As IT technology advances, people can tolerate slow responses much less, particularly when buying products online.
Based on my experience, I tend to switch to another seller or provider almost immediately if the first seller fails to provide a timely response to my inquiries.
Hence, inevitably, every online business (eCommerce, SaaS, etc.) needs to respond quickly to prospective and existing customers, so they feel supported and confident in their buying decision.
Otherwise, the customers would then become frustrated and write bad reviews on review sites. Your business can then suffer from a negative reputation and lose numerous customers (both prospective and existing) in the process.
Fortunately, live chat software can come to the rescue.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. We will receive a small commission from some live chat software companies if you subscribe to their services through those links.
Nevertheless, we always value integrity and prioritize our audience’s interests. Therefore, you can rest assured that we will present all live chat software solutions truthfully.
Things You Should Know
Benefits of Online Live Chat Software
Live chat is the fastest way for your website visitors and customers to get answers from real people via an instant messaging service. With live chat tools, you can connect with your customers to solve their problems immediately.
Some might wonder how live chat fares against emails. I would say emails are painfully slow. In some cases, customers cannot wait days for your support team to reply.
Live Chat is much faster. The support team can resolve most customer issues within minutes. Customers will be satisfied with your speedy service and become loyal to your brand. Some could even become frequent buyers or long-term subscribers.
Besides using it to provide customer service, every business can use live chat software in lead generation.
Modern customers are always in a hurry and expect instant replies on social media, the web, and phones regarding their queries.
Hence, your team members can use live chat software to provide real-time information, answer customer inquiries, or even grant special discounts to convince them to buy your product or services.
The potential customer will be satisfied (like I was many times) and decide to purchase your product or subscribe to your service, so your team can change a visitor to a customer within a single session by utilizing the live chat software.
Although there are numerous live chat software providers, not all are worth consideration. This blog post will cover the 6 best free and paid live chat solutions for small businesses.
I will try my best to explain what these software products offer, how they stack up against each other, and which subscription plan provides the best value for money.
All you need to do is to select the one that suits your preferences and budget.
Below are the criteria for the best livechat software
- Extremely easy-to-use
- User-friendly platform
- Equipped with sufficient features for businesses to provide high-quality, uninterrupted live chat support
- Receive mostly positive reviews from actual users
- Provide excellent value for money
- My personal experience with software and customer support (if any) must be positive.
1. Freshdesk Messaging
Are you looking for a live chat solution that gives you the ability to provide a high level of customer support? You have come to the right place. Freskdesk Messaging (previously Freshchat) is exactly what you need.
Freshdesk Messaging is an all-in-one live chat software designed by Freshworks. The software is effortless to use and has a range of excellent features which will revolutionize your customer service like you never imagined.
Based on my observation, Freshdesk Messaging is probably the live chat software that provides the most features to guarantee customer satisfaction.
In addition to messaging channels, you will gain access to chatbot features to help shape the customer experience.
Below are the key features that Freshdesk Messaging offers.
Unified Live Chat – Apart from your business and eCommerce website, your support team can connect with customers on all messaging apps from the platform, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Line (a messaging app popular for East Asian users.)
Freshdesk Messaging will collect all messages from all sources inside Inbox on the platform. Thus, you and your team do not need to open various apps to respond to customers’ inquiries. This will improve response times and ensure better customer satisfaction.
You can also set up a priority inbox based on the response due. Thus, you can be certain your team will not forget to reply to your customers.
Multilingual Support – Freshdesk Messaging is a customizable chat software. You can customize your messenger in the language of your choice. As of 2022, the platform supports as many as 33 languages.
Moreover, your sales and marketing team can respond in their language by utilizing the Live Translate feature. Many customers would welcome this.
Messenger 2.0 – The web messenger will be very similar to the one that customers are familiar with in real life, as it will have chat history, rich media support, and team profiles.
You can also create “topics” for customers to select when they open their chatbox. Thus, your customer can reach part of the support team that can help them in a second, eliminating the nuisance of being directed back and forth in the process.
