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10 Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business [2022]

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. Tidio

    Best for it focus on generating sales

  2. 3CX

    Best customer service chat software for escalating live chats to phone calls

  3. Hiver

    Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail

  4. HubSpot

    Best free chat support software

  5. Freshchat

    Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams

  6. Intercom

    Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing

  7. Olark

    Best for educational institutions

  8. Kayako

    Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system

  9. Chatra

    Best for ecommerce and software companies focused on email and social media interactions

  10. Podium

    Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses

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:  

  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

Tidio

Best for it focus on generating sales

Tidio is a live chat software that lets small businesses engage in real-time conversations with website visitors to provide assistance and answer questions. It's fully customizable, allowing you to tailor the chat widget to match your brand. The software includes automatic message triggers, chatbot support, and contact forms. Tidio is easy to use, set up, and integrates seamlessly with your existing website, eliminating the need to install any additional software or make changes to your website code.

You can use Tidio to proactively reach out to visitors who have been on the site for a while but have yet to take action. Tidio allows you to create canned responses to quickly respond to common questions without typing out a complete response each time. You can also create custom forms to collect visitors' information and choose from various pre-designed chat widgets.

Tidio's live chat software includes automatic translation capabilities, allowing you to communicate with website visitors wherever they are from. Additionally, its live visitor list provides insight into how many people are on the site and lets you know where they are from and what page they are currently viewing.

Tidio integrates with popular third-party applications like Zapier, Wix, and Shopify, allowing users to seamlessly add chat functionality to their existing website or online store.

7-day free trial

From $19/user/month

2

3CX

Best customer service chat software for escalating live chats to phone calls

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.

Free for up to 10 users

From $175/year (10 users)

3

Hiver

Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail

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.

7 days free trial

From $19 per agent per month

4

HubSpot

Best free chat support software

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.

14-day free trial + freemium version available

From $45/month

5

Freshchat

Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams

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.

From $15/month for small teams

6

Intercom

Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing

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.

14 Days Free Trial

From $74/month (billed annually)

7

Olark

Best for educational institutions

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.

From $15/month/agent, ultimately saving you 21% over 12 months — compared to their monthly $19/agent plan

8

Kayako

Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system

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.

14-day free trial

From $15/user/month

9

Chatra

Best for ecommerce and software companies focused on email and social media interactions

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.

From $15/month/agent

10

Podium

Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses

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.

Free demo available

From $289/month

The Best Customer Service Chat Software For Small Business Summary Table

Tool Free Option Price
1
Tidio

Best for it focus on generating sales

7-day free trial

From $19/user/month Visit Website
2
3CX

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
3
Hiver

Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail

7 days free trial

From $19 per agent per month Visit Website
4
HubSpot

Best free chat support software

14-day free trial + freemium version available

From $45/month Visit Website
5
Freshchat

Best AI technology chat tool for sales and marketing teams

Not available

From $15/month for small teams Visit Website
6
Intercom

Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing

14 Days Free Trial

From $74/month (billed annually) Visit Website
7
Olark

Best for educational institutions

Not available

From $15/month/agent, ultimately saving you 21% over 12 months — compared to their monthly $19/agent plan Visit Website
8
Kayako

Best for customer support teams who need a powerful chat customization system

14-day free trial

From $15/user/month Visit Website
9
Chatra

Best for ecommerce and software companies focused on email and social media interactions

Not available

From $15/month/agent Visit Website
10
Podium

Best customer service support software for creating custom reviews for small businesses

Free demo available

From $289/month Visit Website

Need expert help selecting the right Customer Chat Software?

We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Customer Chat Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business's needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.

It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:

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?

Comment below to join the conversation, or keep on top of the latest insights from top thinkers in the industry by subscribing to our newsletter.

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Related Read: 10 Best Customer Relation Management Software In 2022

By Finn Bartram

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