16 Best Free Live Chat Software
Live chat is big right now – and the numbers behind its adoption prove why. Recent research from Kayako, which surveyed more than 400 consumers and 100 businesses, found that:
- Consumers are more likely to remain loyal, engage in positive word of mouth, and spend up to $500 extra per month with businesses that provide effortless live chat experiences.
- Over half of consumers (52%) are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support.
- 79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
The bottom line? Live chat offers huge potential benefits, whether you’re a big-ticket B2B company or a transactional ecommerce retailer.
But with so many options on the market, which should you choose? First, let’s look at what you can expect across most live chat tools. Then, we’ll explore 15 of the best free live chat software programs out there, along with the features that make them different.
Live Chat: Standard Software Features
Knowing what’s commonly available from live chat programs makes it easier to differentiate one option from another.
To that end, here are some common features you’ll find across most live chat software programs:
- The ability to customize the appearance of your live chat window to your company’s branding.
- The ability to set “office hours,” during which you have live agents available to chat (vs. a lead capture window that allows visitors to send you their questions for a future response).
- Triggered display, which makes it possible to display your chat window only on certain pages or in response to certain visitor actions.
- Basic lead capture capabilities.
- Chat history and basic chat analytics.
As a note, although these features are available on live chat programs, the extent to which they’re implemented may vary across free and paid plans. Chat history, for example, might be limited to just a few days or weeks on free plans, while longer histories of up to a year may be available by upgrading to the same program’s paid plan.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our 15 favorite free live chat software programs:
Free Option: Unlimited
HubSpot launched their free live chat tool as an integral part of their free CRM. This makes it an excellent choice for a growing business because, first off, you won’t have to spend tons of time and money integrated different systems and piping your data into a different place. It just happens automatically. Second, it allows you a full view of your visitor and customer communications as well as contact property data of those you chat with (giving you an edge in terms of context).
Because it’s tied so tightly to the HubSpot CRM you’ll know exactly who you’re chatting with and their history, be it a prospect, long time customer, or new contact.
The whole live chat system is built on their Conversations product, which is like a free, collaborative inbox that the whole company can use to collaborate on incoming messages.
Deals, tickets, and more can be spun up from live chats and transcripts are stored on the contact record in the CRM.
The targeting capabilities are limited, at least on the free setup. However, if you pay for HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, you can do some pretty interesting and robust things with their automation workflows (similar to what you can do with Intercom, Drift, etc.)
Price: Free – $95/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, 2 seats included
Like many of the live chat tools featured here, Crisp uses chat windows to support customer messaging and feedback gathering. What’s unique, however, is what you can do with this data after it’s captured.
Companies with longer sales cycles, for example, will enjoy the ability to send drip marketing campaigns from the program, based on data gathered by Crisp. The program’s sales pipeline automation tools will also appeal to those with sophisticated sales programs.
Another interesting feature: a status monitoring system that alerts customers to outages as they’re detected. SaaS companies that promise certain uptimes may benefit from these proactive communications.
Price: Free (chat agents available for $1/hour)
Free Option: Yes, unlimited usage
Though Tawk doesn’t offer the same level of sales automation features as Crisp, those with simpler live chat needs will appreciate its “always free” option and its promise of one-minute installation.
Once set up, Tawk’s ticketing system, ability to localize greetings and messages based on visitors’ location and trigger-based engagement make it a great choice for providing site and customer support. The option to hire live agents through the platform for just $1 an hour may also be appealing to companies that want to provide a higher level of personalized support.
Price: Free – $99 one-time fee (details)
Free Option: Yes, 1 agent included
Designed to provide great customer support through live chat, LiveSupporti gives users the ability to assign messages to different groups (for example, your sales or customer service teams), as well as to view a “sneak peek” of visitors’ text as they’re typing in order to provide faster support.
Like Tawk, LiveSupporti uses geolocation features to enable agents to provide targeted support. Advanced visitor statistics also improve the service experience by showing agents which pages they’ve visited, how long they stayed on a particular page, their browser, their operating system and their device.
Unlike many of the other systems mentioned here, LiveSupporti offers an “Infinity” plan that can be locked in for unlimited agents for a one-time fee. If you anticipate using live chat for a long time, across a large team of agents, LiveSupporti’s one-time fee may turn out to be cheaper than ongoing subscription charges.
Price: Free – 1100€ lifetime fee for unlimited operators and bots (details)
Free Option: Yes, 1 operator or bot included
Like other programs described here, LiveZilla offers three core features: live chat, visitor monitoring and user ticketing.
A few things that set it apart, however, include its development based on open source technology, as well as its data privacy features (especially important to EU companies that must be GDPR compliant).
Price: Free – $99/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, up to 1,000 messages per month
Rocketbots straddles the line between live chat tool and CRM. Not only does the program integrate with multiple messaging apps – including Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Slack and Kik – it captures the information gathered on these platforms to facilitate more effective messaging.
Rocketbots calls itself a “self-learning system,” stating that it includes an “AI that learns from your conversations and suggests the replies you’ve already used when similar inquiries come up later. The more conversations you have, the smarter it gets.”