Unlimited Contacts – Freshdesk Messaging allows unlimited contacts, so your team does not need to delete old contacts to accommodate new ones.
Co-Browsing – An advanced feature that allows you to utilize screen sharing and audio chat for customer support
Self-service – You can add a highly detailed FAQ to the chat window. Therefore, many users can solve the problem independently, reducing the need for the support team to approach them.
Chatbots – To communicate with customers after office hours, you can create an AI-powered chatbot. Thus, customers will always receive high-quality canned responses when your team is not available.
Furthermore, you can use chatbots to screen out repetitive or frequently-asked customer queries to reduce the burden on your team. Thus, the help desk can help other customers that have more urgent problems.
Creating chatbots on the platform is straightforward, since coding is not involved.
Proactive Campaigns – Sales reps can send a proactive message to a customer viewing the website. The customer could become interested and enter the chat. Your sales team could then use this opportunity to market your products to them or solve their inquiries that may hinder their purchase.
Chat Analytics – Freshdesk Messaging provides a dashboard that tracks all the data in real-time. You can monitor the performance of your team, including resolution rates and other productivity metrics.
Visitor Intel – Freshdesk Messaging will conduct visitor tracking, including their behavior on your website, navigation path, and many more. Thus, your team can see what products a visitor is interested in automatically and respond accurately.
In addition to these key features, Freshdesk Messaging offers many more. I suggest you take a look at their complete list of features by clicking the button below.
Pricing per Agent
There are four pricing plans for freshdesk messaging as follows:
- Growth – starting at $15 per month
- Pro – starting at $39 per month
- Enterprise – starting at $69 per month
The Free plan allows you to initiate chat support for your company at no cost. Though you will get only very primitive features, I think they are adequate if your budget is minimal at this point.
You can install the chat tool on your WordPress or Shopify website and receive as many as 10,000 monthly unique visitors on the live chat.
If you want more of its powerful features, you can choose to upgrade. However, I don’t think small businesses need more than the Growth plan, as included features are adequate for creating decent live chat support.
On the other hand, larger businesses or enterprises may ignore all higher messaging plans and choose the omnichannel plans instead.
This option starts at $29 per month per agent, which is higher than the Growth plan. However, you will have all the features available in Freskdesk Messaging, Freshdesk Support Desk, Freshdesk Contact Center, and many more.
These tools will provide a complete customer support solution (email, social, chat, and phone support) at a reduced price. Thus, you will save a lot on other tools.
Pros and Cons
- Unarguably one of the best live chat tools in the market.
- Powerful live chat services with many useful features + Excellent chat experience
- Integrate perfectly with numerous other CRM and email marketing tools such as Hubspot, Salesforce, MailChimp, Constant Contact
- Works marvelously with other Freshworks software
- Compatible with WordPress
- Multilingual support
- Unlimited Chats
- Customizable chat notifications
- The free plan is equipped with useful features, and it incurs no cost for life.
- Free 21-day trial to try the Garden plan
- Flat-fee add-ons.
- Access to full features is costly. You will need to pay for add-ons to access some features.
- Chatbot is an advanced feature and costs $69 per month/agent to access
- Limited MUV (Monthly unique visitors) per agent
From an overall perspective, equipped with many features at a reasonable price, Freshdesk Messaging is one of the best live chat software. I suggest you start the free trial or use the free plan to see if it fits your needs.
LiveChat is an industry leader in the live chat software space. This chat software allows you to communicate instantly with people browsing your site.
Besides providing real-time customer support, it’s the easiest way to start a conversation, improve customer engagement, and convert more visitors into customers.
Similar to Freshdesk Messaging, LiveChat offers a variety of features on its live chat app. Below are just a few key features that LiveChat offers for businesses that desire to build live chat and help desk support.
Chat Tools – LiveChat allows you to create an innovative chatbox. You can send canned responses and rich messages and files to your customers.
