- 1. HubSpot CRM — Best for streamlining customer interactions for efficient, personalized small business support
- 2. Zoho SalesIQ — Best for its easy-to-use, customizable interface
- 3. 3CX — Best customer service chat software for escalating live chats to phone calls
- 4. Podium — Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses
- 5. HubSpot — Best free chat support software
- 6. Freshchat — Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams
- 7. Intercom — Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing
- 8. Zendesk — Best for startups with a higher volume of support tickets
- 9. Olark — Best for educational institutions
- 10. Kayako — Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system
While we become more and more familiar with working remotely, our digital world expands as well. Through this ever-expanding situation, tools that create meaningful connections with your customers can become the backbone of your company.
Whether you’re looking for live chat software that supports and organizes customer queries, software with great functionality, live chat software options, easy to use features, or simple all-in-one customer service tools to help with your ticketing system, I’ve got you covered.
Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best customer service tools and best live chat software for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria for smaller businesses and start-ups:
- User Interface (UI): Is it well-organized? Does it have a clean image? Is everything in an easy-to-access place?
- Usability: Is it easy for a small team to learn and adapt to? Does the company offer good technical customer service, user support, FAQs, tutorials, and digital training? Is there a great all-in-one tool for your business? Does the platform support Mac, Windows, and other operating systems?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools or apps your business uses?
- Value for $: How appropriate or fair is the pricing for features, capabilities, and use case? Are there too many features for a small team? Is pricing transparent and consistent? Will there be simple, flat-fee billing?
Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business—Key Features
- Simple billing plans
- Ease of use and simple adaptability
- Conversational tools for conversion and call center volume
- User insights
- Bot and automation options
- Canned responses
- File sharing and transferring
- Agent profile creation
- Encryption and compliance features
- Chat history and records
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Overviews Of The 31 Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business
Here’s a brief description of each of the best customer service chat software for small business on my list showing what it does best for a small team size, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) tool designed to help businesses manage their sales, marketing, and customer service processes. It's an all-in-one platform that offers a wide range of features, including contact management, email tracking, live chat, and more. The CRM is designed to be user-friendly and easy to set up, making it a popular choice for small businesses looking to streamline their customer service efforts.
I chose HubSpot CRM as one of the best customer service chat software for small businesses because of its user-friendly interface, robust features, and seamless integrations with other popular tools. I appreciate that HubSpot CRM is easy to set up and use, without requiring a steep learning curve or extensive training. Additionally, the platform offers a free version, which is perfect for small businesses with limited budgets.
One of the standout features of HubSpot CRM is its live chat functionality. This feature allows businesses to engage with website visitors in real-time, providing instant support and assistance. The live chat tool is customizable, allowing you to create targeted messages based on visitor behavior, location, and more. This helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase conversions.
Another great feature of HubSpot CRM is its email tracking capabilities. This allows you to see when your emails have been opened and clicked, giving you valuable insights into customer engagement. You can also set up email templates and sequences, making it easy to send personalized, targeted messages to your contacts.
HubSpot CRM offers seamless integrations with a wide range of popular tools, making it easy to connect your existing systems and streamline your workflows. Some of the most popular integrations include Gmail, Outlook, Slack, and Zapier. These integrations allow you to sync your email, collaborate with your team, and automate tasks, all within the HubSpot CRM platform.
Pricing starts at $50 per month, and they offer a 14-dy free trail.
Zoho SalesIQ is customer engagement and live chat software that helps businesses engage with their customers in real-time, track visitor behavior, and analyze data to improve their sales and support processes.
It's a comprehensive solution that offers various features that small businesses need to enhance their customer engagement and support. It's easy to use, and the pricing is affordable, making it a great option for small businesses with limited budgets.
Zoho SalesIQ's real-time visitor tracking allows you to track your website visitors' behavior in real-time, providing insights into what they're looking for and how you can engage with them. Its customizable chat widgets allow you to match your branding, making it a seamless part of your website. And its intelligent chat routing directs chats to the most appropriate agent based on the visitor's behavior and the agent's availability.
Integrations include Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, and Zoho Campaigns, as well as Google Analytics and Salesforce.
Plans start at $7/operator/month, and they offer a 15-day free trial.
3CX is a business communications solution designed to replace the traditional private branch exchange (PBX) system. It is a software-based PBX system with a cloud-hosted option. It offers users various capabilities including a live chat function, instant messaging, web conferencing, and CRM integration.
3CX’s live chat feature is a great way to initiate non-intrusive connections between agents and customers at scale. Since often live chats end up being forwarded to a call center agent, 3CX's live chat tool is designed so that it’s easier to elevate the conversation from live chat to an actual call. The customer or the agent can initiate the call to expedite the resolution of whatever issues there might be.
The live chat tool is also available with 3CX’s free plan, which means that small businesses and startups can take full advantage of this feature for no charge for up to 10 users without having to worry about added monthly fees. They can also customize the live chat tool to add voice and video call functions too. 3CX also offers free Android and iOS apps, allowing contact center agents to respond to live chat, WhatsApp, and SMS messages through their smartphone or tablet. This can help boost the productivity and efficiency of any company’s customer service program.
3CX is free for up to 10 users. Paid plans start at $175/year.
Podium started in a tire shop when CEO Eric Rae built a product for his father that made getting better reviews as easy as sending a simple SMS.Their platform unifies customer support interactions and reviews into a single, easy to access dashboard to help your customer service team manage online reviews through live chat solutions.
Within this dashboard, users are able to send messages, review invitations, and respond to reviews in real-time.
