What Is Live Chat Software?
Live chat software provides a service that works like an instant messenger where customers can communicate in real time with a company using a chat box on their website. Customers often initiate live chat when they have questions about a product or service the company offers, but companies can also initiate a live chat session when they’re being proactive. Live chat agents can engage with first-time website visitors or interact with returning customers in an attempt to bump up conversion rates and provide a better overall customer experience.
Live chat software is sometimes called customer messaging software, and it can be a real game changer. It provides the opportunity to build a customer’s confidence in your brand and offers an opportunity to get to know new and potential customers better. Live chat solutions may be used for customer support, marketing or sales and add a human factor to your website. Most live chat applications provide text-only chat support; however, some also offer live video chat and voice chat. Text-only chat support tends to be the preferred method of communication for many customers, making it an ideal choice for driving sales, closing deals and retaining customers over the long term.
Benefits of Live Chat Software
In today’s fast-paced digital era, companies must cater to customers looking for quick, convenient results, and live chat software fills this need. Communication is a key factor in customer satisfaction, so providing timely, accessible live chat support sets your business apart from your competitors. Some of the many other benefits of live chat software include:
- Boosting customer loyalty and customer service
- Increasing leads and sales
- Providing immediate, real-time access to assistance
- Expanding market reach
- Allowing customer services representatives to help multiple customers simultaneously
- Encouraging repeat business by providing the communication channel customers want
Live chat is also cost-effective because it’s an easy, affordable way to communicate that saves time and money. It reduces telephone expenses because you eliminate long distance fees. It also takes fewer people to answer multiple chats than it does to answer one phone call at a time, so you also save on payroll due to reduced personnel needs. Because customer support reps can clear chats much faster, customers won’t be stuck waiting in the queue as long. This makes them happier and more likely to follow through on a purchase, increasing your sales.
Must-Have Features for Live Chat Software
Several must-have features for live chat software deal directly with sales conversions since these are often your ultimate goal in using live chat. To reach this goal, live chat software should include proactive chat options that allow you to initiate chat sessions with website visitors. Proactive chat also requires customizable smart triggers. A smart trigger might alert you of a recurring site visitor, so you can initiate a proactive chat session and attempt to convert them into a customer. Chat routing can also be an important tool to support transferring chats to the agent best equipped to take care specific customer needs.
Customer support is another primary reason for providing live chat. To assist with your customer support efforts, live chat software features should include canned responses to common questions to speed up response times, mobile optimization to allow customers to chat using their mobile devices and offline forms to let customers reach you even when your chat agents aren’t online.
Reporting and analytics are also essential features, which allow you to monitor important data and ensure your conversion rates and customer satisfaction ratings haven’t slipped. Must-have features for live chat software to help fulfill these tasks include visitor tracking, chat ratings, customer surveys and operator monitoring. Third-party software integrations also help pull relevant data into your CRM software and keep customer information combined.
The Cost of Live Chat Software
Live chat support reduces phone call expenses, so cost-effectiveness is a prime draw for implementing it on your website. To ensure you’re getting a good deal on your live chat software, it’s important to compare service costs. Software costs vary between vendors because they deliver various tools and features. While some live chat software providers offer a free version, these often have limited features that won’t fit every businesses’ needs. However, free versions may work for small businesses with limited live chat requirements.
Most live chat providers charge per agent per month, so costs add up for companies with a larger number of agents. The average cost between the companies on our list is $15 to $29 per agent per month with some exceptions, including one that’s lower at $8 and a few that are higher at $50 to $64. Some companies have higher monthly rates but allow unlimited agents, making the rate lower in the long run. All the companies offer several subscription plans, with rates going up as the level of service increases. Many of the companies offer free trial periods ranging between 14 and 60 days to let you try the software first. This provides an ideal opportunity to see if the software matches your needs before you sign up.