What Is Live Chat Software?

Live Chat Software is a channel that helps your business to communicate with your customers or website users. It will notify a customer’s screen and proactively ask if they need any assistance. It works as an instant messenger where your customers can communicate with you in real-time. The software empowers your customer support to conveniently answer inquiries and complaints.


Why Do You Need a Live Chat Software?

As a business owner, you would want to stay connected with your customers. Timely engagement makes all the difference. With live chat software, you can deepen this relationship and more.

 

Customer Convenience 

Giving customers an option to chat with someone from your team saves a lot of their time and patience. Customers will be able to do other stuff while exchanging messages with you, especially those who use more than one device or can multi-task with their mobile devices.

 

Spend Less, Accommodate More

An agent speaks only with one customer at a time and with a long queue of customers, so you would need to hire more phone call agents. Whereas, with a live chat, your chat representatives can assist more than one customer at a time. Thus, you could hire less but accommodate more.

 

Increase in Sales

If you have a live chat, your customer will be enlightened immediately about your products or services. Also, having the presence of your chat representative during a customer purchase process prevents issues that may arise in the future, it is like a preemptive approach. Having someone who can influence a customer while making a purchase has a  huge impact in closing a transaction.

 

Provide Proactive Outreach 

You would not want a potential lead to just come and go, right? A reason why getting a live chat feature is worth it is because it can be used to proactively send a message to your customers or even a new website visitor. Being able to initiate offers of assistance can make a huge difference as you can turn a simple website visitor into a possible sale opportunity and a long-term customer. 

 

Faster Problem Resolution

Yes, phone customer support can work to address customers’ concerns. However, customers are still advised to check their emails for further instructions. If you have a live chat, you can streamline customer assistance in one software. A live chat could be a combination of video, voice, chat, and co-browsing. Your representative can easily walk through on instructions with a customer. Their concerns? Easily resolved.

 

Collect Chat History

If you have a live chat, your customers will no longer have to pass through a long identity verification process because the previous conversations and customer’s information could be saved in the past chat history. For added security, you may just ask about a security question instead of asking them to verify their name, email, ID number, phone number, etc.

 

Customer Satisfaction

Having a live chat gives your customers the impression that they are well taken care of, and they will get assistance whenever they need anything. Studies show that customers feel more satisfied when they can quickly chat with a representative and this makes them stay as loyal customers.

 

Customized Assistance

To address a concern and make a customer happy, you need to identify where they are coming from. By having an available live chat feature, you have an opportunity to assist a customer in a more personalized approach. Some sales representatives can also turn this situation into profits and sales opportunities.

 

Competitive Advantage

The internet is a very wide platform and a big place for competition. You have to stand-out and one way in order to get an edge over your competitors is to make your customer support better than the others. Only 9% of 1000 websites have live chat software but the number of customers who use the feature increased from 38% to 58%. With this, more and more customers are changing their perspective as well on how they would like to connect with customer support.

 

Generation Leads

With live chat, you may be able to engage with your website visitors, turn them into leads, work it out, and make them a happy customer. They might just visit your website accidentally or out of curiosity. With the help of live chat, you’ll be able to initiate a conversation. Make them feel comfortable by telling them about your company and what you can offer and it will definitely be a new sale opportunity.

 

Customer Engagement

Getting new customers and making them do business once with you is not enough. You should focus on building a stronger connection by engaging well with your dearest customers. A well-engaged customer is someone who has an emotional connection to your business. You’ll be able to make them order more, share with others how good you and your products are, and for them to show more customer loyalty.


Core Features of a Live Chat Software

In order for you to pick the best live chat software from 2019 up to the present, you need to identify the needs and requirements of your business. Below are the features that you need to consider when choosing the best live chat software for your business:

Proactive Chat

A feature where chat representatives can initiate a conversation to the visitors of your website and proactively offer assistance. A live chat room software is a powerful tool for increasing customer satisfaction and engagement.

Visitor Tracking

This serves as a tracking tool to monitor the visitors of your website, no matter if the customer is accessing your live chat software from India. This will give you an idea about the amount of time they spend browsing and what they are looking for. They are possible clients who would like to inquire about something.

Automated Pop-Up Message

This promotes customer engagement as you can customize a pop-up message for regular customers as with a welcome back message. You may also use this feature for visitors who browse specific content and make an offer.

Co-Browsing and Screen Sharing

This is a very essential aspect to guide and interact with a customer in real-time. Some top live chat software has this very powerful feature. This is very useful especially in situations wherein you have to explain to a customer certain steps that must be done. A representative will be able to see the screen of customers and navigate for them through co-browsing. The customer will have access to see the screen of the representative as well and will understand better how things should be done.

Chat Rating

It enables your customers to give a rating or feedback after the conversation with a representative. Usually, the customer is asked how the representative catered to them. This helps the company to identify points that need improvement to meet customer satisfaction.

Chat Routing

It allows support to transfer chats to any available agents. It is beneficial for your agents because they won’t be slumped with a high volume of chat and your customer won’t have to wait any longer to get appropriate and prompt assistance.

Operator Monitoring

Enables you to monitor the performance of your chat representatives and to check the quality of service they’re providing to the customers. Having this feature will also help you to identify who needs more training and coaching. 

Chat Monitoring

This feature lets you see the detailed chat conversation between the customer and the agent. Also, it allows you to see who’s currently chatting and to monitor the agent's productivity and efficiency.

Canned Responses

These are templates that your chat representatives can use in order to save time and to be guided as well. These are used for frequently asked questions and can be modified depending on the need before being sent to the customer.

Omni-Channel Capabilities and Mobile Optimization

This enables your customers to use the live chat feature on your website, whether they’re browsing your website using a computer desktop, laptop, tablet/iPad, or mobile devices. More customers are comfortable using their mobile devices when browsing the internet; therefore, your live chat should be working and must be accessible even through mobile devices.

Omni-Channel Capabilities and Mobile Optimization

This enables your customers to use the live chat feature on your website, whether they’re browsing your website using a computer desktop, laptop, tablet/iPad, or mobile devices. More customers are comfortable using their mobile devices when browsing the internet; therefore, your live chat should be working and must be accessible even through mobile devices.

User-Friendly

Make sure to consider the graphic user interface of the live chat software that you will choose. You need to make sure that your customers and your chat representative themselves will find it easy to use the live chat software that will be applied to your website. Choose a tool that is easy to use, so you don’t have to spend a long time to understand it. 

Offline Forms

If your customer service is not open for 24 hours, the customer must be able to notify you even if no chat representatives are online. It should still allow your customers to send a message which must be responded to even through email first thing when the operations resume or when the live chat goes back online.

Smart Triggers

This sets a custom trigger for specific circumstances using a smart chat system. For instance, a recurring and regular website visitor rechecks your page. You must be notified about the activities and take the chance to proactively offer assistance and turn a visitor to a client.

File Transfers

For more customer convenience, your live chat software must allow your customers to send pictures, videos, and documents. This is very helpful in situations wherein your customer needs to send files with regards to a newly acquired product or services from your end.

Queue Times

If you’re receiving a high volume of chats, make sure to inform your customers. It sets their expectation on how long they have to wait. You may show an estimated waiting time or a number of customer chats waiting to be answered.

Security

You need to protect your website from hacking and data breaches that is why security must be one of the priorities in choosing a software provider. Your live chat software should have well-structured privacy policies, an active firewall, and data back-up plan.

24/7 Support

The software provider must be reachable as well through chat, email, and phone.  This aspect is very crucial as it reflects how well their product works. It is important to be able to reach out to your vendor 24/7, whenever you need any form of assistance. They should also have a high-quality co-browsing feature.  You must check some customer reviews as well with regard to the quality of support of the live chat software provider.

Analytics and Reporting

Sorting reports and analytics is easier when it comes to a live chat. You may be able to access the data about how many visitors your website had and how many chats are accepted or ignored. This feature will give you a detailed database of all the conversations your software received.

Easy Customization

Your live chat interface should be customized based on your company’s branding design, logo, and colors. Branding is important for businesses. That’s why all elements of your website must deliver a consistent visual experience, including your live chat interface.

Social Media Integration

Maximize the use of your social media accounts. You must also enable your live chat software to work through the official social media accounts of your business. With this, customers no need to be directed to your website anymore for a simple question.


Types of Live Chat Software

Live chat software can be segregated in types based on the media used. The right type for you depends on the nature of your business, available resources, and the habits of your site visitors. Here are several software types and their advantages and disadvantages.

Live Text Chat Support

The most common and preferred by the customers is the non-voice conversation for explaining their concerns. Through this, your customers don’t have to worry about the quality of their voices and they can still do other stuff while talking to a live chat support agent.  

Best for 

People with an online store or website in general

Pros of Live Text Chat Support

Immediate Access for Customers

Your customers can send a message to your support team wherever they are and no matter what they’re doing. They can also multitask while chatting with your team. 

Team Members can Multitask

Your support team can chat with one or more customers at the same time. This is beneficial for your business as you won’t need to hire a lot of employees just to provide immediate service to your customers. 

