaged.
Weakness: The software’s visuals look quite outdated and a design refresh would be an appreciated improvement. This can be a minus in case you expect a help desk software not just to be capable but also look like it.
Target Customer: Customer service teams
Price: Starts at $15 per month
5) Best for Lead Generation: Intercom
Intercom is a conversational relationship platform that is plugged into the lead generation needs of sales teams. This technology is used to enhance its live chat tools, engaging website visitors in a way that makes them want to take action.
Your sales team can chat with customers in real-time to answer their questions and encourage them to take a closer look.
Perhaps what makes Intercom most powerful for lead generation, though, is that each lead is qualified using Intercom’s technology. The bot can even schedule meetings and monitor all lead-capturing data. Integration with Salesforce means your information is always up-to-date across the board.
Once the software has qualified a lead, it’s sent to the perfect salesperson to close the deal. The corresponding app alerts team members that a new lead has come in so that they can act on it.
Weaknesses: Intercom Chat is built specifically for the needs of small businesses. As you grow, you’ll likely need to consider other solutions. It also can be difficult to tell which customer requests need immediate attention.
BBB Rating: No rating
Target Customer: Sales teams
Price: $49 per month for first year for early-stage companies
6) Best Free Chat Tool: PureChat
For a business starting out, “free” has a nice ring to it. PureChat can hook you up on that front, with a free version that includes unlimited live chat, unlimited users etc.
However, if you want visitor tracking and trigger-based alerts, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro version. The free version also includes PureChat’s branding and a limit on the number of contacts it will store.
PureChat features easy installation, providing a snippet of code that you simply add to your website. There’s also a plugin that can be used to install the gadget.
Once chat is installed, you can view transcripts of all interactions and set up canned responses. The free edition also includes an admin dashboard.
Weaknesses: Like most free solutions, you’ll be limited in what you can do in the free version. That makes it great if you just want to get a tool in place, but be sure you shop around before you settle on the paid version. You may find you get better features at the same price from a competitor.
BBB Rating: No rating
Target Customer: Small startups on a budget
Price: Free or $29-$239 per month for pro version
7) Best for Inbound Teams: SnapEngage
Some sales teams spend the week cold calling, reaching out to explain the benefits of their products.
Many others, though, get the bulk of their leads through incoming traffic, with sales teams working hard to act on those leads.
SnapEngage helps capture the information and deliver it where it needs to go.
In addition to capturing leads, SnapEngage’s chat functionality also includes a customer support feature. If you use software like Zendesk or Help Scout for your help desk, you’ll love the way SnapEngage connects with those.
You’ll have unlimited simultaneous interactions, which means your team members can pull up windows to chat with others in your organization while interacting with customers.
This is ideal for a help desk situation, where team members constantly need to ask questions in order to better help a customer reporting a problem.
Weaknesses: SnapEngage lacks the ability to learn information about the customers visiting your website. This means representatives won’t be able to launch a chat session based specifically on a customer’s interactions. This can be a significant downside for a tool that specializes in customer support.
BBB Rating: Not BBB accredited
Target Customer: Inbound sales and marketing teams
Price: Starts at $99 per month
8) Best for Video and Audio Chat: ClickDesk
ClickDesk acknowledges that there is more than one way to interact with customers. It offers a solution that gives customers options when it comes to contacting you.
In addition to a solution that it promises is “the easiest live chat app on the planet,” ClickDesk also includes video and audio chat.
Audio chat is launched through a feature called Browser Phone, which gives you local access business numbers in 40 different countries. There’s also integrations with Skype and Google Talk to meet customer preferences.
If you don’t want to keep a representative camera-ready at all times, never fear. Each representative can choose when to be available for video chat. The same goes for your telephony option.
The software is also easy to set up, with no installation required. It simply works in your web browser.
Weaknesses: Tracking and analytics is a problem, since ClickDesk only shows basic information on the customer. This information includes the customer’s location and browser type, but no more. This can be problematic if your support team wants to learn more about the customers.
BBB Rating: No rating
Target Customer: Teams that want audio and video options
Price: $14.99-$39.99 per month, free for up to 30 chats
9) Easiest to Use: Olark
If you’re just looking for a simple, straightforward solution, Olark is your best bet.
