Parth Shrivastava

@parthshrivastava

A Comparative Guide to Live Chat Platforms

by Parth Shrivastava

Good design, impeccable content and wonderful CTAs were once some of the most essential aspects of putting a website on the internet. Lately, Live Chat has been added to this list. Nowadays, every website you see is equipped with a Live Chat widget.

Reasons? A research by FurstPerson says that 77% of customers will not prefer to make a purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available. Also, a staggering 79% of people chose live chat as their preferred medium of customer support.

The boom is here and everyone knows it. Hence, tons of companies are coming up with their live chat solutions. In this post, I will:

  • list down some of the most widely used live chat platforms
  • discuss their primary use case
  • share some insights on their pricing(I have mentioned monthly pricing for most of them until otherwise stated specifically)

Note that, this is just a comparative guide. Each and every business has a different use case, hence I leave the decision to choose the best one for you.

Intercom

Intercom has seen the live chat evolution and is one of the early players. It is widely loved and has a strong fan base across geographies.

It has 3 primary products; Messages — for targeted email marketing, Inbox — live chat and Articles — knowledge base management.

Use Case

Intercom is widely used for targeted marketing using chat and email. It is primarily used for marketing and sales. They also have recently opened their App Store for developers to build apps on top of Intercom.

Pricing

All the three products of Intercom have different pricing. For Messages, the pricing is based on the number of users/contacts you have. Inbox has per seat pricing. The pricing for both has feature tiers as well. Articles have a fixed price of $49/month.

It comes with a free 14 days trial and if you buy all three of the products, you can start with $136/month. Most of the reviews I have read have quoted Intercom as a bit pricey. But as they say quality comes with a cost.

Drift

Drift pitches itself as the world’s first conversational marketing platform. They have a powerful live chat with chatbot which does a lot of tasks such as qualifying leads, scheduling meetings and rendering FAQs in chats etc.

Use Case

Drift is used for sales and marketing. Everything about Drift is very conversational and it can be seen from their products as well. They specialize in highly targeted Account-Based Marketing.

Pricing

Drift comes with a free plan which gives you one seat and 100 contacts along with a few basic features. The pricing is based on feature tiers and ranges starts from $50/month for standard plan and $500/month for pro plans.

Crisp

Crisp is a simple but powerful live chat software. It also has knowledge base management, video calls and marketing campaigns as additional important features.

Use Case

Though it has the option to send marketing emails to your users, Crisp is primarily used for customer support chat. Also, the features align with customer support use case heavily.

Pricing

Crisp has a free forever plan, come with basic live chat, 2 seats and 30 days chat history. Next tier, the Pro plan, has features such as triggers, unlimited chat history, and team inbox. It starts at $25/month for 4 seats. The Unlimited plan has all the features such as campaigns and knowledge base and starts at $95/month for 4 seats.

Kommunicate

Kommunicate is a human+bot hybrid live chat software. Kommunicate boasts of custom chatbots, email+chat support, FAQs, chatbot-human handoff and provides dedicated web plugin and mobile SDKs for native and hybrid apps.

Use Case

Kommunicate is made for customer support. Though you can use Kommunicate for sales and marketing as well. But most of the features resonate with customer support and service use case. The major focus is automating support using a collaboration of humans and bots.

Pricing

It comes with a free forever plan with 2 seats, basic reporting, and 90 days chat history. The paid plans start from $10/active agents with additional features such as chatbots, third-party integrations, agent-wise reporting etc. They have dedicated data hosting plans as well with custom Enterprise plans as well.

Olark

Olark is your traditional straightforward live chat tool which is made to help you close more sales and support more customers.

Use Case

Olark has features tailor-made for customer support and success. To name a few — automated messages, agent reports, and team management.

Pricing

Olark being no bullshit straightforward live chat software has fairly simple pricing. The pricing is based on the number of agents and starts from $17/month per seat.

