What is live chat?

Live chat is a way for your business to engage with your website visitors. You can use a live chat software to initiate conversation with first-time website visitors, interact with returning customers, and support your existing users in real-time. Using a live chat software for your website is like giving your customers a way to talk to you through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or other social media channels.

Live chat helps you in prospecting new visitors on your website in a way online forms or other traditional means can’t. It is also a great way to shorten your sales cycle once prospects engage in a chat conversation. Instead of deflecting the conversation to emails or phone call, your business can give customers a real-time product walk-through, answer all of their questions on the fly, and negotiate pricing almost instantaneously.

Live chat is also a great mix of human communication that are personalized and automated responses that are quick yet interactive. If your business teams operate within certain office hours that doesn’t match the time zones of your prospects, you can automate chatbots to engage them, collect leads, and transfer their data to your CRM software. When customers want to talk to real humans, you can always take over chat conversations in your hands and talk to prospects on a more personal level.

Why do you need a live chat software?

Customers need live chat to get quick and convenient answers to their questions on a website. Marketing and sales teams need live chat to collect leads and convert them into customers. Helpdesk teams need live chat to solve customer problems faster, support them better, and engage them better.

Live chat is incredibly valuable for online businesses to capture leads, reduce bounce rate, and bring down the number of shopping cart abandonment. Similarly, live chat software can help B2B businesses to launch campaigns based on user behavior, deploy interactive chatbots to engage with them, or offer proactive support.

Benefits of live chat software


Live chat reduces the overall first response time to under 3 minutes for most businesses across all industries. Live chat is faster because it’s always-on yet asynchronous.


Unlike phone or email conversations, live chat preserves past chat history and context in threads that are accessible to agents and customers as soon as they get on a chat.


Unlike phone, you can share rich media files like images, videos, or GIFs with live chat. And although you can do similar things over email, it’s more contextual over live chat.


Just like instant messaging apps, live chat conversations are friendlier in nature. It breaks down the wall between businesses and customers.

Low cost

A live chat software is affordable for businesses of all sizes. Setting up live chat for your website is as easy as a using a plug-and-play software that doesn’t require heavy IT work.


Live chat offers omnichannel experience to customers across their acquisition, onboarding, and support journey. It offers a cohesive customer experience regardless of which stage of purchase they are in.

Who should use a live chat software?



Live chat is tremendously valuable for e-commerce businesses to capture leads, reduce bounce rate, and bring down the number of cart abandonment on their website. Research shows that 62% of consumers are likely to buy and return to a website with a live chat support.

SaaS businesses

Among many other B2B businesses, Saas companies can leverage live chat software to shorten their sales cycles. For e.g., they can launch contextual campaigns based on user behavior, or offer proactive support.

Travel websites

Travel and hospitality websites can benefit hugely with a live chat software with the help of offerings like self-service content, chat routing, fast response time, and other use cases where customers prefer high-touch interactions.

Business functions


Your marketing team can set-up campaigns to drive sign-ups and reduce drop-offs. They can deploy chatbots to engage with visitors and capture their lead data or route queries to an expert agent for human assistance.

Sales teams

The sales teams can use the user data captured in the CRM system to launch relevant campaigns, nurture leads, and send follow-up emails. This, in turn, helps them to close more deals and increase sales.


When your leads turn into buyers, your helpdesk can use live chat software to support, retain, and re-engage them. They can use it to encourage feature adoption or increase repeat purchases.

What features to look for in a live chat tool?

A live chat software should be easy-to-use, affordable, and offer superior features that correlate directly to your core business offerings. Below are some of the features that a good live chat software should offer.

A fool-proof lead capturing mechanism

A live chat widget should stay invisible and non-intrusive on the website, all the while being there to welcome visitors when they need help or support. A live chat software should be able to do so by capturing lead information and automate it to your CRM system for your sales team to act on in the future.

A modern live chat tool does all this by launching triggered messages based on user and event properties, deploying interactive chatbots at the right time, and sending in-app contextual campaigns. Your sales and marketing teams can follow-up on the leads to close more deals and make more sales.

A convenient, familiar experience

Your live chat tool should come with a zero learning curve for your consumers to use. It should offer the continuous, contextual, and instant messaging-like conversations that consumers are familiar with using in their everyday lives. Furthermore, it should offer the convenience of time and speed to map their queries to the right team through the right message channels.

On the business side, it should allow your sales and support teams to have a comprehensive view of all conversations in one dashboard so that they can prioritize responses and work more efficiently. Having a great product interface is equally important on the agent side for your teams to offer engaging conversations that feel natural and friendly.

A fulfilling self-service experience

A live chat tool shouldn’t be just about agent-to-customer chat experience, but also a customer journey of exploring information at their own pace. A modern live chat tool should include self-service offerings such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), self-help guides, tutorials, and help videos for customers to find quick and easy answers to their concerns.

Freshdesk Messaging offers businesses to embed integrated or page-based FAQs within their chat widget so that customers don’t have to leave a page to find answers. It also allows businesses to create FAQ content in more than 31 languages to help them break the language barrier with their global customer base. Customers can also upvote or downvote FAQ articles as a form of feedback to allow businesses to improve their content.

Unbridled team collaboration

While live chat is a doorway for your customers to talk to your brand from a closer proximity, it should also be a tool to make your team more productive and collaborative in their everyday tasks. It should allow your sales and support teams to categorize conversations, prioritize threads, tag team members, attach private notes (visible only to the team), and do much more.

Freshdesk Messaging live chat tool takes team collaboration to the next level by offering IntelliAssign, a rule-based, automated task routing feature that allows you to load balance chat conversations among agents or teams based on their workload or expertise. This allows teams to perform at their optimum level while making sure that customers get the best experience they deserve when engaging with your brand.

Reports and analytics

A live chat software is essentially a business-enabling tool that should be able to produce measurable metrics for improvement and optimization. It should provide useful data points for decision-makers to analyze and identify the best practices and anomalies in their live chat operations.

It should enable live chat teams to look back at their performance such as their first response time, customer satisfaction rating, and a visual insight into their processes. A live chat software should be able to produce data on the real-time chat volume, conversation trends, and historical metrics for business teams to learn from and calibrate their performance.

Seamless integration

A live chat tool should fit into your all-star business toolkit and connect with all software that are pivotal to your daily operations. It should integrate with your existing CRM software to manage lead and nurture them, your helpdesk software to offer great customer support, and other business-critical apps.

A live chat tool should come with the best of all worlds to help your business pull and push data seamlessly and help you make data-driven decisions. It should function as one of the spokes in the wheels of your business instead of a standalone, siloed product that is hard to work with.