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Best live chat software: How to choose one + top picks

Find the best live chat software for your business with our expert guide. Learn how to choose the right platform and explore our top picks to enhance customer support and boost engagement.

Rose McMillan · June 7, 2024
Best live chat software: How to choose one + top picksBest live chat software: How to choose one + top picks

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Live chat is the perfect balance for customer support: it skips the phone call, which many may prefer to avoid, yet you still have the interaction with customer support members.

But with so many options, choosing the right live chat software can feel impossible.

But don’t worry about that! Our guide will help you find the perfect fit to streamline your workflow and deliver stellar customer service.

How to choose the best live chat for your business?

Before you start sifting through the sea of options, consider our tips. We will help you to choose a tool that fits you and your business.

01 Determine your budget

Evaluate your overall expenses and the potential return on investment from a live chat system.

Many providers feature a free plan, so you can try their services without spending any money. Some tools are completely free and still meet basic communication needs but this will depend on your overall business efforts.

Knowing your budget precisely limits your choices. Sometimes less is more. When you narrow down the options, it may be easier to decide on the right tool.

02 Set your goals

Both goals and budget should be determined as the first aspects – they set the foundation for your decision-making process.

Think about your business needs and the metrics you track.

Do you want to boost customer satisfaction? Or aim to increase customer engagement?

Define what you expect from live chat support. Clear goals also narrow down the choices.

03 Test it before committing

Start with a free trial to see how the live chat widget functions on your website. A trial lets you evaluate the live chat functionality directly through real customer interactions.

You can see how well it integrates with your other communication channels. Before making a full investment in the tool, you need to make sure it is up to your standards and helps you deliver a better customer experience.

04 Check customer reviews

Read customer feedback to understand the strengths and potential issues of the software from those who have firsthand experience.

Reviews can reveal how well the tool helps agents provide quick and helpful responses. The most helpful reviews are those given by businesses similar to yours.

05 Evaluate ease of integration

Simple integration means you can keep focusing on your business while enhancing customer interactions. Then, live chat software merges without causing disruptions to your current systems, such as CRMs. You can immediately start improving how you connect with customers, using new tools to respond right away.

Check if the software works well with your e-commerce platforms and analytics tools (like Google Analytics). Use their advanced features without hassle.

Powerful integrations can lead to powerful performance. Live chat gives plenty of information about your prospects, so use them well. You’ve got their email address via web chat?

So use it as another marketing opportunity.

When integrated with Transpond, you can send them email messages on the topics/products/services that they’re into. This tool allows you to track their activity after clicking a link that you’ve sent.

But it’s not the end, you can send great campaigns, clean your email list, create forms, and more. See the full list of Transpond.

Let it start with live chat software, and end with personalized campaigns that convert. All with Transpond by Capsule.

Read also: How to Ramp up Your Marketing Team’s Productivity.

06 Assess customer support

It's normal to need a bit more help when first using a new tool. That's why it's good to check up on customer support before making your final decision.

The review pages are a big help here. Read them to assess their responsiveness and the range of support options they offer, such as live chat, email, and phone support.

07 Compare features

A detailed comparison makes it easier to pick a tool that matches your specific needs and budget. It’s one of the ways to maximize the value of your investment.

Look for key aspects like chat functionality and the ability to record conversation history. These features enhance how you interact with customers and track previous chats. Many options exist, each with different capabilities and price points.

Focus on how many seats each plan gives you, and if it potentially will help you to achieve the goals that you set at the beginning.

Also, consider contacting their sales teams to talk about the packages – maybe a customized plan will be better and more affordable in the long run.

08 Review security measures

People sometimes have to share their sensitive data via live chat, so you need to protect customer data and chat transcripts from unauthorized access.

Double-check if the software offers encryption and compliance (like GDPR) with privacy regulations. Proper security features prevent data breaches and keep your business safe.

Always ask about security practices before deciding to guard against potential threats.

09 Look for scalability

Scalability is especially important for small businesses that plan to expand. You want a solution that grows with you and adapts to increased demand without losing performance.

Ask about upgrade options and additional features that support larger customer volumes and more complex needs.

Check if the software can handle interactions through multiple channels and support both your team and multiple customers as your business grows.

Read also: Personalization at scale – how to connect personally with a mass audience.

The best live chat options

As you know exactly what to look for in a live chat, let’s move on to one of the best tools available on the market.

#1 Userlike

userlike screenshot

Userlike by Lime is a messaging platform businesses use to keep in touch with customers via web chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and more. All communication is managed in one, centralized inbox.

Best features and strong suits:


There’s a free trial, if you’d like to give it a try first. You can choose from four plans available:

Free at €0/month: core features, website messages, basic API access – limited integration capabilities with external systems.

Team at €130/month: full API access, message routing, professional onboarding – support and setup assistance.

