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23 Best Live Chat Software & Chatbot Tools for Marketers, Creators and Startups

There are lot of live chat software and chatbot tools available on the market, but which one is best for your business? Which provide the best value? Which tools don't slow your website load speed? In this post, I dive into the best tools and platforms I've used over the years.

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Drift

About: 
A popular chatbot and conversational live chat tool on the market loved by many tech startups and organisations is Drift.

Top Features:

Having used Drift for multiple projects, it's one of my favourite live chat/chabot tools. The CRM experience of live chat, as well as seeing which users have engaged makes it an enjoyable experience.
You can create custom AI chatbots, personalisted chatbot experiences for customer segments and loads more. The intelligence of the platform is amazing and great for nuturing targeted users/accounts.
Within the platform, you can collect emails, book appointments and more. You can even send out personalised videos, which is super cool and great for conversions. Plenty of integrations available as well for improved workflows and automation.
Chatbots
Automation
Personalisation
Pricing: 
You can try Drift for free. For more advanced features, you will need to book a demo.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
Favourite

Video Ask

About: 
Video Ask is a tool I've used recently for a client project and it's fantastic. Love the uniqueness of capturing attention of website visitors using video.

Top Features:

Embedding the tool takes seconds to add to your website through a simple piece of JS. What's really great about the tool is that visitors will see a small video preview, which is eye-catching to increase chances for people to click on the pop-up.
Once users engage with the video pop-up, you can engage them and drive an ideal CTA, whether that be setting up meetings, drive email signups, talk about an offer and more.
Within the platform itself, you can see all interactions in one place, where you can respond, see submitted customer info, analytics plus more.
Videochat
Engagement
Workflows
Pricing: 
There's a generous free plan to use the tool, which is perfect to test out how it works. Then pricing begins at $30 per month.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$
Favourite

ServiceBell

About: 
If you're a B2B SaaS startup, or really any business for that matter that wants to engage and close more customers, you're going to love ServiceBell.

Top Features:

The team behind this platform have done a super slick job at creating an awesome UX and product offering, where businesses can add human element to their website, to engage visitors and turn them into customers.
You can directly integrate ServiceBell with calendly, and becomes really powerful when you integrate with Intercom. There's also the option to integrate Clearbit, where you can understand which visitors/customers are coming back to your site so you know what action to take.
Installing onto your website is super easy with just a snippet of code. The testimonials look really positive with companies attributing the success of the tool in closing sales in a matter of days/weeks.
Live screen chat
Intercom
great UX
Pricing: 
There's a free version so you can test out the platform. Then pricing begins at $500 per month for 10 seats. There are larger plans available to unlock more features. You can also book a demo to find out more.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$$
Favourite

Intercom

About: 
If you work in SaaS and startups, there's a very good chance you've heard of Intercom. This tool is amazing.

Top Features:

There's a few solutions available, from managing customer support, build engagement flows for onboarding and retention, as well as personalisation, chatbots and more for marketing purposes.
With customer support, you can serve personalised conversations and content, all through automation (as well as manual input). Highlight helpful articles if customers/visitors have questions, provide follow-up messages and loads more.
The engagement solution as part of Intercom is awesome. Create onboarding flows, just like product tours, to ensure you can activate customers to quickly adapt when signing up to your product. Send transactional messages based on user activity, send announcements, run re-engagement campaigns for inactive users and more.
Onboarding
Engagement
Integrations
Pricing: 
There's a starter plan which begins at $67 per month. For more features across the suite of products, you will need to book a demo. There's also a startup program available.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
Favourite

Jivo Chat

About: 
A really nice live chat tool to consider for your website and customer support/marketing efforts is Jivo Chat.

Top Features:

You can this platform to engage with conversations on your website, using the likes of WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and more. Perfect if you already have engaging social channels with lots of existing conversations.
The internal dashboard is beautiful. You can find all customer conversations in one place, so you don't need to jump between windows.
You can even get visitors/customers to leave their number to get a callback through the widget if you or your team are not available. There are also lots of integrations available to improve workflows.
API
Team chats
Mobile app
Pricing: 
There's a generous free plan available for first 5 agents. Upgrade to the professional plan to unlock more features for $19 per month, billed annually.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$
Favourite

Olark

About: 
A popular tool on the market many top brands are using is Olark.

