10 Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business [2021]

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. 

The Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business List

Here’s a shortlist of the best customer support service chat software for small business:

  1. Chatra
  2. Olark
  3. Intercom
  4. HubSpot Service Hub
  5. Freshchat
  6. Helpshift
  7. Zendesk
  8. Kayako
  9. Hiver
  10. Podium

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:  

  1. User Interface (UI): Is it well-organized? Does it have a clean image? Is everything in an easy-to-access place? 
  2. 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?
  3. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools or apps your business uses?
  4. 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

  1. Collaboration 
  2. Simple billing plans
  3. Ease of use and simple adaptability
  4. Conversational tools for conversion and call center volume
  5. User insights
  6. Bot and automation options 
  7. Canned responses
  8. File sharing and transferring
  9. Agent profile creation
  10. Encryption and compliance features
  11. Chat history and records

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Overviews Of The 10 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.

1. Chatra – Best for ecommerce and software companies focused on email and social media interactions

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Chatra
Easily access your live chat software with customers from all over the world.

With over 40,000 trusted businesses and online stores, Chatra aims to combine live chat software, email, and your social media to automate and create a more seamless customer experience. 

Chatra monitors current and potential customers within a real-time list in order to pinpoint where they are from so your team can greet them with an effective message. Their automated live chatbot offers quick options and solutions, taking a load off your team so they can get back to what’s important.

Their free chat plan allows for one customer service agent to access channels, customer support tools, visitor intelligence options, and live chat features among many other things. Their paid plans start at $15/month/agent.

2. Olark – Best for educational institutions

Screenshot Of Olark Customer Service Chat Software
Easily access live chat solutions, data, and learn from real-time customer support analytics.

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.

3. Intercom – Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Intercom
Create custom messages to target or inform customers.

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.   

4. HubSpot Customer Service – Best free chat support software

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software HubSpot
Create personalized messages with HubSpot’s unlimited conversation bots.

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. 

5. Freshchat – Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Freshchat
Freshworks’ EQ bots detect the intent of your customer to assist with guiding and solving issues.

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.  

6. Helpshift – Best for quick responses through asynchronous live chat

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Helpshift
With Helpshift, pre-built bots let your business continue to run when you’re out of the office.

Helpshift is a modern live chat and conversational software that takes customer service communication to heart by creating their customer support software around the mission of learning, being in the know, and creating a space that empowers colleagues to do great things (sure, it might sound cheesy, but I love the company’s mission of keeping it real and showing passion towards their brand).  

Their bot-friendly technology is great for small teams who can’t spend much time face-to-face with customers—this keeps your self-service responses automated, convenient, and contextual. 

Helpshift offers essential, business and elite starter pack with additional add-on features and integrations available by request.

7. Zendesk – Best for startups with a higher volume of support tickets

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Zendesk
Zendesk allows you to build a flow of topics that help to guide customers through answers to common questions.

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. 

8. Kayako – Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Kayako
Kayako allows you to customize your live chat software to fit your site design.

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. 

9. Hiver – Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail 

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Hiver
Solve customer support queries and issues faster without the hassle of external collaboration tools.

Hiver has a borderline devotional love for email—seriously, they say it on their homepage. Their intuitive Gmail integration lets your team control and organize customer chats and inquiries all from their email with tools that help to collaborate with context by adding colorful notes alongside each customer inquiry. Their easy-to-navigate, vibrant, and integrated help desk is incredibly easy to set up with almost no learning curve. 

For small live chat customer service teams and startups, Hiver offers one of the most affordable beginner plans to get your team members up and running. Starting at $7/month/user, you get a shared inbox, templates, analytics, and up to ten users. 

10. Podium – Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses

Screenshot Of Customer Service Chat Software Podium
Podium allows you to send a custom link invoice request so you can seal the deal and get paid faster.

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.  

Other Options: Quality Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business

If you’re looking for something a little different, I provided some more options that didn’t make my top list.

  1. Zoho Desk – Best customer support software portal and knowledge base
  2. HappyFox – Best software to support unlimited agents
  3. Bleeper – Best live chat customer service software tools for business growth
  4. Pure Chat – Best for iOS and Android live chat support
  5. LiveChat – Best for generating leads and creating useful ticketing for customer satisfaction teams
  6. REVE Chat – Best for co-browsing and video chat support
  7. Finn AI Chatbot – Best chat software for credit unions and banks
  8. Bold360 – Best virtual agent assistance for live chat support 
  9. Avochato – Best salesforce integrated software
  10. Elevio – Best live chat widget for “hotspot” for customer support user guiding
  11. Birdeye – Best customer service software tools for business text routing 
  12. Acquire – Best multi-channel and multi-media chat software
  13. Rake – Best messaging platform for stakeholders
  14. Userlike – Best crash course learning tool for chat software support
  15. HelpCrunch – Best 24/7 omnichannel support 
  16. Pipedrive – Best for customer service sales team phone call tracking, messages, and email marketing
  17. Social Intents – Best for live chat software support teams who use Slack and Microsoft
  18. User.com – Best chat widget for small businesses and customer service teams in the travel and real estate industries
  19. Front – Best team collaborator for chat support
  20. LiveAgent – Best for simple copy and pasting integration
  21. NEW.B.I.E-AI Chatbot – Best bot for booking accommodation, reservations, and add-ons

If you’re looking for other types of software, small businesses can also make use of customer experience management software and customer journey mapping tools.

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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