by Suzie Blaszkiewicz
Published on 3 August 2017
You're doing some online shopping, looking for the best deal on your next big purchase, when a chat box pops up in the lower right hand corner of your screen.
"Hi, is there anything I can help you with?" asks an agent on the other side of the screen. As a matter of fact, there is, and as you recount the details of exactly what you're looking for, the agent is able to set you up with a great deal. As a small business owner, you think to yourself that a free website chat would be useful for closing more deals and answering customer queries- in real time- on your own website.
Known in the software world as live chat, those website chat boxes that you often see popping up on your screen are useful for connecting with customers, not only through your website, but through text message and other messaging platforms too. Typical live chat software has:
If you're hoping to implement live chat into your website but don't know where to begin, check out some of the free website chat tools listed below. All of these tools come with a forever free plan that can get you started on your quest for better customer communication in real time. If you think you might need more, there's details about upgrading too.
Average user rating: 4.65 out of 5 based on 127 reviews
Userlike is an all-in-one chat tool for web, mobile, and messaging. The free version lets you get set up with one agent, one chat widget, and unlimited chats, which is perfect for any business just starting out. Userlike starts the convo with a chabot, and then continues with a real person. When someone goes onto your website, a chatbot will welcome them and collect their info. Then, the bot will send the details off to your team member via email or Slack, letting them know what type of assistance the customer needs so that they can jump on and answer the question.
Upgrade: Upgrading starts at €28 (prices only available in Euros on the company website), and includes more features like a connection with messaging apps including Facebook's Messenger, as well as Telegram and SMS. You also get more users and widgets as you work your way through the plans, along with analytics features, and full customization.
Average user rating: 4.87 out of 5 based on 52 reviews
Smartsupp is a live chat solution that's great for startups, with unlimited chat and unlimited agents included in its forever free plan. That means that as your team grows, you won't have to spend any money for your solution to grow with it. With Smartsupp, agents receive a notification every time a visitor interacts with their chat so that they can respond quickly. The free version also lets you customize your chats, and provides a 14-day chat history.
Upgrade: While most live chat software will monitor clients to show where your users have been, not all of them record it on video. Smartsupp stands out because of its video recording capabilities that record the movement and behavior of users as they interact with your website. This paid feature comes with the first tiered level of pricing, which runs $8 per agent per month, and includes automatic messages, Google Analytics integration, and access to its API.
Average user rating: 4.78 out of 5 based on 37 reviews
As part of the ProProfs family of products, ProProfs Chat is a fully featured live chat system hosted by computer powerhouse IBM. Chats with ProProfs can be initiated based on specific customer behaviors, and can be set-up with callback requests when agents are offline. The free website chat version of ProProfs Chat will give you one agent, unlimited concurrent chats, 300 chats per month, and emoticons for your agent to express themselves better.
Upgrade: ProProfs Chat has a lot of customization features up for grabs with its premium plans, including choosing your own colors, graphics, and logo for custom branding. The first upgrade, which costs $29 for three agents, will give you six months of chat history, ratings and surveys, file transfer, and canned responses, as well advanced integrations with products like Zendesk, Mailchimp, and Salesforce.
Average user rating: 4.64 out of 5 based on 21 reviews
Formerly known as Zopim Live Chat, Zendesk bought the live chat provider in 2014 and rebranded it as Zendesk Chat in 2016. For anyone already using Zendesk or looking for a good live chat solution that could extend to a customer service software, Zendesk Chat could be a good option. With the free plan, you'll get one concurrent chat, a chat rating, and 14-day chat history.
Upgrade: The Zendesk Chat upgrade is really where the product expands its features. Starting at $14 per agent per month, it comes with unlimited chats, widget customization, operating hours, chat and agent reports, conversion tracking, and skill-based routing.
Average user rating: 4.77 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Tidio Chat has one of the best free website chat offerings of the bunch, with unlimited live chats, emails, and channels, an app for iOS and Android, up to three operators, and third party integrations. Messenger options for Tidio include its chat widget, email, and Facebook's Messenger app for access to customers via one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world.
Upgrade: For $15 monthly for every three operators, Tidio adds features that include opening hours, live typing visibility, and a visitor list to see where people are coming from. Automation features including recovering abandoned carts, auto replies, and auto introductions come at an additional $15 a month for 5000 automated events.
Average user rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Heavily geared towards the sales team, Zoho SalesIQ is a live chat and visitor tracking solution that's part of the popular Zoho family. Used for tracking and engaging visitors, SalesIQ lets you geolocate users, get website visitor history, track leads, share files, email chat transcripts, and brand your Zoho SalesIQ chat. This free website chat actually has a lot to offer in terms of features before needing to upgrade, although the free plan only includes two users, tracking and engagement for 5000 visitors, 100 chat sessions per month, and 30-day storage. As part of the Zoho family, you'll also get integration with its popular Zoho CRM solution.
Upgrade: Upgrading will get you more users and a lot more reporting features. The $17 per user per month basic plan will give access for three users per month, three different websites, and 100 chat sessions a month, while other pricing plans include more users, reporting, and translation options.
While free website chat tools might have limited features compared to their premium counterparts, they are a great way to get started with live chat and assess if it's right for your business. The good thing about using freemium apps is that if you do see it working and decide that you need more features and functionality, you can easily upgrade without worrying about having to switch to a different system.
If you want to know more about live chat: