Many small businesses feel that live chat is out of reach because:

Do you think it is necessary to hire more agents?

It seems to be an effort of high cost and low reward.

Their clients are not explicitly requesting it.

We will discuss all of these assumptions and explain why, with the right software, all companies (yes, even yours!) can benefit from live chat support.

Five years ago, offering live chats wasn't necessary; at least, that's what I told our founder back then.

We lacked manpower. Still, the bug reports couldn't be resolved right away. We were building a self-service knowledge base with the hope of reducing support volume; live chats would certainly increase it. It just didn't make sense.

Five years, six iPhone launches, a global pandemic, and a 44% growth in online retail later...I'm making the opposite argument.

The game has changed. Live chat is no longer an optional resource; it is essential for any emerging business.

However, the good news is that live chat software has adapted accordingly. What used to be clunky third-party applications that required hand-holding by multiple agents is now integrated software that pretty much runs itself.

We've just launched the simplest live chat software ever here at OLC – if you'd like to try it out, start your free trial now.

This article examines the basics of live chat support and how to choose the best live chat customer support or software for your business.

What is live chat software?

Chat software enables businesses to provide support and engage with their customers via a real-time, online messaging service. This chat software can be free or paid and may be linked to a help desk or stand-alone application.

Customer service teams use live chats to answer frequent questions, quickly solve problems, and rapidly respond to complex issues. Sales outlets, customer success, or e-commerce stores can also interact with site visitors via live chats in order to increase conversion rates.

Live chat software types.

Chat live solutions are divided into two main categories the top: an all-in-one help desk with live chat, and a standalone application for live chat.

Generally, the fewer tools needed, the better. Let's look at how these two types differ and what advantages and disadvantages each type has for its users.

An all-in-one help desk with live chat.

If you're already using a help desk for customer service, the easiest option is to start using live chat through the same platform. However, until recently, many help desks did not include live chat.

Therefore, it made sense to purchase a standalone app from a different provider. Fortunately, the two platforms worked well together and he was able to integrate his live chat tool with his help desk.

Nowadays, many customer service platforms include live chat as either a feature or an additional product of their ticketing software and shared inbox. This makes it incredibly easy for agents to remain on one platform while providing omnichannel support.

Standalone Live Chat Application.

Individual messaging tools are typically more versatile and provide more robust features specifically for a pure chat. You can purchase a live chat tool that works for your particular industry or use case.

Live chat applications are commonly used for sales and marketing. It allows for direct communication with potential customers when they visit the website. It can be used to encourage them to try the products or give assistance with their purchase.

Independent messengers can help businesses without dedicated customer service teams to interact with customers without the need to purchase a suitable helpdesk.

Live chat functions.

Once you decide which type of software is best for you, live chat functions are fairly standard across all platforms. Most systems offer some version of these five features.


Chatbots are based on pre-programmed rules or programming to communicate with customers on their behalf. Frequently, these include welcome messages or automated responses based on certain parameters.

AI (artificial intelligence)

Live chat software can use AI to suggest articles based on a customer's browsing history or question line. It can automatically detect the intention of a user even before they approach.

For example, you are on an e-commerce website and you see that an item is out of stock. An AI chatbot informs you when the item will be back in stock.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

To provide the best live chat experience, you need to have some context before starting a conversation. Live chat software that features some kind of CRM, even a simple dashboard with basic customer details, browsing history or online status helps agents resolve issues faster.

Sales Funnel

Connecting your live chat tools to your larger sales funnel can be advantageous. It can help you collect emails for potential customers, promote additional sales, or set up demos to move leads further down the funnel.

support funnel

Maximize the integration of your other customer service tools to guide customers toward the appropriate support funnel when using live chats connected with the help desk. Present your knowledge base as the first stop for customers before engaging in live chats. Alternatively, offer a contact form for those who prefer email over live chats.

10 Reasons to Add Live Chat Support to Your Website

Determinar si su empresa se vería favorecida por la adición del chat en vivo puede ser una decisión complica. Sin embargo, las posibles ganancias a largo plazo aún deben ser consideradas.

These ten reasons explain why incorporating live chat into your website is important in 2023.

Increase Sales With Live Chat Support

Proactive customer engagement leads to approximately 40% higher conversion rates.

E-commerce stores can benefit from having a live chat retail associate. Agents can recommend products, suggest solutions or simply build a relationship with potential customers to promote sales.

Both B2B and DTC companies can use live chat to capitalize on buyer personality and intent. Track behaviors to predict which web pages generate more conversions and put your sales team front and center with a live chat tool.