Top Features:

You can do lots of awesome things, including building chatbots, interact with customers live on the website through the chat widget and more.
The platform has a nice analytics overview to see your interctions. You can integrate with Google Analytics to see how visitors interact and go through your conversion funnels, real-time reporting of interactions as well as recieve email reports periodically with an overview of what's happening.
Alongside plenty of integrations on offer to improve your customer success workflows, you can create pre-filled forms, have customer data records auto-updated, as well as offline and triggered messages.
Automation
Customisation
Customised forms
Pricing: 
You can sign up for a free trial, then pricing is $29 per month.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$
Favourite

Pure Chat

About: 
Pure Chat is live chat software which you can integrate with Hubspot, Wordpress, Squarespace, GoDaddy and more.

Top Features:

The platform is really easy to use, where you can see all interactions in once place for those who have engaged with your widget on the website.
There's real-time analytics to see all engagements, such as time/length of chat, source, amount of visits per user, as well as location.
You can also setup triggers and alerts, automatic saved transcripts and ability to export contact info and reports.
Mobile app
SMS
Analytics
Pricing: 
You can test out Pure Chat for a 30-day trial, then pricing starts at $39 per month.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Live Agent

About: 
Live Agent is a platform packed with features built for serious startups and scale-ups.

Top Features:

There's a lot that the platform offers, from ticketing, knowledge base, live chat, a call centre and more. All within the one software.
There are over 200+ integrations. In a centralised place, you can view all customer conversations/interactions, tickets, email threads, emails and more.
There's almost too many features to mention. From automation, improving workflows to delegation of tickets, this is a tool you should definitely check out if you're growing.
Ticketing
Integrations
knowledge base
Pricing: 
There's the option to request a demo to find out more about how the platform works and what's best for your organisation. Pricing then begins at $15 per month, per agent. There are more plans available depending on what features you need.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$
Favourite

Crisp Chat

About: 
A popular tool I've seen lots of startups raving about lately across social channels is Crisp Chat.

Top Features:

I certainly understand what the rave is about. The platform is packed with great solutions for startups wanting to centralise communications and provide great customer success.
They have a beautifully designed shared inbox to help manage all comms in once place. You can deep dive into customer info using the CRM. You can also setup chatbots and campaigns for targeting marketing messages for segments of users.
A really awesome feature as part of the platform is "co-browsing". As the name suggests, you can share your screen with the customer/visitor, and walk them through your website. Talk about taking customer success to the next level.
Co-browsing
Shared inbox
Campaign builder
Pricing: 
A freemium option is on offer, which is perfect for startups on a lean budget. For growing startups and established organisations, pricing for Crisp begins at $25 per month, which includes 4 seats.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$
Favourite

Tawk.to

About: 
Tawk is a great option for those wanting to ensure great customer service with their website visitors.

Top Features:

One of the best things about the platform? It's free! Yep, not kidding. Really cool offering with the features available. Check reasons why it's free on the website, they have a good explanation.
The platform provides live chat functionality, ticketing, team chat options, analytics and more.
Setup alerts, group messaging, video and voice chat and so much more... the amount on offer is simply awesome.
Ticketing
knowledge base
API
Pricing: 
It's free to use and install. You can hire support agents from just $1 per hour.
Web/App
Free
$-$$
Favourite

Tidio

About: 
A great option for live chat and customer service is Tidio.

Top Features:

Used by some very well-known tech companies, Tidio provides a range of solutions as part of the proeuct suite, including shared inboxes, chatbots, multi-channel support and more.
With some of the multi-channel features, you can do things such as setting up auto DM's for Instagram direct, chatbots for IG messenger and Facebook messenger. Automate most of your interactions and your team jumps in when needed.
There's also the shared inbox feature, where you can sync all conversations across email and social in one place. This makes it easy to delegate conversations and review history.
great UI
Messenger integration
live preview
Pricing: 
You can use Tidio for free for up to 100 unique reachable visitors. Then plans kickoff at $15 per month, per operator. To use the chatbot functionality, you'll need to upgrade to the Chatbots plan which is $39 per month, per operator.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$
Favourite

Userlike

About: 
Userlike is a platform that encompasses everything you need to manage conversations and turning them into customers.

