A business can only survive or grow with its customers. So, businesses go to great lengths to ensure maximum satisfaction for their target customers. However, customer satisfaction encompasses numerous factors.
Suppose you walk into a fashion store to check out apparel on display that grabbed your attention. You try it on and find it a bit too loose for your size. A smaller size would be perfect, but you need someone in the store to guide you through. Meanwhile, you stumble upon a customer care number and an email where you can seek assistance.
Now, will you be ready to spend another extra hour explaining your problem and coordinating with the customer care representative to get that product?
Most customers would not be interested in dealing with an elaborate communication procedure and, ultimately, leave without purchasing and look for alternate options.
Most often, e-commerce stores witness the same scenario and lose innumerable potential customers when the response time is too long. Here is when you need a live chat in place. Read this article to gain an in-depth insight into live chat details and learn about the top 12 live chat software available in the market.
What is live chat?
Live chat refers to an online communication channel dedicated to facilitating an exchange of information between your company and website visitors in real time. To break it down further, it is a texting software that allows visitors to seek assistance from or ask questions to your company’s customer support representative via chat on your website or app.
This is a better alternative to lengthy phone calls or email responses. It also enables businesses to establish and maintain cordial relationships with the target customers by directly engaging with them. You can maximize customer satisfaction by incorporating other capabilities like chatbots and automation with live chat.
1. What is live chat for marketing?
Contrary to popular belief, live chat is wider than just customer service. It is a valuable tool for marketing, particularly in lead generation. Numerous prospective buyers may visit your website, but most don’t convert. Businesses can actuate more sales by leveraging real time conversations to increase conversion rates.
Unlike traditional lead generation methods such as paid advertising, mass emails, and forms, live chat empowers businesses to immediately engage with potential leads when they are contemplating a purchase. For instance, live chat helps you send outbound messages to the visitors live on your website so that you can engage with them directly and ensure conversion.
Progressive businesses in the e-commerce industry make the most of conversational marketing to gain a competitive edge.
2. What is live chat for sales?
The expansive market offers consumers a plethora of choices, making them all the more powerful in controlling sales processes. If your customer is dissatisfied with your products or services, a switch to your rival brand is highly predictable.
So, businesses adopt live chat to win and retain these customers by offering an unparalleled on-demand selling experience. This entails developing impactful, informative, and fruitful selling experiences so that you do not just convert for that one time but gain repeat customers.
Analysis of live chat messages reveals that visitors who interact with business representatives on live chat first exhibit greater chances of conversion than those who don’t. Businesses can also introduce chatbots to boost conversion as they are capable of faster responses and handling tedious tasks that do not require human intervention.
3. What is live chat for customer support?
The days when customer support practices were focused primarily on reducing help desk costs rather than improving customer experience are long gone. The traditional methods of resolving customer issues via email, phone calls, or forms have become dated. Most often, customers would have to wait long durations in anticipation of a response from a representative, leading to lower satisfaction rates. 58% of customers forsake brands due to poor customer support.
As a result, live chat has replaced ticketing systems for the greater benefit of customers. Unlike the traditional methods, live chats help customers have instant access to support agents, resulting in faster issue resolution and higher satisfaction. Customers can ask questions, raise issues or queries, seek guidance, and expect to get a genuine response from the support team in a jiffy. Besides texting, some live chats also enable customers to seek video assistance.
Moreover, businesses benefit immensely from live chat software because it is cost-effective and helps generate more revenue by boosting sales. The software speeds up and automates customer support operations, saving time and effort that can be invested in other pressing aspects of the business.
Benefits of Live Chat
The benefits of live chat are not restricted to customers alone. Explore the following top 4 benefits live chat brings for your business:
Ability to be responsive, personal, and engaging
Live chat enables businesses to be more responsive and empathetic toward customers’ needs and expectations. Your support team can answer questions and offer real time solutions, making customers feel valued and heard. Live chat software is backed up by ample customer data like purchase history, previous issues, etc., that aids support agents in gaining deeper insight into their grievances and offers personalized assistance.
With the best live chat software in place, you can also do away with the time and place barrier, engaging with customers at any time or place. However, you can channel this objective by combining human and automated support.