You can also create a chat rating or a survey to evaluate customer satisfaction. Transferring chats between team members is handy with one click.
Finally, you can insert chat tags or access chat archives to find old chat conversations to help some customers with complex issues.
Message Sneak-peek – This feature will reveal what the customer is typing before the message is sent. Hence, your team’s replies are always swift and direct to the point.
Multiple Communication Channels – Managing customer interactions cannot be easier. You can connect across all channels by replying to customers’ questions or inquiries from the LiveChat platform.
LiveChat supports web chat, Facebook Messenger, SMS, Apple Business Chat, Whatsapp, and many more.
Furthermore, you can also manage multiple websites’ chat boxes from the same account. There is no need to switch back and forth.
Ticketing System – Livechat provides a built-in ticketing system to help customers submit their issues. These support tickets are visible to all team members. It is impossible to lose track of any ticket as you can create tags for each.
Furthermore, the system also reports the status of every ticket so that your support team can deal with urgent ones first.
Customer Engagement – Besides using LiveChat as a customer support software, you can use it as a sales and marketing tool. You can send real-time eye-catching interactive messages to grab their attention, providing an opportunity to market your products or even offer extra discounts.
Customization – LiveChat offers a high level of customization. You can customize your chat widget, agent profile, or other messages to best suit your visitors. The platform supports as many as 45 languages. You can translate chat widgets or greetings with ease.
Customer Details – LiveChat will collect customer details such as name and email to help facilitate customer requests. This will relieve the burden of searching for customer data from the sales reps.
Reports & Analytics – You can view the data that LiveChat gathers from all chats and tickets to evaluate your team’s productivity. All data is well-visualized. Thus, it is effortless to understand.
Security – LiveChat emphasizes security. For example, the chat window will automatically mask all credit card details. You can also ensure that your data is safe with SSL encryption.
Additionally, you can block access to several IPs to prevent spam chats that could drain your team’s time and resources.
Above are some of the main features that LiveChat offers. I highly recommend trying all the features on your own to grasp the software’s capability.
Pricing per agent
LiveChat offers four-tier pricing plans as follows: All pricing is for annual plans.
- Starter – $16 per month
- Team – $33 per month
- Business – $50 per month
- Enterprise – Custom pricing
For small and medium businesses, I think the Starter plan is adequate in most cases. You will get all the essential features except advanced analytics and some customization and monitoring features that you may not need.
However, you have to pay extra for add-ons to connect LiveChat with some popular tools such as Zoom or Snapcall for your team members to start a voice and video chat with customers.
LiveChat does not include chatbots within its live chat plan. If you want one, you have to subscribe to another separate plan starting at $50 per month, which is much more expensive than Freshdesk Messaging or other chat software.
LiveChat offers a 14-day free trial for everyone to try their chat tool. No credit card is required.
Pros and Cons
- One of the most customer-friendly chat solutions, providing an excellent user experience
- Straightforward to install
- Customizable chat widgets
- 200+ Integrations including email marketing, CRM and analytics tools including MailChimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, and Google Analytics
- Integrate with Zoom for voice and video chat
- WordPress – Compatible
- Unlimited chats
- Definitely one of the best live chat software
- You need to pay for add-ons (per month per agent) to access several important integrations, including Slack, Google Analytics, and Zoom.
- No free-forever plan
- 60-day chat history for the Starter plan
- Have to subscribe to a separate plan for the chatbot service
Though there are software products for handling calls, chats, and emails separately, some businesses just want to incorporate them into a single platform. LiveAgent offers just that – an all-inclusive help desk system for all customer service needs.
Live Chat Support Software – You can easily install the chat widget on your website to start providing real-time support to customers within minutes. Customizing the chat window is also painless as no code is involved.
The software can connect with email, Slack, Viber, and social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thus, all possible communication channels will be under one roof.
Smart Routing – Powered by artificial intelligence, LiveAgent will automatically direct customers to the most suitable agent.
