Live chat software is a system that enables immediate customer support. How? The consumers can simply click on a live chat button, usually placed at the lower right corner of a website, and get help in real-time. Businesses can utilize the chat widget to; support existing customers, interact with potential clients, and initiate conversations with first-time website visitors by proactively inviting them to chat.
With the rise of the internet, businesses have gone through several significant changes to catch up with the technology and growing consumer demands. As customer service had to evolve accordingly, online chat for business emerged as a new support channel. Thus, letting consumers reach companies directly and avoid the inconvenience of the phone (waiting on hold, interrupted calls, etc.).
Some of the first live chat software providers came about in the early 2000s. The early chat providers offered a basic one-to-one live chat platform. The concept, however, was slow to gain attention among companies because it was commonly considered unnecessary and not worth the investment. In addition, most consumers were still more accustomed to picking up the phone to get their questions answered and issues resolved.
Over recent years, the popularity of live chat support software increased since the modern live chat systems have become more sophisticated and include much more advanced functionality. Thus, it became no longer an option since most consumers prefer to purchase products and services online and demand support on the go. As a result, the global live chat software market was valued at $590 million in 2016. Moreover, it is projected to reach $997 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.5% (Allied Market Research Report).
Some of the essential live chat software features include;
With the numerous live chat providers available on the market, it might be challenging to select one. Here are the most critical factors to consider when choosing a chat provider;
Self-hosted software is hosted on an organization’s technical infrastructure. However, cloud-hosted software resides on a third-party server and has; regular updates, accessibility from anywhere, security, data backups, and 24/7 support. Some providers offer both options.
The ease of installation and a user-friendly interface, and a range of available customization options are essential factors before purchasing live chat software. Ensure to look at the personalization of languages, styles, fonts, and colors of the chat widget.
Nowadays, a vast number of consumers access websites from their smartphones. Thus, having a mobile-optimized chat tool available for all platforms and mobile devices is necessary, especially for e-commerce businesses.
While having basic live chat features is usually enough for small businesses, large organizations need more advanced live chat software features. Most vendors offer free trials allowing to test all live chat features.
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