Not only will your employees have access to all the information they need, but every chat is captured in a transcript.
You can also filter your transcripts to find information related to a specific topic. Additionally, you can also search for instances where your competitor has been mentioned.
On the customer side, customers will see a chat widget that lets them easily launch a real-time chat when they’re ready. You can set up a schedule of when a representative will be available to chat. Once you’re back online, a representative can respond to that chat message and make sure the customer receives the necessary help.
Weaknesses: Olark’s simplicity means it’s also missing a few key features, such as an easy way to block or transfer a customer. You’ll also find fewer automation options with this solution.
BBB Rating: No rating
Target Customer: –
Price: $12-$17 per agent per month
10) Best for Agent Analytics: ZenDesk Chat
ZenDesk is a respected name in customer support software. Their chat feature interacts seamlessly with its other products.
Perhaps one of the best features is its in-depth agent analytics. Using built-in reports, you can monitor each agent’s productivity level, including how many chats each person is completing.
You can also use this tool to identify areas where you can better serve your customers.
This solution also provides the ability to launch chat in context. If a customer is going through checkout, you can reach out and offer assistance. If a customer initiates the chat, that customer will be invited to input basic contact information. You’ll also be able to ask customers to complete a survey about their chat experiences.
Weaknesses: One common complaint about ZenDesk is that the tool can go offline even when an agent isn’t idle.
BBB Rating: D-
Target Customer: Businesses with large agent teams
Price: $14-$59 per agent per month
11) Best for Limited Teams: WebsiteAlive
If you’re dreaming of the day when you’ll have a fully-staffed call center, WebsiteAlive has an option that might help. The solution comes with a separately-priced concierge service that lets you hire live agents.
Should you have someone handling this during business hours, you can choose to enact this option after hours.
In addition to its concierge feature, WebsiteAlive also offers award-winning live chat software. Customers will see a form on your website that invites them to enter a name and email address to launch a chat. You can customize this form, but it can be a great way to capture information for your database.
You can also set up the chat window to launch based on triggers, such as by certain pages they’ve visited.
The customer can choose the department for the chat, saving the time your team normally would have spent forwarding customers to the appropriate representative.
Weaknesses: The screen can be a bit busy for users who prefer a more simplistic solution. The price is also more expensive than other options. This highlights the fact that this solution is designed for small, growing businesses.
BBB Rating: No rating
Target Customer: Website-based businesses
Price: $30 per month for first license, $20 per month for each additional license.
12) Best for Conversational Marketing: Drift
Drift makes it easier for people to buy from your business through real-time one-on-one conversations.
When you connect Drift’s conversational marketing platform to your website, you will generate more qualified leads using our bots, and book more meetings for your sales team.
Pop-up chat — Enables a popup chat window on company websites to encourage interaction between website visitors and designated company representatives.
Notifications — Delivers notifications to both sides of the conversation.
Targeted Emails — Sends automated emails to further engage clients and potential clients.
Bot Builder — Using the Bot Builder, you can easily create smart conversation flows for your website in minutes.
Target Customer: Sales teams
Price: $50 for two agents per month
13) Best for Boosting Sales: LiveChat
LiveChat is a dependable customer service platform that helps you boost your sales and delight your customers.
It is popular for its ease of use and a variety of useful features. For instance, it has a feature that allows you to have a live chat with another customer support member, which is vital for businesses with multiple members.
It also comes with a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to organize your communication, including chats, emails, apps, etc. The versatile platform also integrates with other software platforms, including Facebook, Shopify, Salesforce, WordPress, Messenger, Dropbox, etc.
AI chatbot automations: the chatbot allows you to send links, calendars, files and canned responses that help to answer various questions. It offers an excellent avenue of communicating with your customers on your website.
Live chat functions: the live chat tool enable you to see what a customer is typing before they can send the message. There is also an archive that allows you to access previous chats. Additionally, you can assign contextual tags to various chats.
Target Customer: Sales teams
Price: a starter pack for home and small office use at $16 per month, a full-time support team at $33 per month, and a business pack at $50 per month.
14) Best Free Chat Software: HubSpot Live Chat
HubSpot Live Chat is an excellent option for a business that doesn’t have a budget for a live chat platform. It helps you offer support to your customers, convert new leads, and close more deals. With the HubSpot Live Chat platform, you can pass your leads to a salesperson and customer inquiries to your support team.
