Live Chat

16 Best Live Chat Software & Services Compared [2022]

by Beata Stefanowicz·Updated
Best live chat software cover image

So you decided to get a chat for your website and social media.

That’s great! Especially since it can bring you more revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and slash customer service costs!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. 

Before you enjoy the benefits of having an online chat, you need to pick the best live chat software for your business. How do you do that?

Let’s go through 16 of the best online chats for websites with pros, cons, and pricing comparisons to find the perfect match for your company.

In this article:

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Let’s start with a quick definition. What is live chat software?

Live chat software is a messaging tool that pops up as a chat window and allows for proactive customer communication straight from your website or social media. Your clients can click on the live chat widget and interact with your business when browsing through the ecommerce store and ask questions straight away. This is a great way for them to reach out to your representatives directly which, in turn, can improve your conversion rates.

So what is the best live chat software for websites?

Best live chat software comparison table

ProviderRatings ⭐️Free plan/trialBest for
Tidio4.7/5 (856 ratings)Small to medium businesses
Podium 4.6/5 (1,246 ratings) Easy communication with customers from Facebook 
Tawk.to4.6/5 (148 ratings)Outsourcing customer support 
LiveAgent4.5/5 (1,365 ratings)Helpdesk support
LiveChat4.5/5 (726 ratings)Mid-sized and large ecommerce stores 
Zoho Desk4.4/5 (3,520 ratings) Omnichannel customer service
Intercom4.4/5 (2,051ratings)TrialLarge online businesses
HubSpot 4.4/5 (897 ratings) CRM software integration
Drift4.4/5 (557 ratings)Enterprise-level features 
Pure Chat4.4/5 (202 ratings)Reporting and analytics
Crisp4.4/5 (74 ratings) Multichannel marketing campaigns
Smartsupp4.4/5 (8 ratings) Sending video recordings to clients
Zendesk4.3/5 (3,558 ratings) Helpdesk software for mid-sized and large businesses
Olark4.3/5 (220 ratings)TrialMarketing and survey features 
Acquire4.2/5 (39 ratings) Global businesses 
LivePerson3.6/5 (60 ratings)Conversational AI features 

When searching for “live chat software” on G2 and other review platforms, we get between 420 and 514 results. There are plenty of options out there to choose from and going through them all would take you days if not weeks. 

So, instead of checking them all, Let’s check out the in-depth reviews of the 16 best live chat software for your business.

1. Tidio 

Tidio's homepage with their live chat icon in the bottom left corner of the screen

Ratings: 4.7/5 ⭐️on G2 (850+ ratings)

We won’t be promoting ourselves here by saying things like “we’re the best free live chat software out there.” Our own article is not the right place to convince you of that.

So, let us simply encourage you to try our free chat software for websites and see for yourself if we deserve all the positive reviews we get. More than that, you’re welcome to leave us a review—we’d love to know what your impressions are!

Main features:

  • Visitor profiles to save client information (location, contact details, visited pages, etc.)
  • Live visitor list to see website visitors and share promotional offers directly
  • Real-time visitor message preview in the chat window before they send it
  • Integrations with popular CRMs, analytics, and ecommerce platforms
  • Canned responses for quicker replies
  • Automated lead generation and customer support with ready-made chatbots

Pricing:

  • Free: up to 3 support agents
  • Communicator: $19/mo
  • Chatbots $49/mo

Don’t miss out on the best live chat!

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2. Podium

Podium's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.6/5 ⭐️on G2 (1,240+ ratings)

Podium Webchat is an online reputation management platform. It has a live chat feature, response automation, social media messaging, and automatic review requests.

Adding Podium to your website means having a centralized inbox for both website and social media messages. This is one of the live chat vendors that offer a click-to-chat app, which means that you can’t message website visitors first. They must provide their contact data before they start a conversation, so you’ll have their email address for any future follow-ups and proactive chats.

Pros:

  • Contact capture form in the widget to send text messages to customers later
  • Auto responses to capture leads
  • Easy to use desktop and mobile app 

Cons:

  • Unreliable search function 
  • No limits on who can join the communication 
  • Some reviewers complain about customer support being difficult to reach

Pricing:

  • Free trial available
  • Essentials: $289/mo
  • Standard: $449/mo
  • Professional: $649/mo

3. Tawk.to

Tawk.to's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.6/5 ⭐️on G2 (145+ ratings)

This customer service chat software is free to use, which is a perfect solution for start-ups and small businesses. You don’t need a big budget for this one, and you can start communicating with new clients straight away. 

