Live chat software has changed the way that businesses interact with their customers, and in the days of coronavirus and social distancing, it has become even more important for businesses to be able to accommodate their customers remotely. Which features are important in a live chat software and who supplies these features best for your business?
There are live chat software platforms for every size of business, from small businesses to huge corporations. The key is to choose the live chat platform that is best for your company’s needs. This includes looking at integrations, ease of use, security, metrics, features, and more. Read on to learn more about what to look for when choosing the best live chat for your website.
Some live chat software options take a while to get up and running and need the involvement of a whole IT department. Others, though, are quickly integrated into your website just by adding a snippet of code or attaching a plugin. Pure Chat is one of the easiest to set up. There are plugins available for some of the most popular website platforms like Shopify, Weebly, and WordPress so that you don’t even have to copy and paste the code. Other website builders get dedicated setup guides to hold your hand while you get things up and running. Guides are available for GoDaddy, tumblr, SquareSpace, and HubSpot.
The best live chat apps will be easy to use. Having a confusing UI interface just means that your customer support agents are likely to get confused during the course of the chat. One of the simplest live chat interfaces is offered by HappyFoxChat. It’s a clear and clean chat window that has all of the information your support agents need included within the window. It’s actually so easy to use that you can run multiple chats at the same time through the simple design. Pre-set responses can be activated by typing a hashtag so that agents can keep up with more than one open chat window at once and it integrates with over 100 apps.
Live chat software is primarily there so that you can provide ongoing help and support to your customers, but the best live chat software lets you do so much more than that. One of the key ‘extras’ to live chat software is the ability to gather and analyze customer data. It allows you to learn more about where your visitors are located, what browsers they use, their demographics, past purchases and chat history, which areas of the website are the most prone to visitor confusion, abandoned cart rate, and more.
Intercom is one of the best at visitor metrics and reports. You can assimilate, manage, and analyze reports on customer data, sales rates, and customer engagement figures. Lead tracking tools complement your marketing efforts and you can tailor your view according to which one of three areas you’re most concerned about – sales, engagement, and customer support.
LivePerson/LiveEngage also offers extensive visitor monitoring tools that give you insight into your customers’ location, the contents of their cart, which pages they visited prior to opening a chat window, and previous chat history. You can generate comprehensive reports that show conversion rates and abandoned cart rate and respond with tailored offers and discount vouchers. It’s an extremely powerful live chat software platform with open API and integrations with social media and CRM applications like Salesforce, but you do pay a proportionally high price for all of this functionality.
Your live chat software won’t be operating in a vacuum so it’s important to check how easily it will integrate into your existing ecosystem. For some companies, integration with social media channels is vital so that social media complaints can open up a live chat ticket directly. For others, the focus is more on integration with your existing CRM so that you can take the data gathered by your live chat software and use it to influence your marketing and sales campaigns. If you have plenty of home-grown applications you’ll also need a live chat platform with an open API so that your IT department can integrate it with your own applications.
Olark offers plenty of integration options as well as a fast setup process with a plugin for WordPress users. It integrates directly with Salesforce, MailChimp, HubSpot, WordPress, and Shopify among other popular applications. An open API allows for integration with your own apps and you can add dozens of third party mobile apps.
LiveAgent is a good choice for social media integrations, with a connection to Facebook that enables users to turn any Facebook comment into a customer support ticket. It’s easy to use with extensive reporting options and an open API. An open API and integration with SugarCRM, Zendesk, Google Analytics, NetSuite, Salesforce, and more are also offered by Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim).
LiveChat is a good choice if you’re concerned about security. It uses 256-bit SSL encryption to safeguard data and keeps it securely stored in the cloud. LiveChat also allows you to set user permission levels so that you can control which employees can access previous chat data and enables IP blocking so that you can block anyone who spams your software or behaves inappropriately towards your agents.
However much you trust your customer support agents, you still want to be able to check up on how they’re doing. Live chat software that lets you listen in, redirect chats to the most relevant agent, and respond to agents without the customer knowing is useful. Zendesk Chat enables all of this, including live chat data that shows how effective your agents are at solving customer issues. With Zendesk Chat, your agents can also take advantage of an internal button that lets them connect with an expert and invite customers to rate the support they received when they are done.
Live chat software can come with plenty of extra features, some of which will be extremely useful and some of which might just be a waste of extra money. It all depends on what you need. One useful feature that is only offered by Zendesk Chat is real time translation. If you deal with an international customer base you’ll find it invaluable. Other features include tools to reach out to customers instead of waiting for them to turn to you and triggered chats. You can find geo-targeting, the ability to share documents, and co-browsing – when the agent takes the customer to a website instead of just sending a link – all through Zendesk Chat.
While LiveChat doesn’t offer real time translation, it can be used in 34 languages and automatically shows the customer’s language. File sharing, co-browsing, and geo-targeting are all available too. LiveChat gives you a sneak peek of your customer’s message before they’ve even hit send and invites satisfied customers to share their completed chats on social media. Both Zendesk Chat and LiveChat, along with a handful of other platforms, offers shortcut messages that let you speed up the conversation by using pre-prepared responses.
The option of video chat is increasingly popular but it’s not offered by many live chat software platforms. One platform which does offer it is LiveAgent. Video chat is an option for support agents along with a user-friendly interface, visitor targeting, shortcut messages, and the ability to transfer conversations to other agents.
Price is always going to be a consideration for any business purchase you need to make. Live chat software platforms span the range of prices, with fully-featured platforms like LiveChat that are aimed at large enterprises at the top end of the market. At the lower-cost end is PureChat, which presents a basic package for small businesses that only need up to 5 users. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that you’ll get with Zendesk Chat or LiveChat but it is easy to setup and includes basic new chat notifications, visitor tracking tools and reporting, and mobile apps. It can even be used on its own without needing to be attached to your website, making it ideal for small businesses that want to offer online live chat without setting up a full website.
Finally, you can’t get cheaper than free and that’s what Tawk.to is. Tawk.to uses open source software to keep the platform free. You won’t find lead tracking marketing tools or extensive integrations, but you will get solid visitor information, useful reporting tools, and analytical tools. The live chat box is easily customizable and you can use Tawk.to on mobiles and even set trigger actions to start a conversation.
No matter what the size of your company or which features you need, you can find a live chat software that fits the bill. Decide what matters the most to you in your live chat software and start making your customers even happier.