Pricing is only available upon request — Podium understands every business and situation is different, so they help you to identify what you’ll need for your business to thrive.
HubSpot brings messaging and live chat contextualization, freedom, and real-time implementation of customer support to the forefront of its design. Small business owners and startups will love to have this sleek CRM at their fingertips. The tool offers custom templates, Gmail and Outlook integrations, and company insights—and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As seen in the screenshot, HubSpot offers robust live chat software and simple-to-use bot options.
If you’re looking for more than their plethora of marketing, messaging, and free live chat support tools, they offer an awesome starter plan from $45/month for 2 users.
From the popular Freshworks applications, Freshchat combines mobile app messaging with an intuitive AI chatbot aimed at customer support sales and marketing teams.The app allows your team to discover leads, create contextual live chat solutions, send messages, and collect data by integrating with other popular applications such as Google, Freshdesk, and Freshsales.
You are also able to BYOB (bring your own bot) if your team already had an external one created. On top of everything, Freshworks offers teams a free plan with up to 100 agents to get your customer service team started.
Their next “blossom” plan starts at $15/month for small teams.
Intercom’s case studies demonstrate an exceptional boost in sales, marketing, and support through their conversational support and customer support software. Used by Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft, Intercom uses a 3-part unification system to combine human, self-serve, and proactive solutions to stay ahead of the game and provide clients with the customer support they need.
They have an add-on that enables some advanced workflow automation features that lets your team easily use automated live chat solution and resolution bots, measure and improve importance, and integrate apps like Shopify and Stripe.
Intercom’s “starting” plan for their live chat tool and messaging comes at a price of $39/month. Although it comes in a little higher than the others, Intercom prides itself as being the #1 business messenger so your customer support team can build the best relations with the highest quality.
Used by over 150,000 customers in 160 countries, Zendesk is a leader in CRM and customer support and relations—this software does a lot, but I just have the basics here for you.
Zendesk helps your chat service team be available at any moment with web and mobile applications, as well as promote proactive management of reaching out through their chat software.
Actually, according to Zendesk, customers are 3x more likely to make a purchase when speaking through live chat.
Along with Zendesk’s free “lite” version, there is an awesome, affordable team plan starting at $14/month/agent.
Olark combines automation, analytics, and actionable insights into its stylish, customizable chat window interface. I’ve found that their users love the PowerUp feature which allows your team to create a more personalized tone with translation options, co-browsing, chat service tools, and an unbranded live chatbox.
One of their standout features is the live chat software integration system—with a simple learning curve and the ability to link with dozens of popular tools and apps to easily share customer support data.
Olark has a more cost-efficient yearly program starting at $15/month/agent, ultimately saving you 21% over 12 months — compared to their monthly $19/agent plan.
Getting right into it, Kayako provides live chat support teams with a powerful, customizable system and as a result, it comes with a relatively steep learning curve. More customization leads to more integration for your help center, iOS, website, and android applications, all through Kayako.
This large amount of integration proves extremely valuable in connecting with, following, and allowing your customer service team to truly know your customer through an innovative chat solution.
Although it offers a lot, Kayako comes in with simple and transparent pricing for small teams starting at $15/month/agent.
Need Expert Help Selecting The Right Customer Chat Software?
We’ve joined up with Crozdesk.com to give all our readers (yes, you!) access to Crozdesk’s software advisors. Just use the form below to share your needs, and they will contact you at no cost or commitment. You will then be matched and connected to a shortlist of vendors that best fit your company, and you can access exclusive software discounts!
Best for streamlining customer interactions for efficient, personalized small business support
14-day free trial + free plan
|From $20/month||Visit Website|
Best for its easy-to-use, customizable interface
15-day free trial available
|From $7/operator/month||Visit Website|
Best customer service chat software for escalating live chats to phone calls
Free for up to 10 users
|From $175/year (10 users)||Visit Website|
Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses
Free demo available
|From $289/month||Visit Website|
Best free chat support software
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $45/month||Visit Website|
Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams
|From $15/month for small teams||Visit Website|
Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing
14-day free trial
|From $74/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best for startups with a higher volume of support tickets
14-day free trial
|From $19/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best for educational institutions
|From $15/month/agent, ultimately saving you 21% over 12 months — compared to their monthly $19/agent plan||Visit Website|
Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system
14-day free trial
|From $15/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for ecommerce and software companies focused on email and social media interactions
Best for quick responses through asynchronous live chat
Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail
Best for it focus on generating sales
Best for multilingual live chat
Best for generating leads and creating useful ticketing for customer satisfaction teams
Best multi-channel and multi-media chat software
- Pure Chat
Best for iOS and Android live chat support
Best messaging platform for stakeholders
Best 24/7 omnichannel support
Best software to support unlimited agents
- REVE Chat
Best for co-browsing and video chat support
Best crash course learning tool for chat software support
- Zoho Desk
Best customer support software portal and knowledge base
Best live chat customer service software tools for business growth
Best live chat widget for “hotspot” for customer support user guiding
Best for customer service sales team phone call tracking, messages, and email marketing
Best customer service software tools for business text routing
Best chat widget for small businesses and customer service teams in the travel and real estate industries
Best virtual agent assistance for live chat support
What Do You Think?
Whether you need an automated response bot, a way to send invoices, a way to manage reviews, or send customers a text, there is a live chat software to help your business succeed. Using live chat software can lead to sales, better conversion rates, and less face-to-face interactions with your customer service team — however big or small.
Have you tried any of these customer service tools? Which customer service tools are your favorites? Is there another live chat tool you would add to the list?
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Related Read: Best Customer Relation Management Software In 2023