Today’s brands know the mission-critical value of customer service — especially fast, persnoalized service. And few customer service channels are more effective that live chat apps, especially when it comes to online shopping.
Along with improving the customer experience, live chat apps can also help reduce repetitive support tickets and your customer support team’s workload. It also serves as a revenue-generating channel for ecommerce businesses — one that not many are tapping into (yet).
To help you start taking advantage of all the benefits of a good live chat solution, we'll explore what to look for in a live chat provider before covering the eight best live chat apps available today.
What features should you look for in a live chat app?
There are a lot of different apps that enable you to install a chat box or chat widget for your website visitors. There are even a number of free live chat apps available for download.
However, not all live chat solutions are created equally. Before you go to the trouble and expense of installing a live chat app on your ecommerce website, make sure that it meets the following criteria:
Easy to set up and use for all your team members
One of the biggest benefits of live chat support is the fact it can make life easier for your support agents. If a live chat solution is overly complex and difficult to use, this defeats its purpose.
Check out an app's reviews to see what other users say about its ease of use, and be sure to choose an app that makes life easier for your team members — not harder. Websites like G2 and Capterra offer a ton of details about thousands of business apps, including real customer reviews.
When weighing your options, reviews will also give you insights about how much technical know-how is needed to set it up.
- Is coding required?
- Will you need help from your IT team to roll it out to all your agents?
- Can setupand troubleshooting be handled within your customer service department?
Make sure that whatever you choose is reasonable and realistic for your organization.
📚Recommended reading: How to add live chat to your Shopify store.
Integrates smoothly with other tools
The best live chat apps can integrate with the rest of your tech stack, providing powerful new capabilities. For example, a live chat app that integrates with a larger helpdesk that’s connected to SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram allows you to offer live support to customers on social media.
Likewise, a live chat app that integrates with other, non-support tools . For example, ecommerce stores should choose a live chat app that integrates with their:
- Ecommerce platform (like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento)
- Marketing tools (like Attentive and Klaviyo)
- Fulfillment and returns tools (like ShipBob and Loop)
- Loyalty tools (like LoyaltyLion and Yotpo)
Related: 150+ of the best tools for ecommerce.
Has a transparent pricing model
Before you purchase live chat software, make sure that you fully understand its pricing model. In some cases, it may seem that a subscription to a live chat app is highly affordable — until you read the fine print and get hit with hidden fees or a buggy free version with no support.
Most of the apps on this list range in pricing from about $10 per month to $50 per month.
However, every platform does things a little differently — some charge per user per month, some charge a flat rate, others may even charge per ticket. Determine what your organization deems “affordable” and keep this figure in mind as you compare tools.
📚Recommended reading: Live chat vs. chatbots — what’s the right combination?
Offers reliable, accessible customer support
Live chat apps are designed to enhance customer support, but it's important for the companies behind those apps to offer excellent customer support themselves.
There are plenty of instances where your live chat app might not work like it should; whether it's difficulties installing the app, getting it to integrate with another tool, or any number of other issues. In these cases, you want reliable, fast support — so it's important to prioritize apps that offer it.
8 best live chat software for customer support
Now that we've covered the top criteria to look for in a live chat app, let's take a look at some of the best live chat messaging apps available today.
If you would like to start offering customer support via real-time chat conversations, you can't go wrong with the live chat tools below.
We included ratings from Capterra next to each live chat’s names, plus the number of reviews for the app.
1) Gorgias: 4.6 ⭐(488 reviews)
Gorgias is an all-in-one customer support platform that offers a fast-loading live chat widget in addition to a wide range of other customer support tools.
Given that 38% of customers report say they’re more likely to purchase a product if they offer live chat support, live chat can be an excellent way to drive sales and increase revenue (in addition to improving your customer support, of course).
Gorgias’ live chat solution offers unique self-service features, like:
- Quick Answer Flows that automatically answer the most common customer questions
- Order Management Flows that let customers track, return, and cancel orders without waiting on an agent — that’s right, no more WISMO tickets
Plus, for small teams and round-the-clock coverage, Gorgias’ live chat service includes a contact form that customers see when you’re offline. They can still send their message and receive a follow up message via email.
