Live Chat Comparison: 5 Excellent Options Face Off

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[Update 5/5/2016: This post was updated to include product improvements made by Comm100]

Live chat users order around 15% more than people who don’t use live chat. And nearly 60% of live chats lead to a sale, according to a Crazyegg.com case study.

Internetretailer.com found that a fifth of consumers said live chat is their preferred way to interact with a merchant, and 29% of consumers said they were more likely to make a purchase if a website had a live chat option.

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Userlike aggregated additional stats including that live chat can have a 305% ROI with a payback period of six months for paid chat services.

Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video chat for customer service.

Ready to start offering live chat to your website visitors? Here is a comparison of some great live chat software options. We used data and analysis from industry expert sources, including Business.com, Crazyegg, and Concedo to find the live chat options which have useful features, are known to be popular in the industry, and serve a wide variety of businesses.

First we have a straight feature comparison, and below it a more in-depth analysis of the different options.

1. LiveHelpNow

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Standout Features

The coolest thing about LiveHelpNow is visitor triggers. As you’re chatting, banners rotate through at the top of the chat box. They can have different background colors and calls to action. This makes it easy and fairly unobtrusive to offer a coupon, or ask people to sign up for your newsletter.

Overall, LiveHelpNow is much more than just live chat. It’s close to a complete help desk software solution, but with a cost comparable to live chat alone.

For example, it offers ticket intake and management. Custom web forms provide one source of tickets, but it will also turn tweets to your company handle and emails into tickets that you can add statuses and due dates and send canned responses to. The tickets can be filtered and searched as well.

LiveHelpNow will host a knowledge base for your customers, and agents. It is full-featured, with the ability to host video, images, and PDFs. Customers can rate and comment on articles in the knowledge base. And the whole thing is searchable, both on site and accessible to search engines as well.

Not only can customers request a call via a custom form, but they’ll receive updates automatically and instantly. Beyond that, LiveHelpNow will record and store customer service calls in a searchable database. They also offer customer service voicemail.

LiveHelpNow also facilitates agent-to-agent conversations. With ‘Whisper,’ it helps agents ask each other questions while they serve customers.

For agents on the go, LiveHelpNow can send alerts via text message or email that a customer has a question. Agents can then open a chat window on their phones.

Drawbacks

When I used LiveHelpNow it launched in a separate window. Chatting this way requires either not multitasking, resizing my main window so I can easily click on the chat box, or using headphones to hear the ding and keyboard shortcuts to switch back and forth. None of those options appeal to me, so I prefer in-window chatting.

There’s also no option for customers to log in via Facebook or Twitter instead of handing over their email, which is a feature some competitors have that’s very appealing from both a user and a business perspective. That’s very valuable data if used correctly.

Best For

LiveHelpNow seems like a great solution for most businesses just starting out with live chat. The exception might be someone who already has a robust help desk software package and only wants live chat.

2. Zopim

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Standout Features
Zopim is especially proud of their customer service dashboard.

zopim-1

They describe it as highly customizable, with the ability to set up rules to engage only high-value visitors, or set up departments to group your agents effectively. In the dashboard agents can add notes about individual customers to help future reps.

The Zendesk-powered knowledge base is pretty cool, especially considering how helpful and important knowledge bases are for customer service. Other cool features include:

  • Chat widget is responsive, so it automatically resizes to fit every device
  • iPhone and Android apps
  • Integrates with various CRMs besides Salesforce such as Highrise and SugarCRM. Integrations with a help desk software system such as UserVoice or Zendesk allow you to set up automatic tickets created from chat transcripts
  • Facebook-only login is possible when initiating chat
  • Users can seamlessly integrate the Zopim chat widget into non-English sites through the Google Translate feature

Drawbacks

It’s customizable as far as default greetings and color schemes but not fully brandable.

Potentially problematic aspects of Zopim include the fact that, to get chats you need to have the dashboard up in your browser. Closing your browser makes your widget show that you are “offline.” And any that get through anyway will be missed if you’re not paying attention.

And while Zopim does have mobile apps that make it easy for agents to help customers on their phones, it’s impossible to stay logged in on your phone and desktop. Logging into one logs you out of the other.

Best For

If you already use a help desk or CRM software product that integrates with Zopim (like Zendesk or Salesforce), it’s a good choice for live chat functionality.

3. LiveChat

LiveChat - Applications

Standout Features

When I asked the chat representative at LiveChat what the coolest thing about it is, without hesitation he typed “Sneak peak, you can see what the visitor is writing before they send it!”

I quickly backspaced the inappropriate Tweet I’d been composing in the chat box.

Another helpful feature is the survey that appears automatically once a conversation ends.

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The chat box has a clean, modern design and is brandable.

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LiveChat offers customers a knowledge base, and integrates with SugarCRM in addition to Salesforce.

The other cool things about LiveChat include semi-standard features like Facebook login and an embedded chat box instead of a separate window. It’s also useful that a thumbs up or down is embedded in the design so users can provide feedback on the interaction at any time during the chat.

LiveChat - Dashboard - a real-time glimpse of your customer service to display on a big screen

Drawbacks

There’s nothing really wrong with LiveChat.

Best For

LiveChat is significantly cheaper than the other four options listed here. It’s a great option for customer service teams experimenting with live chat, or whose budgets are very limited.

4. Comm100

Comm100 has been hard at work improving their product since I first published this comparison in May 2015. They now offer real-time language translation and co-browsing.

They’ve also beefed up their chat routing and allocation functionality, with a chat queue and the ability to assign chats according to who has the lightest workload or to assign them to specific operators. You can also kick a chat back to the agent who was previously working on it.   

Their reports are also more advanced, with a dashboard that supports real-time monitoring. Comm100 produces chat overview reports, operator performance reports, and missed chat reports. All reports are exportable.  

Custom CSS means you can brand everything, from the chat button to the chat screen.

Each section of your website can have a different invitation to chat. So you could make the call to action in your ‘about’ section “Chat to get to know us” and live on the side until clicked but make a pop-up which reads, “Ask a question about our products” on your product page.

And not only is the chat box brandable, but you can have multiple brands on the same account on an unlimited number of websites.

Teams can also integrate Comm100 with GoToMeeting to quickly turn a chat into a product demo. This is one of several integrations which are possible through plugins, including for  content management and ecommerce systems like Shopify, WordPress, and Joomla.

Drawbacks

While they did redesign the chat box, it could still benefit from an operator photo.

Best For

Comm100 is the best choice for larger companies with a lot of vendors to integrate with and multiple sites they need to use live chat for.

5. Kayako

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Kayako is a full-service help desk software product, but you can buy live chat functionality separately in a product they call Fusion. It’s a pretty robust system with some features no other provider on this list offers, including video chat and a “call me” button.

The chat window and buttons can be customized to fit in with your brand. When a chat is over, there’s an option to leave a message and take a short survey about this live chat. The survey lets users choose up to five stars and leave a comment.

Like Comm100, you can support a number of websites with one license for chat, and the analytics will tell you which website the visitor is chatting from. Some other good features are:

  • Previous chats and client history an agent can pull up as soon as a user starts a chat
  • Impressive list of integrations.
  • Kayako Desktop can be used for internal chat between agents.

Drawbacks

Kayako chat opens in a new window. There’s no option to log in via Facebook. The design doesn’t have a place for an operator photo.

No API.

According to CrazyEgg, “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.”

Best For

Fusion is an impressive product. If you want to wow your customers with options like video chat and click-to-call, it’s a great choice.

Conclusion

Each option can serve all businesses. For companies who want something straightforward and quick to get started, LiveChat is probably the best bet. For more customization and integrations, LiveHelpNow and Zopim are solid choices. And for the most features, look to Comm100 or Kayako.

Does your customer service team offer live chat? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

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About the Author

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Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a former Capterra analyst.

Comments

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I would applaud the efforts for creating such a detailed and valuable comparison among leading live chat software. No wonder, any business can take a cue from the blog post to make an informed decision when choosing the ideal live chat software. To be unbiased, the list can be even more comprehensive and could have included newer options in the market other than the flagship options. At present, we are using ProProfs chat in our organization and are quite happy with the results. We started out with their beginner plan that doesn’t cost a dime and offers up to 100 chats per month for one operator. As our business scaled gradually, we picked up their Team plan to power our support process. Deserves a mention on the list for its no latency performance, customizations and features such as CRM and multi-platform integration.

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Hey,
awesome post and good choice of tools 🙂

As guys said previously – a few new providers could be included too 🙂

We’ve been preparing more detailed comparison of best live chat software for some time now. These list of reviews might come in handy for those who need to compare different solutions and choose the best one for them 🙂

We’re publishing them at http://www.bestlivechatsoftware.com, so be feel invited to check them or suggest new live chats to be reviewed 🙂

Take care and keep up the good work!

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Nice article Cathy Reisenwitz. We introduce that Rapid Live Chat Software UK which have 24*7 , Trained Live Chat operators which helps your website visitors at any time by making them a real customer of your business

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Thanks for the good writeup. It in truth was a amusement account it.

Look advanced to far delivered agreeable from you! By the
way, how can we keep in touch?

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Great overview, in case you ever do a review I work for the UK’s leading live chat provider, Click4Assistance, we have seen customers come to us from the providers above due to our customer support, pricing and software, we have certainly seen a lot more UK customers in the last month due to the invalidation of Safe Harbor. For more information visit http://www.click4assistance.co.uk/

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Hi Cathy,
I agree with guys, too. I was looking for some live chat comparison and I found yours. Your comparison is useful, however it seems like there only 5-6 live chats worth considering. The truth is, there are dozens of pretty good chats. I work for company that developed OnOp Chat (www.applicloud.com/en/onopchat), a chat with an option of video calling. We are from the Czech Republic like Smartsupp and I believe our live chats are worth considering. Have a nice day, Josefína

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Hi,

thanks for the live char overview. I agree with Yakoov that some newer live chats could also be included.

There is also Smartsupp live chat (www.smartsupp.com). It’s free forever with unlimited number of agents and visitor recording.

Disclaimer : I work Smartsupp. But it really is good live chat 🙂

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Great article! I would love to see it updated with more modern options, like chatlio, happy fox chat or http://www.chatra.io . These new players have a lot to offer to the consumers!

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I invite you to give HappyFox Chat a try! It’s 100% FREE forever and has all the features you want and need. Where other free options are really restricted, HappyFox Chat gives you all the features you’d normally pay for! Check this out – We were voted #1 Live Chat Software on ProductHunt – http://www.producthunt.com/#!/s/posts/live%20chat

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We personally use Chatnox. We tried all diferent kinds of chat app’s but noone was as good as this one. We use the $10/month option but there is also a $20/month and a FREE option. Well it is worth trying that is for sure. You will see for yourself

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I am thankful to Cathy that she has presented a wonderful presentation of side by side comparison of the best live chat options. but I ma little bit surprised or may be feeling awkward to give Cathy a suggestion that I am using a live chat software known as live2support kindly evaluate this also. I am the user of live2support chat for last 6 years but the feature that are provided in it are so awesome that I have never thought of shifting to any other product. The support service that the organization provide is the thing that I think Cathy has missed to evaluate. I still remember that how much difficulty I was facing when first time I introduced the live chat on website and every 5 minute gap I was going to them for support. It was a wonderful experience. I will suggest Cathy to evaluate that product also which is available at https://www.live2support.com

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Thanks for reviewing us, Cathy! One really cool thing about Kayako live chat is that you can actually monitor website visitors and ping them a message when they land on a particular page.

You can time it so that you start a live chat every time someone lands on your pricing page. Live chat isn’t just for custserv, it’s also a huge opportunity to capture leads.

I wrote about that here: http://blog.kayako.com/the-ingenious-engagement-opportunity-of-live-chat/

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