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What happens when a site visitor cannot find an answer to their question on a webpage? They leave… or ask it through a live chat widget.
Live chat is an essential communication tool for companies of any size. If you’re here, you understand the importance of live chat for business. Let’s jump to the key features to look for in a live chat widget.
A live chat widget is a popup chat box embedded on your site where visitors can get assistance from customer support agents or bots (or both!). The chat window replaces email for customer support queries and can also serve as a sales channel.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to implement one on your site. All you need is good live chat software. It’ll give you a customizable widget that you can install in a few clicks. Below are the must-have features of quality chat widget software.
The right live chat tool needs to be user-friendly for your website visitors and feature-rich for you. It may look like a messenger app on the surface, but there’s a lot more to it.
Customization. You should be able to pick your widget’s colors, adjust the place for the chat button, control agent statuses and widget modes, etc.
Automation. Your live chat software should enable you to automate flows, set up canned answers, and implement chatbots to save your team members’ time and improve the user experience.
Hybrid chatbot. A hybrid model is where you can switch between live agents and chatbots. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of 24/7 chat support provided by bots and a positive customer experience only human agents can deliver.
Live chat analytics. It should be easy to get insights into your live chat statistics such as the number of chats, the number of queries resolved, response times, etc.
Integrations. It’s important that your live chat solution integrates with your helpdesk system, CRM solution, automation platform, knowledge base tool, and other systems your sales and customer support teams use.
Easy installation. Most modern live chat tools are no-code solutions that allow users to set up and embed chat widgets in a few clicks.
Mobile optimization. Mobile traffic already surpasses desktop. So user experience on mobile shouldn’t be disrupted by a huge, buggy chat widget. Make sure your software lets you optimize your chat widget for any device and operating system (Android, iOS, etc).
Simple interface. The live chat tool is the place where you manage your customer support and service processes. It should be easy to create tickets, assign conversations to operators, tag and filter chats, etc. inside your system.
Now, we’ll list and compare the best live chat widget tools that have all the above-mentioned features.
|Solution||Best for||Free Plan||Pricing starts at|
|Tidio||Small and medium business||Yes||$39/month|
|LiveChat||Mid-sized companies, enterprise||No||$19/month|
|HubSpot Live Chat||Sales teams||Yes||$50/month|
|Freshdesk||Small and medium business, enterprise||Yes||$18/month|
|Olark||Mid-sized business, startups||No||$29/month|
|LiveAgent||Small business, ecommerce||Yes||$29/month|
|Tawk.to||Small business and startups||Yes||$19/month|
Let’s take a look at the top live chat service providers.
G2 rating: 4.2/5
Chatra is a live chat, chatbot, email, and social media messaging platform. It’s an easy-to-use tool for startups and small ecommerce companies.
Chatra offers a set of standard features along with some exclusive capabilities:
Chatra also lets you manage conversations from Facebook messenger and Instagram in the same place. Small teams find Chatra to be a simple, cost-effective solution.
Chatra’s online and offline chat widget is available for one chat agent for free forever. To access analytics, group chats, typing insights, and other powerful features, you need to upgrade to a paid Essential plan starting at $17/month per agent. Features like chat routing, chat reports, and chat rating are accessible only on the Pro plan, costing $23/month per agent.
G2 rating: 4.7/5
Tidio is an all-in-one customer service platform providing easily accessible live chat and chatbot widgets. The platform works best for small and mid-sized businesses.
Tidio’s features include:
Users usually choose Tidio for simple integrations with industry-leading platforms – and its WordPress plugin in particular.
In Tidio’s free plan, users can access two operator seats and have up to 100 chatbot conversations with unique users per month. Paid plans start at $39/month (3 seats + $3/month per additional agent, 2,000 chatbot conversations) and can reach $399/month (unlimited seats and conversations).
G2 rating: 4.5/5
LiveChat is online customer service software offering live chat capabilities among other features. It’s mostly used by medium and enterprise-size businesses.
The platform has a range of amazing tools for customer service teams, like a sophisticated ticketing system, detailed performance reports, manual and automated chat routing, proactive chats, and many more.
Alongside basic functionality, LiveChat offers some advanced features:
On the downside, LiveChat (you might have guessed it from the name though!) doesn’t include the chatbot feature in any of its plans. The company has built a separate product called ChatBot that you need to purchase to integrate your LiveChat account with. Small businesses will surely find this setup too pricey.
