Live chat is big right now – and the numbers behind its adoption prove why. Recent research from Kayako, which surveyed more than 400 consumers and 100 businesses, found that:
The bottom line? Live chat offers huge potential benefits, whether you’re a big-ticket B2B company or a transactional ecommerce retailer.
But with so many options on the market, which should you choose? First, let’s look at what you can expect across most live chat tools. Then, we’ll explore 25 of the best free live chat software programs out there, along with the features that make them different.
Knowing what’s commonly available from live chat programs makes it easier to differentiate one option from another.
To that end, here are some common features you’ll find across most live chat software programs:
As a note, although these features are available on live chat programs, the extent to which they’re implemented may vary across free and paid plans. Chat history, for example, might be limited to just a few days or weeks on free plans, while longer histories of up to a year may be available by upgrading to the same program’s paid plan.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our 15 favorite free live chat software programs:
Free Option: Unlimited
HubSpot launched their free live chat tool as an integral part of their free CRM. This makes it an excellent choice for a growing business because, first off, you won’t have to spend tons of time and money integrated different systems and piping your data into a different place. It just happens automatically. Second, it allows you a full view of your visitor and customer communications as well as contact property data of those you chat with (giving you an edge in terms of context).
Because it’s tied so tightly to the HubSpot CRM you’ll know exactly who you’re chatting with and their history, be it a prospect, long time customer, or new contact.
The whole live chat system is built on their Conversations product, which is like a free, collaborative inbox that the whole company can use to collaborate on incoming messages.
Deals, tickets, and more can be spun up from live chats, and transcripts are stored on the contact record in the CRM.
The targeting capabilities are limited, at least on the free setup. However, if you pay for HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, you can do some pretty interesting and robust things with their automation workflows (similar to what you can do with Intercom, Drift, etc.)
Price: Free – $39 per month per agent
Free Option: Yes, unlimited agent seats
LiveAgent launched a free live chat tool as an integral part of their free help desk software. The software is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses across all industries. Using the software, you can chat with customers in real-time, while viewing and managing important customer information. All of your live chat conversation transcripts will be saved in the form of a ticket, so you can review what was said to your customers as needed.
Apart from enabling users to chat with customers in real-time, the free software also offers free ticket management, CRM, call center, and knowledge base functionality. In essence, it’s your one-stop-shop for all of your customer service needs.
LiveAgent’s free live chat software is also fully customizable, as well as language adaptable. It’s also the fastest performing live chat widget on the market, enabling you to convert potential buyers into paying customers in seconds. LiveAgent offers 24/7 support, as well as ready-to-use Android and iOS apps for customer service on the go.
Like many of the live chat tools featured here, Crisp uses chat windows to support customer messaging and feedback gathering. What’s unique, however, is what you can do with this data after it’s captured.
Companies with longer sales cycles, for example, will enjoy the ability to send drip marketing campaigns from the program, based on data gathered by Crisp. The program’s sales pipeline automation tools will also appeal to those with sophisticated sales programs.
Another interesting feature: a status monitoring system that alerts customers to outages as they’re detected. SaaS companies that promise certain uptimes may benefit from these proactive communications.
Acquire live chat solution help you to engage with your visitors and customers at the most critical point of their journey. Use of AI-driven assistance mechanism automatically interprets common customer queries and resolves them without involving your service agents. Send behavior based auto messages to garner engagement.
Reduce understanding barriers as any input by your customers is assisted with a “Smart Suggestion” feature which helps the customers to easily express their concern without having to worry about terminologies.
Empowers the agent to resolves complex issues in the first interaction with co-browsing. The agent can literally take control over the customer’s browser and give visual cues by engaging in a two-way interaction.
Price: Free – $13 per month per agent
Free option: Yes, Basic plan for up to 5 agents
JivoChat offers a robust onmichannel business messenger that enables sales and support teams to connect with users via live chat, phone, email and social media channels.
The live chat application provides a single point of record for support and sales reps. Agents receive all chats, emails, and calls in a single, easy-to-navigate window, which enables faster response and resolution times.
The platform offers a host of features that can be used to improve communications with website visitors, including automatic triggers, callbacks, detailed visitor information, CRM integration, and easy connections with other chat tools such as facebook messenger and WhatsApp.
JivoChat is used by over 285,000 websites, and with a 4.7 star rating, is the top-rated mobile support app at the App Store.