Because the program offers a free trial with no credit card required, it’s worth a look if you’re looking for a more advanced chat system that spans multiple platforms.
Price: Free – 299€ per month (details)
Free Option: Yes, includes 1 operator, 1 chat widget and unlimited chats
Like LiveSupporti, Userlike offers a team selection feature that redirects messages to the appropriate department. Beyond this, however, it provides sticky chat windows that follow visitors from page to page, as well as automatic visitor enrichment that provides agents with additional information based on the visitor’s email address.
Userlike also shares some similarities with Rocketbots in that it takes advantage of intelligence tools to customize chat behavior based on the section of the website visitors are on, their country of origin, their browser language preference and more in order to create a more personalized support experience.
Price: Free – $8/month/operator (details)
Free Option: Yes, up to 100 chats per month
onWebChat may not be as feature-rich as some of the other options, but its lightweight construction offers one key benefit: it claims to not affect site speeds on the sites where it’s installed. Given that more than half of website visitors will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load, site speed should be a vital consideration when choosing a live chat program.
That said, onWebChat’s minimalist approach doesn’t mean your visitors’ experience will suffer. Besides its core chat features, onWebChat offers the ability to easily toggle between multiple chats, as well as a visitor history viewer that’s visible to agents during chat sessions.
9. Pure Chat
Price: Free – $79/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, unlimited live chat for up to 3 users or operators
A straightforward program, PureChat offers the simplicity of tools like onWebChat alongside more advanced options, such as its ArtiBot.ai lead capture bot.
The free version of the program makes past chat transcripts and canned responses available, while paid plans add real-time visitor analytics and SMS messaging capabilities. Detailed setup guides are available for popular platforms at all subscription levels.
Price: Free – $59/month/agent (details)
Free Option: Yes, including 1 concurrent chat
Live chat is just one part of ZenDesk’s larger suite of customer support tools, so it’s most effective in practice if you plan to buy into the company’s larger product ecosystem.
If you do, you’ll enjoy access to triggered conversations and live chat analytics, as well as the ability to integrate with everything from websites and mobile apps, to popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and LINE.
Price: Free – $39.99/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, for up to 10 users and 30 chats
One notable feature you’ll find on ClickDesk that you won’t find on many other live chat programs is video chat functionality, which makes it possible to offer face-to-face support to your customers.
On top of that, ClickDesk guarantees 99.95% uptime, in addition to providing users with a popular help desk option and integrations with commonly-used social media programs.
Price: Free – $23.75/month/agent (details)
Free Option: Yes, for up to 3 agents
Smartsupp is a smart choice for ecommerce sellers, given the program’s integration with popular shopping platforms, as well as video recordings of users’ website activities to facilitate easier support experiences.
As an added bonus? If you’re a pro user and you happen to drop by the team’s office in the Czech Republic, they’ll treat you to a complimentary shot of local Slivovica brandy.
13. Zoho SalesIQ
Price: Free – $129/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, for up to 2 operators
Like ZenDesk, Zoho’s SalesIQ live chat program is part of the larger Zoho ecosystem, which contains everything from CRM to sales-focused tools.
Users who sign up for multiple Zoho programs will get the most out of SalesIQ’s features, but even those who don’t will be able to enjoy automated visitor geolocation, lead scoring and sales team coaching features that allow team managers to understand the performance of individual agents.
Price: Free – $19/month/agent (details)
Free Option: Yes, including 1 agent
Like other programs listed here, Chatra offers a multilingual chat widget that ensures agents are able to provide a great experience to all visitors – no matter where in the world they’re located.
Beyond this, users may be interested in Chatra’s screen sharing integration, as well as its outgoing webhooks, which make it easier to sync Chatra activities with other programs. Although both features are only available to paid users, they’re worth a look by any business that’s interested in maximizing the value of its live chat experiences.
15. Help Crunch
Price: Free – $160/month (details)
Free Option: Yes, including 1 agent
Help Crunch calls its live chat system a “smart customer communication platform” because it offers so much more than simple chat engagement. Beyond its ability to answer visitor questions, the system comes with built-in lead prequalification features and multichannel messaging opportunities.
Agents using the platform will benefit from tagging, assigning and merging features that simplify visitor conversation management. And a heads-up for smaller teams – these features and more are available for free to single-agent subscriptions.
Price: Free – $99/month/team member (details)
Free Option: Yes, including up to 10 team members
Looking for a live chat system that ties directly into a CRM, a marketing automation platform, a help desk and more? Look no further than FreshChat – part of the FreshWorks 360-degree “customer-for-life” software suite.
In addition to its extensibility, FreshChat offers agents visitor context tools, which enrich chat conversations with event timelines, user information and data from visitors’ social profiles. It also makes a huge resource library available, ensuring every FreshChat user gets the most out of the popular platform.
Of course, these 15 free live chat software programs represent only a small selection of the greater live chat marketplace. If you’ve got another favorite, we want to hear about it. Leave us a note with your recommendation below: