Compare Live Chat & Chatbot Software
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Live Chat & Chatbot Software
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A popular solution right now is live chat and chatbot software. These tools are great for businesses of all sizes to provide customer support or just answer the most frequently asked questions. Through the power of AI, these tools are becoming increasingly powerful, helping businesses cut down on customer support costs while increasing revenues. If you want to level up your customer service game, it might be time to consider integrating live chat & chatbot.
We did the heavy lifting on the Best Picks. Now it's time to compare your favorite providers in more detail to find the right software for you.
Our Comparison Tool lets you view different providers side by side according to varying criteria, including pricing and features of tools. We'll explain each criterion in detail so that you're informed about what points are worth weighing when making a decision.
What Is Important for a Live Chat & Chatbot Software Comparison?
If you're wondering how to go about comparing different live chat & chatbot software, we've got you covered. Our extensive research involved diving into all major providers and evaluating them based on a standardized set of criteria. We went straight to the source to gather the necessary information.
We made it possible for you to access massive amounts of unstructured data in a usefully structured way. Our team of experts has identified nine key criteria to consider when making a comparison of live chat and chatbot software. Here they are.
1. Ease of Use
The first criterion you'll see on our comparison tool is ease of use. After all, even the most robust features will serve no purpose if your team finds it confusing or challenging to navigate through the platform. We understand that different people have different levels of technical expertise, so we accounted for both novice and experienced users.
From user interface design to onboarding, we've considered all aspects that make the platform more or less accessible. A high score indicates that even less tech-savvy users will find it a breeze to use the software.
One of the top factors to consider when choosing a live chat and chatbot software is the price. In this computing world, you often truly get what you pay for. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the most expensive option is always the best.
As for pricing, there are different components to consider when looking at live chat and chatbot software providers.
Before grabbing the free version of a software, remember that paid plans often come packed with more helpful features. These plans are usually offered in monthly or yearly packages and offer perks like unlimited conversations, better functionalities, and priority support.
Using our comparison tool, you'll find different tiers of pricing. We cover all ends of the spectrum, from entry-level to the most advanced plans.
Not all businesses require everything from a paid plan, so considering a free version might not be a bad idea. Often, providers offer free plans with limited features or free trials with all features included. Our tool only considers forever free plans and no trials that are limited in time. However, note that as you scale, you'll eventually need to upgrade anyway. Therefore, it’s recommended to choose software that not only performs well for their free plan but can also serve you in the long run without having to move away from a tool you already know well.
Another important aspect to consider when discussing cost is how many users are included in each plan. That means how many people will be using the software on a daily basis. Simply hover over the tooltip in our comparison tool to learn more about user limits on each plan.
You'll also find out how much it costs for each additional user and how pricing is structured for each provider.
Customer support is an invaluable asset for any software service provider. It's what comes to your rescue when you're stuck or facing technical issues. Thus, the quality and type of support offered by live chat and chatbot software providers are prime points to examine.
Let's say your chatbot begins exhibiting strange behavior. How do you get in touch with the provider? Are there multiple contact methods to choose from, or is just one available? Knowing that help is readily available through different contact methods like email, phone, or chat can offer peace of mind. You’ll see that we list email, chat, and phone support while indicating if any of these support channels are available or not.
People often overlook the fact that you'll have to implement the software. Depending on what you're going for, it may not be a one-time set-and-forget installation. Experienced architects could be required to configure the tools based on your needs.
Some providers assist in integrating these tools into your workflow, which can drastically streamline the process and leave less room for errors.
When gathering the data for our comparison tool, we stress-tested the response time of each provider. Of course, many factors can affect customer support's speediness, such as holidays and peak hours. However, our test results should provide an overview of how long you must wait for an average response. We indicate this using a score from 1 to 10, where 10 indicates the fastest response.
While speed matters, it isn't everything. Quality responses are those that resolve issues in the fewest possible interactions. Aim for providers who take pride not just in their responsiveness but also in delivering accurate solutions. Ideally, you'll be in touch with helpful personnel from the start instead of being transferred around and given general advice. We use the same scale from 1 to 10, where 10 indicates the highest response quality possible.
4. Live Chat Features
Not all live chat software are made equal - they come with varying features that can help meet the unique requirements of your business. You may not need all of them right away. But it's better to have and not need than to need and not have. Here are the ones you should pay attention to.
Live Chat Functionality
The first attribute in this section answers one simple question: Does this service even provide live chat functionality? Nowadays, instant communication with customers can make or break your business. If you see a green checkmark for this attribute, you know that this software allows you to integrate a live chat window on your website.