Learn more about your customers
Since live chat occurs through text messages, it allows documentation and storing of crucial customer information. It helps to identify patterns and trends that govern customers’ buying habits.Data acquired from conversations support foresight on customers’ unique requirements and make tailored assistance possible. Understanding your customers better allows you to provide more personalized services, increasing your ability to cater to their needs and win their loyalty.
Create a unified customer experience
A live chat ensures two-way communication exists between the business and its customers across the sales, support, and marketing channels. This helps in creating a cohesive and consistent customer experience throughout their journey. Targeted outreach ensures customer engagement while eliminating the need for sending irrelevant emails or messages.
More efficient use of support resources
An amalgamation of automation and human support systems can compound the effectiveness of live chat.Chatbots can be useful when dealing with simple and regular questions about products, order status, etc. On the other hand, efficient use of human resources is critical for handling complex customer issues that require more attention and detailed responses.
Support teams can also tackle multiple customer conversations simultaneously with live chat. Businesses can therefore address and manage more customer inquiries within less time, contributing to enhanced customer experience and optimum productivity. You must embrace best practices to maximize the use of support resources.
Why Do You Need E-commerce Live Chat?
The significance of live chat cannot be ignored in today’s ever-growing e-commerce industry. Analysis has shown that live chats contributed to the highest customer satisfaction rate (73%, to be precise) compared to other servicing channels. So, here’s why you need e-commerce live chat.
1. Live chat saves time for both your customers and your company
Businesses that manage their resources well are bound to prosper. Time is one of the most invaluable resources that must be optimized to derive the best results. Live chat is an excellent tool to save your business and customers time. Unlike the ticketing system, customers get instantaneous responses without waiting or navigating your website. Similarly, businesses can minimize waiting time and increase productivity by training representatives to manage multiple chats simultaneously and automating simple tasks.
2. Live chat answers customer questions before they become hesitations
Uncertainty and hesitation frequently make customers leave your website empty-handed and increase the cart abandonment ratio. Instant assistance or product recommendations conveyed through chatbots or support agents reassure customers.
3. Live chat keeps customer communications on brand
Live chats help you extend your brand to your target customers. You can train your support representatives and customize chatbots to maintain brand identity while interacting with clients. This way, you won’t need to bombard your precious customers with spam or unnecessary messages while keeping your brand image alive in their minds.
4. Live chat gives you valuable insights into your customers’ behaviors
Most of the live chat software is equipped with features allowing visitor monitoring. Therefore, the system is already acquainted with significant customer information, such as location, purchase frequency, needs, preferences, etc. Additionally, transcripts of past interactions maintained by the software enable businesses to know about customer behavior, reactions, pain points, and concerns.
5. Live chat humanizes your e-commerce store
Although chatbots are essential to customer support, the desire for personal interaction never ceases. Customers reportedly feel more at ease while communicating with real people than confiding in mechanized AI-driven software.
By offering the human touch to customer interactions, you can build and maintain a stronger connection with all your prized customers. On the other hand, customers develop confidence in your brand and become more loyal.
Features Your Live Chat Software Should Have
A high-quality live chat software must possess hi-tech features to support the requirements of multiple businesses. You should look for the following features in your live chat software to optimize customer service objectives:
- Chat transcripts – Chat transcripts help in numerous ways. Firstly, it shows the entire chat history, revealing significant details about the customers, like their pain points, responses, etc., which enables agents to deal with customers more personally. This helps businesses enhance their products and design finer marketing campaigns on a larger scale.
- Chat routing – The chat routing feature enables the right agent or department to address the issues/questions customers raise. For instance, the best assistance for discounts or price-related queries can be provided by agents of the sales department. This function routes incoming chats to the expert team based on pre-set regulations.
- Canned responses – Canned responses are essentially saved replies for common, repetitive questions asked by different customers. These responses generally comprise cancellation procedures, booking policies, etc. This feature comes in handy for agents by saving their time and effort.
- Analytics and reporting – Live chat software must support analytics and reporting tools as they play a vital role in identifying the weak spots or areas that need improvement, monitoring performance, and determining the success rate. Actionable strategies can be taken based on KPIs and metrics like chat volume, customer satisfaction, etc.