Unlike other tools on this list, LiveChat doesn’t offer a free plan. Plans start at $19/month per agent. The cheapest plan includes most of the ticketing system features, integrations, helpful chat features like surveys and canned responses, etc.
To access chat and agent statistics, ecommerce tools, and advanced customization features, you need to upgrade to the Team plan ($39/month per agent) or the Business plan ($59/month per agent). ChatBot plans start at $50/month.
G2 rating: 4.4/5 (overall HubSpot platform rating)
HubSpot Live Chat is just one of the features included in HubSpot’s toolkit. It’s an addition to the company’s marketing, sales, and customer service tools enabling real-time communication between brands and their audiences.
You gain access to some or all of the following features, depending on the pricing plan:
You can also scale your customer communications using basic (on the free plan) or advanced (starting from the Professional plan) bots.
Users tend to complain about chat notification delays and ticketing issues. Otherwise, the free option is good for small businesses looking to implement a simple live chat widget.
HubSpot Live Chat is a free tool offered as a part of HubSpot’s free toolkit. Users can access more advanced automation features and remove HubSpot’s brand logo by upgrading to any of its paid plans, typically starting at $50/month.
G2 rating: 4.4/5
Zoho Desk is a multichannel customer service software with live chat capabilities. It provides embeddable chat widgets for instant customer communications and easy ticketing.
With Zoho Desk’s Live Chat, you’ll access:
Zoho Desk is mostly known for its help desk ticketing system. It’s a good choice of a comprehensive toolkit to support the entire customer service cycle. However, if you need only a live chat widget within a modest budget, it hardly makes sense to commit to the platform.
Live chat is included only in Zoho Desk’s most expensive plan – the Enterprise plan that begins at €50/month per agent.
G2 ratings: 4.4/5
Freshdesk Messaging is one of the tools built by Freshworks. The product focuses on streamlining customer conversations across a wide range of channels, including website chat.
Its functionality includes:
Building a custom bot appears to be the most challenging task for Freshdesk’s users. So Freshdesk Messaging is a solution for tech-savvy customer support teams looking to develop a highly customizable chat widget.
Freshdesk Messaging has a forever-free plan where users get access to a chatbot, bulk actions, integrations, etc. However, keep in mind that bot sessions come at an extra cost – $75 for 1,000 sessions. Starting at $18/month, users can auto-assign chats, create canned responses, segment visitors, view performance dashboards, and more.
G2 rating: 4.3/5
Olark is live chat software for sales and customer support. Here are some of its most valuable features:
Olark users generally enjoy its simplicity and user friendliness. Also, autoresponders enable businesses to resolve delayed chats without hurting customer experience.
While Olark’s basic plans are good for small and medium businesses, its custom plans (Olark Pro) will fit enterprise needs.
Olark begins at $29/month per seat. In addition, users can purchase PowerUps – on-demand features for sales, marketing, and customer service. These features are available on request and come at a custom price.
G2 rating: 4.5/5
LiveAgent is customer service software offering help desk and live chat capabilities. With direct integrations with WordPress, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and other systems, its customizable live chat widgets are easy to connect to almost any content management system or ecommerce platform.
You can expect the following features in LiveAgent’s paid plans:
Unfortunately, LiveAgent doesn’t have its own chatbot – to use one, you need to integrate your account with a third-party chatbot provider.
LiveAgent offers a forever-free account with basic live chat features. Paid plans that include live chat start at $29/agent/month and unlock access to advanced reporting, proactive chat invitations, real-time monitoring, and more.
G2 rating: 4.6/5
Tawk.to claims they’re the most used live chat software in the world, and for good reason. The company made all the premium live chat features available for free:
Tawk.to is a free robust live chat app. What about the drawbacks? If you want to set your chat widget to a forever online mode, it’s technically impossible to do it. The only way to keep your chat widget online when you’re away from your desktop is installing the mobile app and keeping it open in the background.
Also, while the app lets you set up automated welcome messages and use shortcuts, there’s no AI chatbot functionality.
Tawk.to live chat is completely free of charge. The company generates revenue by offering paid live agent services to its customers. But if you want to remove tawk.to’s branding from your chat widget, you should be ready to pay a fixed price of $19/month.
Read more: Best Chatbot Software in 2022 Compared
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