Live chat has become pivotal for customer engagement, with research showing over 58% of online consumers prefer chatting with businesses in real-time (Drift, 2021).
However, as the market explodes with live chat platform options, identifying the best fit can be challenging.
This article will guide you through evaluating essential factors to determine the right live chat software for your business needs and goals.
We'll compare standalone vs integrated solutions, explore must-have features like real-time monitoring, offline forms and chatbots, and outline deployment considerations for sales vs support use cases.
Follow these tips to cut through the noise and confidently select a live chat platform that enhances CX, increases conversions, and delivers proven ROI at scale.
With customers demanding better digital experiences, deploying the optimal live chat solution is no longer optional - it's a competitive necessity.
Let's get you on the path to smart platform selection and chat-driven success.
What is a Live Chat Platform?
A live chat platform is a software solution that enables real-time communication between businesses and website visitors.
Powered by chatbot and human agent capabilities, live chat platforms facilitate personalized, conversational support and sales interactions through digital channels.
Globally, the live chat software market is projected to grow at an annual rate of over 8% through 2027 as more companies embrace digital-first engagement (Grand View Research).
By integrating live chat widgets on websites, mobile apps and messaging platforms, businesses can connect visitors with support teams at the moment via text, audio and video chat.
Pre-built live chat platform features optimize these person-to-person interactions for seamless experiences, including customer relationship and history tracking, agent status indicators, file-sharing capabilities, co-browsing and more.
Additionally, chatbots boost efficiency by handling common inquiries with AI automation, while more complex matters get routed to available reps.
With rising consumer expectations for always-on service, the addition of live chat elevates traditional customer support into convenient, conversational experiences on digital channels where users already spend time.
This drives higher satisfaction through personalized engagements, boosted lead conversion and increased lifetime value.
Understanding Your Business Needs
Finding the right live chat software begins not by comparing features but by examining business needs. Step one is getting crystal clear on your requirements.
Do you need multilingual support? Robust security features? What must-haves does your use case demand? Outline these to create a needs framework.
Next, factor in company size and scale. Growth-stage startups have different priorities than enterprise corporations. Match prospective platforms to your current scope and future projections.
Finally, assess integration needs. Will you be connecting live chat to existing CRMs or help desks? Is consolidating systems a priority?
Any integration needs, both current and future, should inform platform evaluation.
Defining your unique business needs before comparing solutions is the key first step. Resist the urge to jump to popular features.
By first creating clarity on requirements, scale, and integrations, you can zero in on live chat platforms engineered specifically for the priorities of your business. This understanding sets the stage for smart platform selection.
Chatbot Automation not only include of Live Chat feature, along with that it has other features too such as-
- Marketing Automation
- WhatsApp Automation
- Customer Support
- Lead Generation
- Facebook Automation
- Appointment Booking
Key Features to Consider
Once you've identified your business needs, the next step is to consider the key features of each live chat platform:
Monitor and Optimize with Real-Time Analytics
Look for live chat platforms, like BotPenguin, that enable real-time monitoring and provide actionable analytics.
The ability to track key metrics like chat volumes, wait times, sentiment, and CSAT in real-time allows teams to identify issues promptly and take corrective actions.
Robust historical reporting also uncovers trends and opportunities to optimize over time. With data-driven insights, you can fine-tune chat strategies, boost CSAT, and continuously improve performance.
With BotPenguin's customizable bots, you can engage visitors automatically when they land on your site. Captivate prospects with personalized, interactive conversations that convert.
Personalize Through Customization and Branding
Customization options let you tailor chat interfaces to match your brand identity.
Visitors will enjoy more personalized and engaging experiences when chat reflects your visual design system.
Custom fonts, colors, logos and greeting messages all contribute to consistency. For greater personalization, features like visitor-specific data and intelligent routing based on past interactions are advantageous.
Enable Seamless Cross-Channel Engagement
Unfortunately, most live chat tools fail to facilitate true omnichannel support. Conversations exist in isolated buckets rather than allowing seamless, cross-channel experiences.
This leaves customers frustrated when context doesn't carry between devices. Imagine repeatedly explaining an issue to different agents if transferred from browser to mobile! Dreadful.
BotPenguin live chat seamlessly integrates across platforms, maintaining persistent histories, profiles, and preferences between channels.
Best of all, BotPenguin combines human and automated interactions for hybrid support.
Chatbots handle simple inquiries on any channel while escalating complex issues directly to available live agents in real-time. Customers can switch between self-service and human chats easily if needed.
With omnichannel architecture woven into its system, BotPenguin helps brands deliver always-on, continuity-focused customer experiences that feel personalized and responsive at every touchpoint.
Unlock Efficiencies via System Integrations
The right live chat software also offers deep integrations with your existing Martech stack including CRM, help desk, marketing automation and other tools.
By sharing contextual data between systems, teams can view holistic customer histories to drive personalization.
Integrations also streamline workflows allowing faster, smarter responses. With system interoperability, live chat becomes a true hub for optimized CX.