Also, if you need to hire agents to take care of your customer service, Tawk.to lets you do that as well by providing agents for hire by the hour.

Pros:

  • Message translation into 45+ languages
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android to chat with customers on the go
  • Unlimited agents on a single account

Cons:

  • No configuration of a chatbot
  • Lag between an offline message sent by clients and email notification
  • Minimal reports section

Pricing:

  • Free software
  • Hire an agent: $1/hour 
  • Remove branding: $19/mo

Think that hiring and training in-house customer support agents is a better idea? Here are the skills to look for: 17 Key Customer Service Skills [List & Resume Examples]

4. LiveAgent

LiveAgent's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.5/5 ⭐️on G2 (1,365+ ratings)

LiveAgent is a good choice for mid-sized businesses that want to offer customer service via phone, email, and live chat. This is because it is designed to be a part of the LiveAgent helpdesk solution which includes call center software, a ticketing system, and social media integrations.

Choosing this website live chat software makes sense if your team gets hundreds of support requests and wants to keep all your chat history in one place. Even in the basic plan, you get unlimited email ticketing and visitors profiles, which are good options for large ecommerce stores.

Pros:

  • Chat invitations for website visitors to start conversations
  • Ticketing system for better ogranization of tasks within the team 
  • All support tickets relating to a specific client are in one place 

Cons:

  • Outdated UI design
  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JS needed to add things to the panel
  • No AI tools implementation

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Free 14-day trial
  • Ticket: $15/mo
  • Ticket + Chat: $29/mo
  • All-inclusive: $49/mo

5. LiveChat

LiveChat's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.5/5 ⭐️on G2 (725+ ratings)

LiveChat offers chat services for sales and customer support. Its live chat app is simple, customizable, and conversion-oriented. It has a variety of integrations, such as Telegram, Slack, and WhatsApp.

Mid-sized and large businesses will benefit most from this website live chat service. If you have a large customer support team to manage, you’ll find LiveChat’s detailed reporting on agent performance and customer satisfaction useful.

Pros:

  • Chat rating for interactions available 
  • Live chat message templates with buttons, product carousels, and canned responses
  • Reports with customer satisfaction rating and agent performance data

Cons:

  • Limited number of customers in queues, additional clients redirected to other channels 
  • Limitation on customer invitations 
  • Some reviewers report frequent technical glitches

Pricing:

  • Starter: $19/mo
  • Team: $39/mo
  • Business: $59/mo
  • Enterprise plan available upon request 

6. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (3,520+ ratings) 

This live chat for websites can help you manage customer interactions over many different channels such as email, SMS text, and, of course, live chat. You can also easily hook up your customer service number with Zoho Desk to make and receive calls in-app.

You can assign calls to agents based on their team or department. It’s also possible to automatically route calls to representatives that the customer spoke to before. This can improve customer relationships and increase customer satisfaction with your brand.

Pros:

  • Modern UI for a better user experience
  • Mobile app available for on the go customer service
  • Community forum for users 

Cons:

  • Not possible to add logos to accounts
  • Global dashboards not available in all versions
  • Synchronization of comments from Zoho Desk and Zoho Books not possible

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Standard: $20/agent per month
  • Professional: $35/agent per month
  • Enterprise: $50/agent per month

7. Intercom

Intercom's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (2,050+ ratings)

Intercom is like Apple of live chat service providers—functional but super expensive. That’s why there are a bunch of Intercom alternatives out there. Still, it remains one of the best live chat software to help large companies with customer support and marketing.

In addition to that, Intercom is extremely feature-rich. Large B2C companies and SaaS businesses, for example, will find tools like help center, ticketing, custom API, and Service Level Agreements useful.

