Exceptional customer service is key to curating an industry-leading reputation. Positive public perception is key to fostering an expansive, loyal customer base. An expansive, loyal customer base is key to a healthy bottom line. So, how do we achieve exceptional customer service? Short answer: communication! When companies provide easy-to-access communication channels—with well-equipped agents on the other side—customers are far more likely to remain loyal to the business.
As we’ve all experienced in our personal lives, there are loads of ways to contact agents, from phone calls to emails. However, in recent years, online chat has quickly become the preferred method for business-to-customer communication, and it's easy to see why.
For one, online chats—whether it be with a human or an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot—are the most convenient way to get answers. Unlike emails, chats allow customers to interact with your support team in real time, at the touch of a button.
Most chat services also give you more information about a customer (i.e. the page they’re browsing, previous interactions, personal information), so your team can engage with them in a more personalized manner. Not to mention, chat services increase your staff's productivity, extend your support hours to 24/7, and help you cut costs—all while boosting your bottom line. More satisfied customers and fewer cash expenditures, the name of the business game!
How to Choose the Best Chat Tool for Your Business?
1) Determine the goals of your business
Before deciding which chat support platform to pick, consider why you want it in the first place. Do you plan to use it to provide customer support, sell products, or respond to customer inquiries? By identifying your company’s goals for its chat support platform, you can better compare options to pick the best one for your specific business needs.
2) Determine your target audience
The chat tool you invest in should directly reflect the preferences of your target audience. For example, older generations prefer traditional phone support. This means you should look for a platform that offers 24/7 live customer service support. Conversely, millennials are very tech-savvy and prioritize speedy interactions. For them, live chat is an excellent choice, as it significantly reduces wait time.
3) Determine your budget
A messaging tool with the shiniest, most up-to-date features aren't always the best solution for your business. Setting a realistic budget is paramount. The most sophisticated software will do you no good if it doesn't yield the best return on your investment. If funds are tight, there are plenty of free chat platforms to get connected.
The Best Chat Tools for Customer Support
Customers remember when they don’t have access to the information they need. This is why it's important to empower your customer service team with competitive, free live chat support like HubSpot Live Chat.
Featuring automatic conversation routing, HubSpot Live Chat connects your customers with the appropriate team to address their concerns in real time. Your customers' chats will automatically be forwarded to the agents’ inboxes, making resolving inquiries more convenient.
HubSpot Live Chat also comes with an integrated chatbot builder that is specially designed to automate the most common conversations. Once tedious, time-consuming tasks like booking demos, answering frequently asked questions, and even qualifying leads are now greatly automated. Letting the chatbots handle most of the heavy lifting lessens the burden on your customer service agents. This frees them to devote more of their energy to resolving more pressing customer concerns that require real human support. Another perk of using HubSpot's chatbot builder is that it's already integrated with the free CRM from HubSpot. This means that your chatbots have access to customer information, allowing them to send messages specifically tailored to the customer they are engaging with.
But beyond conversation routing and chatbots, what makes HubSpot Live Chat the best free chat tool on the market is its easy implementation. You can embed the widget on your site and customize it to fit your brand's style—even without coding skills! HubSpot will automatically generate a code to help you be launch-ready in mere hours.
Packed with a wide range of features, LiveChat has quickly become one of the favorite customer communication tools of support reps across the globe. It offers tons of chat tools, along with customer engagement and widget customization features to help your team serve customers more efficiently.
With LiveChat, you can also set up targeted messages with ease. These interactive messages are specifically tailored to visitors based on their behavior and profile, providing a more personalized experience. The messages can include announcements of sales, selling a new product or scheduling an appointment, or chats simply aimed to guide visitors around your website. There’s also a “sneak-peek” feature that lets you see everything the chatter types even before they hit send, as well as canned responses to quickly answer common questions.
Another handy, spotlighted tool that sets LiveChat apart from its competitors is its messaging channels. Helping you reach your customers wherever they are, LiveChat's messaging channels can be integrated into multiple apps and websites while only paying for a single license! Your customer support team can reply to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Apple Messages for Business, all from LiveChat. Even emails can be forwarded straight to LiveChat, where they can be sorted and prioritized, so your customer service reps know which concerns to tackle first. Your customers are real people with jobs, families, and a million other more important priorities than spending hours on the phone trying to sort an issue. Software that supports omnichannel communication is invaluable to them and your company.
Trusted by the US Air Force, Samsung, Audi, and several other companies worldwide, Acquire is one of the more expensive live chat and chatbot building solutions currently available, but for good reason. It’s best used for connecting to social media and offers your customer service team a user-friendly live chat software that not only lets them interact with customers in real time but also allows them to make voice and video calls directly from the messenger. Your team can even share files and their screen via this live chat widget, making it easier for them to answer customer queries and complaints.