Corporate at €350/month: white label, dedicated account manager, personalized support and service from a dedicated professional, enhanced administrative features to manage multiple teams or departments.

Flex (Pricing not specified): flexible configuration of widgets and seats, GPT-4 Integration and AI features, professional onboarding, and dedicated account manager.

Challenges reported by users

  • The software takes time to learn due to its complexity.
  • It's confusing to add languages to the website widget, which makes setup tricky.
  • Important settings are hard to find — they are hidden in menus.
  • Customization could be better – users might not get the chat widget to look how they want on their website.
  • It doesn't integrate well with WhatsApp business.

#2 REVE Chat

Reve screenshot

REVE Chat is an automated live chat platform for engaging customers round-the-clock, qualifying leads across various channels, and improving chat conversations.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Both live chat and chatbot support
  • Chat API & SDK
  • Many integrations: Capsule, Facebook (Messenger and comments), Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and more
  • File transfer


There’s a separate set of plans for live chat, and there are three of them, each with a free trial:

Standard at $15 per agent/month: Facebook Messenger & Comments, Instagram DM & Story interactions, department management, auto triggers, and proactive chat.

Advanced at $25 per agent/month: WhatsApp Business, video & voice chat, Viber Messenger, Telegram Messenger, queuing, and mobile chat SDK.

Enterprise at $50 per agent/month: co-browsing, appointment booking, new screen sharing, custom development, integration support, on-premise or cloud solution.

Challenges reported by users

  • The user interface of the chat widget needs improvement. Users report it's not very user-friendly.
  • It is not possible to create tickets directly from the dashboard.
  • The free trial should last longer, so users can test the software more thoroughly.

#3 Olark

olark screenshot

If you are looking for a comprehensive live chat solution with chatbot capabilities, you may find Olark interesting. The platform is known for its simplicity and relatively low price.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Performance monitoring of your support team
  • Many Integrations
  • User-friendly interface
  • AI support (but only in the highest plan)


Pricing is pretty straightforward – there are only two paid plans, but you can try it out with a free trial.

Self-service Olark at $29 per agent/month: file sharing, visitor details, and page tracking, chat notifications, chat volume reports, and agent activity monitoring.

Pro Olark (Custom quote required): CoPilot chatbot automation, personal account manager, compliance supports, CRM and helpdesk integration, and prioritized support.

Challenges reported by users

  • The settings are challenging to adjust.
  • There is no live chat app on mobile. A customer support agent can't reply to chats when they are not at their computer.
  • It doesn't have many advanced features compared to other platforms.
  • Chat window customization could be improved.

#4 LiveChat

LiveChat screenshot

LiveChat is one of the most popular solutions for live chat support software. It’s got many features and tools for providing great customer service across many channels.

Best features and strong suits:

  • AI features: sentiment analysis, tag suggestion, text enhancement
  • Routing rules based on geolocation
  • Chatbot (add-on, starts at $52/month)
  • Robust security


Choose from the four plans. There’s also an additional plan that includes a chatbot solution, but it starts at $72, so it’s on the pricey side compared to the packages that come with a live chat only.

Starter at $24 per seat/month: basic chat functionalities, 60-day chat history, and basic customization options.

Team at $49 per seat/month: full widget customization, agent groups, and advanced reporting.

Business at $69 per seat/month: with all the features of the Team plan and some advanced ones such as staffing prediction and work scheduler.

Enterprise (custom quote required): dedicated infrastructure, on-premises deployment, and HIPAA compliance.

Challenges reported by users

  • Customization options for agent profiles could be more advanced.
  • It doesn't integrate well with many other tools. It makes it harder to streamline your workflow if you use other software.
  • The setup for banning customers is limited. You can only set bans for a certain number of days, not permanently.
  • Might be expensive when having many support agents.

#5 Intercom

intercom screenshot

Intercom is an all-in-one help desk software ideal for financial services, e-commerce, education, healthcare, and more. Aside from live chat, Intercom is equipped with chatbot automation, and AI features as well.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Easy in-app implementation
  • Customer data platform
  • Proactive messaging
  • Possible to create support tickets
  • AI insights and reporting


Intercom, with its three-tier plans, offers solutions to different business needs and seizes:

Essential at $39/month/seat: a shared inbox, support tickets, and basic automation.

Advanced at $99/month/seat: workflows and advanced automation, team inboxes, and proactive support.

Expert at $139/month/seat: workload and conversation management, multilingual help center, and a real-time dashboard.

There’s also a special offer for startups and an add-on that provides more proactive support features.

Challenges reported by users

  • The search function doesn't work as intended. Users report they find it hard to locate what they need quickly.
  • The pricing is on the higher side.
  • The interface sometimes glitches. You have to refresh your browser to fix it, which can interrupt your work.
  • Customer support is slow to respond.

