Customers love live chat. Meet their needs with free software.
Live chat software is in demand. Don’t believe me? We’ve got the stats to back it up.
Of those who used live chat in the past year, 67% say they had at least one positive customer service interaction with live chat, and only 26% say they had a negative one.
In fact, around a quarter of U.S. shoppers (27%) say live chat is their preferred mode for customer service interactions, making it one of the most popular channels in our survey.
And in case you still need convincing, the vast majority of customers (82%) say it is moderately or very important that there are customer service options on a website (such as live chat or chatbots) in order to have a good online shopping experience.
Clearly, customers are already using and enjoying live chat. And keeping up with this customer demand doesn’t have to be costly. There are a number of great live chat software solutions that vendors offer for free.
5 free live chat software solutions in alphabetical order
We’ve analyzed nearly 300 different live chat software solutions in Capterra’s directory to come up with our list of the top five free tools, based on user reviews for the past year. For each of the five solutions below, we’ll share the pros and cons, cost to upgrade, and who the software is best suited for. You can find our full methodology below.
Chaport is a live chat software solution with a clean, modern design. Capterra reviewers frequently cite Chaport’s ease of installation and ease of use.
The free plan comes with unlimited chats, chat history, registered operators, and websites, making it one of the most generous free plans on this list. While you can register an unlimited number of operators, the free plan allows only five of those to be online simultaneously.
|Chaport allows up to five simultaneous operators on the free plan with an unlimited number of registered operators overall, one of the highest allowances on this list. The free plan also includes features such as group chats, offline messages, and basic reports.||Some features, such as file sending and integrations, are only available to paid subscribers.|
Cost to upgrade: Upgrading to the “pro” plan costs $9.80 per operator, per month, when billed annually. That price increases to $14 when billed monthly.
Most suitable for: Small businesses with high enough chat volume that they would need a few simultaneous operators.
Appearance customization options in Chaport (Source)
Chatra is live chat software that allows for unlimited concurrent chats on multiple websites, even on the free plan. Users on all plans can take advantage of features such as offline messaging, complete chat history, and chat notes. The main disadvantage is Chatra only allows one agent account on the free plan.
Capterra reviewers say Chatra is intuitive and easy to use.
|Chatra’s free plan includes a number of advanced features, including emailing chat transcripts, access to Chatra’s API, and Google Analytics integration.||For free plan users, only one agent account is allowed and several features are restricted, such as proactive chats, file transfers, and certain integrations.|
Cost to upgrade: The paid version costs $15 per agent, per month, when billed annually. That cost increases to $19 when billed monthly.
Most suitable for: Small businesses or solopreneurs that only need one agent live chatting at a time.
A Chatra live chat queue (Source)
3. Pure Chat
Pure Chat is live chat software with unlimited chats and chat history for all users. The free version also includes all integrations, canned responses, trigger-based actions, and file transfers, features other vendors often limit to paid subscribers. Three operators are included with the free version.
Capterra reviewers say it is easy to install and easy to use.
|The free version includes a number of premium features, such as advanced chat widget customization and file transfers. The free version also includes all direct integrations with Google Analytics, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, and Axosoft, in addition to many other apps through Zapier integration.||Pure Chat only allows three operators and one website on the free plan.|
Cost to upgrade: Upgrades are based on additional features and number of websites or operators. The two package upgrades range from $39 to $79 per month and include 4 or 10 operators, respectively. Additional operators cost an extra $13 per user, per month on the “growth” plan or an extra $8 each on the “pro” plan. These prices increase when billed monthly.
Most suitable for: Small businesses that have existing software they want to integrate with a live chat solution.
Pure Chat’s dashboard (Source)
Tawk.to stands out from the other products in this list because of its differentiated business model and service offering. Tawk.to does not limit any features to free subscribers; rather, they provide their own live chat agents to interested subscribers starting at $1 per hour. This could be a great fit for small businesses that have fluctuating agent demands and want to supplement or outsource staffing.
Confused about how that hourly rate is so cheap? Tawk.to explains that their agents are able to answer questions from multiple companies at the same time. So you would be essentially sharing the cost of hiring a tawk.to live chat agent with other companies also using their service.
|Because tawk.to operates on a hired agent business model, you get all of the “premium” features for free that many other vendors only offer to paid subscribers. This includes automated triggers, sneak peeks on customer messages, and canned responses.||Capterra reviewers have noted that the user interface and widget designs could be improved.|
Cost to upgrade: No paid version; option to hire agents starting at $1 per hour
Most suitable for: Small and midsize businesses in need of advanced live chat features and/or hired agents.
Tawk.to’s dashboard (Source)
Userlike is live chat software with a clean, modern user interface. The free version only comes with one chat widget, meaning one unique chat window configuration for your site, and one operator. However, the free version does come with unlimited chats.
Capterra reviewers say the software is easy to install and easy to use.
|The free version comes with unlimited chats. Reviewers also say the software is intuitive and easy to use.||There are no mobile apps of the software and the free version only includes one operator and no integrations.|
Cost to upgrade: Annual billing costs $29 per month for three users and widgets, $99 per month for five users and widgets, and $299 per month for 10 users and widgets. Each pricing plan comes with its own set of feature upgrades.
Mobile apps: Not available
Most suitable for: Small businesses or solopreneurs that only need one agent and basic live chat software.
Agent and customer views with Userlike (Source)
Want even more live chat software options?
We updated this article Oct. 11, 2019 with new software options and removed software that no longer meets our market definition, was outdated, or no longer free.
We evaluated the products in Capterra’s live chat software directory (as of September 25, 2019) to determine if there is a free version, and if it met our inclusion criteria.
For the purposes of this article, we classified a product as free if:
- It offers a free, stand-alone version of the software.
- It is not intended as a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product version after a limited amount of time.
Once a tool was classified as free, we analyzed that tool according to the following criteria:
- It had at least 10 reviews published on Capterra’s site within the past year
- It meets our live chat software definition
Is it live chat software?
We evaluated verified free products with at least 10 recent reviews against our live chat software definition:
Live Chat software allows companies to chat with customers in real-time via their website. Its use for customer engagement is predominantly for support, although it’s more rapidly expanding to be used by sales and marketing teams to help drive customer engagement.
This check verified basic live chat capabilities and appropriateness for the category. Products were classified as live chat software if they contained the following core feature:
- Real-time consumer-facing chat: An embeddable chat widget on a website, often using HTML, that provides consumer-facing live chat support or sales between customers and agents.
Once we had a list of verified free software that met the above inclusion criteria, we selected the top five solutions based on the overall Capterra review rating for the past year (as of Sept. 25, 2019).
The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.