Affordable

This is more affordable compared to the other types of live chat software as this one is the simplest form as well. If your business is just starting, but you wish to give complete service to your customers, better have this one. 

Can be Accessed Even Using Mobile Data

Given that it is a chat feature only, accessing it does not require very strong connectivity. Your customers will be able to connect with your support team even if they are only using mobile data.

Cons of Live Text Chat Support

Less personal to Some Users

Some of your customers might think that they are only exchanging messages to a system and all responses are just automated.

Maybe Prone to Fraud

Live chat might somehow compromise security because some information will be kept in the previous chat history and also because your support is not hearing or seeing the customer virtually. 

Time Zone Issues

If your customer support is not operational for 24 hours, some customers who are physically located in a different country might wait for a response without knowing that you’re offline. Make sure that you put a message regarding your status and give them a chance to send you an email instead. 

Cannot be Used by Elderly Customers

Not all customers are tech-savvy or do not have resources to do an online chat. This might be a problem for your elderly customers who do not know how to chat. 

Unable to Demonstrate Product Features

Since you are only communicating with them through chat, you are only able to explain your product or service features through words. You won’t be able to see as well if your customers can understand the information that you are giving. 

 

Live Video, Voice and Text Support

A combination of voice and non-voice plus you and your customer will be able to see each other virtually. This type will create better engagement between you and the customers as they will see how sincere you are in assisting them, especially if there’s a large amount of money concerning the transaction. As a support agent, you’ll be able to understand your customers better.

Best for Businesses that involve selling properties, cars, and other products that need item demonstration

Pros of Live Video, Voice and Text Support

Resolves Issues Faster

Having live video, voice, and text support would enable you and your support team to resolve the concerns of your customers faster. If they need a precise instruction, it would be easier for you to relay it to them. 

Improve Customer Satisfaction Rate

Being able to address any issues of your customers will definitely result in a higher satisfaction rate. With this, you can assure a longer relationship with them and may even invite other customers to do business with you.

More Personalized Interactions With Your Customer

With the help of the live video and voice feature, your customers will be able to see how sincere you are in helping them. They would see how willing and focused you are in addressing their concerns very promptly. 

Better Product or Service Demonstration

Unlike with the live text, the combination of these three features will help you present better. For example, if you are selling a property, you may virtually tour them around the house in real-time. Another example, if you are selling an appliance, you’ll have the chance to show them how to use it. 

Increase Sales

Being able to demonstrate a product or a service in a timely manner will surely make you get a yes from your customers. They are more likely to complete a transaction if they have someone talk to as they make their purchase decision. 

More Secured Transactions

Having the chance to see each other through a live video and talk to them at the same time will give a peace of mind to both ends. Your customers can have an assurance that they are doing business with you safely and secured.

Cons of Live Video, Voice and Text Support

Much Expensive

Compared to a live chat, this has more features and complexity causing it to be more expensive.

Need a Stable Internet Connection

For you and your customer to see and hear each other properly, a stable internet connection is needed on both ends. If connectivity problems arise, the quality of service will be negatively affected. 

Needs a Better Camera and Audio Equipment

Given that you need to be seen through a video call and you need to be heard, meaning you have to invest with computers with a high definition camera and a noise-canceling audio equipment.

Customer Support Cannot Multitask

Your customer support needs to focus on one client at a time and cannot do other stuff while they are assisting them. Apart from time, your team should always be smart-looking and professional.

 

Video, Voice, Text, and Co-Browsing

Aside from being able to see, speak, and chat with your customers, you’ll be able to help them navigate as well by seeing each other’s screen. This is more effective especially when you’re assisting a customer with regards to technical issues. This will make your customer trust you more because he/she will be assured that personal information, especially credit card information, is not being saved. 

Best for Providers a product or a service that needs 24/7 remote technical support 

Pros of Video, Voice, Text, and Co-Browsing

Faster, Easier and Less Costly Support Process

Not all clients are knowledgeable enough to code or to troubleshoot; therefore, having the feature to do co-browsing is definitely saving a lot of time. You will be able to diagnose the root of the problem quickly and offer an effective solution in the first contact itself. 

More Secured Process

If you are assisting customers to make the payment, they will see how you put their credit card information and be assured that those details are not being saved.

Can Help Customers of All Ages

Having a capability to navigate your customer’s screen for them is crucial, especially if the customer is an older adult. It will also save a lot of time for both ends as the process is over fast.

Cons of Video, Voice, Text, and Co-Browsing

Need Employees with Technical Skills

Since this feature involves remote assistance and troubleshooting, you need to hire people with computer-related skills. The job that needs to be done is a combination of customer service and technical support. 