Pros:

  • Live chat conversation ratings to monitor customer service quality
  • Custom chatbot templates for various customer support and marketing-related needs
  • Canned responses to speed up customer service

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to competitors
  • Not able to merge or duplicate conversations
  • Organizing content into folders and subcategories not possible 

Pricing:

  • 14-day free trial
  • Starter: $67/mo 
  • Contact sales for other pricing plans

8. HubSpot

HubSpot's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.⅘ ⭐️on G2 (895+ ratings) 

This live chat support software app integrates with the free CRM software from HubSpot to record visitors’ information. So, you can fall back on some helpful context for the next conversations with repeat customers. Having all your customer data in one place can also help you scale your customer support and automate some of the repetitive tasks into self-service. 

Like many other best live chat software apps here, HubSpot also has a chatbot builder, which you can use to create custom chatbots. This feature can help automate repetitive tasks such as answering FAQs.

Pros:

  • Universal inbox that all teams can access and reply to messages
  • Automated lead generation and basic customer support tasks with chatbots
  • Integration with the HubSpot’s free CRM

Cons:

  • Limited data analytics
  • Some reviewers report issues with tickets that don’t reopen after being viewed 
  • Each event in timeline needs to be manually removed to delete the timeline

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Starter: $46/mo
  • Professional: $368/mo
  • Enterprise: $1,104/mo

9. Drift

Drift's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (555+ ratings)

Drift is one of the best live chat apps for large businesses because of its enterprise-level features. This live chat tool gives real-time notifications of visits and qualifies leads. It also provides reports for analysis, so your service team members can learn from previous chat experiences.

This online chat for websites helps your business with conversational marketing which is very useful for B2B type of companies. It puts the buyer at the heart of what you do and personalizes the customer experience. It also ensures a real-time conversation to make the buying process frictionless, enjoyable, and more human-like.

Pros:

  • Lead routing to ensure that a client goes to the right representative or agent
  • Conversational AI to automate customer support requests
  • Complex reporting available

Cons:

  • Slow email notifications
  • Search function needs improvements (it only works when you input the exact email or number) 
  • Set up is time-consuming

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Contact sales for other pricing plans

10. Pure Chat

Pure Chat's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (200+ ratings)

Pure Chat is one of the best online live chat software options for mid-sized companies with real-time visitor analytics. Sales teams can collect such visitor tracking data as the history of customer conversations, visited pages, and contact info to find leads and improve marketing.

You can integrate this live chat system with tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce, MailChimp, and HubSpot. It ensures your company supports the newcomer throughout the entire customer journey. 

Pros:

  • Unlimited chats available for any plan
  • Canned responses for faster communication with customers
  • Real-time visitor analytics

Cons:

  • Limited customization
  • Users reported unresponsive customer support
  • Disconnects customers from the chat when they leave it to search for something on the page

Pricing:

  • Growth: $49/mo
  • Pro: $99/mo
  • Additional Users/Operators for Growth: $15/mo
  • Additional Users/Operators for Pro: $10/mo

11. Crisp

Crisp's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (70+ ratings) 

This live chat provider helps small and medium-sized businesses to build customer relationships via multichannel marketing. Besides live chat website software, this website support chat app offers integrations with emails, SMS, and instant-messaging tools.

Crisp provides services like video live chat software, knowledge base, and co-browsing. These can help your business to provide a modern user experience, generate qualified leads, and improve customer satisfaction.

Pros:

  • Screen sharing available 
  • Live Translate feature to speak to customers in their native language
  • Crisp Analytics dashboard to track user satisfaction, employee effectiveness, and other chat-related statistics

Cons:

  • Not possible to insert a customer satisfaction survey into the chatbox 
  • Unable to mark chats as unopened after they are viewed
  • Not possible to group reviews after receiving them

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Pro: $25/mo
  • Unlimited: $95/mo

12. Smartsupp

Smartsupp's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐️on G2 (8+ ratings) 

Smartsupp helps ecommerce businesses provide a personalized shopping experience and drive more sales. You can provide proactive customer service through live chat, chatbots, and video recordings. This way, you can respond to repetitive questions and offer an interactive experience for your clients.

You can also see who’s browsing your website and catch them at just the right moment. This makes online shopping a little more like the in-store experience with a human assistant to help the shopper when they need it. 