HelpCrunch

Helpcrunch is customer communication platform. It has features to help you serve your users from lead to customer stages such as live chat, in-app messenger, auto messages, ticketing, and email automation.

Use Case

Helpcrunch can be used at any stage of customer service. They have live chat for sales, ticketing for customer support and email automation campaigns for marketing.

Pricing

Their pricing has feature tiers and is also based upon the number of agents. The Basic plan starts with $12/agent/month but you can only add one agent and use it only for 1 app or website. For multiple agents and apps, you have to move to their Premium ($21/agent/month)or Enterprise (custom)plans.

Acquire

Acquire is a sales and support automation platform. They have live chat, customer profile management, sales and support chatbot, co-browsing capabilities and voice/video calls.

Use Case

Acquire has features which resonate with sales and customer support use case. They have chatbots that can bring in automation in your sales and support efforts.

Pricing

Aquire’s pricing is agents based and is also tiered by features. They also have a Free plan with 250 customer profiles/contacts and one agent. The Premium plan starts from $35/agent/month with sales and support features. Chatbots and automation are part of Team plan, starting for $200/team(5 agents)/month.

Freshchat

Freshchat is a customer messaging software from Freshworks’ suite of products. It has multiple features such as live chat, marketing campaigns, chatbots, and knowledge base management etcetera.

Use Case

Freshchat have features which primarily cater to customer support and sales. In-app campaigns and triggers can be used for marketing as well. They also have features for customer self-serve.

Pricing

Their pricing is based upon the number of active agents you have. Freshchat comes with a Free plan as well where you can add up to ten agents and 10K monthly unique visitors. Paid plans have feature tiers as well, starting from $20/agent/month. The full feature suite costs you $50/agent/month.

Zendesk Chat

Zendesk is one of the most widely used ticketing software for customer support. It was just the matter of time when they ventured into live chat. Zendesk Chat is a simple and straightforward chat solution for leaders in the customer support industry.

Use Case

Zendesk Chat is made for customer support. They also have lead collection forms for sales enablement and chatbots for automation.

Pricing

Zendesk Chat have agent based pricing along with feature tiers. They have a Free plan, where you can add one agent and retain 14 days’ history. The paid plans start from $20/agent/month to full feature tier at $70/agent/month.

Tawk.to

Tawk.to is a free live chat software. It is equipped with basic live chat features without any fancy frenzy. It has canned responses, real-time monitoring, localization, dashboard reporting etc.

Use Case

You can use Tawk.to for customer support and sales.

Pricing

It is Free to use. Really! They just charge you if you want to remove Tawk.to branding, which costs you $15/month.

Customerly

Customerly is feedback, support and automation platform. It has multiple products — Customer support live chat, Email marketing and automation, and Survey and satisfaction.

Use Case

Customerly’s features are made to assist you in customer support and marketing. The live chat product also has video calling capabilities.

Pricing

Each of the three aforementioned products has separate pricing. The Customer support live chat product is priced at $29/month for 10k contacts. They also have a free plan where they give the whole suit free for up to 500 contacts.

Pure Chat

Pure Chat is similar to Tawk.to — no fancy frenzy but good old live chat software.

Use Case

Pure Chat is made for customer support. It can also be used for lead collections and sales enablement.

Pricing

Pure Chat is Free to use for three agents and one website. The Pro plan starts at $99/month which includes unlimited agents and contacts, and advanced features such as contact enrichment, visitor tracking, unlimited websites, and real-time analytics.

ConvertFox

ConvertFox is a live chat, email marketing, and user analytics tool. They also have knowledge base management, lead qualification bot, ticketing, and marketing automation.

Use Case

ConvertFox can be used for marketing, sales, and customer success.

Pricing

ConvertFox has agent based pricing with feature tiers. They have a free plan with one agent and 500 contacts with basic live chat. The paid plans with advance marketing and customer success features start at $29/month for one seat and 2500 contacts. Their Pro plan, which has all the features, costs $79/month for one seat and 2500 contacts. Additional seats come at an extra cost.