Top Features:

Have all conversations in one place for anyone on your team to access and action. Review history of conversations to see feedback overtime.
Bolster your chat support workflows with integrations such as Hubspot, Slack, Pipedrive, Mailchimp and more.
Setup post-chat surveys as well as pre-chat surveys. In addition, you can do screenshare and videos calls with customers online.
WhatsApp
services
Chatbots
Pricing: 
There's an awesome free option for the software, which includes unlimited contacts ansd unlimited conversations. For more features that you may require, plans start from $90 per month.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$
Favourite

Acquire

About: 
Acquire is for teams and companies looking to take their customer success and customer experience to the next level.

Top Features:

From co-browsing, live chat, video chat, chatbots and a range of other features, Acquire is an end-to-end suite for your customer success needs.
It's great to use the software on mobile, perfect for those to get back to customers when they can conveniently.
There are lots of integrations on offer to optimise and improve workflows.
CX
Co-browsing
SMS
Pricing: 
You'll need to book a demo and request pricing.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
Favourite

Live Chat

About: 
Live Chat does what the name says - providing live chat and customer support solutions for better experiences.

Top Features:

Adopted by the likes of McDonald's, Adobe and Unilever (and 34k+ other companies), Live Chat helps you manage conversations with your customers with ease, through a centralised inbox.
Incorporate smart logic, flows, chatbots and smart AI to automate conversations and delegate engagements to support agents.
Qualify, make more sales and loads more. Integrations with over 200+ tools available.
All-in-one
Automation
Customisation
Pricing: 
Pricing begins at $16 per month, per agent when billed annually. Otherwise if you choose monthly, pricing starts from $19 per month, per agent. There are also team, business and enterprise plans on offer.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Freshdesk Messaging

About: 
Freshdesk Messaging helps you create delightful customer support experiences.

Top Features:

From AI chatbots, shared inboxes, channel management and more, it's the perfect solution for businesses wanting to execute well on their customer service game.
Like most other tools, there are many integrations on offer, and fits in nicely as part of the Freshdesk suite of products and solutions.
You can also access conversations from anywhere on your mobile.
Team inbox
Multi-languages
feature-rich
Pricing: 
Free plan on offer for up to 100 agents, then plans kickoff from $30 per month, billed monthly.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$
Favourite

Respond.io

About: 
If you need a platform to help you manage conversations across a number of channels, particuarly social channels, then you must check out Respond.io

Top Features:

Described as a business messaging platform, you can sync coversations into one shared inbox across Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagra, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
Setup notifications so you can keep on top of your inbox, automate trigger-based rules, broadcast messages to all your users or certain segments and much more.
View analytics of all your conversations holistically, as well as see analytics of individual users. You can viuew omni-channel chat history for anyone. This is pretty cool and certainly covenient.
Omni-channel
notifications
Conversational sales
Pricing: 
An awesome free plan is on offer to help you test out the platform. To get access to more features, pricing begins at $29 per month.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$
Favourite

Zendesk chat

About: 
We've all heard of Zendesk and what their suite of products and services is all about. Included in their suite is live chat software.

Top Features:

Adding Zendesk Chat to your website is easy. Be there for your website visitors with the ability to have 24/7 support.
Stay connected across your website, as well as key social channels such as Facebook and/or WhatsApp.
Customise your live chat experience with chatbots and other integrations.
Conversational UX
Personalisation
Multi-Channels
Pricing: 
You will need to explore pricing plans to view what's on offer. You can get live chat as part of the "Team" plans. Team plans start at $49 per month, per agent.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Hubspot Chat

About: 
A great offer by the team at Hubspot for users is getting access to free live chat software.

Top Features:

With features like most other live chat softwares have, you can chat instantly with your visitors, save conversations and lots more.
Simply add the widget to your website through a snippet of code. Customise it to make sure the widget looks on brand.
Access all conversations through the CRM. There's no integration required as live chat comes with the CRM.
CRM
Lead management
Easy setup
Pricing: 
Explore the pricing page to find out more information about which package is right for you.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$
Favourite

Chatbot

About: 
As the name suggests, Chatbot makes it easy to create AI-powered chatbots.

