6 Help Desk and Live Chat Tools for Small Organizations

Managing customer requests from email works well when requests are few and far between. As volumes increase, you might need a better way to manage inquiries. Responding to customer requests in a timely manner can become a challenge when your inbox is already overflowing. A hosted live chat service may be an option. A live chat service with an integrated help desk could be even better.

A hosted help desk organizes customer requests (tickets) by department and tracks every action taken until a ticket is resolved. All replies to the customer are saved in one place for easy review. Tickets are typically sent by email or through a contact form. Some help desks include self-service tools like a knowledge base or customer forums.

A hosted live chat service can provide site visitors with an instant response to frequently asked questions (in real time) or a timely reply that can shorten the time to buy a product. A live chat system can even automatically reply with pre-programmed responses when you're away. Imagine answering general questions instantly while you're away!

There are many points to consider when deciding on help desk or live chat systems. Many require no prior technical knowledge to set up and provide a handy dashboard for you to review active and archived chats from your site. Installation is as simple as pasting a few lines of code into your site. Some services offer both live chat and a help desk to help you track customer requests.

Let's take a look at six live chat and help desk services that may benefit your small business. (Several are available through the App Center.)

1. Tidio Chat

Tidio Chat offers live chat, email inbox integration and Facebook Messenger integration. Conversations can be managed through the Tidio dashboard or from the Tidio mobile app (iOS and Android). Advanced automation features deliver pre-planned messages to visitors when you're not available. If you're offline, the system requests the visitor's email address so you can reply to them at your convenience. Multiple concurrent chats are also supported.

Pricing: $0-$24 per month

2. LiveAgent

LiveAgent combines live chat and a help desk in one product. A new help desk ticket is created from multiple channels—live chat, email, phone calls, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, forum posts or through a contact form. You can manage requests from each channel in a single dashboard. Smart ticket routing lets you determine which agents will receive tickets that meet specific criteria. Ticket management options include canned messages, email tickets and more. Live chat supports proactive messages (automatic greetings) and chat interface customization. LiveAgent even supports a click to call option. LiveAgent integrates with a variety of other platforms: Zapier, email marketing systems, customer relationship management system (CRM), multiple billing systems, Slack and others.

Pricing: $12-$25 per seat per month

3. LiveChat

LiveChat offers both live chat and help desk features in a single platform. Tickets are created from chat, email, Facebook Messenger or through a ticketing form. Live chat includes automatic responses, customized chat window, and smart routing features. The LiveChat mobile app makes it easy to respond to customer requests when you're away from the office. LiveChat also integrates with some of your favorite services: Zapier, CRM, screen sharing, email marketing, invoicing and social media.

Pricing: $16-$50 per month

4. SimpleChat

SimpleChat is a bare bones chat system for your website. Live chats are sent to your mobile device as a text message according to a schedule you set up. SimpleChat supports up to 10 concurrent chats.

Pricing: $8 per month

5. Pure Chat

Pure Chat is a combination live chat and customer relationship management system. Live chat features include multiple concurrent chats, trigger responses, canned responses, chat to SMS and visitor analytics. The build-in CRM system lets you save visitor information that includes most visited site locations and chat history. Pure Chat integrates with Zapier, Infusionsoft, Google Analytics, Axosoft and more.

Pricing: $0-$120 per month

6. ClickDesk

ClickDesk is a live chat service that includes built-in help desk. The platform also includes video chat (no additional installations required). Live chat features include automatic greetings, departments, canned responses and multiple concurrent chats. The included help desk offers a seamless interface for your website visitors. As with the live chat, help desk tickets can be sorted into departments. The help desk integrates with an existing email address. New messages sent to that address are automatically added as new tickets in the system. ClickDesk integrates with many popular web services: Zapier, CRM, billing/invoicing, email marketing, other hosted help desk platforms, project management, desktop screen sharing and Google Analytics.

Pricing: $0-$39.99 per seat per month

Choosing the right live chat platform for your website can be a daunting task. Providing better support is easy when you have the right tools. Get started with our list above. Your customers will be glad you did!