Live chat software has become the new “must-have” in customer service.
In fact, more than half of all consumers prefer to chat with someone online as opposed to calling a company for support. 41% of people expect websites to offer live chat. In terms of consumer preferences, live chat is the leading contact method for brand communication ahead of phone, email, and social media.
Most businesses have recognized this and added some form of live chat to their websites.
However, all live chat software is not created equally. It’s important to understand the options before finalizing your decision.
After researching and testing dozens of live chat solutions, I’ve narrowed down the top ten on the market today. This guide contains the features, benefits, pricing, use cases, and potential drawbacks for each tool on our list. You can use this information to find the best live chat software for your business.
The Best Live Chat Software Options to Consider:
- HubSpot Live Chat – Best free live chat software
- Podium Webchat – Best live chat to text software
- Olark – Best live chat software for sales and marketing
- Pure Chat – Best live chat tool for small businesses
- Chaport – Best live chat software for startups
- LiveChat – Best for building customer relationships
- Sendinblue – Best support and marketing suite
- LiveAgent – Best helpdesk live chat software
- ChatBot – Best AI-powered live chat tool
- Freshchat – Best for enterprise customer engagement
- ClickDesk – Best for voice and video chat
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Live Chat Software
Who is live chat software for? All websites currently offering some type of online customer support should consider transitioning to live chat.
This is especially true for ecommerce websites and businesses selling products or services online.
Live chat is extremely flexible. In addition to customer support, it’s great for sales teams as well. If your sales and support staff currently communicate with customers via phone and email, you can transition them to live chat software.
Ultimately, live chat will make your staff more productive. A customer service agent can only speak on the phone with one person at a time. But that same agent can manage multiple online chats simultaneously.
Even if you don’t have a dedicated support team, you can still implement live chat on your website. Tools like chatbots can assist customers until a real person is able to respond.
If you’re just running a blog or small personal website, live chat probably won’t be a necessity. But as you scale and get more inquiries, live chat will definitely provide your visitors with a better experience.
#1 – HubSpot Live Chat Review — Best Free Live Chat Software
HubSpot Live Chat is a free tool, part of HubSpot’s free forever CRM.
The software provides everything you want from a live chat solution. You’ll benefit from custom branding, targeted welcome messages, bots, meeting scheduling, and support answers.
The best part is the deep integration that comes with the HubSpot CRM tool. It’s the perfect choice if you’d like a free and easy to use CRM.
It’s easy to customize chat boxes to your own branding—it will feel a lot more unique than some live chats that seem identical on every site.
Your team can manage everything with ease as well. All of the chats are in a single inbox, ensuring messages get responded to correctly and timely.
HubSpot Live Chat is ideal if you’re currently using or planning to use another HubSpot product. For those of you currently using the HubSpot CRM, definitely take advantage of this free live chat tool.
But if you’re planning on integrating this tool with another CRM, don’t expect to have much success.
#2- Podium Webchat Review — Best Live Chat to Text Software
If you’re interested in an easy way to instantly communicate with customers and visitors via text message, Webchat by Podium is an excellent choice.
This live chat to text software is a simple piece of code you install on your website. The live chat widget is fully customizable to match your website and branding.
However, it’s what happens after that makes Webchat unique.
In the live chat window, visitors enter their phone number to initiate a conversation with you. From there, you can text them to answer their questions, schedule appointments, close deals, and stay in touch after they leave their computer.
Webchat is an award-winning software built for convenience and creating an exceptional customer experience. Furthermore, it includes features like:
- Accurate tracking with Google Analytics
- Automatically send warm leads to your CRM
- Transfer conversations from one location to another
- Daily performance emails
- Smart canned responses
Oh, and did I mention it’s free to get started?
Sign up for a free account to get started with Webchat today!
#3 – Olark Review — Best Live Chat For Sales and Marketing
Olark is a simple live chat solution, which makes it a popular choice for smaller businesses and websites that are new to live chat.