Designed to provide great customer support through live chat, LiveSupporti gives users the ability to assign messages to different groups (for example, your sales or customer service teams), as well as to view a “sneak peek” of visitors’ text as they’re typing in order to provide faster support.
Like Tawk, LiveSupporti uses geolocation features to enable agents to provide targeted support. Advanced visitor statistics also improve the service experience by showing agents which pages they’ve visited, how long they stayed on a particular page, their browser, their operating system and their device.
Unlike many of the other systems mentioned here, LiveSupporti offers an “Infinity” plan that can be locked in for unlimited agents for a one-time fee. If you anticipate using live chat for a long time, across a large team of agents, LiveSupporti’s one-time fee may turn out to be cheaper than ongoing subscription charges.
Price: Free – 1100€ lifetime fee for unlimited operators and bots (details)
Free Option: Yes, 1 operator or bot included
Like other programs described here, LiveZilla offers three core features: live chat, user monitoring and user ticketing.
A few things that set it apart, however, include its development based on open source technology, as well as its data privacy features (especially important to EU companies that must be GDPR compliant).
Rocketbots straddles the line between live chat tool and CRM. Not only does the program integrate with multiple messaging apps – including Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Slack and Kik – it captures the information gathered on these platforms to facilitate more effective messaging.
Rocketbots calls itself a “self-learning system,” stating that it includes an “AI that learns from your conversations and suggests the replies you’ve already used when similar inquiries come up later. The more conversations you have, the smarter it gets.”
Because the program offers a free trial with no credit card required, it’s worth a look if you’re looking for a more advanced chat system that spans multiple platforms.
onWebChat may not be as feature-rich as some of the other options, but its lightweight construction offers one key benefit: it claims to not affect site speeds on the sites where it’s installed. Given that more than half of website visitors will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load, site speed should be a vital consideration when choosing a live chat program.
That said, onWebChat’s minimalist approach doesn’t mean your visitors’ experience will suffer. Besides its core chat features, onWebChat offers the ability to easily toggle between multiple chats, as well as a visitor history viewer that’s visible to agents during chat sessions.
A straightforward program, PureChat offers the simplicity of tools like onWebChat alongside more advanced options, such as its ArtiBot.ai lead capture bot.
The free version of the program makes past chat transcripts and canned responses available, while paid plans add real-time visitor analytics and SMS messaging capabilities. Detailed setup guides are available for popular platforms at all subscription levels.
Live chat is just one part of ZenDesk’s larger suite of customer support tools, so it’s most effective in practice if you plan to buy into the company’s larger product ecosystem.
If you do, you’ll enjoy access to triggered conversations and live chat analytics, as well as the ability to integrate with everything from websites and mobile apps, to popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and LINE.
One notable feature you’ll find on ClickDesk that you won’t find on many other live chat programs is video chat functionality, which makes it possible to offer face-to-face support to your customers. Video chat app development is increasing in popularity and has become an integral feature of customer service within the last three years.
On top of that, ClickDesk guarantees 99.95% uptime, in addition to providing users with a popular help desk option and integrations with commonly-used social media programs.
Smartsupp is a smart choice for ecommerce sellers, given the program’s integration with popular shopping platforms, as well as video recordings of users’ website activities to facilitate easier support experiences.
As an added bonus? If you’re a pro user and you happen to drop by the team’s office in the Czech Republic, they’ll treat you to a complimentary shot of local Slivovica brandy.
Like ZenDesk, Zoho’s SalesIQ live chat program is part of the larger Zoho ecosystem, which contains everything from CRM to sales-focused tools.
Users who sign up for multiple Zoho programs will get the most out of SalesIQ’s features, but even those who don’t will be able to enjoy automated visitor geolocation, lead scoring and sales team coaching features that allow team managers to understand the performance of individual agents.
Like other programs listed here, Chatra offers a multilingual chat widget that ensures agents are able to provide a great experience to all visitors – no matter where in the world they’re located.
Beyond this, users may be interested in Chatra’s screen sharing integration, as well as its outgoing webhooks, which make it easier to sync Chatra activities with other programs. Although both features are only available to paid users, they’re worth a look by any business that’s interested in maximizing the value of its live chat experiences.
HelpCrunch calls its live chat system a “smart customer communication platform” because it offers so much more than simple chat engagement. Beyond its ability to answer visitor questions, the system comes with built-in lead prequalification features and multichannel messaging opportunities.
