Customer service has come a long way in recent years. With live chat become more and more popular as not only a way for businesses to offer customer support, but as a way to interact with potential customers as they shop on the website. 

Having a live chat on your website can mean anyone with questions can instantly message you and ask questions, rather than having to call you (which they can only do during business hours) or send an email and having to wait indefinitely for you to reply. 

A live chat tool is not only great for potential customers but also for you – the one behind the business. 

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

The 9 Best Live Chat Apps for Customer Support in 2021

1. Livechat 

Livechat is a popular tool for businesses who want to enable live chat on their website. The software is built to be friendly for both customers to use and customer service reps to manage the leads on the backend. 

The tool integrates with all your other tools such as Facebook Messenger, email and WhatsApp, so the backend chat will be a central location for you to manage leads. 

The service also elegantly integrates with your e-commerce site, so you can showcase your products through the chat, and the system can track conversions too. 

Key features 

  • Chat tools
  • Customer engagement tools
  • Customization 
  • Reporting and analytics 

Cons 

  • Slightly more expensive than competitors 
  • Takes time to set up the CRM 

Pricing 

LiveChat starts at $16 a month per agent. 

Get LiveChat

2. ChatBot

ChatBot is another popular solution from the same team at LiveChat. This solution offers mostly everything LiveChat offers, but of course, as the name suggests, has a chatbot function built in. Now as someone in the marketing space with my past life managing a customer service team, I can say, having a (well designed) chatbot in place makes everyone’s life easier. 

The customer service team will know exactly what they’re dealing with the monment they enter the chat, and will save them time as they don’t need to ask the repetitive questions again and again from the customers. 

Key features 

  • LiveChat features
  • Visual chatbot builder 
  • Templates 
  • Open API 

Cons 

  • More expensive than LiveChat (of course) 
  • Will take time for you to build a chatbot sequence 

Pricing 

ChatBot starts at $50 a month per user. 

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3. Intercom 

The live chat giant. Intercom. If you’ve ever used a live chat tool in the past, there’s a large chance that Intercom is what you interacted with. Nifty tool right? As the leader in the industry, the tool is widely used, and will have all the features you would expect, plus the customer support and help you would like from a leading company. 

The only problem is, yes, they do have the features, but it’s not cheap. See how the chatbot and automation features in other tools will start at around $50 a month? Intercom’s automation features start with their enterprise plans, starting at $500 a month. 

It’s clear that they want institutional customers, so unless you’re strapped with cash, then perhaps an alternative tool will be a good start. 

Nevertheless, it’s a great and sturdy tool, for those with cash. 

Key features 

  • Live chat features
  • CRM
  • Automation 

Cons 

  • Expensive 

Pricing 

Intercom starts at $39 a month for its basic features. 

Get Intercom

4. Zendesk 

Zendesk is another tool you’ve probably come across if you’ve ever had any support issues and launched a ticket, then there’s a good chance Zendesk powered your experience. The company is known for their customer service ticketing tool, but their live chat software is commonly used too. 

I have personally used Zendesk before, and it’s not a bad tool to get your started on. 

The live chat functionaries will cover everything you need, but after testing it myself on some client sites, i found that it did lack the chatbot and automation features some competitors have. 

Key features 

  • Live chat features
  • CRM
  • Automation 

Cons 

  • No automation features
  • Lack of API

Pricing 

Zendesk is free to start, limiting you at one concurrent chat, and if you want more, their first paid plan starts at $14 a month. 

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5. PureChat

PureChat is a lesser known live chat software, but it is also quite sufficient if you simply want to chat with your customers. The software prides itself on its analytics, offering you to see everything down to the bottom line with its real time sales support tracking. 

The solution, like a few others does lack an automation or chatbot feature, so if you are after something to automate your leads first, then this doesn’t cover it. 

Key features 

  • Integrated solution 
  • Transparency 
  • Value tracking 
  • Customisation 

Cons 

  • No automation features
  • Quite expensive 

Pricing 

Purechat starts at $39 a month. 