The live chat tools from Olark make it easy for you to gather feedback from customers and answer questions in real-time. Olark has a built-in CRM, so all of your notes and transcripts will stay organized.
One of the biggest advantages of Olark is the fact that all of the live chat transcripts on the platform are searchable. This makes it easy to pull qualitative data and customer insights to improve your marketing strategy.
The platform also integrates with SalesForce, HubSpot, Groove, HelpScout, MailChimp, WordPress, and Google Analytics. So regardless of the other tools you’re already using, adding Olark is a seamless process.
Plans start at just $12 per agent per month with a two-year contract. That rate jumps to $15 for an annual contract and $19 for month-to-month billing.
Overall, the software definitely favors sales and marketing as opposed to customer support. It’s simple, straightforward, and extremely affordable. But it does lack some advanced automation tools, like chatbots.
#4 – Pure Chat Review — Best Live Chat Tool For Small Teams
Pure Chat focuses on one thing and one thing only—and that’s live chat. For those of you looking for a simple live chat solution without all of the confusing bells and whistles, Pure Chat will be a top choice for you to consider.
With that said, you can customize the tool to accommodate your needs. Pure Chat integrates with 1,000+ apps like Slack, Salesforce, MailChimp, HubSpot, Zoho, and more.
Top features of Pure Chat include:
- Unlimited chat
- Customizable chat widget
- Native iOS and Android apps
- Security rules
- Unlimited chat history and transcripts
- File transfer
- Trigger-based alerts and actions
- Real-time analytics
- Visitor tracking
There are two plans to choose from—Growth and Pro, which start at $39 and $79 per month, respectively.
Both of these are a great option for smaller businesses and support teams with just a handful of agents. The Growth plan includes four agents, and the Pro version comes with ten. Each plan comes with all of the features, but the Growth plan has Pure Chat branding on the widget and only supports one website.
#5 – Chaport Review — The Best Live Chat Software for Startups
Chaport is one of the best live chat software for startups on the market. The software is extremely versatile for small, fast-growth companies interested in chatting with prospects, closing more sales, and scaling to the next level.
Furthermore, it’s incredibly affordable and you can start with the free forever plan until you’re ready to upgrade. The free plan has all of Chaport’s essential features including:
- Use on unlimited websites with unlimited chats
- 30-day chat history
- Widget customization
- Basic reporting and analytics
- Web, desktop, and mobile apps
The Pro plan is $9.80 per operator per month so upgrading is affordable as well. Pro includes tools to improve operator efficiency like:
- Unlimited chat history
- Advanced customization options
- Advanced reporting
- Group chats
- Search features
- Typing insights
- Canned responses
- File sending
- Advanced integrations
You can also chat with your customers from any device including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and more with instant synchronization from one device to the next.
So whether you’re looking for basic live chat or advanced chatbot features and in-depth visitor insights, Chaport has a solution for you.
Over 10,000+ teams leverage their basic and advanced live chat plans to answer questions, generate more qualified leads, and close more sales.
Plus, you can get started for free on the free forever plan. Or you can try Chaport’s Pro plan free for 14 days.
Sign up to get started for free today.
#6 – LiveChat Review — Best For Building Customer Relationships
LiveChat is an all-in-one customer service platform. Over 30,000+ businesses like Ikea, Mercedes, Adobe, and PayPal trust LiveChat for their customer support needs.
The software works by combining questions and chat from anywhere into a single inbox so your customer support team can answer them quickly and efficiently.
Currently, there are over 170+ integrations including:
- MailChimp (plus other email platforms)
- Facebook Messenger
- Salesforce and HubSpot
Furthermore, LiveChat makes selling easy with features like product cards, custom forms, AI automation, and advanced sales analytics. All of which are available to use during live chats.
Their powerful AI tools let you automatically route inquires to the right team, segment visitors, create help tickets, and generate leads.
This level of automation leads to more conversions and enables businesses to focus on building long-term relationships with their customers.