Respond Quickly Using Live Chat Support

Live chats typically has a response time of a few minutes, significantly reducing customer wait time compared to several hours with email.

Live chat mimics messaging and texting applications to facilitate conversational interactions with customers, providing an advantage for both customers and businesses.

He/she can detect and solve problems ahead of time by working with a customer in real-time to gather information about a technical issue or error. Or, save a customer by instantly addressing their concern before they turn to a competitor.

Provide Better Quality Support

Customer service agents commonly receive emails from customers stating that they have a problem.

No further information has been provided. No context clues. Nothing to go on. It is necessary to follow up and request more information. Hopefully, there will be a reply.

With the live chat service, customers are connected without delay. OLC collects customer information before an agent goes into action; such as your email address and reason for contacting you. In addition, we also show browser information and web history to help limit the problem.

Having the customer present makes it more likely to get a response from the live chat and actually solve the issue, avoiding losing clients in the vast void of emails.

Chatbots Can Help You Save Time

Chatbots are a type of low-maintenance and high-reward pseudo-employee sought after by managers. Think of chatbots as personal assistants that require minimal training or upkeep.

They perform the necessary administrative work: gathering information and presenting the customers' data in a coherent way so that their team can get started faster.

At OLC, our live-chats bots help with welcome messages, collecting customer information via email, alerting customers on office hours, expected response times, and more.

Leverage Knowledge Base Integrations to Deflect Common Questions

Establishing a knowledge base before engaging in live chat is highly recommended for several reasons, one of which is its ability to divert commonly asked questions so that your team doesn't spend too much time answering the same inquiries through live chat.

The OLC live chat widget is next to our knowledge base widget and contact form widget. You can choose to show all three options on the widget's home screen and let your customers decide which resource to use. Or, you can show the knowledge base first to encourage customers to find their own answers before initiating a live chat.

We make our knowledge base easily accessible from the live chat panel. This enables agents to reference articles while chatting or insert one directly into a chat.

Investment Return Can Be Achieved With Low-cost Tools

For small businesses in particular, investing in live chat tools is relatively low both in terms of cost and effort (at least if the right software is chosen). You should look for a tool that offers low-cost, minimal effort, and high performance.

We focused on this as we developed OLC's new live-chatting system. If you've already used our shared inbox or knowledge base, you'll find that chatting live is just as easy. Most teams are up and running in just five minutes.

From the first interaction, you will see the benefits. Agents move faster. Customer satisfaction is improved. And you can get a real-time pulse on your customers' needs.

Enhance Conversations With Customers

Think of your typical email. It is relatively formal. You spend a good amount of time writing it. Black text, white background. White noise in an inbox that is often ignored.

A text message consists of more than just words. It can also feature emojis, YouTube clips, and Twitter actions, providing it with more color and life.

Live chat is beneficial as it provides a way to have conversations with customers similar to texting and can help build relationships.

Omnichannel and Holistic Support

Adding live chats to the ever-growing list of omnichannel media channels is expected to enable interactions with customers through social networks, emails, phone calls, in-person and now live chats.

The list is growing, but it is still relevant. Business growth should be monitored to ensure a direct line for each channel customers wishes to engage with.

The best live chat tools include an integrated CRM panel that displays past conversations, customer data, and company information so you can provide comprehensive support regardless of how they communicate with you.

Live Chat software also takes into account seamless omnichannel transitions. If your client disconnects and loses a message, it is automatically converted to an email. They can continue the conversation either by replying to the email or simply reopening the chat page.

Utilize AI(Artificial Intelligence) to Scale

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an interesting addition to the customer service industry. At first, we were apprehensive about it, but now we are thrilled about it.

For small businesses, AI allows for scalability without needing to hire more agents. People are often surprised by the small number of customer service team members we have at OLC, but this is because we rely on automation to enhance our workflow.

The Live Chat AI allows you to prioritize chats without lifting a finger with round-robin assignments and automatic workload balancing based on availability. You can set limits on the number of conversations team members can handle simultaneously. When they reach their capacity, no agents will be shown online automatically.

Intelligent automation can also identify offline agents. If a customer is left hanging (accidentally), the conversation will be automatically marked as "unassigned" so that another team member can attend to it.

When all agents are signed off, OLC's live chat AI will turn off the live chat and show its standard contact form widget and/or knowledge base widget.

Improving the Brand's Personality

Live chatting is an effective form of communication that provides many branding opportunities. When selecting live chatting software, be sure to pick one with several customization options in order for your brand to stay front and center.

With OLC, all colors and widget compositions can be fully customized to match your brand and language, including the addition of your company logo.