Pros:

  • Free mobile app 
  • Previous conversations with the same user easy to find
  • Customer feedback feature available

Cons:

  • Delay in receiving messages via the app
  • Easy to miss notifications on the iPhone app 
  • Not able to integrate with a CRM platform

Pricing:

  • Free version available
  • Standard: $22.5/mo
  • Pro: $108/mo
  • Unlimited: $2,000/year

13. Zendesk

Zendesk's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.3/5 ⭐️on G2 (3,555+ ratings) 

Zendesk offers useful features for sales, marketing, and branding. Online businesses with thousands of monthly orders will find options like operating hours, live chat support agent roles and permissions, and web SDK very handy.

You can have conversations with your clients on any channel, from email and chat voice to social media platforms and WhatsApp. Also, all these interactions are kept in one place for your agents’ convenience. This way, your representatives can respond to queries coming from any channel faster and more efficiently.

Pros:

  • Offline pre-chat forms to collect customer information before chatting
  • Real-time preview of website visitors 
  • Chat rating feature to let customers evaluate your customer support

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report frequent service disruptions 
  • Tickets get closed automatically after 30 days 
  • Layout and navigation needs improvement for a better user experience 

Pricing:

  • Suite Team: $49/mo
  • Suite Growth: $79/mo
  • Suite Professional: $99/mo

14. Olark

Olark's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.3/5 ⭐️on G2 (220+ ratings)

Olark is a user-friendly customer support chat software that offers analytics and reporting. Business owners will also be able to collect information about customer satisfaction with surveys, support, chat volumes, and agent activity.

Chat transcripts are another useful feature of this chat software. Olark’s live chat tools give access to a complete archive of conversations with customers. You can use it to find insights about product feedback and customer success metrics. This can help your team catch the recurring issues and improve the process.

Pros:

  • Chat rating with a customer satisfaction survey to assess service quality
  • Fully customizable website chat box
  • Automated welcome messages and promotions available

Cons:

  • Not intuitive customization
  • Not possible to put the chat on only one page of the website
  • Reviewers report being displayed as offline or away while they were online 

Pricing:

  • Free 14-day trial
  • Standard: $29/agent/mo
  • Pro plan pricing available on request

15. Acquire

Acquire's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 4.2/5 ⭐️on G2 (39+ ratings) 

Acquire offers a highly customizable live chat app for a website. It is also a good option for businesses looking to go international. This online chat software offers auto-translation into more than 100 languages. So, your support agents don’t have to speak foreign languages to respond to requests.

Multimedia sharing capabilities are another reason why this live chat for websites stands out. You can share files, co-browse, and talk to customers via audio. There’s also a video chat, so Acquire might be suitable for businesses looking for live chat video software.

Pros:

  • Chat routing with agent tagging 
  • Live chat, audio, phone, screen share, and video chat available on one dashboard to provide a better omnichannel experience for customers
  • Automate common support tasks with chatbots

Cons:

  • No mobile application
  • Users report poor and unreliable customer support
  • Inconsistent notifications of new chats 

Pricing:

  • Contact sales for pricing plans

16. LivePerson

Liveperson's website with their live chat widget open

Ratings: 3.6/5 ⭐️on G2 (60+ ratings)

LivePerson calls its web live chat “The world’s first AI-powered conversational cloud.” In simpler terms, it means a messaging platform that combines SMS, instant messaging apps, chatbots, and live chat. It is also compatible with the most popular messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and Facebook Messenger. Conversations are handled in a single cloud-based space available on desktop, iOS, and Android devices. 

This chat support software can also enable customers to make payments directly in the chat. This can increase sales on your website and improve customer experience.

Pros:

  • Communication with customers via live chat, chatbots, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google’s Business Messages, Apple Business Chat, and more
  • AI chatbots available to automate your customer interactions 
  • Integration with CRM to collect and store customer data

Cons:

  • Reviewers report bad customer support 
  • Poor UX performance 
  • Not possible to group chats

Pricing:

  • Contact sales for pricing plans

Suggested reading:
How to Add Live Chat to Your Website for Free
How to Install Tidio on Different Websites And Platforms

That’s all the best live chat software for businesses out there. Let’s move on to presenting some benefits of live chat services, shall we?

What are the benefits of live chat software for a website?

