Live chat is no longer a customer preference. It’s an expectation. People want their questions answered now. Not in weeks, days, or even hours—right now. But with so many chat options on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for your needs. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best web chat tools and share a step-by-step guide for installing our personal favorite chat tool—Webchat

The 8 Best Live Chat and Web Chat Software Options

Did you know that 99% of consumers use the internet to discover and find local businesses? There’s no way around it: If you want local consumers to find your business, you need to show up in the right places online. 

But simply getting found online isn’t enough—you need to make a good first impression. You need a stellar online presence and a website that makes it easy for potential customers to contact you. That’s where having a web chat tool comes in handy. 

Installing a chat tool to your website makes it easy for customers and potential customers to get the help they need—the minute they need it. It will improve customer satisfaction and even boost sales. 

The tricky part is that the marketplace offers numerous options when it comes to web chat software. To make your decision easier, we have put together a list of the best live chat software tools.

1. Podium

We’re starting with our favorite—our very own Webchat tool. Webchat turns your website into a conversation-starting, lead-generating machine. 

So, how does it work? Webchat collects lead information (name and phone number) before the conversation starts, then immediately connects the potential customer to your team via text. Then, your team can read and respond to those messages from the same inbox where they manage everything else—right there in Podium. It’s simple, it’s convenient, and it allows conversations to continue long after a person leaves your site. 

2. HubSpot

HubSpot is a well-known customer relationship management (CRM) software that offers a wide range of services, including live chat software. Their live chat tool is user-friendly, and it integrates seamlessly with HubSpot’s other products. While the tool is generally easy to use and rated highly, some say that it can be overwhelming in the beginning and that the interface can be limiting for users. 

3. ChatBot

ChatBot is a platform that offers an easy way for businesses to create their own chatbots. With ChatBot, you can personalize the customer experience and improve resolution times. That being said, while your ChatBot can be programmed to handle a wide range of questions and concerns, there may still be situations where human interaction is necessary. Additionally, some customers may prefer speaking with a human rather than a chatbot, which could lead to frustration and a negative customer experience.

4. LiveChat

LiveChat is an easy-to-use chatbot tool that can help businesses improve customer service and fuel sales. With a user-friendly interface and powerful analytics, LiveChat is a popular option for small businesses. And with more than 200 integration options, this tool can likely pair with other software tools you’re already using. One thing to be aware of is that sometimes there is a lag in receiving messages through LiveChat, which can lead to unhappy customers and frustrated staff.

5. Brevo (Formerly Sendinblue)

Let’s start with the pros: Brevo’s live chat allows small business owners and employees to provide quick and efficient customer service. It is user-friendly and easy to set up, which is perfect for those who are not tech-savvy. Additionally, Brevo’s live chat has a range of helpful features, such as pre-set messages and customizable forms, which save time and improve efficiency.

One con is the limited customization options for the chatbox. Compared to other live chat tools, Sendinblue’s chatbox can come across as basic and unprofessional. 

6. Tidio

Tidio is a chatbot plugin that can help automate customer support and sales. Tidio’s user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, which makes it an excellent option for small businesses. Tidio also makes it easy to automate answers and workflows—they boast that up to 47% of repetitive tasks can be automated with their software. 

As far as the cons go, some complain that when a user manages multiple chats from multiple windows, they do not receive a notification when there is a response. 

7. Olark

Olark’s web chat tool offers an array of customizable features that allow businesses to personalize their chat widgets. Olark also offers advanced features such as co-browsing, post-chat surveys, and offline messaging. 

Some users have complained that Olark experiences occasional outages, which can make for unhappy customers. Others have noted that Olark’s customization options are lacking. 

8. Chaport

Chaport’s is a modern customer messaging platform that allows you to talk to your website visitors in real-time. Chaport also offers advanced features such as integrations with other apps and saved responses.

The downside? Chaport doesn’t allow you to integrate with SMS channels—which is a big deal for consumers. Additionally, although Chaport does have a basic free plan, it lacks a lot of the functionality that your business may want or need. 

How to Choose a Live Chat

So, now you know what some of your options are and it’s time to make your decision. Here are a few things to consider as you deliberate. 

