Are you sure you want to use live chat software? Well, ok. The first thing to do when you are shopping for any kind of software is to have a feature checklist in front of you.
The table below will help you do a head to head comparison of the features available in the top 3 live chat software. We have done a seriously comprehensive review for each tool. Here’s our ranking of the best live chat software, based on the review results and the available features in each one.
We took upon ourselves to review three of the most popular Live Chat software out there – ZOHO, ZOPIM and OLARK.
We diligently tested out all it’s features on our website, and in this article you can find details of how each feature of each tool works and how each tool differs in terms of the services they provide. But before going ahead with the reviews, I’d like to mention one point which is absolutely relevant and necessary and can also benefit your business.
While live chat is a very useful tool to have on your website, there are many alternative tools that can help you achieve better results and generate a deeper impact for your business.
Getting back to the reviews, step one was trying to get the installation code. Then we installed it, and finally tested the primary function – live chats.
P.S.: All three tools were installed on the site using the free trial provided. I think that the free trial should be good enough to highlight the differences between the tools. The benefits will only be amplified when you decide to pay.
1. OLARK review.
Olark is a little different from the above two tools when it comes to its installation and use. It is branded as one of the most popular chat platforms, and that is mostly because of its clean and intuitive design that allows businesses to have a better engagement with their customers.
The way it worked differently became evident right from the start. For example, we started off by going to Olark’s homepage to find the signup form. Surprisingly, the signup form was actually only a CTA button that read “Sign up for free.”
Upon clicking this button you are taken to the pricing page where you get the three pricing options, and from there you select the free trial. The sad thing about getting the 14-day free trial was that it could only be unlocked once you enter your credit card details.
Since we were only reviewing live chat software offering free trial periods (or the ones that required a little less effort), we tried to find another option. Luckily, we found Olark’s Free Forever Plan, which is limited to only 1 operator for 20 chats per month and included a few other standard features.
After signing up and logging in to the dashboard, you can get the installation code for the widget from the settings tab. The dashboard, unlike Zopim or Sales IQ, had settings and preferences on the left side and all information pertaining to your customers in the center. So things like reports, chats ratings, transcripts, operators, integrations were all accessible from the center of your dashboard.
On the top menu, you have links to different sections of the tool.
Transcripts – This is the chat history page where your can record all your chats in one place.
Reports – This section talks about how your chats are performing with your customers. So data regarding Great Chats, time of these chats, what circumstances lead to a happy customer, etc. are all accumulated here.
Operators – Here you can build your own chat teams by adding and removing operators from the groups.
Settings – The settings tab and Olark dashboard are one. This section is further divided into two sections – Preferences and Extensions.
Preferences - This section is just like the settings section for any other chat tool where you can get access to chat settings such as appearances, integrations, installations and a few other advanced settings.
Extensions – This is the place where you can you will find extensions that when added enhances the chat’s ability and makes it a strong tool. Under Extensions, you will find:
Targeted chats – This extension works on user behavior. Things like hiding chats from people visiting from a particular country where you cannot ship or open the chat to a visitor who has visited a single page more than three times , etc. can be created from here.
Attention Grabbe – Lets you add an image above your chat to gain customer’s attention
Greeter – As the name suggests, the greeter automatically expands the chat after a visitor has been on your site for a defined period of time.
Visitor Insights – With the help of Olark’s API, you can keep tabs on each visitor that comes to your site, and all the information can then be stored in your CRM.
Visitor Notifications – With this extension in place, you can grab the attention of your customer by playing a sound in the background windows tab.
Chat Ratings – The rating section gives you access to all customer feedback.
Shortcuts – Allows you to create links, shortcut messaging and greetings.
While all of these were overwhelming from a tool that asked not a dime for its services, many of the above mentioned options are only accessible in a premium plan. If you notice, till now I haven’t mentioned a thing about the place where operators can take chats, or a place where you get the number of customers currently online or where you can see recent conversations of your operators. That’s because Olark has an entirely different section for its chat and chat related services.
You can access this section from the top right-hand corner of the dashboard where you can find a button that says “launch chat” and the widget will only start working once you have opened up the Olark chat page. Here you can go online and offline from your chats and other information such number of visitors online, number of operators online, recent and current chats as well. You can respond to your chats from here, and also have a closer look at how your operators are responding to their chats as well.
Unlike the other two live chat software on our list, Olark has no proprietary mobile apps for its operators or users. However, third-party chat clients can be used with the application
Olark Pricing : You can get most of the features mentioned above that were not available in the free version by taking up the premium plan which is differentiated on the basis of the time period you wish to use the tool. So for $17 per month/per operator, you will be billed monthly. For the annual plan $15 per month/per operator and for the 2-year plan you will just have to pay $12 per operator per month.
2. Zopim review.
Zopim has been acquired by Zendesk, and is now known as Zendesk Chat. It is a very simple and user-friendly platform, enabling its users to create a more meaningful, effective and personal relationship with their customers.
Before going any further, let me tell you how effortless it was to start off with this chat tool. Zopim chat had by far the easiest step-by-step process in getting to the access code that needs to be added to your website template for the tool to work. As soon as you go to their website, you can see a very bold and in-your-face CTA on the homepage, where you just enter certain required details, that too with the minimum possible fields (only name and email address), and you can get the confirmation email sent right to your inbox.