The Most Expensive

Developing software that will empower you to chat, video call, and remotely navigate your customer’s system requires a lot of expertise and is definitely the most expensive one. 

Need High-Quality Computers and Hi-Speed Internet Connection

The jobs involve complex computer programming codes that should be run, therefore; you have to make sure to invest with a hi-speed internet connection with back-up data allocation and high-performing computers. 


Who Needs Live Chat Services?

Travel and Hospitality

Most travelers love planning trips online for more convenience. Your customers find it easier to book online and they find it easier to make a reservation when there’s a live chat available especially in choosing their stay dates and making the payment.

 

 

Real Estate

For engaging potential clients, having a live chat service implemented on your website can be very beneficial to the business. Buyers tend to compare several properties online that’s why it would be an advantage if you have a live chat. Although clients will not close a deal online in getting properties, having someone who’s there online will make them come back to your website. You may also start to convince them in setting up a meeting during your chat conversation.

 

Healthcare and Insurance

This industry has already upgraded its edge into the digital world. Having a live chat helps a lot when it comes to questions like doctor referrals, clinic appointment setting, visiting time questions, and even drug-related inquiries. Online consultancy is also now starting to emerge.

 

Automobile Sales

When it comes to the automotive industry, the value of earned sales is significant when you put it up against the cost of running live chat support. With live chat, you get to answer the inquiries of customers so even if your showroom is closed, you can still collect leads and set up a meeting afterward.  

 

IT Solutions Provider

It is a must if you are an IT solutions provider to have a customer service available 24/7 especially when they’re providing essential services. It is very beneficial for you to have a live chat with the voice, video, and co-browsing feature because most of the time you need to do remote troubleshooting.

 

Education

You may be a school administrator. Educational institutions and universities are recommended to add a live chat feature on school websites. This is very helpful to answer inquiries about tuition fees, entrance exams, school activities, class suspensions, and so on.

 

Banking and Financial Services

Banking has been made easier for customers since almost everything can be done online as well. For more security on the part of your customers and the bank itself, live chat should be used. Live chat, video, call, and co-browsing helps the customers to complete most complex bank processing like filling up loan applications, money transfer, and paying bills.

 

E-commerce Business

Do you have a business online? E-commerce business is the most common industry that offers live chat ever since it emerged. An enterprise live chat software is a very powerful tool for e-commerce businesses to increase conversion rate and to give an immediate response to inquiries.


Frequently Asked Questions

The conversation can either be initiated by the support or the customer. When the customer representatives get a notification that the website has a visitor, they will be able to proactively send the chat to customers and offer assistance. On the other hand, when customers have some questions, they could start the conversation as well as the live chat is already available for customer inquiries.

One of the features that the live chat software should have is to allow a customer to still send them a message even if they are offline. Customers will see a sign that live chat is offline but a message could be left and then they will receive an immediate answer through email when the support gets back online. Customers will be asked for an email address, phone number, and the details of the concern.

No, live chat software has a feature wherein the website visitors could be tracked. Chat agents will be able to send a visitor a chat to proactively offer any assistance.

Installing a live chat software involves activities such as installation, configuration, testing, and modification to optimize the performance of the software, this process is called the Deployment Model. It involves all processes required for preparing a software application to run and operate in a specific environment.

Upon creating your live chat software, you may choose from these two following deployment model:

 

Self-Hosted Live Chat Software

This is a solution wherein the corporate software will be placed remotely by a provider on his own data center servers or external host servers, creating a separate server to handle your company needs. It lowers the maintenance and hardware service costs, as well as it takes away the ability to fully control the internal data since stability and data security becomes entirely a hosting provider’s responsibility. 

 

A Cloud-hosted Live Chat Software 

This option means that software will be located and installed in a cloud. A cloud is a large virtual server, shared with other companies, and will contain and process all your internet data. This option usually suits small businesses that aim to launch software quickly and easily, avoiding the technical aspects and complications of setting their own hosting.

Most companies are choosing cloud-hosted applications because they can be accessed anytime and anywhere, secured with bug control, with 24.7 support, easy data back-ups, and recovery.

When considering pricing plans, going for the cheapest option is not necessarily the best choice. While other products and packages may come at a higher price tag, its advanced features may give value to your business and offer higher returns in the long run. You may also consider checking some open source live chat software.

Internet Connection Issues

This applies especially to a support that provides video, voice, and co-browsing features. Slow internet connection might affect the clarity in exchanging information and service may be disrupted. In the worst scenarios, support might not be able to connect with the customer properly. 