Kayako

Kayako is a live chat software for customer service and helpdesk support. They are primarily a ticketing software which also released live chat product recently.

Use Case

Given Kayako is a ticketing software, their features are mostly suited for customer support.

Pricing

Kayako’s pricing is similar to most ticketing software. It is based on the number of agents and has feature tiers. The pricing starts from $15/agent/month. Their Enterprise plan, which has full feature suite, starts from $100/agent/month.

Tidio

Tidio provides a common place for all your customer conversation through live chat, email and Facebook messenger.

Use Case

Tidio can be primarily used for customer success and support. The live chat and proactive triggers make it useful for customer success.

Pricing

Tidio is free to use for up to three agents. Note that typing indicator, auto-reply, initiating a chat with customers is not available in the free plan. The live visitor attributes are available in the next plan starting from $15/month for three agents. The customer success automation part is priced at $15/month for 5000 contacts.

Chatra

Chatra is simple chat software for live and offline messaging. Chatra has simple and powerful features such as group chats, localization, auto messages, and lead collection forms.

Use Case

Chatra has features that can be used for sales and marketing (such as cart abandonment and email list building).

Pricing

Chatra has a free forever plan where you can have one online agent and basic live and offline chat features. The premium sales and marketing features can be availed from their paid plan. It is agent-based and costs $19/agent/month.

Chaport

Similar to Tidio and Tawk.to, Chaport is a simple and to-the-point live chat software. It provides live chat, saved replies, reports, localization and contact enrichment, among other live chat features.

Use Case

Primarily used for customer support live chat, Chaport can be used for sales as well.

Pricing

Again, Chaport’s pricing is similar to Tidio. They have a Free plan with unlimited agents with up to 5 online at a time. Premium features such as unlimited agents online at a time, saved replies, contact enrichment, typing insights are the part of Pro plan which starts from $14/agent/month.

ProProfs Chat

ProProfts has a large suite of products for marketing, customer service, sales, entertainment etc. ProProfs Chat is one of those products. They have features like co-browsing, canned responses, lead capture forms, and feedback gathering forms.

Use Case

ProProfs Chat can be used for customer support and sales

Pricing

ProProfs has feature ties with a cap on the number of agents in each tier. They have a free plan with one agent, one-month chat history and 100 chats/month. The premium plans start at $9/month. The full feature chat comes for $199/month.

Collect.chat

Collect.chat is a chatbot-powered live chat solution. They have a chatbot builder interface as well. Hence primarily they are into live chat automation.

Use Case

Collect.chat can be used for customer support, sales, and surveys. Their drag and drop chatbot builder makes it easy to make conversational interfaces.

Pricing

Collect.chat ahs a free plan with 30 responses a month and 30 days of chat history. The paid plans are tiered on the basis of the number of responses and features. They start at $19/month and full feature suite cost you $60/month for 5000 responses.

Zoho SalesIQ

Zoho SalesIQ is a live chat software from Zoho’s suite of products. They have features such as email campaigns, user activity tracking, lead scoring and reporting, among others.

Use Case

Zoho SalesIQ is primarily used for sales, customer support, and marketing.

Pricing

As most of the software listed here, SalesIQ also has a free plan for up to 5000 monthly contacts with 2 agents. The paid plans are based on the number of agents and total monthly contacts. They start at $19/month and the Enterprise plans cost you $129/month.

And now the decision rests on your and your business use case. There are plenty of fishes in the see, you just need to catch the right one. Also, as this list is non-exhaustive, I will keep appending it.

If you have any suggestions, please share with me in comments. Also, which one is your preferred live-chat software? I would love to know about it.

PS: The information shared here is best of my knowledge and collected through various sources. If you belong to the aforementioned organizations and wish to update any information OR want your product to be added to this list, DM me on Twitter.

This article was originally posted here.
I talk about all thing B2B marketing and writing(non-fiction and fiction), currently working as an Inbound Marketing Lead at
Applozic, Inc.

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