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There’s an ever-expanding collection of customer service chat software for small businesses, so making a shortlist of the best can be difficult. You’re looking for live chat software with great functionality that organizes customer queries and improves your ticketing process - and need the right tool for your team. I’ve got you covered! In this post, I draw from my personal experience in analyzing various CX software solutions to share this list of customer service chat software for small businesses that enable your customer support team to better assist customers and create meaningful connections with them.

What is Customer Service Chat Software for Small Business?

Customer service chat software for small business is a tool that facilitates direct communication between companies and their customers through live chat interfaces. It offers automation features, canned responses, and user insights to help small teams manage a high volume of queries without compromising service quality.

This software aims to improve customer support efficiency, expedite query resolution, and foster stronger customer relationships. Adopting this software enables small businesses and startups to provide immediate and personalized support, significantly boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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.

1

NinjaOne

Best for endpoint control & automation

Free demo

Pricing upon request

NinjaOne is a unified endpoint management (UEM) and IT management platform designed to provide control and automation for IT departments and managed service providers (MSPs). It is recognized for its ability to efficiently manage and monitor IT assets, which supports its claim as the best tool for endpoint control and automation.

What makes NinjaOne different is its focus on endpoint control, automation, and monitoring, which are critical for maintaining efficient operations and ensuring quick response times in customer service scenarios. I believe NinjaOne stands out as the best tool for endpoint control and automation due to its quick deployment, user-friendly interface, and highly regarded technical support. These features are particularly beneficial for small businesses that require robust IT management without the complexity often associated with such systems.

Features include remote monitoring and management (RMM), endpoint management, patch management, backup and disaster recovery, remote access, network management, documentation management, ticketing and IT service management (ITSM), reporting and analytics, endpoint security, automation, asset management, policy management, alerting and notifications, mobile app support, integration with third-party tools, cloud-based architecture, user-friendly interface, customizable dashboards, multi-tenant architecture, role-based access control, and scalable infrastructure.

Integrations include TeamViewer, Splashtop, Connectwise, Sentinal One, Bitdefender, Webroot, Alwarebytes, OKTA, OneLogin, Accelo, CloudBlue PSA, SherpaDesk, HaloPSA, IT Glue, BightGauge, ScalePad, PagerDuty, and Slack. 

NinjaOne offers pricing upon request.

2

Hiver

Best for Gmail-based customer support

7-day free trial

From $15/user/month (annually)

Hiver is an innovative email collaboration tool designed to optimize team efficiency and streamline customer service operations. Primarily integrated with Gmail, Hiver transforms the familiar email platform into a powerful shared inbox, enabling teams to manage, assign, and track emails without leaving their Gmail environment. This integration is particularly beneficial for organizations that rely heavily on Gmail for communication, as it allows for seamless workflow management.

Hiver's Live Chat feature is designed to enhance real-time customer support by integrating a live chat widget directly into Gmail. This tool allows businesses to instantly connect with customers on their website, offering a hassle-free way for customers to reach out and get their queries answered quickly. Key features include the ability to assign incoming customer chats to specific agents within Gmail, use custom chat templates for recurring issues, and share chat transcripts for faster cross-team collaboration. Hiver's Live Chat also prioritizes issues to avoid duplicate responses, with features like automated warning emails for missed chats, easier escalation processes, and collision alerts to prevent conflicting responses.

Hiver includes an 'Email Capture' feature to increase sales conversions and a customer satisfaction survey option at the end of each chat to drive customer engagement. The chat widget is customizable to fit brand guidelines and can be managed from anywhere using the Hiver Chat mobile app. This integration of chat support within Gmail streamlines customer service processes, making it easier for teams to provide efficient and effective support.

Integrations include Aircall, Asana, Jira, Okta, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Slack, and WhatsApp. You can also connect Hiver to a paid Zapier account to unlock additional integrations.

Hiver's starting price for its Google Workspace products is from $7/user/month, which is for the Lite plan. This plan comes with a 7-day free trial. The Pro and Elite plans are priced higher, starting at $39 and $59 per user per month, respectively.

3

Zoho SalesIQ

Best for its easy-to-use, customizable interface

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
236 reviews

15-day free trial available

From $7/operator/month

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.

4

Freshdesk

Best for scalable customer support

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
2658 reviews

14-day free trial + free plan available

From $18/user/month

Freshdesk is a customer service software designed to help businesses manage support interactions with customers through advanced ticketing and self-service options. It stands out as a scalable solution for customer support, offering AI-powered automation, collaboration tools, and proactive AI-driven insights, making it a trusted choice for over 60,000 businesses worldwide.

Freshdesk's advanced ticketing system consolidates customer inquiries from various channels into a single workspace, enabling agents to manage and prioritize responses efficiently with features like customizable ticket fields and scenario automations. The self-service component includes a knowledge base and forums for customer-driven problem solving, reducing ticket volume. AI-powered automation assists in ticket sorting and resolution suggestions, while Freddy AI can handle basic customer interactions. Collaboration tools within the ticketing interface allow agents to work together and consult experts easily.

Freshdesk integrates with Freshchat for messaging, Freshservice for IT service management, and Freshmarketer for marketing automation. It also connects with Google Calendar, MailChimp, Segment, Zapier, Office 365, Google Apps, Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, Jotform, Typeform, Calendly, Email Parser by Zapier, and ClickFunnels Classic to facilitate various business processes.

Freshdesk's official pricing starts from $15/user/month for their Growth plan. They have a 14-day free trial + free plan available.

5

3CX

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

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
443 reviews

Free for up to 10 users

From $175/year (10 users)

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.

6

Hiver

Best shared inbox and live chat collaboration tool for Gmail

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
711 reviews

7-day free trial

From $15/user/month (billed annually)

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

Podium

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

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
1247 reviews

Free demo available

From $289/month

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.

8

HubSpot

Best free chat support software

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
10798 reviews

14-day free trial + free plan available

From $45/month

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.

9

Intercom

Best for outbounding messages, alerts, and billing

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
2116 reviews

14-day free trial

From $74/month (billed annually)

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.

10

Olark

Best for educational institutions

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
263 reviews

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

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.

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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. Chatra

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

  2. Kayako

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

  3. Helpshift

    Best for quick responses through asynchronous live chat

  4. Tidio

    Best for it focus on generating sales

  5. LiveAgent

    Best for multilingual live chat

  6. HubSpot CRM

    Best for streamlining customer interactions for efficient, personalized small business support

  7. Zendesk

    Best for startups with a higher volume of support tickets

  8. Pure Chat

    Best for iOS and Android live chat support

  9. LiveChat

    Best for generating leads and creating useful ticketing for customer satisfaction teams

  10. REVE Chat

    Best for co-browsing and video chat support

  11. Zoho Desk

    Best customer support software portal and knowledge base

  12. Rake

    Best messaging platform for stakeholders

  13. Acquire

    Best multi-channel and multi-media chat software

  14. HelpCrunch

    Best 24/7 omnichannel support

  15. Userlike

    Best crash course learning tool for chat software support

  16. HappyFox

    Best software to support unlimited agents

  17. Social Intents

    Best for live chat software support teams who use Slack and Microsoft

  18. Pipedrive

    Best for customer service sales team phone call tracking, messages, and email marketing

  19. Avochato

    Best salesforce integrated software

  20. LiveAgent

    Best for simple copy and pasting integration

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

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

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. It can also significantly improve your overall digital customer experience.

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: Best Customer Relation Management Software