- Multilingual support – Features supporting multiple languages are useful while handling customers from around the world. Multilingual support is indispensable if you cater to a global customer base.
- Lead management – The live chat software must offer lead management capabilities, including lead capture and qualification. This is particularly useful in nurturing and analyzing leads for better business growth.
- Automation and chatbots – Leading live chat software is furnished with in-built chatbots to handle routine queries and instantly respond to frequently asked questions.
- Visitor tracking – Visitor tracking offers chat representatives access to crucial information about your website visitors, including their approximate location, purchase history, etc. The agents can adjust the tonality of messages accordingly while interacting with them. Visitor banning is also important to safeguard your employees from obnoxious customers. This feature disallows certain customers from initiating further chats with your business.
- File sharing – File sharing forms an integral part of live chat. This feature helps customers and agents exchange files like images, videos, and documents while resolving issues.
- Chat transfer – Some complex customer issues require intervention from other departments or expert handling. In these cases, agents can use this function to transfer chats to the concerned team. Chat transfer ensures all escalated issues are resolved and no customer leaves disheartened or neglected.
- Multi-channel support – An advanced live chat software must be compatible with several mobiles, social media, and website channels.
- Integrations – Integrations with third parties like social media, Google Analytics, etc., enhance the overall customer experience and a seamless workflow.
E-commerce Live Chat: Best Practices You Need to Follow
A majority of e-commerce businesses have turned to live chat to offer immediate customer support. Here are some best practices you can adopt to maximize the benefits of live chat:
Allow for asynchronous communication
Time barriers can be a major issue while addressing customer queries and issues. Some customers may not be available during business working hours. Asynchronous communication allows chatbots to address questions outside working hours. Using pre-written responses, chatbots inform customers that their concerns are addressed by the appropriate agency within the designated time frame. As a result, all customer inquiries can be attended to, and your support team can reduce their workload and alleviate stress.
Unify your channels in a single inbox
It can be challenging for agents to handle all customer issues across multiple channels efficiently, especially when they are unorganized. Unifying all past conversations and customer details in a single inbox saves the support team’s time and effort and helps them offer prompt, personalized answers to customers. This also allows hassle-free and efficient customer details management from one unified platform.
Keep your message content simple
Often, jargon, technical terms, and acronyms can confuse customers. Therefore, message content must be lucid, straightforward, and relevant to customer queries.
Some live chat software sets restrictions on the character limit for every chat bubble. This requires concise, to-the-point responses for better customer engagement and avoiding miscommunications.
Close every chat when it’s finished
Lastly, closing the chat when the issue has been fully resolved is essential. However, your representative must ask the customer if they have any other issues where they need assistance before ending the conversation. Additionally, the conversation must end on a cordial note and an offer to send follow-ups or chat transcripts through email.
Once the chat window is closed, the chat record is transferred to a dedicated platform. Agents can gain access to these past conversations and tailor their responses to offer better solutions and improved services in the future.
Advantages Of Using Live Chat
Using the best live chat software can bring myriad benefits to your business, particularly if it is online. However, the advantages depend on the features it offers. The top 4 advantages of using live chat are listed below:
Makes you stand out
Live chat offers your business the opportunity to differentiate itself from its rivals. Regardless of the industry or scale of business, the market is brimming with similar products and services. Therefore, it is essential to stand out by enhancing customer experience. Live chat can be your tool to reach that pinnacle. As it turns out, only a 5% retention rate is sufficient to generate an additional profit of 25%.
Provides an enhanced customer experience
Customers generally look for two things – instant responses and qualitative resolutions. Utilizing the best live chat software to its utmost functionality gives you access to customer data, visitor tracking, chatbots, etc. These features help your business agents tailor responses, minimize response time, and ensure seamless customer support.
Live chat is one of the most cost-effective and affordable customer service channels. It helps to augment productivity, enabling your team to handle multiple customer inquiries simultaneously while sparing the need to hire more staff. Unlike other channels, the combined efforts of a well-trained team and automation ensure cost-cutting.
Increases market reach
With the multilingual and multi-channel capabilities of live chat, your business can expand its market reach and enter new markets without incurring the costs of setting up expensive infrastructure. With chatbots, your business can offer 24/7 customer support. It helps to overcome time and place barriers, especially for businesses serving global customers.
12 Top E-commerce Live Chat Tools For 2022
1. Help Scout
Founded in April 2011, Help Scout qualifies as one of the most popular customer service platforms. With this app, businesses can engage with their prized customers and offer top-notch services through the wide network of live chat agents working assiduously towards customer satisfaction and lead conversion.
- The app has a user-friendly interface, facilitating efficient and seamless customer interactions.
- Help Scout lives up to the customer-centric image by offering 24×7 customer support regardless of the plan users subscribe to.
- The live chat tool, Beacon, enables users to avail of several combined features like knowledge-base management and real-time chat, notifications, and updates that allow your business to offer effective customer resolution quickly.
- Users also have access to multi-channel support. This ensures that no customer concern is left unattended.
- The pricing of this app is designed according to the requirements of your business and is comparatively cheaper than the top competitors like Zendesk. The standard plan starts at $20/month with a free trial, while the most expensive plan is priced at $60 annually.
- Some users have noted that Help Scout’s customization options can be limited, particularly when it comes to branding and design.
- Help Scout can be relatively expensive, particularly for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets.
LiveChat is an extensively favored customer support application that comes equipped with multiple features designed to achieve various goals such as lead generation and management, facilitating effective business communication, boosting sales, and monitoring progress.
- This app recorded a 50% increase in lead generation and five times greater conversion rates.
- 200+ integrations and multiple channel support make this app the best tool for customer engagement across different communication channels.
- Businesses can exhibit their products and enable customers to purchase products within the chat window with product cards. This allows businesses to capture leads and simplifies the purchase procedure.
- Users can monitor and manage support team performance and customer service with reporting and supervision features.
- Agents cannot access the automated spell-check feature.
- Several users have reported lags while receiving messages on live chat.
Most businesses prefer this app because it has powerful features, including canned responses, automation, chatbots, product cards, social media integration, analytics, surveys, feedback, and more. Moreover, LiveChat comes at an affordable $20/month starting rate.
If you are looking for a top-rated customizable customer support tool, then HelpCrunch is your ideal option. The tool offers a one-stop solution for all your sales, marketing, and customer support needs.
- Users can make the most of this tool by using a chatbot for instant customer responses and live chat for personalized resolutions. Efficient utilization of the customizable live chat widget ensures greater visitor engagement followed by more lead acquisition.
- HelpCrunch’s integrations with multiple CRMs and social media platforms allow businesses to extend their reach and capture a wider market.
- Features like API, canned responses, customer database, help desk management, geotargeting, visitor tracking, analytics, alerts, etc., help businesses optimize customer satisfaction and scale up rapidly.
- Plans starting from $12 monthly make HelpCrunch a cost-effective tool for businesses.
- The notification feature is not up to the mark, as some customer messages may get overlooked.
- The functionality of this tool is mainly resourceful for startups and small to medium businesses. It may not be equally effective in handling large-scale operations.
- The tool does not facilitate call routing.
The best part about this tool is its 20+ customization options, multiple integrations, competitive features, and all this at a reasonable price point.
Tidio has emerged as the favorite customer support tool for most startups and small businesses for its forever-free plan. Also, it doesn’t levy any set-up charges.
- Unlike most competitors, Tidio allows users to choose between free and paid plans according to their requirements. Besides the forever-free plan, users can sign up for the communicator plan at $15/per user per month or the chatbots plan at $39 per month after a 7-day trial.
- This tool lets your support team track and monitor interactions via emails and live chat.
- Automation, AI, alerts and notifications, augmented analytics, etc., are some of the highlighted features of this tool.
- Integrations with platforms like WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, etc., and apps like Messenger, Instagram, Google Analytics, etc., help businesses enhance customer service and broaden their outreach.
- Tidio lacks an API and is inefficient at managing multiple customer chats simultaneously.
- Several users have faced issues due to limited customizations and manual integrations.
- Features like chatbots and add-ons prove expensive for most small businesses.
This web-based software offers a free plan and a unified interface to ensure every customer message is addressed and resolved. So, agents have access to all the communication channels supported by the tool.
Olark is the perfect live chat tool for websites that depend heavily on agents to interact efficiently with customers and want no additional features.