Check out our live chat solutions here to see for yourself why Gorgias is the leading customer support service for revenue-focused ecommerce stores.
- Centralized customer support helpdesk and ticketing system
- Omnichannel customer service
- Helpful customer support metrics like first response time and resolution time
- Fast-loading live chat feature that won't slow down your website
- Seamless integrations with a variety of ecommerce tools, includin an open API
- Automated workflows for creating canned responses to common customer questions
- An advanced knowledge base for FAQS and customer self-service
- Chat campaigns (when customers get popup chat invitations proactively) to help boost sales with live chat
- Works for Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce
- Advanced automations and self-service features
- Customer data is displayed next to the live chat ticket, leading to better personalization and customer engagement
- Easy to install, set up, and use — perfect for small businesses
- Can’t get a standalone live chat app
- Some reported issues with mobile app for iOS and Android users
- No way to pause your subscription when undergoing integrations or updating your website
2) HubSpot Live Chat: 4.4 ⭐(1,659 reviews)
Since 2006, HubSpot has provided ecommerce stores with some of the best tools available — and HubSpot Live Chat is yet another excellent offering. With HubSpot Live Chat, you can easily install a chat button on your ecommerce store. When customers contact you, agents can reply via an integrated messaging service like Slack or Facebook Messenger.
HubSpot Live Chat also allows you to create automated templates and AI-powered chatbots for responding to common questions. Easily route customer inquiries to other support channels such as email or phone, create targeted, customizable welcome messages for different pages on your site, and automatically save your chat messages/chat history for future reference.
- Customizable live chat widgets
- Offers a no-code chatbot builder
- Live chat support agents can access data from HubSpot’s CRM to guide customer conversations and get the full context about the customer while chatting
- Free to download and use for unlimited chats
- Seamless plugin with other HubSpot tools
- No coding required to customize live chat widget
- Limited number of features compared to other live chat solutions
- Bots are not as advanced as some competitors’; don’t use artificial intelligence or natural language processing
- Only good “if you go all in” on the larger Hubspot Service Hub, according to one reviewer — better for teams who are already embedded in the HubSpot ecosystem
3) LiveChat: 4.5 ⭐(745 reviews)
LiveChat is a live chat solution for both sales and customer support. It allows customers to contact a live representative via chat when they have a question or issue, and lets sales agents proactively contact website visitors during the buying process. Along with enabling live chat support via a chat box, SMS, email, Facebook Messenger, and more, LiveChat also enables you to create AI chatbots for sales and for responding to common customer inquiries.
- AI chatbots to greet customers and quickly route chats based on their response
- Automatic visitor segmentation based on the pages that they visit for targeted, personalized messaging
- Message sneak peek allows agents to see what a customer is typing for faster responses
- Offers 200+ integrations with other ecommerce tools and platforms
- Provides detailed reporting and analytics
- Features an intuitive and easy to navigate user experience (UX)
- Pricing plans are somewhat on the costly side
- Reported glitches within the notification system
- Difficult to install and set up
4) Pure Chat: 4.3 ⭐(204 reviews)
If you are looking for a straightforward and affordable live chat solution, Pure Chat is a great option. With Pure Chat, you can look forward to unlimited chats, a user-friendly dashboard, and a chat widget that is easy to customize. Pure Chat might not offer the range of features in more expensive live chat apps, but it does offer everything you need to start offering live chat support.
- Excellent chat widget customization options
- Unlimited chat history transcript storage
- Real-time analytics and visitor tracking
- Takes a matter of minutes to set up and is easy to use
- Affordable, flat-rate pricing
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Only capable of supporting up to 10 live chat reps
- Limited features and integrations compared to more comprehensive live chat solutions
- Does not allow you to attach documents or images to a chat conversation
📚Recommended reading: Our list of email marketing automation campaigns every ecommerce business should consider.