    • Usability: A user-friendly chat interface is critical for ensuring that customers can interact with your business easily and quickly. Look for a chat tool that is simple to navigate and intuitive to use, with clear instructions for customers.
    • Features: Different chat tools will offer different features, so think about what your business needs. Do you want to be able to monitor chats in real-time, or integrate chat conversations with your CRM system? Are you looking for a chatbot to handle common customer queries? Make a list of the features you require before selecting a tool.
    • Integration: It’s worth considering how easily a chat tool will integrate with other tools you use, such as your website platform or customer support software. The smoother the integration, the more seamless the customer experience.
    • Security: If you’re handling sensitive customer data through your chat tool, it’s vital to ensure that the tool has robust security measures in place to protect that data. Look for tools that use secure encryption standards and comply with data privacy regulations.
    • Pricing: While cost is an important consideration, it’s also important to think about the value you’re getting for your money. Some chat tools offer tiered pricing plans that vary based on the number of users or features you need, so weigh up the costs carefully before making a decision.
    • Support: In the event that anything doesn’t work as expected, you’ll want to be able to reach out to a responsive support team. If you’re considering a tool that doesn’t seem to offer helpful resources or a supportive team that’s got your back, you may want to look elsewhere. 

And above all else, remember: Your chat tool should make things more convenient for you and your customers. Don’t settle for a mediocre tool just because it’s the first one you stumble upon. Do your research and take the time to compare the pros and cons. 

How to Add Webchat to Your Website: 7 Steps

Alright, let’s get the ball rolling. If you’re thinking about trying Podium’s Webchat solution, we’ve got great news for you. You can test drive Webchat for free—and it’s easy to get started.

We’ll walk you through the process. 

1. Start a free trial of Podium.

First, sign up for a free trial of Podium by entering your contact information and verifying your business. It’s risk-free, no strings attached. There’s no reason not to give it a try.

Podium free trial sign up page

2. Select Webchat under the Marketing tab. 

Once you’ve created your account and signed in, select Webchat under the Marketing tab.

Installing podium's webchat tool

3. Verify your website. 

Verify that the website shown is your site—or the site where you want your Webchat widget installed. Then, click “Yes.”

Verify your website while installing webchat

4. Give website access. 

Select the domain your website is built with from the options below and hit Save and Continue. (If you’re unsure, no worries. We can forward the info). 

The process for installing Webchat is slightly different depending on which CMS you select. But regardless of the website type, you’ll basically be pasting the code snippet before the closing </body/>tag in the footer of your website. In this piece, we’ll be showing you how to install with GoDaddy. 

5. Install Webchat.

Use the instructions below to easily install your Webchat yourself, or forward them to your admin.

  1. Sign into your admin account.
  2. Select your website.
  3. Click Edit Site.
  4. Click Pages & Sections.
  5. Click Add Section.
  6. Select HTML and click Add.
  7. In custom code, paste the widget code.
  8. Set forced height to 600 pixels.

Then, hit Done and Publish.

6. Preview the widget.

You’re nearly there. Finally, make sure everything looks okay, (you can customize your icon image and greeting, etc.), send yourself a couple of messages to troubleshoot, and you’re good to go.

It’s really that easy—no hassle. No initial cost. No reason not to get started. Are you ready for your website to start driving and converting leads like a lead-generating machine? We’re willing to bet you are. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re new to the world of chatbots, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. You likely have some questions—that’s normal. Let’s go over some frequently asked questions to help you feel confident about your new tool. 

1. What are the benefits of installing live chat software? 

Live chat software can benefit small businesses in many ways. Firstly, it offers a convenient way for customers to communicate with a business, leading to better customer satisfaction. Secondly, it can improve efficiency by allowing employees to handle multiple chats at once. Additionally, it can provide valuable insights into customer behavior through usage analytics. 

Live chat is a happy compromise that allows you to help more customers without sacrificing the human element that is lost with a fully automated bot.  

2. Which live chat software is best for you? 

Decisions, decisions. With so many options out there, knowing which chat software is right for you can feel impossible. The best live chat software for your business depends on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options for small businesses include LiveChat, Webchat, and Chaport. These platforms offer features such as customization, integrations with other tools, and AI-powered chatbots to enhance the customer experience. 

It’s important to research and compare different options before making a decision. Don’t be afraid to test drive a couple of different options before you make your final decision. 

3. What is the best free live chat? 

While there are several free live chat options available, the best one for your business will depend on your specific requirements. Some popular free options include, Freshchat, and Crisp. But remember: You get what you pay for. Free platforms typically offer basic features such as chat history and customization options but may have limitations on the number of chats or amount of data storage. If you’re looking for something customizable or robust, it’s probably worth pulling the trigger and investing in a paid solution. 

4. What is a business live chat software? 

A business live chat software is a tool that enables communication between a business and its customers or clients in real-time. This allows for quicker issue resolution and enhanced customer satisfaction. Business live chat software often includes features such as chatbots, pre-made responses, customizable branding, and integration with other business tools such as CRM systems. It can be a valuable addition to any small business’s communication toolkit.

5. Why should you choose Podium’s Webchat? 

Podium’s Webchat was built for small and local businesses like yours. With it, you can generate up to 11x more leads from your website. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. And because Webchat allows you to move conversations from your website to a cell phone, you can stay connected to people long after they leave your site.

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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