- This tool offers crucial features, such as offline messaging, automation, triggered messages, etc.
- Your support team can take actionable steps to enhance customer service with the help of Olark’s instant feedback and reports on customer chats. Moreover, chat experience ratings from visitors offer a clear statistical insight into the areas that require improvement.
- Olark lets users know every minute detail about their customers, including the products in their carts, making communication more personalized.
- Olark is comparatively costly, with its monthly plans starting at $29/seat. Furthermore, extra charges may be levied for availing of advanced features.
- Essential features like a ticketing system and knowledge base management are missing.
- Numerous users have reported issues with its limited and inefficient functionality and the absence of custom bots.
Olark is the perfect option for small-scale businesses or startups looking only for live chat support. It has a user-friendly interface, templates, and customizations to increase customer engagement.
Intercom has earned its reputation among the leading customer communication platforms offering various management tools and customer data features. The motto is strengthening customer relationships with seamless and personalized services.
- Users reap huge benefits from the diverse and ever-growing knowledge base, enabling highly personalized interactions and greater customer satisfaction.
- Your support team can interact with customers across multiple platforms with the help of outbound messages.
- Intercom’s integration with other platforms and apps, like Shopify, WordPress, Slack, etc., ensures better management of customer resources.
- Automating workflows and customer communication enhances customer experience while saving time and effort.
- The price point is excessive for small businesses and startups, particularly if they require advanced features like automation. Intercom’s monthly subscription plan starts at $74 with a 14-day free trial.
- Businesses without technical expertise may face complexities in setting up and using the software.
Best suited for large establishments and enterprises, this platform offers the ultimate customer solution. Some of the key features of Intercom include chatbots, canned responses, response automation, customer surveys, analytics, virtual assistant, etc. Over 25,000 businesses worldwide swear by Intercom’s unparalleled customer services.
If you are looking for lead generation and capture, then the highly acclaimed cloud-based learning management system (LMS), ProProfs, is the best fit for your business. Through this platform, businesses can avail of tools to connect with customers through live chat, social media, and email, offering top-notch customer solutions and augmenting revenue.
- ProProfs’ features allow agents to capture potential leads despite being offline. Moreover, you can market products, announce launches, share discount codes, and notify upcoming sales through live chat.
- With this software, businesses can provide real-time personalized communication to their customers.
- Other essential features such as automation, multilingual support, and integrations with other apps and tools
- The post-chat report feature helps collect and analyze statistical feedback, allowing for actionable remedies.
- Users have reported technical issues, limited functionality, and limited analytics.
- The monthly $9 plan offers basic features more suitable for small businesses. The advanced plans ranging from $39-$45 can be expensive for numerous businesses.
ProProfs excels at capturing leads and improving services with features like pre-chat forms, post-chat surveys, canned responses, visitor tracking, knowledge base integration, etc.
Freshdesk is a popular customer service platform catering to more than 50,000 users across the globe. The software enables businesses to manage customer interactions across numerous channels like social media, email, chat, phone, etc.
- Freshdesk has a user-friendly interface and comes with 1,000+ integrations and self-service systems.
- Features like omnichannel support, AL-powered chatbots, automation, etc., help businesses to streamline support processes and minimize manual effort.
- The prices start at $15/agent per month, making it an affordable customer support option for innumerable businesses.
- Users have reported issues with the software’s limited customizations and functionality compared to its competitors.
- Newbies and beginners with limited technical knowledge often find the software complex due to its steep learning curve.
Some of Freshdesk’s highly demanded features include third-party integrations, analytics, API, notifications, a unified activity dashboard, mobile access, statistics, data import, export, etc.
LiveAgent is a reasonably-priced cloud-based customer support platform that stands out for its omni-channel communication.
- This tool is easy to use and navigate, making it an ideal option for businesses of all sizes, particularly those without a dedicated IT unit.
- Your support team can access, organize, and manage a unified inbox where all received messages are stored through live chat, email, social media, phone, etc.
- LiveAgent offers affordable features, with monthly plans starting as low as $9/agent and a one-month free trial.
- Users have recommended improvements in the mobile app interface of the software.
- The software can only offer basic analytics and reporting options, making it inefficient for businesses with advanced requirements.