5) LiveHelpNow: 4.2 ⭐ (145 reviews)
LiveHelpNow offers feature-rich live chat tools for both customer support and lead generation. With LiveHelpNow, you get features like SMS and text-to-chat, detailed reporting, customizable proactive chat triggers, conversion tracking, and much more.
- Automatically translates over 100 different languages
- Auto chat tagging to simplify organizing customer interactions
- View chat transcripts in real-time and send agents messages that are visible only to the agent
- Free training and implementation support
- Provides AI tools such as canned response recommendations to speed up response times and reduce agent error
- Offers a long list of useful integrations
- Chatbots only available as a paid add-on
- Somewhat prone to bugs and glitches
- UI is a little messy and confusing
6) Olark: 4.3 ⭐(221 reviews)
Olark offers everything you could want out of a live chat app, including a highly customizable chat widget, automation rules for both sales and customer support workflows, a transcript archive, and detailed live chat analytics. In addition to an impressive list of features that come included with Olark's base plan, the app also offers additional "PowerUps" such as automatic language translation, visitor insights, and visitor co-browsing that allows agents to see a customer's screen.
- Custom chatbox forms for collecting information from customers before they connect with a live representative
- Real-time analytics for chat volume, customer satisfaction, and support agent activity
- Live chat automation rules for automatically greeting customers, sending messages based on customer behavior, routing customer queries to the right department, and more
- Chat transcripts are easy to search and navigate
- Offers 25 different integrations
- Easy to set up and use
- Additional costs to remove Olark branding from your chat box
- Does not provide AI chatbots
- Automation features are limited
7) Chatlio: 4.3 ⭐(85 reviews)
If you are already using Slack to communicate with your team members, Chatlio is a great way to use Slack as a means for communicating with your customers as well. Once you install Chatlio on your website, visitors can connect with support agents via a live chat window and support agents can then manage and respond to these messages directly from their Slack dashboard. Chatlio doesn't offer the extensive list of features and tools provided by many apps on our list, but it is affordable and easy to use — especially if you and your team are already comfortable using Slack.
- Fully customizable chat widget
- Triggers for proactively engaging customers
- A user-friendly live chat support dashboard complete with helpful analytics
- Affordable flat-rate pricing
- Effortless to install and set up
- Offers lots of customization options
- No chatbots and limited automation features
- Heavily dependent on its integration with Slack
- Pricey given its limited features
📚Recommended reading: Our guide to conversion rate optimization built in partnership with Swanky, a leading ecommerce conversion rate agency.
8) LiveAgent: 4.5 ⭐(1,424 reviews)
Established in 2006, LiveAgent was one of the first live chat solutions for ecommerce to hit the market and is still renowned today as an app that is feature-rich and easy to use. With a LiveAgent subscription, you can look forward to proactive chat invitations with lots of customization options, chat analytics and customer tracking features, an unlimited number of customizable chat widgets, and an easy-to-navigate chat history database.
- Fast-loading, customizable, and reliable chat widgets
- Allows you to create canned responses for swift resolutions to common customer inquiries
- Website monitoring for tracking both customer and support agent activity
- Offers a free plan that includes one chat button and a limited yet useful list of features
- Great customer support that is available 24/7
- Easy to install and use
- Limited automation and chat routing features
- Doesn't offer as many integrations as comparable apps
- Mobile app UI is a little clunky
Still want more suggestions? Check out our list of the best live chat apps for Shopify or, if you don't use Shopify, the best live chat apps for ecommerce.
Live chat seamlessly with Gorgias
According to a 2021 survey, 65% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today than they did three to five years ago. Beyond improving customer satisfaction, live chat widgets can also serve as a powerful sales tool. They enable you to proactively contact customers and guide them through the buying process, increasing revenue along the way.
Gorgias is the customer service platform built for ecommerce, and our live chat is only the tip of the iceberg. Watch the video to learn more about how Gorgias can help you improve CX and unlock a whole new channel of revenue: Happy customers.
At Gorgias, our live chat solutions are perfectly suited for both customer support and lead generation. We help your organization be proactive about support, leading to happier customers and more revenue — get started today.