The platform also allows you to customize your chat widget to match that of your brand and look. It also helps you to connect with new visitors on your website and have different welcome messages for segments of your audience and various web pages.
HubSpot live chat platform helps you connect your site visitors with the right members of your support team.
Besides helping you connect with site visitors who matter, the platform also automatically saves your chats in a conversations inbox. The chats are also saved on the contact’s timeline to ensure your team can view every interaction.
Additionally, HubSpot Live Chat software also features a chatbot builder that you can use for free without any coding. The feature helps you to create bots that you can use to book meetings, qualify leads, and offer answers to common customer questions.
The chatbot builder is integrated with HubSpot’s free CRM as well as Slack. As such, you can deliver more personalized and friendlier messages based on details you already know about the contact.
Target customers: Businesses looking for reliable live chat software but working on a budget.
Price: the live chat platform offers a starter plan for $45 per month and starts at 1,000 contacts. The professional plan allows 2,000 marketing contacts and goes for $800 per month, while the Enterprise plan offers 10,000 marketing contacts and goes for $3,200.
15) Best for Teams of All Sizes: Social Intents
Social Intents live chat platform is an excellent option if you want to offer exceptional customer service and use unlimited agents across various plans.
If you want to use Microsoft Teams or Slack in your business, Social Intents allows you to chat with your website visitors from these platforms. Additionally, the platform allows you to respond to live chat messages via Microsoft Teams and Slack, and close more deals online when potential customers need your help.
Social Intents live chat platform allows you to customize your chats to meet the expectations of different contacts. This helps to boost your online sales.
Additionally, it allows you to send direct messages to the appropriate departments. You can also use automated chatbots and also receive customer feedback which helps to identify areas of improvements.
Target customers: Businesses with a budget for a live chat platform and want to use an unlimited number of agents.
Price: Social Intents offers a 14-day free trial and a 100% no-risk guarantee.
- The Starter plan goes for $29 per month, and it includes 150 chats per month, up to 3 agents, etc.
- The Basic plan goes for $49 a month and offers unlimited agents, 2 chat widgets, etc.
- The Pro plan costs $99 a month and includes 6 chat widgets, unlimited agents, 2 website domains, etc.
- The business plan that goes for $199 per month and offers unlimited agents, 6000 chats/month, unlimited domains, etc.
16) Best for Various Devices: JivoChat
JivoChat is an international live chat software with its roots in Asia. It is a popular live chat platform with over 300,000 websites using it.
It boasts of a modern dashboard that comes with an actual chat tool.
JivoChat has desktop apps for both Windows and Mac users. It also comes with mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
The live chat platform also offers an option for receiving phone calls, which runs through a third-party VoIP service.
Additionally, JivoChat has a smart way of asking for the contact details of your site visitors once the chat has started. You can also integrate with Zapier, which you can use to plug into your favorite CRM or helpdesk. It also boasts of excellent automatic triggers that also allow you to hide the chat widget if you so wish.
Target customers: Businesses looking for an effective, cost-effective solution that can also offer phone support.
Price: The basic version of JivoChat is free and offers unlimited chats for up to 5 agents. The professional plan goes for $13 per month and offers various features, including the visitor’s information, automatic triggers, and canned responses.
17) Best for Multiple Languages: Tidio Chat
Tidio Chat is a young live chat platform just like LiveChat, and it comes from Poland. Despite being young, Tidio Chat has gained popularity for offering various features.
For instance, they have a free plan that offers unlimited chats and up to three agents.
Tidio Chat offers a visual automation workflow similar to some of the most advanced newsletter tools you can get. The automated workflow comes in handy in sending automated emails to your customers.
Additionally, the live chat support software comes with mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. This enables you to chat live with your customers even when you are on the go.
One feature that stands out about Tidio Chat is the multilingual chat setup which is the best you can get.
One challenge about Tidio Chat that you should improve on is that you cannot stop accepting new chats while you are already on another chat.
Target customers: Tidio Chat is an excellent pick for small business that require to support multiple languages and are also looking for a powerful free plan
Price: Tidi Chat is forever free for up to three users. You can get add-ons such as chatbots at $18 per month, which offers automatic triggers for more than 5,000 visitors. You can also get a communicator at $18 per month, including opening hours, a live visitors list, etc. The mailing feature comes at $10 per month and allows you to send unlimited letters to your website visitors.
