The way we interact with people is changing, both in our personal and professional lives. When we send text messages to friends and emails to colleagues, we expect a quick reply. And whether we're instant messaging a co-worker or chatting with customer support on our favorite website, we often get a response instantly.

Wouldn't it be great if your sales team could connect with prospects in a similar way?

No matter which stage of the sales lifecycle they're in, 82% of consumers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important if they have a sales question. Live chat software allows salespeople to interact with website visitors as they're exploring content or researching products.

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Plus, many live chat software options integrate with CRM databases where contact data and transcripts can be aggregated. And, this information can be used to convert prospects to customers and inform business decisions across departments (i.e., sales, marketing, and customer success).

Could your company benefit from live chat software? If so, here are some of the best chat tools on the market, presented in no particular order.

1. HubSpot Live Chat

Key Features: Collaborative and Customizable

This chat tool lets you communicate with visitors quickly and easily. Because it's tied so tightly to the HubSpot CRM, you'll know exactly who you're chatting with and their history with your company. Having that context before going into a chat makes it easier for your employees and improves user experience.

With user experience in mind, you can also quickly route inquiries to your customer service team or your sales team, depending on who owns that relationship. Incoming chats are managed in Conversations, a free, shared inbox that your entire company can use to collaborate on incoming messages. Deals, tickets, and more can be spun up from live chats and transcripts are stored on the contact record in the CRM.

Another huge benefit of HubSpot Live Chat is that it works in tandem with automated chatbots. For example, you can create targeted welcome messages that automatically show up on different pages of your site, at different times.

Additionally, HubSpot's live chat widget is completely customizable so it matches your site's look and feel. You can adjust the color, the name of your chatbot, avatar image, and placement on the page.

Price: Live chat is included with the Free HubSpot CRM

2. Intercom

Key Features: Smart Routing and Lead Qualification

Intercom created chat software specifically for sales. You can route leads to specific sales people, continue messaging via email, and target contacts by their browsing behavior. Plus, it integrates with software like Slack, Zoom, HubSpot, and more.

With chatbots and live chat combined, Intercom focuses on lead generation, customer engagement, and customer support.

Its best feature is its smart routing and lead qualification. Intercom uses chatbots to automatically qualify leads 24/7, route them to sales reps, and book demos when your team isn't online.

Additionally, you can personalize content, introduce products, segment customers and trigger outbound emails based on the web page your visitor is on and what they're doing.

Intercom also excels with smart automation and self-service. If a customer is looking for support, they can click on the chat and search for articles in the "Help Center" located directly in the chat. Not only does this improve user experience, but it's also helps your agents spend more time with customers who need more help.

This is a great option for smaller companies that need their live chat strategy to scale with them as they grow.

Price: $87/month

3. Acquire.io

Key Features: Screen Share and Smart Suggestions

Acquire is a multi-channel messaging platform featuring co-browse and live chat. Bots help onboard new customers and answer common questions quickly, live chat makes it easy to deliver fast, personalized support, and profile management allows you to escalate certain customer conversations.

Acquire differs from other live chat software with its screen share options on desktop and mobile. With "Co-Browsing," sales teams can improve prospect conversations and reduce friction in the sales process.

Additionally, you can use an automated or canned message to answer common questions. With smart suggestions, Acquire's artificial intelligence will recognize specific words and auto-suggest responses. This will send auto-replies to common customer questions without involving your team.

Two unique elements of Acquire are the note and multilingual features. With the chat notes, your team can privately leave critical information about conversations for teammates to expedite resolution time. Lastly, Acquire will automatically detect and translate your customer's language, so you can converse in the language they understand.

Price: $300/month

4. LiveChat

Key Features: Message Sneak Peeks and Chatting on Multiple Websites

LiveChat will help you turn website visitors into qualified leads. For example, one of its customers saw a 1,000% increase in conversion rate for contacts who used the live chat compared to those who didn't. Key features of LiveChat include chat transcripts and archives, multilingual chat, and report creation.

You can manage your team with ease by keeping track of your sales or customer service team performance. The extended reports features include "chat tags" which give you well-rounded data so you can make informed decisions.

A few unique characteristics of LiveChat include message sneak peeks, ticket forms, and chatting on multiple websites. Message sneak peeks allow your sales reps to see what customers are typing before they send the message. This gives them more time to develop a response or research an answer for prospects.

LiveChat also offers ticket forms when employees are offline, so you don't lose those prospects on your site. Additionally, each live chat begins with a custom, pre-chat survey asking customers for their email, order ID, and any other crucial information so reps have it from the get-go.