In addition to helping your customers, Acquire's live chat widget can also be useful for boosting your team's performance. The software measures key chat metrics like customer feedback, chat duration, and total chats handled to identify and correct bottlenecks. The live chat widget is also integrated with your Knowledge Base, so your customer service agents will never have to chat blindly. They can just tap into your Knowledge Base for the best corresponding advice and content to then share with your customers.
Apart from a well-equipped live chat, Acquire offers chatbots that you can pair with live chat support. These chatbots virtually extend your office hours to 24/7, making you more available to customers. Although they can't handle 100% of the chats coming in, they can take care of all the frequently asked questions (i.e. how to book appointments or available payment methods). The best part is that you don't need to know how to code to integrate Acquire's customer service chatbots into your website.
Best used for e-commerce websites, Tidio lets you engage with your site visitors in real time with quick, relevant responses. This is made possible by Tidio's live chat and chatbot features.
With the live chat widget, you can see a list of all your real-time visitors and their browsers. This means you can easily personalize the communication based on their interests, increasing your chances of making a sale.
In addition, Tidio's seamless integration with top platforms and tools gets you up and running right away. Whether you're on Shopify, WordPress, or Wix, you can integrate Tidio's tools and widgets in as fast as five minutes. The live chat interface is also highly customizable to match your branding and style. Tidio even supports more than 140 languages to cater to a wider range of customers.
Another notable highlight of the live chat tool is its multiplatform capability. You will never miss an opportunity to chat with your customers, as you can easily access Tidio from your phone, desktop, or web browser!
Apart from the live chat widget, e-commerce website owners also love how powerful Tidio's chatbots are. It has a codeless drag-and-drop visual editor for a more intuitive and straightforward chatbot building. It also offers over 35 templates designed to boost sales, elevate customer support, and handle other repetitive and common conversations. Tidio's chatbot software is easily integrable with Instagram and Messenger, too.
Tidio offers a free plan where you can use the live chat plugin to have unlimited conversations and contacts. However, it’s worth noting that chatbots in the free plan can only reach a maximum of 100 visitors per month.
An all-in-one business messenger with omnichannel support, JivoChat brings your customer service team directly to your customers, wherever they are. It has live chat support and a callback widget for your website, a forwarding feature for your emails, and an integration tool with tons of leading apps, including WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook, Telegram, Viber, and Instagram.
In other words, your agents don't need to switch between different platforms just to stay in touch with your customers. All communications happen within JivoChat, significantly increasing their productivity and the chances of closing a sale.
The other great thing about JivoChat is that it integrates with a plethora of popular software that website owners already use. It’s compatible with Pipedrive, Zoho CRM, WordPress, Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Weebly, to name a few. There is also a JivoChat that API developers can integrate into their own solution.
JivoChat is packed with a host of other handy features to set your customer service team up for success. These include automatic triggers, typing insight, email chat transcripts, file transfer, translator, reminders, and service quality ratings.
6) Facebook Messenger
When it comes to reaching out to chat support, more and more customers prefer doing it via mobile apps instead of hopping on a computer to go to a shop's website. This is why Facebook Messenger is rapidly becoming a more viable option for businesses as the best for mobile support. Not only does it build instant connections with potential customers who already use the platform, but it also makes you look more available as you're always just one tap away.
Similar to other chat support platforms available on the market today, Facebook Messenger provides useful tools and data to boost business performance. It can present your product catalog, connect your page visitors to your customer service team, and be connected to your website and Instagram pages to capture customers there. There are also customizable chatbots ready to help should your agents become unavailable.
Facebook's other chat app, WhatsApp, is also evolving into a business communication tool, particularly for small business owners. On top of Messenger's features, WhatsApp offers other convenient tools. There are quick replies where you can send pre-saved answers to common questions with just a few keystrokes, assign labels for organizing messages, and curate complete business profiles. Unlike Messenger, WhatsApp is currently only available as a mobile app.
Find the Right Tool for Your Team
While there is no denying the benefits of using chat tools and software, businesses can also turn to top-tier BPO companies like Helpware to optimize their customer support services. Helpware’s Digital Customer Experience service provides your business with trained, technology-enabled, fully customized teams to improve your customer engagement and experience across all platforms. Our teams can handle inbound and outbound calls, technical support, chat, and email support, as well as other front office services like appointment scheduling and order handling.
Elevate the customer experience, overall satisfaction, and your bottom line by providing an exceptional level of customer service. We’re committed to helping you best serve the people that make your brand, your brand. Reach out to Helpware today!