Proactive Chat Invitations – You can start a conversation with every visitor online. This feature will help you a lot in lead generation and assisting customers in navigating the website.
Website Monitoring – You can track the behavior of any particular visitor on your website to provide optimal assistance to them.
Real-time typing view – Similar to LiveChat’s message sneak-peek, the support agent can view what the customer is typing even before they click “send.”
Productivity Enhancement – LiveAgent provides several features to help increase the sales team’s productivity, including a universal inbox, automation rules, canned messages, ticket segmentation, and many more.
Multilanguage support – LiveAgent is equipped with a translation feature that supports as many as 43 languages. Thus, the support agent and customers can use languages of their own choice.
Built-in CRM – LiveAgent offers a built-in CRM to collect customer details. This CRM can integrate well with other CRMs that you might already use.
LiveAgent also has built-in call center features besides live chat, which will help you build a reliable and professional call center with ease. This will integrate perfectly with the live chat and ticketing system.
Pricing per Agent
LiveAgent offers a four-tier pricing plan, including a free plan. Unfortunately, I don’t think the live chat feature included in the free plan is useful as you will only get a chat button with no other features.
If you want to use LiveAgent’s live chat software, you will need either of the below plans.
- Ticket + Chat – $29 per month
- All-inclusive – $49 per month
It is a no-brainer to select an all-inclusive plan. Why?
The all-inclusive plan includes a feature where the support team can directly respond to social network messages from LiveAgent’s platform. However, the Ticket+Chat plan does not include it, and you need to pay an extra $39 flat fee per month if you want this feature.
Furthermore, you will get better customization, video call, and improved security features. Thus, I think additional features are worth more than $10 per month. If you are interested in LiveAgent, please don’t hesitate to select this plan.
LiveAgent offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card required.
Pros and Cons
- One of the best live chat software available
- Customizable chat widgets
- Smart Routing can increase productivity and customer satisfaction.
- The all-inclusive plan offers excellent value compared to peers.
- Integrate directly with hundreds of third-party software including MailChimp, Constant Contact, Hubspot and Salesforce
- Integrate well with many CMS, including WordPress
- No annual contracts. Hence, you can cancel your subscription anytime.
- No chatbots to use with live chat
- The entry plan is not worth subscribing to.
- Limited features for the free plan
4. Pure Chat
Pure Chat is an affordable, feature-packed live chat tool that can help you engage your target audience. It lets you initiate interactions over instant messenger channels, potentially skyrocketing the conversion rates for your business.
Live Chat – You can create high-quality live chat support for your customers within minutes. Pure Chat already has features that you will need, including canned responses, file transfer, email forms when unavailable, and many more.
Customization – It is easy to customize the appearance of your chat widget. You can use the editor to design it to fit your brand with ease.
Chat History – Pure Chat offers unlimited chat history. Therefore, the customer support team can find useful information about past sophisticated issues easily.
Visitor Tracking – Pure Chat can track visitor details such as location. This will help the support team to provide personalized assistance to all customers.
Analytics – Pure Chat will collect statistics and present them in an easy-to-read format. All data will be in real-time.
Pricing per Agent
Pure Chat uses a different pricing structure than other live chat software. You will not pay monthly per agent, but you will pay a flat fee unless you need more agent slots than provided in the plan.
All pricing below are annual plans.
- Growth – $39 per month
- Pro – $79 per month
Both plans have similar features. Thus, it would be best for small and medium businesses to stick with the Growth plan. This plan allows up to 4 agents to use the plan, sufficient for a small support team.
On average, you will pay only $9.75 per month per agent, which is considerably cheaper than other services. The only drawback is that the plan includes only 1 website. If you want to use Pure Chat on more than one website, you must upgrade to the Pro plan.
Adding a single agent would cost an extra $13 per month. If you plan to add three or more agents, it would be better to upgrade to Pro, as this plan includes as many as 10 agents. Furthermore, adding agents as a Pro plan subscriber is cheaper ($8 compared to $13.)
