What is live chat software [Explained]

Priyanka Malik

January 5, 20237 min read

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More than ever, people want customer service that focuses on immediate communication and resolution. 42% of customers prefer live chat, compared to other customer service channels. To better meet your customers’ expectations, embedding free live chat support on your website is a great place to start.

Let's explore the must-have features of live chat software, associated benefits and buying factors for an optimized customer experience.

Table of Contents

What is live chat software?

Live chat software allows you to engage with your website visitors & customers in real time via messaging. You can use live chat software to proactively initiate conversations with first-time visitors and offer contextual support to your existing customers. Implementing live chat software can boost your website conversion rates, provide a hint of customer sentiment and help you retain them for the long haul.

Why do you need live chat software for your business?

Live chat offers value to both customers and businesses. Customers get quick and convenient responses from support agents, they can browse through other web pages simultaneously, and discover more about the brand. Helpdesk teams feel empowered to reduce resolution time and increase customer engagement.

An image showing how live chat increases customer engagement.

Web chat allows online businesses to capture visitor information, reduce bounce rates, and decrease the cases of shopping cart abandonment. Brands can launch campaigns based on user behavior, deploy interactive chatbots to improve customer engagement or work on cross-selling & up-selling opportunities. Forrester suggests that visitors who use web chat are 2.8x more likely to convert than those that don’t.

Live chat vs chatbots

While live chat offers human-to-human interactions and adds empathy to support conversations, AI-powered chatbots elevate the support experience by providing instant responses to support queries. For optimized customer support, organizations must merge live chat and chatbot capabilities.

Top 5 benefits of live chat software

Here are the top five advantages of implementing live chat software for business.

1. Customer convenience

Over 52% of customers will remain loyal to brands that offer live chat support. Web chat software lets customers multitask while waiting for chat support. The wait time is less than a contact center and is more hassle-free compared to the IVR and navigating through multiple options and prompts. Research suggests that the chat support team takes 23 seconds to respond and 46 seconds to offer a resolution.

2. Personalized conversation

Similar to instant messaging apps, live chat conversations are more personalized and cater to customer-specific issues. For example, in case of cart abandonment, brands can roll out personalized promotional offers rather than pushing generic content.

3. Increased revenue

Advanced AI chatbots can detect customer intent, sentiment, and context at a message level. Instant resolution accelerates the purchase decision of a customer. Live chat is really rewarding for businesses as research suggests that brands offering chat support experience 75% YoY growth in annual revenue and over 89% growth in cross-selling and up-selling revenue annually.

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4. Cost-effective solution

Automated live chat softwareis cost-effective as it reduces average interaction costs per customer. Additionally, a customer care agent can handle multiple chats simultaneously, unlike resolution over a phone call. Forrester suggests that live chat is 17-30% cheaper than phone support.

5. Reduces repetition

Repeating issues in front of different support executives agitate the customers. 72% of customers expect an agent to have complete information about their purchase & support history.

With quality live chat software for websites, agents have access to customers' personal information and their interaction with the brand. During the web chat, agents can share their screen with the customer or easily send rich media files (like images, videos, or GIFs) to help them better understand a set of directions.

Improve your customer service with AI-powered chatbots (2023)

5 key features of an enterprise-grade live chat software

Live chat applications offer functionalities that can transform your customer support function and deliver customer delight. Here are the top five features of enterprise-grade live chat software to consider before deployment.

1. Integration capabilities

Live chat applications, when integrated with CRM platforms, capture all contact records, conversations, transcripts, and data in a centralized location — so your support function has a single source of truth while dealing with customers.

2. Automatic routing

Using automated workflows, the support team can manage off-hours traffic, drive conversions, and collect customer information. Live chat software uses skill-based routing and AI-powered prioritization to automatically route customers to the suitable agent for priority resolution.

3. Dialogue automation

Canned responses speed up the resolution process and reduce your agent’s response time. Standardization of responses allows your agents to utilize them in only a few keystrokes on subsequent chat sessions. Agents must use canned responses in the following situations:

  • Greeting a returning customer by name

  • Offering promotional discounts

  • Transferring a chat to another agent

  • Answering FAQs

4. Chat monitoring

You can track traffic, collect customer feedback, and analyze agent performance with chat monitoring. It offers real-time actionable insights into customer satisfaction and intent and gathers valuable performance feedback using custom triggers.

An image showing how chat monitoring increases the value offered by live chat.

5. Proactive chat

Proactive chat leverages smart triggers and allows your support agents to initiate a conversation in real time with a website visitor. It provides real-time behavioral insights to identify high-value customers and proactively engage with them to drive more conversions. You can set triggers based on key metrics such as time spent on a page, scroll depth, cart content, and agent availability.

For example, a smart trigger can pop up your web chat window with a canned greeting message if a website visitor spends a certain amount of time on a page.

How to buy live chat software for your business?

With multiple live chat software in the market, organizations must evaluate the functions of the web chat application and whether or not they align with organizational goals. Here are the top five buying factors which can make or break the deal:

1. Deployment model

Live chat applications can be deployed in two ways: self-hosted (on-premise) or on a cloud. Self-hosted live chat applications will be hosted on your organization’s technical infrastructure and must be considered if there are strict operational and regulatory requirements. Unless necessary, organizations must opt for cloud deployment to get regular updates, 24/7 continuous support, easy accessibility and data recovery.

2. Personalized omnichannel experience

Your customers expect the ability to communicate with your business across all of their preferred channels — including your website. The best live chat solutions enable you to switch communication channels and offer video chat and co-browsing capabilities to facilitate rich, personalized experiences so you can provide optimal 1:1 support.

The best live chat software for business will enable your team to provide proactive, personalized, and contextual care throughout the customer journey. Look for platforms that use AI augmentation tools to deliver correct and quick resolutions in the first interaction. This will help improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) and reduce your support costs.

3. Advanced conversational AI

Top chat software includes chatbots powered by conversational AI. AI chatbots can handle simple and repetitive customer queries — freeing up your care agents’ time and empowering them to focus on delivering thoughtful responses to more complex issues that require human attention.

It should also equip agents with tools like navigation history, online/offline indicators, email transcripts, and add-to-cart, setting them up to have contextual and productive conversations with customers.

Sprinklr's conversational AI offers advanced chatbot capabilities and has all these essential features. The bots provide contextual, multi-lingual support across 30+ social and digital channels. Sprinklr's conversational AI has proven to increase agent productivity by 40% while reducing the response time by 21x.

4. Customization & pricing

Given the importance of branding, all the elements of your website must be consistent, including the live chat interface. Therefore, the live chat application must be customizable at a reasonable price, and the solution must be value for money.

5.Advanced reporting & analytics capabilities

The live chat support software must offer capabilities such as click tracking, view funnel analytics, and access to website traffic demographics so you can understand the traction from live chat.

It should automatically send surveys based on custom triggers, mask personally identifiable information (PII) using PCI-compliant secure forms, and provide a consolidated reporting view of your commerce and customer service metrics.

With Sprinklr Service’s live chat support software, businesses can turn customer care into marketing, reduce agent costs, and increase customer satisfaction by providing customers with immediate answers.

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