Agents using the platform will benefit from tagging, assigning and merging features that simplify visitor conversation management. And a heads-up for smaller teams – these features and more are available for free to single-agent subscriptions.
Looking for a live chat system that ties directly into a CRM, a marketing automation platform, a help desk and more? Look no further than FreshChat – part of the FreshWorks 360-degree “customer-for-life” software suite.
In addition to its extensibility, FreshChat offers agents visitor context tools, which enrich chat conversations with event timelines, user information and data from visitors’ social profiles. It also makes a huge resource library available, ensuring every FreshChat user gets the most out of the popular platform.
Intercom is the leading conversational relationship platform that helps businesses build better relationships with their customers through scalable messaging. Staying true to this goal, Intercom’s Business Messenger allows companies to chat with customers in real-time. With its app store of more than 100+ apps, the Business Messenger can easily integrate with other tools, making it infinitely customizable to whatever is most important to your business.
What makes Intercom stand out from competitors is the seamless way you can communicate with all your customers through one interface — whether it’s answering an email or an in-app message. The chat window also mimics apps that users use daily, making it easy and inviting for them to talk to a customer support rep.
Another interesting Intercom feature are the triggered automated campaigns that you can create based on a particular event or user behavior. For example, if a repeat visitor looks at a page a number of times, you can start a direct conversation with them, whether it’s automated or in real-time.
All-in-one website chat (boosted with chatbots) might be all you need to engage your website visitors in real-time, capture leads and create personalized offers on the spot. It goes by the name of Tidio Live Chat.
With Tidio you easily address questions and concerns of your customers, build customized chatbots and track your visitors behaviour – from the moment they land on your page. Tidio offers a free plan (forever) equipped with all important features to help you run a successful eCommerce business. It’s one of the most innovative and affordable solutions on the market. Tidio can also be integrated with most popular eCommerce platforms, as well as Zapier and other third-party apps.
Though Tawk doesn’t offer the same level of sales automation features as Crisp, those with simpler live chat needs will appreciate its “always free” option and its promise of one-minute installation.
Once set up, Tawk’s ticketing system, ability to localize greetings and messages based on visitors’ location and trigger-based engagement make it a great choice for providing site and customer support. The option to hire live agents through the platform for just $1 an hour may also be appealing to companies that want to provide a higher level of personalized support.
Price: Free/Forever (details)
Free Option: 5 Team Members, Unlimited Messages, All Channels, Up to 100 Contacts
Respond.io works with some huge brands to provide a holistic view of customer conversations. Its stack of integrations allows you to build detailed profiles for your customers, creating an omnichannel approach and allowing you to communicate through the customer’s preferred channel.
Real-time analytics, tagging, and custom fields allow you to focus on the customer experience, ensuring you’re reaching people with the right information at the right time.
Price: Free/Forever (details)
Free Option: Unlimited chats & websites, 30-day chat history, Basic widget customization, Web, desktop & mobile apps
Chaport aims to make communication with customers as easy and enjoyable as communicating with friends. It works particularly well in the insurance, financial, and home industries, offering a speed of communication that translates into sales.
Powerful automated chatbots allow you to answer the most common questions immediately, and when the bots can’t answer a question, they facilitate a quick transfer to one of your agents. Offering multi-industry solutions and a whole host of integrations, Chaport is a great option for your live chat software.
Price: Free Forever (details)
Free Option: Free for small businesses
Comm100 is a great free tool that allows you to immediately connect with your customers through live chat, email, social media, text message, and a self-serve knowledge base. This means your customers can reach you through their preferred channel, boosting the customer experience.
With automated sales and automated customer services options, Comm100 can help you to boost sales and improve your customer service. It’s cloud-based, so you can access it from anywhere, and it easily integrates with your website and social media platforms.
Price: $19/month (details)
Free Option: Free 14-day trial
Olark prides itself on helping you to learn more about your customers in a human way. Through real-time chat, structured notes, and live chat insights, it allows you to leverage customer input to optimize your products and services.
One of the nice things about Olark is that it’s fun as well. It offers a number of themes that can be updated to reflect the season. It might be a small detail, but it all helps with engagement, and at the end of the day, that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Your customers have insights that can help you, and Olark is there to make sure you’re collecting them.