Get your word in. 

Live Chat

As a sales leader, I can tell you that the biggest determinant of your sales success is how quickly you acquire leads. While the power of chat has been well acknowledged in customer service and support, we're still only skirting its potential when it comes to sales. 

As far back as Forrester's December 2015 Customer Lifecycle Survey, we knew that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. Chat is so much easier and far less intrusive compared to a voice call. We know this. I can't remember the last time I spoke to Apple or Amazon or Google support - it's all on chat now, in an unobtrusive little window, while I continue to do what I was doing, undisturbed by a phone call where I (usually) have to repeat myself. 

And of course, this extends to sales. Live chat software allows companies to communicate with their website visitors in real-time via chat windows to provide support to users who have questions regarding products or website navigation. It also allows us to prompt user interaction with pop-up chat boxes. If your customer was looking for a salesperson, there they are! Moreover, much of this work can be automated by chatbots. Bots are always active, and a sales bot can help you qualify leads by identifying intent and nurturing it. 

Once you train a chatbot with your pre-qualifying questionnaire, your website begins to generate a steady stream of qualified, nurtured leads that it hands off in real-time to your sales reps. Moreover, every interaction is ticketed, so nothing gets missed. 

The Saas edge 

Especially when it comes to tech that is rapidly evolving, I trust the SaaS ecosystem. Not only are SaaS teams constantly evolving their product to offer more value than the competition, but the tech itself leaps forward from time to time. AI-powered chatbots were a curiosity, till natural language processing happened. Then, everyone was making one, and everyone wanted one. 

How do you think those who'd invested enormous time and effort in their AI-powered chatbots felt? I for one, never want to be left coughing in the dust, and that's why I'd always pick a SaaS product over a traditional one. This way, I'm hedging my bets and keeping my options open. 

Of course, all the tools I'm looking into right now are for my own SaaS baby SmartCue, so my lens is skewed towards tools that are most suited to small organizations and startups that are yet to achieve scale. However, all these tools are the sort that can scale rapidly with you when you grow. 

With these considerations in mind, here's my list. Please bear in mind that this list isn't exhaustive, and I've only included those tools that I or my tribe have used. Also, I've relied on and for most of the customer reviews. 

1. LiveChat

Free version: No 

Trial version: Yes

This customer service software offers chat tools, reports, analytics, and visitor tracking. It also offers a built-in ticketing system which allows you to handle requests from customers. My favorite - the canned response feature. This feature enables users to save standard responses to common questions that customers ask and then these standard responses can be reused with customers with the stroke of a button! It integrates well with other SaaS tools too - For example, it integrates with Twilio and Calendly, to send messages to the mobile phones of customers and schedule them for appointments with a sales representative respectively.

Cons: Users dislike the limitation on the number of chats that can be hosted at one given time. 

2. Intercom

Free version: No 

Trial version: Yes

We love Intercom, at SmartCue! It shows me who is using my product or website and makes it easy to personally communicate with them with targeted content, behavior-driven messages, and conversational support. It also gives me the edge by offering detailed records of customer interactions and sophisticated analytics. It’s got a very simple UI - it looks like a simple inbox just like a personal chat messenger. It’s easy to understand and easy to operate. I liked how easy Intercom was to install, without needing tech support help beyond the time it took to insert the widget. And I can update the user experience to A/B test all through the application!

Cons: It’s a little on the expensive side. 

3. Freshdesk

Free version: Yes

Trial version: Yes

Freshdesk is a ticketing solutions software that you can use to streamline customer conversations across multiple channels including email and phone. Its capabilities include robust ticketing, SLA management, smart automation, intelligent reporting, and game mechanics to motivate agents. You can track conversations, customize the portal completely and collaborate conveniently on a ticket when needed. The ability to allow multiple people to work on different issues from one email and allow work to progress and flow seamlessly is its best feature. 

Cons: Freshdesk still needs to support more social media platforms such as LinkedIn and others as these are good lead generation hubs. 

SmartCue's Favorites 

As you can tell from my review above, we love Intercom at SmartCue! My team and I are all for smart, easy, intuitive solutions that deliver the goods from Day 1. Intercom does. 

I also like that Intercom lets me integrate all my messaging into one platform. This, when combined with email tracking, lets me utilize my sales intelligence to the fullest. I'm still finding interesting ways to use Intercom, if I'm being honest, and I love tools that keep on giving this way (who doesn't?). 

At SmartCue, we're proud of just such a multi-talented solution ourselves. SmartCue helps you sell your own product better by unlocking your sales reps' potential in demos, helping your sales engineers create really detailed demo libraries, helping trainers train the newbies on products, and even running train-the-trainer programs.

I can't wait to explore the synergies that come from combining the capabilities of these tools. For my clients, I can see Intercom creating a steady pipeline of leads, sending out demo snippets that come from SmartCue-powered demo libraries, followed by the demos themselves, and continued engagement through chat and other channels that Intercom makes possible. 


Customer service

Some avenues are easy to overlook. Yes, the sales intelligence tool is key, as is the email tracking one, as is the sales enablement one. Yes, they'll generate a ton of leads, and make it possible to run targeted campaigns and shorten the sales cycle. But can you afford to ignore ready-made, qualified leads that your website can generate passively? Or the 53% who will leave your website, only to visit the competition?