5 Best FREE Live Chat Plugins
I can’t tell you how many different live chat platforms and plugins I have tested over the years. From all of the websites and projects I’ve worked on, I’ve realized that a live chat solution is essential to providing a consistent customer service experience, and through my experiences I have come to find a few favorite live chat plugins. The best part is, they are all FREE.
An important note, all of these plugins are compatible with WordPress (and really any other website or framework)
1. Small Chat
This is by far my favorite of all of the available FREE live chat platforms. Why? To put simply, it works well and it does everything I need it to do, very well
The most notable feature is that all live chats are sent directly to Slack. That means there is no need for a some slow web interface, or a clunky slow app. It works natively within Slack.
Here are some of the basic features that are included:
- auto messages – Get the conversation started! Set parameters and greet visitors with custom trigger messages.
- scheduling -Let your customers know when your team is around to help.
- customizable – Customize your site’s widget with easy styling that allows you to seamlessly integrate Smallchat with your brand.
- emojis – Because everyone should be able to express themselves.
- easy setup – Add a single embed script to your site. Tweak the settings, and your widget updates automatically.
- analytics – Track how many conversations you’re having each month.
- ban list – Sometimes people can be jerks. Don’t let them bother you.
- unlimited – Never worry about hitting limits again. Smallchat has unlimited conversations, operators, and customers
- contact list – Quickly and easily view your customer information, or export a CSV to Mailchimp.
- respond – Smallchat integrates with Slack threads and notifications so you’ll never miss a conversation.
- live editing – No need to fret over typos. Edit or delete messages after they’ve been sent.
Impressive, right? I currently am transitioning all of my projects and websites over to small chat. I’ve been really happy so far.
If you would like to try Small Chat, you can get started @ small.chat
My next choice for a FREE Live Chat software is Tawk.to – I have used this platform extensively and really love all that features that it has.
Tawk.to is jam packed with all the features you need to provide winning customer support – it is fast, reliable and easy to use. They are also constantly asking for feedback and improving their platform. and it’s FREE!
Here are some of the features of Tawk.to:
- Monitor traffic on your website and be there when visitors need you most
- Proactively initiate a chat with your website visitors and app users
- Unlock a new frictionless channel for conversational commerce
list of Tawk.to features
Next up is Olark, which is one of the first chat platforms that I ever started using. Without a doubt, Olark is one of the most popular live chat tools out there.
What’s great is that they sport a couple of advanced features such as live chat automation (targeted chat as they call it) and cobrowsing.
They also have a selection of holiday themes, which is a pretty nice touch (e.g. a Halloween pumpkin or a Santa Claus hat). With their “attention grabbers,” that can be put on top of a regular chat box, you’ll make sure that no visitor passes by not noticing the live chat.
Pricing is simple: they feature a free plan, which only allows up to 20 individual conversations, and one premium plan. You can choose to pay monthly ($17), yearly ($15) or bi-yearly ($12).
And here is what you get:
- Simple install — Just copy and paste an HTML snippet
- Design friendly — Fully configurable themes, colors, text
- Start immediately — Chat now from your browser
- Mobile and desktop — iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac
- Visitor details — Know who and what’s going on your website
- Transcripts — Every chat recorded for review
- Chat ratings — Get instant feedback from customers
- Reporting — Detailed, real-time, beautiful reports
- Proactive chat — Directly or with targeted, automated rules
- Cobrowsing — Instantly control customer’s browser
- Offline messages — Take emails when you’re not around
- Capture emails — Optionally require emails before chatting
- Chat groups — Route chats to any team like sales or support
- Chat limits — Limit chat volume to what you can handle
- Integrated — Salesforce, Zendesk, Desk.com, SugarCRM + more
- Ecommerce — Works with Magento, Bigcommerce, Shopify + more
- Google Analytics — Track detailed events for every chat
- Multilingual — Works in any language
4. Drift Chat
To start with, Drift’s chat widget is customizable, looks great, and is very easy to install on most sites (simple line of code in the header, WordPress plug-in, etc.). The chat experience is good and it integrates directly with Slack so that you can chat from within Slack or within the application. They are constantly adding new features, and improving the experience for both us and our customers.
I love the targeted campaigns, where you can send specific users on your site little unobtrusive messages (or full-screen takeovers), based on very specific data (device type, location, URL visited, etc.). This allows for great user engagement, without much in the way of additional resources.
It has also replaced Freshdesk for our customer support as their paid plans support email communications.
Pricing is very fair for the feature set, as they do not charge a “per user” price like many operating in this space. They have a FREE Forever plan which should suffice for most people.
Looking at Zendesk Chat’s website it’s easy to get a good first impression. A nice set of features comes with affordable price plans. If you can do without all the bells and whistles it’s even possible to use their fully functioning freemium plan.
Paid plans start at US $11.20 for yearly subscriptions in their Basic plan und go up to $20 per operator in the Advanced plan. Zendesk puts a lot of efforts into automation features. Certain phrases that are frequently used can be accessed via shortcuts. Triggers assist in initiating live chat automatically.
Zendesk’s feature set is very strong and makes it an interesting option for small and medium sized businesses.
The only thing that didn’t work so well for our workflow are Zendesk Chat’s idle settings. The general idea is that the chat client goes offline when you are away from your computer, which makes a lot of sense. However, a browser app is not able to track your activities outside of the browser window. Therefore it also goes idle while you are working in other browser windows or programs. There should be a warning sound or signal like other tools provide. Switching off the idle mode is the only real solution to this issue.
But apart from that we found Zendesk great. They are constantly adding new features and are well equipped for mobile devices.
If you would like to give Zendesk Chat a try, click here