Price: $16/month

5. Drift

Key Features: VIP Targeting and Meetings

Drift is a chat software that allows you to automate portions of the chat process. Use the LeadBot to qualify leads, help book meetings, and convert prospects faster.

Uniquely, you can use highly-personalized messages targeted to specific accounts or individuals, increasing engagement and responses. For instance, your sales reps should be informed when a VIP account visits your website. When VIP target accounts arrive, they'll be greeted with an automated, personalized message from their account owner or sales rep. Then, your sales rep will get a notification that one of their accounts is currently on your website.

How will Drift know when your target accounts are on your website? By integrating with HubSpot, Salesforce or Marketo, your list of accounts and contacts are automatically tracked.

When a VIP account arrives on your site, either your sales reps can book meetings or the automated LeadBot can. It uses Drift Playbooks and routing to find the ideal sales rep or account owner for your customer.

Price: Free

6. PureChat

Key Features: Comprehensive Free Plan and Chatting on Multiple Websites

With PureChat, you can get started for free with unlimited chats and historical chat transcripts. It can be customized to fit your brand and allows canned responses so you can quickly reply to visitors.

PureChat is a great option because the free chat plan is comprehensive. It offers unlimited chats and transcripts, advanced customization, integrations with your CRM, chat alerts, canned responses, visitor information, and chat notifications.

However, its free plans don't include tracking or analytics. For advanced teams, the Growth or Pro plans offer real-time analytics, visitor tracking, and comprehensive account statistics and reports. Additionally, with paid plans you get more operators and it can integrate with multiple websites.

Plus, PureChat integrates with software like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, and Axosoft.

Price: Free

7. SnapEngage

Key Features: Omni-channel Chat Solution and HIPAA Compliance

SnapEngage integrates with a variety of CRM databases and chats can be managed from many channels (e.g., Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Tweet-to-Chat via HootSuite). A unique feature of SnapEngage is that it's HIPAA compliant, so it's secure for medical businesses who handle patient information.

As an omni-channel solution, your sales reps can engage with prospects right where they are. The chat integrates with your CRM and offers custom workflow mapping, creating an efficient, high-quality experience for your sales workflow.

Distinctly, SnapEngage has implementation specialists who guide you through the setup process and ensure your chat gets up and running quickly. Specialists will help with account setup, integration and admin trainings, and optimize your chat sales initiatives.

Additionally, its chatbot can answer common questions and take visitor information, ensuring you don't miss out on a sale.

Price: $16/month

8. Olark

Key Features: Customizable Forms and Powerful Add-Ons

Olark helps you customize your chat messages by seeing which page the contact has viewed, and pulling up past conversations if they chatted before. Add the chat tool to specific pages and it can automatically send a targeted chat message based on the page the visitor is viewing. Plus, it integrates with popular business software and platforms including HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Salesforce.

Additionally, Olark collects information from visitors before a chat begins, providing your sales reps with the context needed to have a productive conversation. You can customize the information gathered during pre-chat as well, from name, email, team size, product preferences, or customer problem.

If you're managing a larger team, Olark can distribute chats, monitor team performance, and create shortcuts for a shared database of canned responses.

Although Olark is affordable, they also offer a la carte items that you can add to your plan with flexible subscriptions. These can quickly add up and inflate the overall cost. Named "Power Ups," these add-ons include visitor screen-sharing, live chat translation, and visitor insights.

With visitor insights, you can score leads, prioritize chats, and personalize your sales approach with information gathered from public social media pages and company websites.

Price: $17/month

List of best live chat software.

9. Bold360

Key Features: Artificial Intelligence Centered and Self-Service Options

Bold360 is another chat provider that integrates A.I. in its chat processes. Plus, you can increase customer acquisition with personalized engagement.

This software focuses on tightly integrating artificial intelligence and live-agent software for a simple, customer engagement solution. The goal is to provide employees all the information they need to help customers get immediate and personalized results.

Bold360 offers several live chat solutions including conversation artificial intelligence, live chat, proactive AI, and omni-channel engagement. With artificial intelligence, your self-service chatbots are personalized and easy-to-use.

Additionally, Bold360 identifies where optimizations are needed and opportunities to improve customer outcomes.

Price: Variable

10. LivePerson

Key Features: Multichannel Messaging and Artificial Intelligence Powered Conversations

This chat software helps you reach prospects through channels like SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. It also offers a tool called BotStudio that simplifies bot creation with pre-built templates. With AI-powered conversations, consumers can easily buy products and get answers to questions in their preferred messaging channel.

According to LivePerson, nearly 70% of consumer inquiries can be automated. With its live chat, you can build, manage, and optimize chatbots that are scalable for your business.