Get PureChat

6. Olark 

Olark is another affordable solution if you want to have live chat on your site. The tool is quite popular with small businesses at an affordable price range, and seamlessly integrates with website and CRM to store your chat data. 

Key features 

  • Integrated solution 
  • Simple to use 
  • Affordable pricing 

Cons 

  • No automation features

Pricing 

Olark starts at $12 a month per agent. 

7. Drift 

Drift is a powerful chatbot and livechat software that is built to help businesses increase their sales. The program is focused on revenue acceleration, and has the tools on top of live chat to help you get the results. 

On top of that, Drift focuses on their AI based chatbot, in the aim of cutting out as much human interaction as possible to reach the end goal (usually to get a sale or get the lead). 

Key features 

  • AI chatbot 
  • Sales conversion tracking
  • Visitor intelligence 
  • Analytics 

Cons 

  • Will take more time to set up automation 

Pricing 

Drift is free to start for just their live chat functions, and starts at $50 a month for their paid plans. 

Get Drift

8. Tidio 

Tidio is a live chat and chatbot tool specialising in helping e-commerce companies with their customer service options. The tool is built to help website track their sales and has specific options to help e-commerce businesses automate their customer support, such as helping with shipping tracking questions. 

The tool also has email marketing features too, handy if you don’t want to find another solution. 

Key features 

  • AI chatbot 
  • Sales conversion tracking
  • Visitor intelligence 
  • Analytics 

Cons 

  • Will take more time to set up automation 

Pricing 

Tidio is free to use for their live chat, but chatbot starts at $18 a month. 

Get Tidio

9. Live Agent 

Live Agent is an all in one customer service tool, with modules to help with your support ticketing, live chat and call centre software. The tool does not have automation, but if you want to access their suite of customer support tools, then Live Agent might be worth looking into. 

Key features 

  • Sales conversion tracking
  • Visitor intelligence 
  • Analytics 

Cons 

  • Limited automation features 

Pricing 

Live Agent starts at $29 a month. 

Get Live Agent

What to look for in a live chat solution? 

When you’re looking for a live chat, start with what you want to get out of it. Most people just think live chat is a great addition to offering an awesome customer experience, but chatbots can do so much more. I see chatbots as the next level upgrade to the basic live chat. This is evidently seen in most of the pricing ranges, where automation and chatbot functions usually come with a premium price tag. 

Having the ability to automate your incoming messages will give you incredible amounts of time and will mean your customer service team doesn’t need to ask the same questions over and over again. 

Another thing to look out for is the type of business you have. If you’re running an e-commerce business, then find a solution that has sales tracking too, so you can see if the live chat agents are helping contribute to the sale. Tools such as LiveChat or ChatBot will accommodate your needs. 

Pricing is another factor. It’s no secret that the industry is dominated by Intercom, and to be honest, their offering is incredibly robust, however, great software isn’t cheap, and Intercom chargers $500 a month for their chatbot and automation functions, which is insane for a small or even medium business to pay. As much as I love using Intercom as a customer, that sort of price range is hard for me to recommend to you, especially when there are alternatives on this list for a fraction of the price. 

Is automation important for a live chat solution? 

From my experience, yes. Basically, having automation as part of your chatbot will mean your customer service team will get an overview of exactly what the customer is after and how to serve them, straight from the first human interaction.

On top of that, it will mean you don’t need to employ as big of a customer support team, as the chatbot will save a lot (trust me – a LOT) of time from the support staff, as they don’t need to as the same mundane questions over and over again. 

Final Thoughts 

A live chat, at the end of the day is a business tool. Like many other tools in your arsenal, you will need to spend the time to refine your internal processes to get the maximum benefit out of it. From the way you built and automate your chat, to how the customer service team itneracts with your customers, everything can be improved over time. Find a solution that suits you, and get rolling!