No. of Conversations
Remember when we said that paid plans usually come with more features? This is often one of them. Verify if there's a limit on how many conversations you can have with users per month. Unlimited conversations are ideal, but depending on your needs or the size of your business, you might get away with a fixed cap.
This underrated function lets you see what customers type as they do so. In other words, it gives the illusion of "reading minds." You can prepare responses ahead of time and enhance your service speed. For instance, a customer service representative might see the customer begin to type, "How do I cancel my subscription?" and can already prepare a response before they finish typing.
This feature gives you access to the customer's browsing history on your website. You'll see what pages they've visited and how long they've stayed on each page. It will give you greater insight into their needs, allowing you to tailor the conversation around their interests. You'll be able to provide a more personalized experience to make the customer feel seen and heard.
In some cases, you might need to exchange files with your customers. Maybe they're sending you important documents or images for support purposes. In our comparison tool, you'll be able to check whether a service provider offers this function. File sharing enables all parties to stay on the platform rather than go through emails or other external platforms.
Transfers Between Agents
One of your customers has problems with their payment method, so they contact your financial support. It turns out the issue is technical nature. In this situation, you want your customer service representative to transfer the customer to the technical support team. Otherwise, they would have to start a new conversation with the new team, which could be frustrating. The ability for agents to seamlessly pass chat threads along is essential in these instances.
This criterion evaluates whether a provider offers the ability to create a multilingual setup. Live chat software that supports multiple languages can help you reach more audiences. It is ideal if you're looking to break the language barrier and expand your business internationally. Some providers also offer automatic translations and language settings, so you can easily switch between them.
Live Visitors List
Knowing who is active on your website gives you a chance to interact first. You can then provide excellent proactive customer service and leave a lasting impression on your customers. For example, if a customer is viewing one of your high-ticket items, you can initiate a chat and offer assistance with any questions they may have.
5. Chatbot Features
The rise of artificial intelligence in recent years has shown us just how powerful this emerging technology can be. Experimenting with AI is no longer an option but a necessity. Chatbots are one of the biggest winners from AI making it a superpower in conjunction with custom workflows. Examining the core features apart from pure AI and the extent of automation offered by chatbot services can lead to smooth customer interaction.
Check if the software offers any chatbot functionality in the first place. This attribute in our comparison tool will tell you right away if it’s possible to create any automated workflows for bots. Quick responses, even when provided by a simple bot, can make customers feel appreciated and keep them interested in your site for longer periods of time.
No. of Conversations
Again, here's the question of how many monthly conversations a bot will provide you. Since the software companies have to handle the requests and AI usually uses a token system behind the scenes, there may be a limit to how many messages it can process in a month, so bear this in mind. Ensure it meets your traffic demands before settling on one.
The first thing to understand about chatbots is that they are split into two categories: Fully AI-powered and rule-based. Rule-based chatbots are pre-programmed, allowing you to set up the rules and conditions, that trigger automatic responses from the bot.
For example, if a customer types in 'How much is the free shipping?' The rule-based chatbot will provide the necessary response. This is possible thanks to simple "If/Then" coding logic. Thankfully, many platforms offer a no-code builder, so you don't have to worry about coding skills. The visual drag-and-drop builder lets you create conversational flows quickly and easily.
In the near future, solid no-code builders will become even more critical because they will be the center of control for all sorts of parts - the AI, rules, prompts, and workflows.
AI Response Bots
AI response bots use Natural Language Processing (NLP). They are more complex and can understand natural language, so customers don't have to follow a specific set of commands. However, this technology is not yet being used by everyone and requires some training to work correctly. We have thus included it as a separate attribute to highlight providers that offer advanced AI bots.
This is often viewed as the new standard of customer service, as AI-driven bots can thoroughly understand your business and FAQ resources to respond to customers more accurately.
Conversation A/B Testing
This nifty feature allows you to optimize message effectiveness by testing different bot-response strategies. You can use A/B testing to determine which leads to higher satisfaction or sales rates.
Templates are an excellent starting point for any business looking to automate its customer service for a specific task. They provide pre-designed workflows that you can personalize to fit your unique business style. Pre-made templates save you significant time and energy, making it easier to get your chatbot running quickly.
For example, if an abandon cart chatbot template is available, you can simply adjust the wording a bit, and the bot is ready to go without having to adjust the logic. This bot will then notify your users when they abandon the checkout process and can offer them a coupon, for example.
Chatbots will always come to a point where they are not able to provide the answer or solution that the user needs. That's why most providers offer a conversation routing feature, which allows customers to be transferred to an actual person when needed.