Pure Chat offers a 30-day trial for potential customers to test their live chat software at no cost.
Pros and Cons
- Affordable and cheaper than other live chat software
- Effortless to set up
- Customizable chat widgets
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Mobile chat support apps (iOS and Android) to connect with customers anytime, anywhere
- Unlimited Chats
- WordPress – Compatible
- Generous 30-day free trial
- Fewer direct integrations than peers (You need to connect to Zapier to increase them.)
- Lack of advanced Live Chat features of Freshdesk Messaging and LiveChat
- No chatbot features
Chaport is an excellent live chat software for online stores, eCommerce websites, and any other company that needs fast customer service.
Besides live chat, Chaport provides fully customizable chatbots, which can help your team deal with repetitive queries, enhance team productivity, collect feedback and automatically skyrocket conversions.
Though Chaport is less well-known than other best live chat software, its features are powerful and affordable, becoming an attractive option for every business.
Live Chat Software – You can easily set up live chat support on your website. Within minutes, you and your team can provide high-quality chat support to your customers from all communication channels, including email, social media, and many more.
Thus, customers will always be satisfied with fast replies from your support team.
Customization – You can customize the live chat widget to make it fit your business.
Group Chat – Your agent can add another team member to the chat window to ensure every issue is dealt with suitably. All agents can also leave notes for colleagues for future reference.
Automatic Chat Transfer – If any support agent is overwhelmed by inquiries, Chaport can automatically direct inquiries to another agent who is not that busy. This feature can help improve the customer experience and reduce the burden on the live chat support team.
Mobile App – Chaport has a mobile app (iOS and Android) for businesses to provide quality customer service from any location.
Auto-invitations – Similar to other tools’ proactive messages, your sales reps can initiate a conversation with a visitor. You can help him navigate your website, give him an extra discount or assist in the checkout process.
Lead generation – You can collect emails in your chat window and lead them through your sales funnels. Chaport also allows you to create a pre-chat form to gather visitor info before starting a chat.
Multilingual Support – Chaport now supports as many as 31 languages. The live chat software will determine each visitor’s language and switch responses to that specific language automatically.
Visitor Tracking – Chaport will collect information about each visitor’s behavior so that sales reps can use it to create personalized offers, resulting in conversions.
AI-Powered Chatbots – You can build chatbots by using chatbot templates with ease to collect leads, send proactive messages or even solve simple inquiries for customers.
This feature blends perfectly with live chat, as chatbots work 24/7/365. Thus, they can serve customers when your team is away or too busy with urgent requests.
This section is just a summary of the key features that this live chat software provides. Since Chaport has numerous features, I suggest you visit their features page for more information.
Pricing per Agent
Chaport is one of the most affordable and excellent live chat software in the market, providing good value for money for all its users.
There are four plans for customers to select as follows (Below pricing is for annual plans.)
- Premium – $15 per month
- Business -$23 per month
- Enterprise – custom pricing
Chaport’s pricing is relatively cheaper than most other live chat software. You will get almost all the features on the Premium plan.
However, I think the best plan you should subscribe to is the Business plan. At only $23 per month per agent, or only $8 extra to the Premium plan, you will gain access to chatbots (1,000 chats per agent), advanced chat reports, and, most importantly, Zapier integration.
For the Free plan, there is no limit to chats, websites, or contacts. However, you can only have a single user on the account and a few basic features are available for use. Still, it could be beneficial if you own several small online businesses.
In general, I think Chaport is one of the best live chat software. The tool has many powerful features, and it is effortless to use. The pricing tag is not too high. I believe it could help many online businesses provide flawless support to customers.
You can use the Free plan or start a free trial to try the Business plan for 14 days.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent live chat features
- Affordable pricing
- Integrate with third-party apps directly or through Zapier
- Use it on various websites without additional charge.
- Unlimited chats
- Mobile apps provided
- The Free plan allows only one agent.
- Self-service features are not ready for use (upcoming.)