#6 Pure Chat

Pure chat screenshot

It’s one of the live chat apps with a straightforward interface. Pure Chat is great for smaller and mid-sized companies that don’t need super advanced communication platforms.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Unlimited chats
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • Customizable live chat widget
  • Affordable


Pure Chat offers two main pricing plans, both focused on different functionalities for different business types.

Growth at $49/month/4 users: SMS notifications, unlimited chats, engagement hub access, and iOS & Android mobile apps.

Pro at $99/month/10 users: 1,000 SMS notifications, advanced live chat widget customization, all integrations, and unlimited chat history transcripts.

Challenges reported by users

  • They only offer a free trial instead of a completely free tier. It limits long-term testing without cost.
  • The support team does not respond quickly when there is a problem. Users are left without help when they need it most.
  • The product could have more features.
  • It logs users out if they are not active for a while. This can interrupt work, especially during busy times.

#7 Smartsupp

Smartsupp screenshot

Smartsupp lets you communicate with website visitors via live chat messages, but not only – there’s also a chatbot solution onboard.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Highly customizable live chat window
  • Canned responses
  • AI support: AI Reply Assistant, AI Shopping Assistant, Conversational AI Chatbot
  • Works well for e-commerce
  • Chatbot automation


There are four plans, one of which is forever free. The rest (except for the Ultimate plan) come with a free trial.

Free at $0/month: one agent, live chat functionality, and up to 100 conversations per month.

Standard at $28/month/3 agents: chatbot, AI support, automatic messages, lead generation capabilities, rest API and data exports.

Pro at $60/month/3 agents: agents upgradable to 10, AI chatbots, 3 years of conversation history, and automatic messages.

Ultimate (with custom pricing): AI chatbot with ChatGPT, dedicated account manager, mobile SDK, and WhatsApp integration.

Challenges reported by users

  • Users can't chat with customers directly from the Prestashop dashboard. They have to switch between systems to talk to customers.
  • Setting up automated conversations may take a while.
  • Customization for the live chat widget could be more advanced.
  • You can't pay for an annual subscription monthly. Users need to pay the full amount upfront, which might not be feasible for everyone.
  • The Facebook integration needs improvement. When users respond to messages via Smartsupp, some messages don't show as read in the Meta Business Suite.

#8 Drift

drift screenshot

Drift is a comprehensive customer service software with many tools. Most suitable for those with a higher budget.

Best features and strong suits:

  • AI features
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Custom chatbots
  • A/B testing
  • Custom RBAC


It’s pretty simple, but only one plan’s price is available. Rest requires contacting sales.

Premium at $2,500/month: live chat, meetings, custom chatbot, and Intel.

Advanced (with custom pricing): the Premium features and fastlane, audiences, and A/B testing.

Enterprise (with custom pricing): the Advanced features, workplaces, AI-powered chatbot, and custom RBAC.

Challenges reported by users

  • Setting up Drift is hard. Users find it tough to change settings like meeting times, which makes starting frustrating.
  • The Chrome extension is unreliable.
  • Drift's integration with Salesforce is limited. It can only send data to certain parts of Salesforce, and clutters those areas with too much information.
  • There are calendar integration issues. Users have experienced problems linking Drift with their calendars, although these can be fixed by talking to support.
  • Delayed notifications lead to missed chats. Often, by the time users receive live chat notifications, the prospect has already left the page.

#9 Tidio

Drift screenshot

If you’re looking for an all-in-one customer service platform with a live chat software solution, Tidio might be a good fit.

Best features and strong suits:

  • Robust help desk features
  • Multichannel
  • AI support (Lyro AI chatbot, Reply Assistant)
  • Sales and support automation features


At Tidio, businesses at every stage will find something interesting.

Free at €0/month: live chat, ticketing, social media integrations.

Starter at €29/month: everything in Free, basic analytics, live visitors list, operating hours, and live chat support (24/5).

Growth at €59/month: everything in Starter, up to 1000 handled conversations, advanced analytics, Tidio power features, no Tidio branding (add-on), permissions.

Tidio+ starts at €499/month: everything in Growth, custom conversations limit, custom Lyro conversation limit, custom visitors reached limit, dedicated success manager, and training sessions.

Challenges reported by users

  • A free trial is only 7 days, whereas other tools offer 14.
  • Users need to log back into the Windows app often. The frequent logging in can interrupt their workflow.
  • The settings and configuration panel on Tidio confuses new users.
  • The pricing of Tidio concerns some users, particularly those using the free version. They feel the cost of upgrading is too high, which prevents them from using more features.

Read also: 30+ digital marketing tools for small businesses in 2024.


Armed with this knowledge and the handy list of top contenders, you're now ready to choose the live chat software that best matches your strategy.

Remember, the right tool can transform your customer service – but only if the decision is well-considered.

So pick one that grows with your business and simplifies your operations! If you have any doubts, take advantage of free trials.