Customers enjoy the speed of a chatbot, but they may get frustrated if you refuse to transfer them to a human. Ensure you look for providers who offer conversation routing as a feature if you’re looking to provide support via text.
The opportunities to connect with customers aren't limited strictly within the borders of your website anymore. The age of multi-channel communication is here. In this section, you'll find all the relevant information about which channels providers can handle. The integration will be seamless, allowing customers to reach you directly through their preferred channel.
Before anything else, we have the website-based live chat that most people are looking for when they search for live chat software. It makes things sleeker for both parties involved. Visitors don't have to leave your site when they need assistance, and you can hold onto potential leads longer.
Its convenience can dramatically improve on-site engagement rates by connecting users with support staff or automated assistance when needed.
Despite the surge of social media and new mediums of communication, email has not lost its charm. Many customers still prefer this traditional method, which offers a trail of records that can be revisited at any time. Complementing email with a live chat or chatbot system provides an extra level of communication for the customer. They may begin giving the request through a chatbot and then move on to email if needed.
Instagram has transformed from just a photo-sharing app to a powerful medium for businesses. With features like stories and business pages, connecting your live chat or chatbot system directly to your Instagram can ramp up your customer service efforts in a big way.
Having real-time conversations on the platform can greatly improve response time and engagement and eventually lead to more conversions as you can instantly address any concerns thrown your way.
While losing many active users, Facebook is still an integral part of digital marketing, and it’s Messenger is still widely used. Adding Facebook as one of your service channels opens up another world of connecting with people already attuned to reaching out.
It's also both practical and smart to integrate directly into an ecosystem where potential clients may already be discussing their needs before they reach your website.
Twitter's open and real-time nature makes it a go-to avenue for customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback. Its users tend to be more vocal about their experiences with brands. Directly interacting with them through an integrated system can positively impact your brand's image while minimizing potential PR crises.
WhatsApp has become the go-to messenger app for billions of people. More and more businesses are using it as a primary customer service channel, and for good reasons. WhatsApp provides a secure, fast, and reliable way of communicating with your customers. Its integration into your business operations can reduce response times significantly.
Similar to WhatsApp, Telegram is a secure messaging platform where businesses can interact with their customers in a one-to-one chat environment. Messages pop up on the user's phone screen and thus have a real-time effect that allows seamless interaction.
Web forms bring a more traditional approach back into vogue. They neatly collect user data and queries in one go and fire them off, leaving no room for confusion. Web forms that can be embedded into your website are mostly provided by software providers who try to offer a comprehensive support suite.
A help center is your self-service information pool for customers. Ranging from frequently asked questions to detailed tutorials, it serves as the first point of contact for most customer queries, making it a worthwhile consideration when choosing your live chat and chatbot software. It can also boost your SEO rankings by providing a wealth of content that search engines can index.
Pairing up your help center pages with your live chat and auto-responses can greatly enhance the user experience by offering immediate guidance when it is most needed. It can also serve as a training base for your AI to help answer FAQs.
In our interconnected world, having one tool work seamlessly with another can potentially be your winning strategy. When considering live chat & chatbot software providers, pay close attention to their integration capabilities.
No. of Native Integrations
Native integrations refer to the software's ability to connect with other platforms without outside help or complex setup procedures. They're usually easy to implement and reduce compatibility issues you may encounter. The more native integrations you have, the more flexible your solution will be. It can then suit different environments and adapt according to specific needs.
We collected the number of native integrations offered by each provider, so you can get an idea of which software may have the best coverage for the tools that you’re already using.
An API, or application programming interface, is like a waiter taking your order and bringing your food. In technical terms, an API can take your requests, deliver them to the system you're asking them from, and return their response back to you.
API access can be an ultimate problem-solver if your software doesn't natively integrate with other services vital to your business operations. While requiring technical know-how to implement, it can be used to customize an integration precisely to your needs.
As one of the most popular content management systems for websites around the globe, it makes sense that a WordPress integration is high on our list. If you have a WordPress website (as many businesses do), having a live chat & chatbot software directly integrated into it can make running customer service much easier.
Slack is widely adopted in workplaces, as messaging also facilitates file sharing and integration with other work apps. A tool directly integrated with Slack can enable immediate alerts for live chat interactions, making real-time customer service possible even while juggling multiple tasks - no need for continuously checking another separate platform.
For commerce businesses running on Shopify, directly integrating their live chat & chatbot software with their online shop is imperative. This can help streamline processes, enable sales tracking, and basically make life easier on all fronts.