 

Chat Agents Not Replying Immediately

Fast responses are something that is highly expected in live chat otherwise it defeats the purpose of the system. Chat representatives should be very dedicated in replying to each chat in a fast yet professional manner. 

 

User Preference

Not all users prefer to chat or don’t really know how to, specifically the older ones. Some customers find it hard to express their thoughts, especially complaints, through chat. This can be fixed by making sure that the interface is very friendly and easy to use. Also, you may choose to combine your live chat with voice, video, and co-browsing.

This process involves your customers and the support agent to navigate an application together in real-time on the web. They can view and access the website or digital file together at the same time. It is worth noting that co-browsing is different from screen sharing. This is valuable for filling out online forms and providing peace of mind for clients that their personal details are not carried over and saved.

This is an essential feature with live chat in order for you to monitor significant data such as operator activities, chat histories, conversion tracking, visitor details, and average time spent of chats. These data are essential for determining effective strategies and areas of improvement.

You may check some websites that offer open-source live chat software for free. Those free versions are not time-limited with a technical infrastructure that is never compromised. Some solutions also offer video live chat software free download. Even if you get those without paying, you may still be assured of ease of use, customization, automation integration, mobile readiness, analytics and reporting, and more other features. 

Yes, as there is a feature of a live chat wherein support agents and customers can send files to each other’s chat conversation. It also has clear controls on compatible file types and file sizes.

Free Plans

It is better if you take advantage of live chat software download for free trials first to test it before paying. If you decide to subscribe for a lifetime free subscription, ask them first the limitations and the features that you may and may not have. 

 

Per Agent Pricing

Some live chat software providers charge depending on the number of chat agents who will use the system. You may consider this plan if you only hire a few regular agents and some are only seasonal ones. 

 

Pricing Based on Volume

This is somehow comparable to per-agent pricing but the fee will be based on the website traffic and on how many chats your website sends and receives. 

 

Pay-Per-Lead Pricing

This is a plan that works best for marketing teams and for those assigned to lead generation. With this, you will not pay for a fixed price every month or year because your payment will be based on the number of leads you generate monthly or yearly.


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Implement Live Chat Software in a Website

Step 1: Set goals for your Live Chat

The very first thing that you need to do is to create a detailed plan for your live chat software. Identify which type you’ll choose, and the budget that you will allocate for this project. Based on your business needs, decide if you need a pure chat, voice, video, or co-browsing. Consider as well if you want this to be integrated with your official social media accounts, or be operational only on your website. 

 

 

Step 2: Research and select the best Live Chat Software Provider

You might feel overwhelmed with the bunch of options that you can see online. Take time to do some research about the software provider, and their products. Compare each one by identifying things like a real-time solution, proactiveness, multi-channel integrations, analytical data, mobile device compatibility, user-friendliness, price, integration, and security. You may read some reviews from existing customers, or run a free trial before making a purchase decision. 

 

 

Step 3: Set a timeline and track progress

After carefully choosing the best provider,  allow them to understand your goals and objectives for your live chat. The onboarding should be personalized; therefore, they need to involve you in every step of its implementation. You can create a timeline or a deadline that they need to follow. Ask them to let you try the software before finalizing it so that you can raise any software difficulties at an early stage, which they should modify until your expectations are met. 

 

 

Step 4: Get new chat representatives, if needed 

As you are waiting for your upcoming live chat software, you should start hiring new employees to handle the task for you, if needed. Your new chat agents should know how to handle customer concerns with proactiveness, empathy, and sympathy. If your products or services are computer-related, they need to have sufficient technical skills, especially if you incorporated a co-browsing feature on your live chat software.

 

 

Step 5: Prepare for the launch

Once the software has been finalized, prepare your website for its launch. Putting an additional feature may cause your site to be down for a while, so you should inform your team and your customers ahead of time. If you do not want the productivity to be affected, you can use your website’s staging feature, which will allow you to duplicate it to apply any changes without affecting the live site. Make sure to prepare your staff as well before the launch, because the effectiveness of your live chat depends on how they will be able to use it effectively and efficiently. 

 

 

Step 6: Secure 24/7 support

After your live chat software went operational on your website, you should secure a 24/7 support from the provider. Depending on your agreement, they should take care of its maintenance, real-time updates, bug fixes, and any downtimes. 

 

 

Step 7: Evaluate results

You must evaluate how the new live chat software is affecting your operations, in order for you to identify its benefits and downsides. If anyone from your team or your customers has experienced any issues, it should be raised with the software provider, so that they could modify it before it gets worse.