- No screen sharing or co-browsing
Chatra is a live chat software that allows you to communicate with your customers in real-time and increase conversion rates. It’s also packed with several great features that can help you improve your customer relationship and communicate more effectively.
If you want reliable live chat software, you don’t need to look beyond Chatra. This tool is more than adequate for most online businesses.
Chat Widgets – You can create a customizable chat widget to connect with customers across various channels, including web chat, email, and Facebook messengers on the Chatra platform.
Chat Functions – Chatra offers many features that help your team increase productivity, including group chats, saved replies, typing insights (similar to Message Sneak-Peek), chat notes, and complete chat conversation history.
Chat Ratings – Visitors can give a rating to the live chat support they receive from the team.
Mobile Apps – Chatra has iOS and Android apps for support agents to assist customers from any location.
Screen Sharing – A support person can view which post or page a customer is viewing in real-time.
Visitor Intelligence – Chatra collects all of the visitors’ info, including shopping cart contents. Therefore, a sales rep can provide support that suits your visitors’ preferences.
Chat Bot – Powered by artificial intelligence, Chatra’s chatbots can provide a chat solution when your team is away, including providing contact forms, capturing leads, or sending targeted messages.
Pricing Per Agent
Pricing plans for Chatra are very similar to Chaport. Chatra now offers three-tier pricing as follows (all for annual plans).
- Essential – $17 per month
- Pro – $23 per month
The free plan allows only one user and has access to several basic features. The Essential plan will grant you access to most features.
However, this plan lacks Zapier integration and useful features such as creating agent groups, operating hours, and chat ratings.
Hence, I suggest you add another $6 per month per agent and subscribe to the Pro plan, which will provide access to everything in Chatra’s arsenal. You can integrate your live chat software with Zapier and connect to any of your favorite tools.
I think this is one of the best live chat software for small businesses from an overall view. Chatra’s features resemble those of more pricey chat tools, while the pricing is very reasonable.
Don’t hesitate to try Chatra. You can start a 10-day free trial or use the free plan to provide live chat support now!
Pros and Cons
- Unarguably one of the best live chat software for small businesses.
- Provide complete features of live chat and chatbots
- Easy to install
- Affordable pricing
- Access high-quality chatbots by paying only $15
- No limit on conversation history for all plans
- Integrate with various third-party software products directly or through Zapier
- Unlimited chats and websites
- The free plan only allows one agent.
Other Best Live Chat Software
Those on this list are the other best live chat software. However, the pricing is more expensive than those recommended above. Medium-sized businesses or enterprises may consider them as premium alternatives.
Zendesk Chat – Zendesk Chat is part of Zendesk’s help desk tool. It provides an easy and simple text-based interface that allows the customer care agent to resolve customer’s queries easily.
However, Zendesk chat seems to target enterprise clients, as the pricing starts at $49 per month per agent, which is very high compared to other live chat software.
Intercom – Many SaaSes certainly love Intercom, as it is one of the most popular customer relationship platforms. However, I am not a fan of its live chat features. Also, the pricing is high, starting at $59 per month.
Podium – Podium provides an interaction management solution. Its features include live chat, video chat, SMS marketing, and review management. Podium does not reveal its pricing plans. You will need to contact them directly for custom pricing.
Free Live Chat Software
Apart from those I recommend above, there are other live chat software that allows businesses to use it for free forever, including
Respond.io – Respond.io is a free live chat software that every business can use for free forever. The free plan includes up to 5 team members and allows unlimited chats. However, you cannot collect more than 100 contracts.
Tawk.to – Tawk.to offers a full live chat software with many features for free. Its features are decent. However, according to many reviewers, their servers are often down. Thus, I don’t think it is one of the best live chat software.
This would work best for businesses that want to experiment with providing live chat support to customers but not for permanent usage.
Hubspot Live Chat – Hubspot provides an easy-to-use live chat and chatbot for businesses to use for free. These features will be much more limited than the specific live chat software recommended above. However, it is 100% free, so I am certain it is worth your consideration.