In a world of free software, why would anyone ever pay for live chat software?
The quick answer is, You get what you pay for.
The longer answer.
Live chat and Live support software is a growing industry with more and more websites across the world using chat to either support their users or to help increase sales by directly interacting with the clients on the websites in real time.
Live chat doesn’t just offer “chat”, some software providers offer a wealth of other features including ticket systems, departments, canned messages, encryption, analytics for reporting and much much more.
Why would anyone ever offer live chat with all these features for free?
Well, the bottom line is that they don’t. Well, not with all the features of a larger platform.
Yes, you can get a good live chat platform for free from some random small non-business on the internet and get what you may need. However. You don’t get the extra features and security that a bought system can offer.
Typically the two main reasons for someone offering something for free are:
- They enjoy what they do and want to share it.
- They have something to gain from having you as a free customer.
Lets look at option #1 for a free chat software,
These people typically run a small website offering the software for free. The software runs on standard hosting services ( maybe even free ones ), it doesn’t get updated as often and likely doesn’t have many features.
Its just enough to do the job and you don’t get any support ( or at the very best, email support that can take a long time to assist )
Now with option #2 its slightly different,
These people will likely have a better chat support solution but still wont come close to a “bought” solution from a feature standpoint. Its likely that it will either contain adverts or YOUR OWN DATA is being sold.
When something is free on the internet, it normally means YOU are the product of that company.
Google? – They use your data to sell adverts
Facebook? – Again, your data is being sold. You are the product.
Some such free suppliers include:
So why Pay for a live chat solution?
As explained, you are likely to get bad service from the supplier and a lack of features ( or at the best not very advanced features ) from free chat support suppliers.
Paying for a services can mean a few things:
- You are likely buying from an established, legal company.
- You will get much better support ( because its a company and you have paid ) – Assuming your package has support as an option?
- Features are likely to be much broader and more advanced as the company will have dedicated developers for the product.
- Updates and Upgrades don’t need to be done by you. ( if you buy a SaaS live chat solution )
- No need to worry about hosting the servers yourself or patching them.
Not just do you typically get a much, much better service. You also get peace of mind knowing that you are dealing with a company rather than a shady website on the internet.
I recommend a supplier based in the UK called IMsupporting.
IMsupporting offer a wealth of services with a large feature set and a growing client base ranging from small on-line stores to government.
Its not just about service though!
Simply by having a Paid for chat service means that it would look better to your own users and customers. Knowing that you are not a company that uses as much free stuff as possible, they know that you are willing to pay for a good solution.
This can help give your company a better image simply by not using Free software!
I understand that some people may not be able to afford a bigger solution for their business however in most cases this is a small cost that any company can afford and should use paid for services where possible.
Smaller personal websites and not-for-profits may want to use free chat software and this is find because a different image is generally considered when using these kind of websites.