Best chat services for your website

If you’re selling something on your website – be in digital or physical – your customers may want to talk to you, immediately.

They may have a question about pricing or shipping policies and don’t want to pick up the phone. Offering live chat is an immediate resolution for them and a more likely chance you’ll make a sale.

Allowing a potential customer to email you is great, but what if they want help now?

In this week’s post, we’ll talk about the best chat services that you can add to your website. We’ll cover ease of implementation, feature set, and — arguably most important — price.

Tawk.to

Tawk.to is my personal favorite of the bunch.

Not only is it free, but it’s one of the easiest implement into your website of all of the chat services that we review in this post.

You can see a live preview of what it looks like as a customer in the bottom right-hand corner of our site.

They have a dedicated app for all platforms, including IOS and Android.  They also offer, for just one dollar per hour, chat agents to handle your chats for you. As opposed to always being available yourself, you can have an agent man youre chat for only $1 per hour

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to implement
  • Customizable
  • Built-in triggers
  • Multiple brands and websites all within one account
  • Offline mode
  • Canned messages
  • Aliases for your agents, so you can seem like there are more people that work for you then they really are

Cons:

  • Confusing admin interface
  • No desktop notifications on Mac for new visitors
  • Limited reporting

Summary: Overall, this is my best choice for chat for your website it easily matches the design of your site without any code there is a plug-in available for all major CMS is so you don’t need to write any code or copy and paste any code whatsoever.  Customers enjoy using it as well it’s very easy on both ends for agents and customers.

Tawk.to images

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Zendesk Chat

Zendesk chat formerly known as Zopim is a great solution if you need an all-in-one solution.

The benefit of using soap and is that it’s already integrated into the Sandusky ecosystem, so if you’re using Zendesk for support or sales or any other solution then send us coffers there chat is already built in directly into Zendesk. So instead of having multiple systems available for your agents, there’s just one system and all of your applications directly in it.

The downside of using a service such as the Zen desk is its price. It can get very expensive if you have a lot of people answering your chats.

Pricing can range from $0 for a single Agent, up to $59 per Agent per month. This adds up quickly if you’ve got a lot of Agents.

Pros:

  • Easy to implement
  • Plugins for most common CMSs and eCommerce applications
  • Different themes and styling are available.
  • Built-in triggers
  • Offline mode
  • Canned messages

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Must copy and paste the code into your website
  • No co-browsing
  • Support is lacking

Summary: Overall, Zendesk chat is a good solution if you’ve got a large organization and want to incorporate everything into Zendesk, to provide all-in-one support.

It can get expensive, depending on the plan you select.

Zendesk chat images

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Freshchat

Freshchat, part of the Freshworks network, is another of the all-in-one types of services. If you’re using Freshworks for a CRM, support, sales, etc., it’s great to have everything all in one place, including chat.

Depending on the features you want (outlined here), it can run you $0 a month up to $79/person/month, which is pricey when you consider that’s on top of the rest of their offerings.

Pros: 

  • Triggered messages
  • Bots to reply to basic questions
  • Know what pages your visitor looked at
  • User segmentation and insights
  • Co-browsing
  • Multiple messages

Cons: 

  • Price
  • Complex to setup without previous knowledge of Freshworks
  • Support is very sales focused (meaning if you ask for help with something, they’ll likely try to sell you more products)

Summary: Freshchat is a great option if you’re already using Freshworks for other parts of your business. As a standalone product, I’d recommend something else on this list.

Freshchat images

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Olark

Olark is one of the few we-do-only-this-so-we’re-really-good-at-it companies on this list. I find it better when a company does one thing and focuses on it, without trying to offer too many similar things just to try to be a one-stop shop.

Their pricing is incredibly reasonable ranging from $17/agent/month down to $12/agent/month (when you pay for 2 years up front).

Pros: 

  • Transcripts for both you (to feed into your CRM) and your customer
  • Triggered messages
  • Built-in reporting
  • Agent Groups
  • Tons of integrations into lots of systems
  • Customer satisfaction built-in

Cons:

  • No phone support (if that’s your thing — they feel they’re a chat company, so you should chat with them [I agree with this].)
  • No built-in ticketing system
  • You can’t block someone for more than 24 hours.

Summary: Olark is a wonderful — albeit simple — product that does one thing: lets you chat with your customers from any website you own.

Their integrations allow you to feed chats into a number of other platforms, though those additional platforms can increase your monthly costs.

Olark images

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Drift

Drift is intended as a sales tool. I tried it out here on our site before moving to Tawk.to last year. Drift is geared towards sales chat and offers a ton of automation on their top tier plan (which is quite expensive, but justified if it’s helping you close sales).

Their pricing ranges from $0 for a limited system to $1500+ per month

Drift’s automation is quite nice and helps your customers get answers from their bots without you having to manually intervene or talk to the customer. If the bot doesn’t know the answer, it’ll escalate it to a human via chat (if you’re online) or via email (if you’re not online).

Pros:

  • 24/7 support (though in my experience this was hit or miss)
  • Cross-platform
  • Easy to add to your site(s)
  • Bots
  • Automated messages
  • Multiple integrations, specifically Salesforce

Cons:

  • Admin area is confusing and can be cumbersome to set up
  • Pricing
  • Sales focused support and messaging — they try to upsell you a lot

Summary: Overall a great product. If you’re selling something online, their bots and automation can increase your sales, but it comes at a (very steep) cost.

It’s aesthetically nice to look at from both the customer and Agent end.

Drift images

Click to enlarge
Cover photo by Austin Distel

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