LivePerson also offers industry-specific chatbot templates that are easy to implement and customize. Then, when a prospect uses your chat, they'll trigger the bot responses for a seamless conversation.

Additionally, your sales reps can answer questions, give advice, and help prospects understand their options before making a purchase. Live chat can expedite the process and get prospects through the sales cycle faster.

Price: Variable

11. Zendesk Chat

Key Features: Robust Chat Analytics and Shortcuts

Formerly known as Zopim, Zendesk Chat is a customizable chat tool that integrates directly with Zendesk and other popular software. And, it offers robust chat analytics to help sales teams identify issues and evaluate agent performance.

Zendesk has features including automated triggers, pre-chat and offline forms, chatbots, chat routing, tags, shortcuts, and analytics.

With automated triggers, you can send targeted and behavior-based messages to prospects. For example, if someone is on your pricing page, they're further along in the buyer's journey. An automated chat can then appear and help them in their decision-making process. During offline hours you can use pre-chat and offline forms to ensure these customers can still contact you while you're away.

Your reps can use Zendesk as their one stop shop for conversations, since you can link multiple profiles from Facebook, Twitter, and LINE (a new communication app), funneling all conversations to one location.

Additionally, with analytics, you can track your chat volume, monitor rep productivity, and analyze metrics to anticipate customer needs. Plus, you can measure how often your customers convert using metrics like "making a purchase" or "leaving feedback."

Zendesk can integrate with any CMS including HubSpot, WordPress, Drupal, Wix, and Squarespace.

Price: Free

12. ClickDesk

Key Features: Video and Voice Chat Software

A unique feature of ClickDesk is that it also includes voice and video chat. Visitors can even initiate a chat from interactive maps. And, pre-chat surveys help you gather valuable contact information.

With video and voice chat, your sales reps can close deals faster by quickly jumping on exploratory calls and conducting product demos. Your reps can be on simultaneous chats, and even collaborate on a three-way conference with reps and visitors.

ClickDesk is a great option for sales teams because you can transfer chats to other agents. For example, if a visitor is speaking to a sales rep that specializes in partner relationships as opposed to individual customers, they can transfer the conversation if needed.

Additionally, ClickDesk offers daily and weekly chat statistics, so you can track how many chats were missed while offline, how much coverage your live chat is offering, and the average duration and length of chats in a given time period. Analyzing your chat statistics will give you insight for improved performance.

ClickDesk also offers personalized greetings, unlimited websites, and a translation feature in over 90 languages.

Price: Free

13. Userlike

Key Features: Operator Routing and Scalability

Userlike helps salespeople create personalized conversations and allows contacts to provide feedback on service and features. When a person provides their email address, the chat tool turns this anonymous data into contacts with a smart profile.

Additionally, website visitors can choose which department they want to talk to (sales or service) and what skills they want in a chat representative. For example, if you own a music store, someone could choose a sales rep with experience teaching guitar. If a visitor has been to your site before and has chatted with someone they like, Userlike will favor that sales rep and assign the chat to them. These personalized options allow visitors to get connected to the best representative quickly.

Although, no matter how smart the chat routing is, a conversation may still need to be manually forwarded. Userlike still offers that option with transcripts included, so prospects won't have to repeat their problems.

Userlike also offers screen share options where sales reps can chat with multiple prospects at once. Plus, it integrates with CRMs including HubSpot, Slack, Salesforce, Squarepsace, and Mailchimp.

Price: Free

14. Smartsupp

Key Features: Video Recording

A unique feature of Smartsupp is its live chat with video recording. It integrates with platforms like WordPress and Shopify and you can track the impact of your chat conversations with Google Analytics.

With the live video recording, sales reps can see the movement of each visitor on your website, giving them a better understanding of customer behavior and friction points in the sales process.

Although there's a free plan, the paid plans provide more robust features including unlimited shortcuts, more customization options, automated messages, chat transfer, and detailed analytics.

With automated messages you can engage with visitors at the right moment and create personalized messages specific to your business.

Price: Free

15. Zoho Desk

Key Features: Customizable and Automated Responses

Zoho Desk is a live chat software that helps automate the easier parts of customer  conversation. Although, Zoho Desk is typically used for customer service, the live chat software can still make your sales reps lives easier.

For example, you can set assignment rules for each channel, so reps work more efficiently and customer interactions are seamless. Plus, it automates the slower parts of the process, including gathering contact information and responding to common questions with canned responses.

Additionally, Zoho Desk offers feedback forms within the chat widget, allowing prospects to let you know if they've found the responses helpful or not. Gaining this insight can help you improve the sales process and remove friction at all points of contact.

Price: $12/month

16. Chaport

Key Features: Multichannel and Group Chats

Chaport can help your sales team generate leads, reduce cart abandonment, and build brand loyalty.

With this live chat software, you can collect visitor emails and connect with customers whenever you need to. And, if you aren't the right person to talk to, you can forward the message to a colleague or start a group chat. You won't miss a sales opportunity. 

Plus, you can send personalized greetings and auto-invitations based on specific rules. For example, if a customer is on the checkout page, you can send an automated message to help them make the purchase.

Additionally, your sales reps can answer questions from all communication channels in one place. You can connect with customers on Facebook, live chat, or Telegram in the Chaport dashboard.

Chaport can integrate with your CRM or any app, including Facebook, HubSpot, Slack, Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Google Suite.

Price: Free

17. Freshchat

Key Features: Multichannel and Priority Inbox

Freshchat is a live chat software providing conversational, proactive, and automated one-on-one messaging to improve your sales performance.

Freshchat is largely focused on conversions and reaching the right prospects at the right time. It offers triggered messages which encourage completing a purchase, email campaigns which drive action after they've engaged with your brand, and chatbots that qualify leads.

Additionally, reps can gain insight into prospects including their navigation path, behavior on your site, and the language they speak. This will create more natural conversations that will resonate with your customer base.

Two great features are the omni-channel and priority inbox capabilities. With omni-channel chat, you can talk to your prospects from any channel in one place. Plus, you can filter messages based on the response time and priority inboxing will help your reps manage their workflow.

Price: Free

18. Nextiva

Key Features: Collaborative, Internal Chat

Nextiva is a cloud-based communication company that offers telephone and technology services, including live chat.

Its key features include shortcuts, availability (setting business hours and an offline form for after hours), and unlimited chat history to reference conversations and improve user experience.

Additionally, Nextiva offers an internal chat. Sales reps can collaborate on certain cases, increasing efficiency and close rates. Also, your team can send broadcast messages to their groups or teams regarding a prospect. Uniquely, this live chat software is a collaborative technology.

Lastly, Nextiva offers detailed reports, so managers can review chat transcripts, monitor rep performance, and track website visitors.

Price: $20/month

19. Chatra

Key Features: Group Chat and Automated Messages

Chatra offers a live chat software so your reps can answer questions, alleviate concerns, and build relationships with prospects. During a chat, sales reps can cross-sell, upsell, and increase the amount of deals closed.

Features include group chats, read receipts, automated messages, and multilingual chat options. With group chat, your sales reps can speak with multiple decision makers and include other representatives or managers if needed. This avoids the delay of emailing people individually and setting up separate meetings.

Plus, with automated messages, you can target customers on the checkout page to avoid abandoned carts. This helps sales reps reduce friction at every touch point.

Price: Free

20. Tawk.to

Key Features: Video and Voice Chat and Screen Sharing

Tawk.to is a completely free live chat software. It offers common features including automated messaging, widget customizations, reporting, multilingual chat, shortcuts, and integrations. It integrates with sites like Wordpress, Joomla, and Magento.

With features like group chat, sales reps can speak with all decision makers and other reps if needed. Plus, they can jump on a quick video chat and share their screen, moving the sales process further along. Overall, this can increase efficiency and speed in your sales process.

Additionally, Tawk.to offers detailed reporting, including engagement tracking and sentiment  analysis which designates live chat interactions into positive or negative. Also, with an unlimited history of chats and chat tags, you can filter chats to see chat volume and response time.

Two features to keep an eye on are in-chat payments and automated translation. These are in the beta phase, but may become a fully integrated feature soon.

Price: Free

21. Help Crunch

Key Features: Chat Transcripts and Rating

Help Crunch is a live chat software that will help sales reps pre-qualify leads by automatically collecting contact information and messages. The software is gathering leads for your reps 24/7, so they can spend more time having productive conversations.

Help Crunch can track user behavior, save responses, gather live visitor profiles (including behavioral data), and keep chat transcripts as well.

Chat transcripts can provide data on the best ways to communicate with prospects via chat. Just like your sales team would sit down and listen to great and not-so-great sales calls, your team can also accomplish that with transcripts. 

Your reps and managers can analyze what works and what doesn't. Then, you can create saved responses, which are canned responses, designed to save your reps time with answers to common questions. 

Additionally, you can automatically send a chat rating to visitors after closing a conversation which will provide insight into what works for your chat.

Price: $15/month

Live chat software allows salespeople to engage with website visitors in real-time, answer their questions, and hopefully move them to the next stage of the sales process. To learn more, check out the ultimate guide to using live chat software in sales next.

Editor's note: This post was originally published on February 15, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published Oct 15, 2019 8:29:00 PM, updated October 16 2019

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