Email has long been the preferred channel for customer support. In fact, 54% of customers have used email for customer service needs within the last year.

But, if email support is the seasoned veteran of customer service, live chat would be the upstart rookie sensation. More and more customers are flocking to live chat because of the speedy interactions it creates and research shows that customer satisfaction ratings are higher for chat than any other channel.

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That's because customers receive faster response times and aren't tethered to a phone while they work. They can explore the rest of your company's website, work on personal projects, or casually surf the web while a support agent troubleshoots their issue. This creates a comfortable, low-touch service environment that's delightful for both the customer and the support agent.

If your business has yet to adopt live chat, it's not too late to get started. There are plenty of free options available that you can use with your team.

Best Free Live Chat Software Solutions

1. HubSpot

HubSpot's live chat software is integrated with its CRM, so you're incoming chats will be automatically logged to your customer's contact profile. Your agents can lookup previous chats and recall information that may be relevant to their current case. That way, if a customer is experiencing a reoccurring issue, your team can provide a different solution to ensure long-term success.

HubSpot free live chat software

Another cool feature that HubSpot provides is its chatbot builder. You can create a chatbot, personalize its response logic, and install it onto your website for free. This lets you provide 24-hour support because you can keep your chatbot active outside your normal working hours. Even if you don't have a human rep to transfer to, the bot can refer customers to self-service resources like your community forum or knowledge base.

2. Respond.io

Respond.io is an all-in-one messaging tool that can support live chat on your website as well as your social media pages. All incoming chats are routed to a central location, making it easy to manage inquiries regardless of their source. This helps your team provide a seamless, omni-channel experience to your entire customer base.

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Respond.io's live chat software also includes an interesting AI feature that guides your chatbot's responses. It uses "Smart Replies" to respond to repetitive questions that it observes over time. This saves customers time and communicates consistent troubleshooting steps for common issues, so customers won't complain that one rep gave them different treatment than another when working on a similar problem.

3. Clickdesk

Clickdesk is a live chat software that gathers extensive information about your customers. For example, it includes a "Maps" feature that identifies the customer's location when they open a chat. Your team will know exactly where a customer is chatting from and can assign a rep that's best-suited to assist that customer. This is particularly useful for international companies who may be working with people that speak different languages.

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Clickdesk also offers pre-chat surveys, which are forms that are displayed before a chat is started. You can ask customers to provide their names, emails, and any other information you desire before hopping on a chat with them. This not only prepares your reps for the upcoming conversation but it's also valuable data that your team can use to build long-term relationships.

4. Chatra

Chatra focuses on creating a delightful chat experience for your customers. It includes features like typing notifications and read receipts that notify customers whenever your team is reading and responding to their issues. This keeps customers engaged with your reps which prevents miscommunication and abandoned chats.

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One unique feature that Chatra offers is its offline messaging tool. When none of your reps are available, Chatra displays a message that lets customers know your team is busy and will get back to them soon. And, reps can respond to chats via email, so they don't have to be logged into Chatra's software to continue a case. That way, if your rep just left the office and a customer has a follow-up question, reps can respond quickly without having to log back into their account.

5. Pure Chat

When it comes to live chat software, Pure Chat is a very user-friendly option. It's easy to install and you only have to add a few lines of code to your website. If you're not happy with how it looks or performs, you can simply remove it at a moment's notice. This makes Pure Chat a low-risk option for live chat support.

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Additionally, Pure Chat gives you the option to customize your chat widget. You can control how the widget looks so it aligns with your company's branding. And, you can edit how the widget appears on both mobile and desktop interfaces to create a completely personalized experience.

6. Olark

Olark offers some interesting reporting features for its live chat tools. It has real-time reports so your team can analyze chat volume, customer satisfaction, and agent activity as often as you'd like. Having this information readily available makes it easy for management to execute smart staffing decisions and allows your team to keep pace with customer demand.

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Olark's reporting features also record and store transcripts within its archives. It includes a useful search function that lets you sort and filter chats, so you only see conversations that are relevant to your topic. With this tool, your team can easily review notable chat conversations and extract valuable pieces of customer feedback.

7. Jivochat

Jivochat is a live chat feature that's part of a larger help desk solution. It empowers service reps to handle multiple chats at once, increasing your team's productivity and capability to handle rising customer demand.

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As you can see from the image above, Jivochat's agent interface is what makes this live chat solution truly unique. It offers features like hotkeys, canned responses, and color-coded chats so your team can stay on top of multiple conversations happening at once. Chats can also be translated into 20 different languages allowing your team to support users from all over the world.

8. Tidio

Tidio is a well-rounded live chat solution that includes many of the features we've discussed above. It has chatbots that can automate your messages, canned responses for quicker replies, and an all-in-one shared inbox that routes chats to one collaborative channel.

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However, Tidio's most notable feature is its ability to integrate with a variety of software. From HubSpot, to Shopify, to Wordpress, Tidio can supplement tools like CRMs and email automation to create a personalized experience for your customers.

9. Drift

Drift has some unique features that make its live chat solution stand out from others on this list. For example, it has a built-in scheduling tool so your reps can transfer a chat to a phone call or video session if needed.

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Another useful feature is its targeted messaging. You can categorize different groups of customers by their value to your business, then display personalized messages based on your relationship with them. That way, your reps know when they're speaking to your most loyal customers and can be sure to go above and beyond for them.

10. My LiveChat

My LiveChat has proactive chat features that initiate conversations with customers. You can customize the tool to send outbound messages after a visitor completes an action on your site. This lets your team capitalize on timely opportunities to delight customers and deliver a personalized service experience.

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Another feature that My LiveChat offers is live co-browsing. With this tool, agents can use the chat interface to navigate to the same page that their customers are on. This saves time during the interaction and reduces miscommunication that could potentially occur.

For more chat solutions, check out this list of the best live chat software.

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Originally published Dec 20, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated July 21 2020

Topics:

Sales Live Chat