- The lack of templates has necessitated manual editing for HTML or CSS for any changes in the support portal. This can be cumbersome for most users.
LiveAgent’s unique selling point comprises its comprehensive omnichannel support, where businesses are entitled to manage all customer interactions in one spot. Multiple customization options and pocket-friendly pricing make this software accessible to all businesses.
Chaport retains its name as a feature-rich customer support software equipped with chatbots, a knowledge base, multilingual translation, etc. In short, it is an all-in-one platform for managing customer communication.
- With Chaport’s reporting and analytics, businesses can access customer information and reviews and track chats addressed and resolved by agents, visitor behavior patterns, etc.
- Chaport’s interface has been designed for the ease of its users, particularly beginners. Moreover, users don’t need coding knowledge to customize widgets.
- The software enables smoother team management with chat transfers, team performance monitoring, availability time tracking, etc. It also offers self-service options.
- Unlike other live chat software, users of this platform have to make do with limited communication choices. Options like video conferencing and SMS channels are off the table.
- The basic plan offered free of charge is mostly useful for beginners as it offers limited functionality. Users looking for advanced features such as analytics, management tools, integrations, etc., must switch to the paid versions starting at $19/month.
Chaport steals the limelight for enhancing team collaboration, where many agents work conjointly to offer the most efficient customer solutions. The most acclaimed feature of this software is that it enables agents to have a sneak peek into the message customers are typing, preparing them for predefined and personalized responses. Not only does this function minimize response time without automation and chatbots, but it also augments customer engagement while on a tight budget.
Formerly called Zopim, Zendesk takes pride in its reputation for offering exceptional customer solutions with its chain of products. Zendesk works on two fronts – helping support teams to resolve customer queries and minimize cart abandonment by cross-selling similar products.
- One of Zendesk’s best features is its weekly analytical reports that are emailed to users. Additionally, users can identify, rectify, and improve their weak points from the data gathered from live stats.
- Other noteworthy features like real time tracking, automation, canned responses, chat tagging, chat routing, etc., allow agents to assist customers quickly and more skilfully.
- With Zendesk, businesses are more secure as they retain the power to grant permissions to the support team and control their access capabilities.
- Although Zendesk integrates with a wide range of third-party tools and services, its integration capabilities are limited, making it challenging for businesses to incorporate into a broader tech stack.
- The software can be complex to set up and manage, particularly for beginners or businesses with limited technical expertise or resources.
- The enterprise plan with advanced functionalities costs $59/month, making it prohibitive for small businesses and those on a tight budget.
Zendesk’s most acclaimed features include chat analytics, triggered chat, offline mode, instant messaging, chat module, etc. The software is preferred by countless small businesses owing to its flexible pricing.
Many small businesses profit from the customer support tool Crisp for its unique combination of automation and free price model. Around 400,000 brands are currently offering top-notch customer services with Crisp by their side.
- Crisp offers a plethora of functionalities to keep your customers engaged. The game ‘CrispyBird’ ensures visitors remain hooked while your agents are offline.
- Customizable widgets, file sharing, automation, multichannel support, automated language translations, extensive API, and other features allow businesses to fulfill customer expectations adequately.
- Features like a shared inbox, comprehensive knowledge base, and surveys assist agents in enhancing customer interactions.
- Essential features like chatbots, a knowledge base, email integration, and chat triggers are unavailable under the free plan. Businesses must shell out from $25 (pro plan) to $95 (unlimited plan) per month to enjoy advanced functionalities.
- The software needs to introduce more chat filters. Moreover, users have found the chat widget loading time slower.
Crisp’s unique selling point lies in its innovative features like GIF integrations, in-chat games, MagicBrowse (co-browsing), etc.
In today’s fast-paced world, every operation must meet society’s demand for optimum speed, quality, and resources. Businesses need more effort to live up to these expectations and persevere amidst cut-throat competition.
Where pleasing target customers is a must, businesses should not just focus on offering high-quality products but also the best customer services and follow-ups. In such a scenario, the correct usage of live chat can be a win-win situation for both businesses and customers. Adopting the best practices and implementing the best live chat tool are the stepping stones for every business to stand tall and strong.