Top Features:

If you're wanting to create awesome chatbot experiences customer support and driving sales, this is the software you need to check out.
The team have have a done a great job executing the simplicity of creating chatbot flows and logic, making it easier for those who are new to building these experiences.
To speed up the creation process, there are pre-built templates on offer so you can get started creating chatbots fast. There's also an academy for those who have minimal experience.
All-in-one
Templates
great UX
Pricing: 
Pricing gets started at $50 per month, billed monthly. A great option for startups and small companies. There are also team, business and enterprise plans available.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Birdeye

About: 
If you're a local business, Birdeye is a great option for you.

Top Features:

This is a platform that really does have it all. From managing surveys, reviews, live chat, social media posting and loads more.
It's very user-friendly, especially for those who aren't necessarily as tech-savvy.
Other awesome features include a ticketing system, insights, benchmarking insights to see how you stack up against your competition and more.
Local
Reviews
fearure-rich
Pricing: 
You'll need to optin to see pricing.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Smartsupp

About: 
Wanting a tool that enables live chat, video recordings with customers as well as chatbots, look no further as you should check out Smartsupp.

Top Features:

View all your conversations in one place thanks the shared inbox, instantly chat with customers anywhere at anytime on your mobile, respond to social media messages and more.
See a breakdown of customer details, such as the pages they've visited, where they're located, core info such as name and email, and chat history.
A great feature included is that you can do video recordings, so you can see how visitors engage with your site.
Video recording
Personalisation
Analytics
Pricing: 
You can get the live chat functionality as part of the free plan. To get access to chatbots, video recordings and more, pricing begins at $15 per month, billed annually.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$
Favourite

Chatra

About: 
Used by over 45k+ businesses worldwide, Chatra is your messaging platform for interacting with customers.

Top Features:

Connect all your key channels, including emails and socials, and view conversations in a centralised inbox.
A cool feature is that for anyone who you've previously interacted with, you can in real-time view when they're on your website, from seeing which pages they're visiting, where they're located, how long they've been on the site, etc.
Bolster up your efforts with chatbots to help you automate important workflows.
Messenger integration
advanced targeting
email transcripts
Pricing: 
There's a free option available. To unlock more features, pricing starts at $17 per month, per agent, billed annually.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$
Favourite

Kayako

About: 
If you're looking for helpdesk software, whether you're a small business, growing startup or enterprise, then check out Kayako.

Top Features:

Used by over 130k+ agents worldwide using the software, manage all your conversations together as a team in a shared dashboard and inbox.
Incorporate live chat on your website, including social channel integrations, so you can keep on top of it all.
There are also plenty of integrations to improve workflows, automation and processes for your business.
Customer support
knowledge base
real-time activity
Pricing: 
Pricing starts at $30 per month, per agent.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
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Updated on:
April 4, 2022
Note: Pricing, plans, and homepage images change overtime. Pricing recorded as of 3rd April, 2022. If you see any changes required, please let me know. If you suggest any tools to add, get in touch. 😊

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⚡ Frequently Asked Questions ⚡

What are the best free live chat tools for startups?
The live chat software market is very competitive with lots of options available, which is great for startup companies on a lean budget. I've tried and tested many tools (which you can see details of in this article), and these are my personal favourites: Drift, ServiceBell, VideoAsk, Jivo Chat, and Crisp Chat.
Which live chat tools has the best chatbot features and capabilities?
Both Drift and Acquire are the top chatbot tools I've used across a few clients that are feature-rich and user-friendly for building chatbot experiences. There's no free trial, so you need to book a demo for both of them to see it in action.
Can you build chatbots without having coding or technical experience?
Absolutely, although you will need to have some experience with logic and conditional work. Or at the very least, experience creating mind maps and flowchats. Many of the platforms I've talked about have a great UX and interfaces where many of them provide a 'drag-and-drop' experience. Even with no experience creating chatbots, the learning curve is quite quick once you get the 'groove'.
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