Evaluating User Experience
When it comes to choosing the right live chat software for your business, evaluating the user experience is crucial.
Ease of Use for Both Customers and Support Agents
The platform should be intuitive and user-friendly, both for your customers and support agents. Customers should be able to initiate chats easily, navigate through the chat window, and receive prompt responses.
On the other hand, support agents should have a simple and efficient interface that allows them to handle multiple chats simultaneously and access all the necessary information at their fingertips.
By ensuring a smooth user experience on both ends, you can enhance customer satisfaction and agent productivity.
Chatbot Capabilities and Automation Features
Chatbots can handle repetitive inquiries and provide instant responses, freeing up your support agents' time and allowing them to focus on more complex customer issues.
When evaluating live chat platforms, consider the chatbot capabilities and automation features available.
Look for features like AI chatbots that can understand and respond to customer queries intelligently.
Customizable chat flows and automated message triggers can also help streamline the support process.
Multi-Channel Support Options
Customers expect businesses to be available through various communication channels.
Make sure the live chat platform you choose offers multi-channel support options, such as integration with social media platforms, email support, or even SMS.
With BotPenguin's omni-channel platform, businesses can deliver streamlined 24/7 customer experiences over any digital touchpoint. Our solutions unify siloed channels into a single intelligent customer engagement layer.
Security and Data Privacy Considerations
When it comes to customer support, security and data privacy are paramount.
In this digital age, where data breaches and privacy concerns are all too common, it's essential to choose a live chat platform that takes security seriously.
Here are two key considerations:
Encryption and Data Protection Measures
Ensure that the live chat platform uses robust encryption protocols to protect sensitive customer data.
Look for platforms that offer end-to-end encryption, keeping your customers' conversations secure from any unauthorized access.
Compliance with Industry Regulations and Policies
Depending on your industry, you may have specific regulations and policies to adhere to, such as GDPR or HIPAA.
Evaluate whether the live chat platform complies with these industry regulations and provides features to help you maintain data privacy and regulatory compliance.
Choosing a live chat platform that prioritizes security and data privacy demonstrates your commitment to protecting your customers' information and builds trust in your brand.
Scalability Options for Future Business Growth
Choosing a live chat platform that can grow with your business is essential. Consider platforms that offer scalability options, allowing you to easily add more agents or expand your usage as your business expands.
Look for flexible plans that can accommodate increasing chat volumes or additional features as your customer base grows.
Scalability ensures that your live chat solution can keep up with your business's evolution without requiring a full-scale migration to a different platform down the line.
Making the Final Decision
After carefully considering your business needs, evaluating the user experience, and assessing pricing and scalability, it's time to make the final decision.
In this section, we'll discuss three steps that can help you in this process:
Creating a Shortlist
Based on your evaluation of various live chat platforms, create a shortlist of the top contenders that meet your requirements.
Consider the platforms that offer the features you need, fit within your budget, and align with your business goals. This shortlist will serve as the foundation of your final decision-making process.
Conducting Trials and Demos
The best way to assess the suitability of a live chat platform is by testing it out. Many platforms offer trial periods or limited feature access, allowing you to get a feel for the platform and its capabilities.
Take advantage of these trials and demos to test the features that are most important to your business.
Invite your team to participate and gather their feedback. This hands-on experience will provide valuable insights that can inform your final decision.
Selecting the ideal live chat software is crucial to meet rising customer expectations for real-time engagement.
As discussed, businesses must evaluate their use cases, features, integrations, and scalability needs to determine the best-fit platform.
The right live chat solution seamlessly blends chatbots with human agents, provides omnichannel capabilities, and delivers actionable insights.
Partnering with an end-to-end provider, BotPenguin enables access to enterprise-grade live chat built for ROI. BotPenguin offers robust solutions tailored for sales, support, and successful use cases.
With chatbots, real-time monitoring, offline forms, and other included capabilities, companies can transform experiences across touchpoints.
BotPenguin also handles scalability and integration complexity, allowing teams to focus on customer conversations.
In closing, smart live chat platform selection eliminates guesswork and drives results. Don't settle for mediocre software that falls short.
By following this guide and working with live chat platforms like BotPenguin, brands can confidently deliver chat-based experiences that build loyalty and boost satisfaction metrics.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What is a Live Chatbot?
A Live Chatbot is an automated software program designed to simulate human conversation in real time. It can interact with users, provide instant responses to queries, offer assistance, and perform various tasks without human intervention.
What are the key factors to consider when choosing a live chat platform for a small business?
For small businesses, factors like affordability, ease of use, scalability, customization options, integration capabilities with existing tools, and customer support are crucial when selecting the right live chat platform.
How important is mobile compatibility when choosing a live chat platform?
Mobile compatibility is vital as it ensures seamless communication and support for customers accessing the website via mobile devices, contributing to a positive user experience and enhancing accessibility.
What are the integration options available with live chat platforms for CRM systems?
Many live chat platforms offer integrations with popular CRM systems, enabling businesses to synchronize customer data, streamline workflows, and provide personalized support based on comprehensive customer information.