This auto-generated confirmation email just had a button on it which when clicked upon takes you directly to the Zopim dashboard. But before you can actually view the dashboard, you will a set of 3 pages in front of you.
After you’ve completed reading three pages, all you need to do is embed the widget on your website. To do this, you will require a small code of snippet that can be taken either from the last of the three pages mentioned above. If you have already closed the pages, you can get the code from the settings tab on your Zopim dashboard.
If you are hosting your website on WordPress or Shopify, you can use the Zopim plugins for your platform directly. This is a neat feature to add to your site. Within a minute of adding the code to the website, you will start getting data from your website to your Zopim dashboard. Here’s a look at how the software looks on the website. You can customize it according to your business needs anytime you want.
Everything is displayed on your dashboard. It basically gives you website analytics. You can get a lot of information about your chats and visitors, like the number of people requesting for chats, the number of agents picking up the chats, etc. You can also edit all your chat settings and data from the dashboard.
The home page of the dashboard is divided into 4 sections. The 1st section (extreme left) is the options area where you can access all other features of the tool. The second section (top) is where you can find quick access buttons to some of the features listed on the left. The 3rd section or the extreme right section you have the latest Zendesk Chat updates, and even some recent website activities. The 4th and the main section (Center-bottom) gives you hourly/weekly/daily/monthly website analytics including page views, total visits, unique visits, chat visits, etc.
Getting into the 1st section or list of options available in the dashboard, you can see these in order:
Visitor – list of incoming visitors and all the active or closed chats as well;
History – information on all chats in the database;
Analytics – tracks all the data collected from the chats, and gives you charts and graphs to turn them into actionable insights to improve performance;
Monitor – view real-time metrics on chat volume, visitor experience, and agent performance;
Setting – gives you settings for your agents, departments, widgets; and
Team – the number of people on your team that are available to take the live chat.
As you can see, you get a whole bunch of features in Zopim, and each of these features is quite responsive and fast in terms of incoming data with respect to visitors on your website.
All these features work together to help you close a lead faster in less time with fewer resources. It also goes beyond the basic chat functionality, and helps you reel in more customers. Things like customer engagement, conversion rates and managing team workflows are all additional benefits you will get with Zopim.
While this was all about the chat widget on the website, Zendesk chat also has a mobile friendly version of the tool that can be simply configured by adding an SDK to the mobile app, so that chat can be transformed into a mobile optimized widget for your website, allowing you to get notifications and send out personalized messages to your customers.
Zopim pricing : Since I was using the free version, it only gave me a single user license. To utilize other features, you will have to choose from their other plans ranging from basic to premium (between $14 – $55 dollars per agent per visitor) . You can get advantages including a High Load Dashboard, various types of agent reports and 24×7 support system.
3. Zoho SALES IQ review.
Zoho SalesIQ is an integration of visitor tracking and live chat software for both small to large organizations. With visitor tracking, you can get detailed visitor information such as new or returning visitors, site behavior, page views, etc. that can be used to identify hot prospects and proactively engage them in chat at the most optimal time. Even the chat widget is highly customizable and can be integrated with Zoho CRM to track and record detailed lead information.
Similar to Zendesk Chat, SalesIQ too has made it fairly easy for its users to get to code and set up the software on your website. On the signup page, you will have to fill three fields. In addition to the name and email address fields, it also included a required company name field which we thought was unnecessary.
After installing the widget, you will again have to go the dashboard where you will find options to customize the chat box, agent avatars, chat history, reports, profiles, etc. Here’s a look at their dashboard.
With the help of Real Time Visitor Tracking, you can see a bunch of data about your visitors. This includes customer ID, number of pages accessed by the visitor, time spent on them, visitor source, interval time from the last visit, and many more things that can be stored and later be used as actionable information to convert leads.
They too have all of the options provided on the left hand corner, starting from:
Visitors Online (Home page of the dashboard): We have discussed this above, but I’d like to add that you can also do Real-time tracking and customer scoring from here itself.
Visitor History : Number of visitors to-date, along with information such as returning visitors and filter options.
Chat History : Chat History includes all the chats occurred till date.
Feedback : After ending the chat,s the feedback from your customers will show up in a separate section here.
Reports : Here you can get consolidated reports based on user ratings, Visitor handling time, Status, Regions and Department usage which can be filtered for any given range.
Canned Messages : They also have a section for feeding in canned messages so that it can be sent to the customer as an instant reply.
My Profile : Details about you and your internal chat history.
Settings : A place where you can change user settings, preferences and integrations of the widget.
Zoho SalesIQ Pricing : The free version of the tool can be used by up to 2 members for a single website, and they can also access mobile support and up to 100 chats a month. The pricing scheme has been kept flexible enough for startups and small businesses, ranging from $19 for 3 users per month to $129 for 10 users per month.
All of these 3 live chat tools have a lot of things going for them and all are well known for different reasons. Determining the best live chat software can be quite subjective. But one thing is certain – if you’re choosing Zopim, Zoho Sales IQ or Olark, you will be picking from amongst the best solutions in the chat industry.