Here’s a quick overview of the LiveChat’s plans and pricing:
- Starter — $16 per agent per month
- Team — $33 per agent per month
- Business — $50 per agent per month
- Enterprise — Custom pricing available
Each plan includes a built-in ticketing system, daily summaries, automated greetings, top-notch security, and 24/7/365 customer support.
Start your 14-day free trial to get started!
#7 – Sendinblue Review — The Best Support and Marketing Suite
Sendinblue is a marketing and customer support suite including email marketing tools, live chat, text messaging, and landing pages.
So if you’re looking for an all-in-one customer relationship management solution, this is a smart choice.
However, if you just want live chat software to install on your website, Sendinblue is probably overkill (and too expensive) for your needs.
With that said, they do offer a free forever plan that includes:
- Unlimited email contacts
- Send up to 300 emails a day
- Drag-and-drop email designer
- Live chat widget for your website
- Advanced audience segmentation
- Transactional emails and SMS messages
- 1 shared inbox
Plus, all of Sendinblue’s plans include customer support via email and GDPR compliance for your customers in Europe.
Furthermore, their live chat feature is easy to install (in just a few seconds) and allows you to start conversations with visitors on your website.
And you can combine live chat with a wide variety of email marketing features to seamlessly meet your customers where they are. All without paying a single penny.
Sendinblue’s paid plans include:
- Lite — $25 per month
- Premium — $65 per month
- Enterprise — Custom pricing
Rather than a free trial, you can sign up for a free forever plan to take Sendinblue for a test drive today.
#8 – LiveAgent Review — The Best Helpdesk Live Chat Software
LiveAgent is an all-in-one customer support software that includes live chat functionality. However, it’s much more than just live chat—you get a complete helpdesk solution with built-in ticketing as well.
Their helpdesk software helps you resolve queries quickly, boost productivity, and create a seamless customer experience from one platform to the next.
And LiveAgent’s live chat feature naturally connects to its helpdesk solution. So this is an easy way to proactively serve customers in a way that fits their needs.
Their monthly subscription plans include powerful automation tools so you can easily assign tickets to the right agent, segment your audience, and use unique rules to build custom workflows.
Furthermore, LiveAgent’s chat widget is the fastest available on the market. It lets you instantly work with customers and deliver the best possible customer experience.
The best part? There’s an extensive free forever plan you can start with. It includes a ton of features like:
- 7-day ticket history
- Email ticketing
- Live chat
- Ticket merging and splitting
- Mass actions
- Exporting functionality
- Custom business hours
- Spam filters
- And more
So if you’re looking for a comprehensive customer support solution you can start leveraging for free, LiveAgent is the way to go. Plus, you can upgrade to a paid plan in just a few clicks to access more advanced features.
Here’s a closer look at LiveAgent’s plans and pricing:
- Ticket — $15 per agent per month
- Ticket+Chat — $29 per agent per month
- All-Inclusive — $39 per agent per month
Try any paid plan free for 14 days to see if LiveAgent is the right choice.
#9 – ChatBot Review — Best AI-Powered Live Chat Software
ChatBot is an industry-leading AI-powered live chat software that lets you build an intelligent virtual assistant to answer common questions on autopilot.
The drag-and-drop visual builder makes it easy to create conversational responses for different scenarios.
Which… is a huge time saver for both small and large businesses alike. And it gives you the opportunity to scale your customer service department without hiring more operators.
Furthermore, you can start from a library of industry-specific templates to engage with different customer experiences. So you can get your first chatbot up and going in a matter of minutes.
Their most notable features include:
- Free pre-built templates
- Visual scenario builder
- Open API for infinite integrations
- Feature-rich messages including images, gifs, and more
- User segmentation tools
- Customizable chat widget
- Machine learning algorithm
- Human-like conversation capabilities
- Full suite of reporting and analytics
While these advanced features are impressive, they come with an advanced price tag. Plans start at $50 a month with up to 1,000 chats/month. You can also add additional chats (if you run out) for $0.01 per chat.