HubSpot's software lineup includes a complete suite of sales, marketing, and customer support tools. Integrating your website's live chat or chatbot within this environment means your sales and service departments can access communication logs. They stay updated in real-time, which can enhance the overall customer experience.
Known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce remains a vital integration for established companies that rely on data. A seamless integration here will ensure you stay aligned across all your current CRM functions while leveraging the power of instant conversational capabilities.
As an online payment processing platform for internet businesses, integrating Stripe with your live chat or chatbot lets you handle payments directly within conversations. This reduces purchase friction for customers and improves payment efficiency.
Remember the API we introduced earlier? Think of Zapier as a more user-friendly version. With its simple interface, even non-techies can make different software work together.
In this case, triggers are events that set off a chain of action across platforms. The larger the number of triggers available, the broader the automation you can implement.
While triggers set off sequences, it's an action that carries out these tasks. Defining and getting these actions right is crucial to ensuring your workflows run smoothly from step one until finish. This criterion evaluates the number of actions you can use through Zapier.
8. Admin Controls
Administrative controls tell you to what extent you can manage and customize software in order to keep your systems organized and tailored to your needs.
If you're dealing with large volumes of customer queries, having some kind of order is essential for not only management but also sanity. A ticketing system lets you log requests systematically and ensures nothing falls through the cracks. Some providers even offer auto-escalation, which can help speed up the resolution process.
Equally critical for organized request handling is appropriate chat assignment. A good tool lets you set up rules to direct chats to the correct operators. It ensures an efficient process where the correct team members receive the right requests while still having the option to manually assign chats. This reduces additional back and forth as well as frustration on the side of the users and your team due to requests not matching the staff members' expertise.
Roles & Permissions
Setting up roles and permissions allows flexibility when defining who does what within the system. For instance, you might want to give different roles to agents, managers, supervisors, or team leaders. This way, they can access various features without compromising security.
Having a customer support “home base” gives leaders and agents the ability to find their way around quickly and keep everything in view. Some providers even let you customize the dashboards. E.g., a team leader could see a bunch of metrics such as the satisfaction score of each team member or the number of solved requests per day, while a support agent could see the latest requests or which ones haven’t been solved for a long time.
Overall, identifying bottlenecks and areas needing improvement becomes easier with a workspace dashboard, while rewarding high achievers is also simpler.
Many companies have shifted to a remote or hybrid working model. A mobile app allows agents to stay connected and productive from anywhere, anytime. They'll have the same robust features as in the office, just on a smaller device and on the go.
Lastly, you'll want a system that offers real-time and historical reporting. This way, managers can make data-driven decisions to optimize customer service performance. Reporting isn't just about fulfilling formalities. Reports provide essential insights into business performance, helping illuminate what's working and what's not.
The provider already sets up these reports with specific metrics taken into account. It's hassle-free and helps you stay on top of key stats without setting anything up from the ground up. For example, you can view the monthly average chat duration, the total chats handled by an agent, or the number of customer inquiries received.
If you want to take things further, some providers let you build your own custom reports too. With custom reports, you can select specific metrics and drill down into the data to identify trends and gain valuable insights. This feature is mostly useful for advanced users who know how to interpret analytics.
Reports don't do much if they stay locked away in your live chat software and chatbot software. Make sure your chosen provider allows data exports if you plan to use the data sets outside of the software.
How to Compare Live Chat & Chatbot Software
With all these factors laid out, it might seem overwhelming to piece them together. Do not panic. The most crucial consideration mostly comes down to the features and channels you’re using.
Companies nowadays tend toward a more multi-channel approach to reaching out to customers. And the more granular the software's features, the better you can personalize your customer service experience. Look for features that are essential for your business and ignore the rest that you don’t use.
Last but not least is pricing. The cost usually plays a definite role when finally deciding on software. You have to stay within your budget but also consider the long-term benefits of investing in a good solution.
Remember, your priorities might shift depending on your specific business needs. Small businesses may prioritize cost-effectiveness, while larger firms may emphasize scalability and integration capabilities. Keep your needs and priorities in mind and decide based on them.
Your Result of Comparing Live Chat & Chatbot Software
Now that you're equipped with the knowledge of what to look for in software and how to weigh different aspects, you're ready to embark on your comparison journey. Remember, no single software can fit all; uniqueness is part of success.
If uncertainty still makes you nervous or you need more tailored information based on your business's nature and size, explore our Best Picks and Finder Tool – they are designed to help you make the final decision.
What features should I prioritize when comparing live chat & chatbot software?
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