18) Best for Live Chat in Europe: Userlike
Userlike is one of the most attractive website chat tools for people in the European Union as it has its servers in Europe.
Userlike stands out from other live chat platforms as it offers some of the best features. For instance, it offers you pre and post-chat surveys and push macros that enable you to send visitors directly to a URL such as a help page on your website.
It also offers chat automation or widget routers. You also get Unified Messaging options that enable you to integrate with other communication channels such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.
The live chat platform offers one powerful free plan that comes with unlimited conversations and one chat widget. If you need to access more advanced features or you have more than one operator, you’ll have to pay more.
Target customers: Companies looking for feature-rich live chat software with strict adherence to privacy laws.
Price: Userlike offers a powerful free plan. If you want advanced features, you can choose the team plan for $90 that offers 4 widgets and 4 agents. The corporate plan costs $290 and includes 10 widgets and 10 agents. Finally, you can go for the business plan for $720 that comes with 20 agents and 20 widgets.
19) Best for Analyzing Your Customers: Smartsupp
Smartsupp live chat platform takes customer analysis to another level. It enables you
To track your visitor’s actions on your website to decide which areas you need to optimize.
Another unique trait of the Smartsupp platform is that it offers you a free shot of Slivovica when you sign up for the PRO plan.
Additionally, the platform offers a free plan that comes with unlimited agents and unlimited chats. You have to subscribe to the STANDARD plan to enjoy the visitor recordings feature.
Smartsupp live chat software comes with a chatbot feature that does all the hard work for you. For instance, it enables you to boost your sales online by addressing visitors on your site and getting more orders.
Plus, you can enjoy on-the-go assistance through their mobile app. The mobile app enables you to stay in touch and chat with your site visitors even when you are on the go.
You can also use the Smartsupp platform to manage multiple channels. You can use email communication, live chat and Facebook messenger in one convenient platform.
Target customers: Data-driven companies
Price: Smartsupp live chat platform offers a powerful free plan that comes with unlimited chats and agents. It has a Standard plan for $8 per agent and a PRO plan for $19 per agent. The prices are paid monthly or yearly.
20) Best Live Chat for Online Stores: CHATRA.IO
CHATRA.IO is one of the live chat platforms for websites that are trusted by thousands of businesses and online stores. It enables you to solve customer problems, answer questions, and increase conversions.
The platform comes with a multichannel dashboard that enables you to manage messages. You can connect your inbox with your Facebook business page and save yourself the trouble of switching between browsers.
Additionally, it comes with a real-time list that helps you monitor visitors currently on your site. You can also learn where they come from and their browsing history so you can greet them with a personal message.
The live chat platform ensures you don’t have to miss any conversation when you are away from your desk. It comes with mobile apps for Android and iOS devices that ensure you can communicate with your visitors while on the go.
Lastly, it offers multilingual support with over 32 languages.
Target audience: Best new users of live chat platforms
Price: Chantra offers a free plan that features a 30-day chat history and unlimited chats. It also offers other affordable paid plans that start at $15 per operator.
Top Features to Look for in the Best Live Chat Software Platforms
1) Real-time communication
Of course, the most important feature in live chat software is that it offers real-time communication with your website visitors. This means it needs to appear as an invitation whenever someone navigates to your page.
2) Easy to minimize
It should be easy to minimize for the many customers who want to look without interacting, but it also needs to be warm and welcoming. The window must act as a sales clerk would in a retail store, greeting the customer and offering assistance.
3) End user ease of use
The software also needs to be easy to use on the employee end of things. This includes prompting your team members when a customer wants to chat. It can also help for agents to be able to reach out contextually.
4) Contextual support
If a customer appears to be struggling to apply a coupon, for instance, there are chat tools that let the representative see that. They can then open a window asking if that customer would like help with the coupon code.
5) 24/7 chat option
Perhaps most important, though, is that you’re able to launch the software only when you have someone on hand to help. You may alternatively want a tool that offers help when you don’t have a live person on hand. Chatbots will never be as personable as a human-based chat operator, but they can at least keep your chat working 24/7.