They also have more advanced plans including:
- Team — $149 per month for 5,000 chats
- Business — $499 per month for 25,000 chats
- Enterprise — Custom pricing
However, you can try ChatBot free for 14 days to test it out before you buy.
#10 – Freshchat Review — The Best For Enterprise Customer Engagement
Freshchat is a powerful live chat software by Freshworks. Each of their customer support tools integrates seamlessly with the others for an excellent user (and customer) experience.
However, Freshchat for enterprises is an excellent live chat software on its own that lets you scale your customer support team through powerful integrations and automation.
With Freshchat, you get access to features like:
- AI automation
- Intelligent chat routing
- Seamless integrations
- Intelligent agent load-balance
- Countless integrations
- Advanced roles and permissions
- Live translate
- Top-notch security
- And more
Furthermore, it’s built using a multi-tier data security model with end-to-end security and a highly resilient framework. So you don’t have to worry about security, data encryption, or GDPR compliance.
Freshchat offers a limited free plan and several paid plans including:
- Blossom for small teams — $15 per user per month
- Garden for growing teams — $29 per user per month
- Estate for large teams — $45 per user per month
- Forest for enterprises — $69 per user per month
You can also choose from several add-ons to improve the functionality of your live chat software.
Sign Up for Free to get started with Freshchat today.
#11 – ClickDesk Review — Best For Voice and Video Chat
ClickDesk is one of the few tools on our list to prioritize voice and video chat as much as standard, text-based live chat.
It essentially aims to be less of a live chat solution, and more of a well-rounded product to anticipate the needs of potential customers far beyond what website live chat can do.
ClickDesk is an ideal solution for customer support. It has helpdesk features like ticket management and one-click integrations with third-party tools that you’re already using.
You can integrate ClickDesk with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
ClickDesk is free for up to 10 users, which includes audio calling in addition to live chat. Here’s a look at the paid plans:
- Lite — $14.99 per month
- Pro — $24.99 per month
- Enterprise — $39.99 per month
These prices are based on an annual contract. You can get even lower rates with a two-year commitment. Month-to-month pricing is available as well.
Overall, ClickDesk is a modern solution for live chat, voice, and video. That’s why it’s trusted by 185,000+ websites in 120+ countries.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Live Chat Software
There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration as you’re shopping around and evaluating live chat solutions. Here’s a closer look at the methodology that we used to find the best tools in this guide.
I’ll explain these features in greater detail below, so you can weigh them according to your personal needs.
Primary Use Case
Is there a specific reason you’re adding live chat to your website?
Some tools are built for sales and marketing, while other solutions are centered around customer support. There are live chat solutions made for SaaS lead generation and other tools for omnichannel support.
You can start to narrow your options down based on what your website needs the most.
Chatbots and Automation
Not every website has agents that can respond to messages 24/7/365.
But chatbots don’t take vacations, lunch breaks, or clock out at 5:00 PM. If you want to get the most out of your live chat software, consider a tool with chatbots. At the very least, chatbots can connect with visitors and get the conversation started.
Some advanced chatbots automatically provide chat routing to live agents based on skills, departments, or other predefined rules.
How many customer service agents do you have?
Some solutions are designed for just a handful of agents. Other tools are built to scale and support dozens of users. In most cases, you’re going to be billed on a per-user basis. So make sure the software can scale with you as your team expands.
While some tools are strictly for live chat, lots of software has additional features and benefits to consider. Examples include:
- Accounts-based marketing (ABM)
- CRM tools
- Scheduling and calendar integration
- Chat history
- Customizable chat widgets
- Visitor monitoring
- Helpdesk tools
Some of you just need basic 1:1 live chat. But other websites should keep an eye on use-case specific features, such as HIPAA-compliant chat for healthcare organizations.
So which live chat software is right for you? The answer, of course, depends on your needs.
Hubspot Live Chat is our top overall recommendation. But there are plenty of other excellent alternatives to consider.
All of the live chat solutions featured in this guide offer a free trial or the ability to request a demo. So if you’re having trouble deciding between a handful, give them a try and see which one performs the best for your needs.