The main benefits of live chat on the website are:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
    Research shows that over 84% of customers are satisfied with live chat as a tool to communicate with businesses. This can improve the ability of representatives to support clients at their convenience. In turn, this can result in higher CSAT scores and more loyal customers in the long run.
  • Real-time customer support
    Live chat is the fastest customer service channel, with some studies putting the response time at 7 seconds. You can also provide support and share promotions right there and then—60% of shoppers appreciate personalized promotions and real-time deals. Also, this can save an otherwise lost sale and ensure a client follows through to the checkout. 
  • Customer communication on the go
    Many live chat software options come with mobile apps, so you can answer more questions faster. Timely in-app notifications of new visitors and incoming messages will give more sales opportunities. 
  • Valuable customer information produced
    Live chat apps allow you to see which pages on your website customers have visited. This information, along with demographics and what device they’re browsing from, is useful for creating a personalized customer experience.
  • Lead generation & increased sales
    You can ask for a visitor’s email before they start chatting with your customer support agents. Also, the best live chat software comes with lead generation chatbots. They can be set up to generate leads by offering discount codes and other promotions.

Also, according to Forrester’s study, visitors who have a conversation with a business are nearly three times as likely to convert than those who don’t. These customers also tend to buy around 10-15% more than clients who don’t use web chat.

Must-have live chat software features

When going through the best website chat software, keep in mind what the most important features are for your business. Some of the must-have functions include:

  • Unlimited chats
    You don’t want to be limited on the number of conversations you can have with your customers just because of your provider. It’s important to check if the live chat software you choose offers unlimited chats, so your customer support reps can interact with visitors freely.
  • Canned responses
    This will make your customer service experience quicker and more efficient. Canned responses are the quick replies to common queries that your agents can save and send to clients when a repetitive question appears. 
  • Live view of website visitors
    This feature allows you to see which pages your visitors browse and what they get stuck on. It can be useful when you want to approach the client at the right time and secure a sale or provide a helping hand.
  • Useful integrations
    Some of the most popular and handy integrations are with Zapier, Messenger, MailChimp, Google Analytics, and one of the CRM systems, such as Salesforce. These can broader your reach and capabilities when it comes to customer communications.
  • Analytics and reports
    When you want to track performance and get better at your efforts, you’ll need the reports provided by your live chat software provider. These will show you how efficient your customer support team is, how satisfied your clients are with the interactions and other information on the chats.

Chatbots are a useful addition to a live chat solution that makes your business available to customers 24/7, even when your chat agents are asleep. They also automate some of the customer service workflows. Check out some of the best chatbot platforms to pick the right one for your company.

Summary 

That’s all from our list of the best website chat software out there. 

When choosing your provider, remember to look for unlimited chats, canned responses, live view of website visitors, useful integrations, and analytics. Also, consider using chatbots alongside your live chat for more efficient and faster customer service.

So, which live chat software is best?

As a quick recap, these include:

  1. Tidio
  2. Podium
  3. Tawk.to
  4. LiveAgent
  5. LiveChat
  6. Zoho
  7. Intercom
  8. Hubspot
  9. Drift
  10. Pure Chat
  11. Crisp
  12. Smartsupp
  13. Zendesk
  14. Olark
  15. Acquire
  16. LivePerson

FAQ

What is live chat software?

Live chat software is a computer program that allows you to communicate with website visitors through a chat window on your site. This allows for customer communication straight from where a client is and needs assistance.

What is the best free live chat software?

Three of the best free live chat software are Tidio, Podium, and Tawk.to. They all offer a free forever plan which includes the most important features.

How can I add live chat to my website for free?

You can add a live chat to your website for free in two ways. You can add one through your content management system with a live chat website plugin on WordPress or an app on Shopify. Or you can sign up on the live chat platform’s site and add the chat using a piece of code. Remember to make sure you choose a live chat software provider that offers a free forever plan.

What are the common features of live chat software?

Some of the common features include canned responses, basic analytics, and visitors’ list. Other features that you should look for in a chat provider are live view of website visitors, live typing, and a mobile app available.

What is live chat software best for?

Live chat software is best for customer support, customer service, and lead generation.

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Beata Stefanowicz
Beata Stefanowicz

Content Writer at Tidio with a love for the written word. She scouts around for digital trends and ways to help small and medium businesses grow.

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