Update: We’ve created a new article for 2015/2016 on this topic. Please visit: http://blog.crazyegg.com/2015/11/05/top-live-chat-software/.
You already know how live chat software can increase conversion rates when used correctly.
But what you may not know is exactly which of the dozens of live chat products out there is right for your business.
Every software has its pros and cons, both for operators and customers. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at seven of the most popular live chat solutions, so you can decide which one’s best for you.
LivePerson – A Popular, Yet Pricey Choice
LivePerson was one of the first live chat software solutions available on the web.
Since then, they’ve used their considerable name recognition and branding to become one of the most popular choices for enterprise live chat needs.
At $99.99/month, it’s one of the priciest options of the bunch. But what it lacks in affordability for smaller businesses, it more than makes up for in terms of features.
LivePerson integrates with Salesforce and Facebook and has a full suite of analytical tools (available to both admins and operators) to show you where customers may be slipping through the cracks.
The idea behind this is that it will translate into more sales and higher conversions. Of course, this will vary from business to business.
One thing that could be a concern is their customer support. You are assigned one agent that stays with you until your problem is fixed.
While this may sound like a great idea and an easy way to keep things organized, it can also be incredibly frustrating if your particular support agent is unable to give you any real help, or isn’t online when you have questions.
Comm100 Live Chat – Simple and Customizable
Comm100 is live chat for the rest of us.
It’s designed to be simple and smart, without all the bells and whistles of other live chat products. It integrates with Salesforce, but not Facebook.
While the integration code itself is copy and paste, there are plugins available for content management and ecommerce systems, including Shopify, WordPress and Joomla.
Unlike many live chat programs, Comm100 can be customized to fit your unique branding and style. You can also have its “powered by” logo removed, making sure your customers get a seamless experience from start to finish.
Customers can also rate chat operators to help your own organization learn and grow in the process.
What’s more, the program can be used at a standalone desktop application or as a web-based service, giving you greater flexibility in how you deliver solutions.
BoldChat – Numerous Options to Fit Your Needs
BoldChat has several different tiers of live chat software depending on the size and scale of your business.
Pricing is based per year and per agent and ranges from $99 to $999 and up.
Starting with BoldChat Pro (at $499/year/agent), you can use the company’s own custom rules-based proactive chat engine to measure and engage with customers who fit your specific criteria.
BoldChat Premier lets administrators distribute chats based on operator availability and expertise, helping to ensure that customers are never “transferred” to the next level of tech support or passed off to another agent to spend 30 minutes explaining their problem again.
BoldChat also has a free option.
It doesn’t track website visitors or allow you to customize the chat window, but for startups on a shoestring budget, it’s a value-priced option that lets you test the waters with live chat before you commit to a specific package.
Kayako Fusion – A Thriving Support Community
You may know Kayako as a support desk company, but they’ve branched out to offer a full suite of services designed around the customer.
Fusion is a live chat product which, not surprisingly, also integrates a helpdesk solution. Since it is built for larger companies or international businesses, Kayako can seem daunting to beginners.
There’s a lot of information, analytics and detailed data worth going through.
One of its neatest features lets you pull up any previous chat records (if available) and client history the moment they begin a new chat.
As with many premium-level live chat programs, you can also customize the live chat window and buttons to fit in with your branding and style.
LiveHelpNow – Ideal for Small/Medium Businesses
If you could include nearly everything you could ever want in a live chat solution into one complete package — LiveHelpNow would be it.
From customization to translation to visitor triggers (such as offering coupons to return visitors), LiveHelpNow is a virtual buffet of customer support features.
LiveHelpNow also integrates with Google Analytics, Google Adsense and Salesforce to help build on your existing platform experience.
There is also a rudimentary social extension called “Social Insights” which lets live chat operators view a customer’s Facebook or Twitter profile to determine if they’ve reached out to the company previously.
If you’re training new customer support agents, the Whisper function in LiveHelpNow will prove invaluable.
It allows beginners, seasoned operators and administrators to whisper to each other in order to get instant help and resolve customer problems on-the-fly.
Beyond this, LiveHelpNow also has a mobile chat request option that will alert you via text message or email that a customer has a question.You can then open a chat window on your mobile phone.
Overall, LiveHelpNow refuses to compromise on features and ease of use, and at under $20, it’s a well-rounded choice for small and medium businesses.
WebsiteAlive – The One-Person Support Solution
Small businesses have a lot of work to do if they want to project that “we’re larger than we look” impression.
For them, there’s WebsiteAlive.
Designed for the all-in-one entrepreneur who juggles countless tasks throughout the day, WebsiteAlive combines proactive chat, mobile and real-time email notifications along with full customization options without coding.
Although there’s no way to share documents between operators, you can install the code on multiple websites while tracking, monitoring and handling live chats from those sites simultaneously, making WebsiteAlive a great choice for owners of multiple websites.
At $69.95, it’s more expensive than some other options, but its mobile workspace and tools will let you create your own personal support desk anywhere you go.
Velaro – Ideal for E-Commerce
Velaro doesn’t pigeon-hole users into a set of features per package.
Its scalable foundation works from the ground up to grow alongside your business, rather than forcing your business to fit its criteria instead.
Ideal for E-commerce websites, Velaro comes with built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and shopping cart tools, allowing operators to suggest product purchases or initiate a chat based on a customer’s browsing habits.
Velaro’s chat also lets you see what’s in the user’s shopping cart, their purchase history, and chat records from the previous two years, allowing savvy operators to make targeted suggestions or offer specific help for products the customer has bought.
All of this information can be distilled into professional, easy-to-read charts and reports, helping e-commerce sites forecast trends, upsells and improve conversion rates.
At $99.95, Velaro is on par with LivePerson in terms of pricing.
But it goes well beyond the typical live chat feature set to provide intelligent online shopping analytics that can make forecasting and learning from buyer behavior easy and straightforward.
What’s Your Favorite Live Chat Solution?
I realize that there are dozens of live chat products, with no way to review all of them.
Did I miss your favorite?
Share it with me below in the comments and let me know how it has impacted your business!