This Is Why Free Live Chat Software Isn’t Your Best Option

If you’ve ever waited on hold or waited in a line only to give up, you know the importance of delivering speedy customer support. More and more, small businesses are turning to free live chat software to meet the demands of consumers—most of who are impatient and want immediate service.

HubSpot found that 82 percent of consumers said it’s important that a business answers their question in 10 minutes or less. And with tech-savvy millennials soon to become the largest generation in the U.S., companies have to offer their website visitors a way to engage with them on their own terms: from their mobile device.

There’s no question about it: You need live chat on your website.

Most small businesses can’t afford to hire full-time, in-house live chat agents and so they turn to outsourced live chat, which comes in a few different forms:

If you’re trying to decide if the free live chat option best fits your needs, let’s take a look at its pros and cons so you can make an educated choice.

Free Live Chat Software is a No-Frills Option

Humans love to get a good bargain, and that’s why many business owners immediately gravitate toward free live chat.

While free live chat support is the right solution for some businesses, others don’t see increased sales or leads without utilizing premium features and the chat window customization that paid solutions provide.

Here are some of the limitations that come with free live chat:

You Get a Limited Number of Chats per Month

Free chat deals come with limitations like a small number of allowed chats per month. If you’re not expecting to get many incoming chats, this might work for you. But if you have decent site traffic and incoming phone calls and emails, you’ll be better off with unlimited incoming chats.

If your whole point of installing a chat application is to capture leads, you obviously want chat agents available to answer all incoming inquires—not just a few.

You Might Have to Monitor Chats Yourself

Sometimes free live chat means you get free access to the chat app but no agents or bots. That means you have to be available to answer incoming chats yourself.

If you’re adding this responsibility onto an existing employee’s plate he or she might get frustrated. Also, there’s a good chance the person in charge of answering won’t be available at the moment the chat comes in. And remember, chats can come in 24/7, so unless you don’t sleep, you’re going to miss those late night inquiries.

problems with free live chat
Having your employees monitor and take chats is just one of the unnecessary burdens free chat can create.

You Don’t Get Unlimited Chat Transcripts

Free chat deals offer no or limited live chat transcripts. Customers love to receive chat transcripts via email following the conclusion of a chat session because that’s their handy record of the conversation. There’s no trying to remember what was discussed.

Not only is it important on the consumer side, having access to unlimited chat transcripts is important for you as a business owner too. This is because you should be analyzing your chat transcripts and doing QA to ensure questions are being answered as you want them to be.

You Don’t Get Access to Targeted Chat

Typically people are used to seeing live chat windows in the bottom righthand corner of a website. This is pretty standard.

However, targeted chat is a form of chat window customization that allows businesses to decide where, when and why to display the chat window—boosting its effectiveness. It allows you to be there when it matters most.

For example, when someone moves their cursor in a way that indicates they’re about to exit your site, you could set that to be the trigger that causes a pop-up chat box to appear. Or, if it’s clear site visitors are seeking information (let’s say they visited a specific page) that could be the trigger.

Free Live Chat Is Better Than Nothing

If you were to decide between installing free live chat and not having any chat capabilities at all, free chat is the better option. However, it has its limitations. Take stock of your site traffic, estimate your chat volumes, take a look at your site visitor behavior, and decide from there.