What is a Chat widget?

By now, most of us at least once in our lifetime have had a conversation with a company’s support team using the chat widget present on their website. 

A chat widget is a great invention that allows customers to directly have a real-time conversation with a company and its customer support staff. 

A live chat widget allows you to provide customer support directly in the form of chat messages. This makes the use of emails & phone calls to provide help to the customer, obsolete.

And in this digital age that we’re in, it’s imperative that we provide blazing fast customer service. Otherwise, you’re at risk of losing customers to a company that can provide better and faster customer service. 

How to select the best Live Chat widget

Competition is increasing day by day, and the attention span of customers is decreasing at the same rate! Hence, companies need to constantly innovate their customer service processes. 

Companies need to make sure that their customer support teams are equipped with the best tools that allow their teams to be productive and efficient at providing support to their customers. This means, constant innovation of tools, processes, and frameworks. 

Now the companies that like to improve their online customer service, usually have 2 options they can choose from:

1. Build an Internal tool
2. Use 3rd party apps

There are pros and cons to both methods. 

Internal Tool

Pros of building a Live Chat widget internally

  1. Full control
    Building an internal chat tool from the ground up means having full control over what features get added to the tool. You can design the tool in a way that’s easy for your team to use in terms of UI/UX. You can also skip features that you might have no use for that you might find in 3rd party apps. It’s always better to pay for what you actually use.
  2. One-time cost
    All you need to do is, pay the hired developers who will build you the perfect customer support solution, and then that cost of hiring the developers gets recouped over time as your business grows. After that initial investment has been recouped, you’re essentially using the internal tool for free from then onwards.
  3. No need to worry about getting customer support
    Since the tool is built internally, you don’t need to worry about waiting to talk to 3rd party software customer support teams if you face any issue with the tool. Your in house developers can take a look and make changes or fix issues ASAP.

Cons of building a Live Chat widget internally

  1. Expensive
    Building a website chat box from the ground up for internal use is always expensive. You have to factor in the cost of hiring developers, server costs, and the cost of other resources. The initial cost might not be justifiable for small businesses.
  2. Time-Taking
    Not only building an internal tool is expensive, but it’s also pretty time taking. Especially if you have no background in developing customer support systems.  
  3. Inexperience can lead to time-wastage and loss
    Building a customer support system takes a certain amount of experience on the behalf of the product manager and the development team. You have to keep in mind the experience for the customer and your own customer support team.
    The right experience can make or break your business, literally!

3rd Party Apps

Pros of using a 3rd party chat widget

  1. Low cost
    If you get a readymade tool that gets updated every month with new features and only costs what cup of coffee at Starbucks would cost, wouldn’t you want to make that investment for your business? 3rd party tools come at a fraction of the development cost of building a tool by yourself. 
  2. 24*7 support
    By using 3rd party apps, you get access to their customer support teams whose sole job is to help you with your problems. Therefore, your team can focus on more important areas of the business while the support teams of the 3rd party app focus on fixing your problem.
  3. Feature Packed
    3rd party apps usually design these systems while keeping all users and their use cases in mind. This, allows you to use all the features of the app in the future even if you might not have the use for them now without paying anything extra.

Cons of using a 3rd party chat widget

  1. Recurring Expense 
    The only major psychological drawback to paying for a 3rd party app is that to keep using the live chat widget, you’ll have to keep paying monthly or yearly. No one likes money going out of their pockets regularly. But when you think about it, the amount is negligible and nothing compared to the amount of time it saves you and the sanity it brings.
  2. Less control over data 
    Using a 3rd party app means giving another company control over your customer data. This can be a problem for some companies but these days almost every 3rd party service provider is trying to obtain licenses and are taking measures to ensure that all your customer data is safe and GDPR protected.
  3. Difficult to pick the perfect 3rd party solution 
    With so many solutions in the market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose one solution. Every platform these days is offering new features or even similar features. Therefore, the main differentiating point that you have to keep in mind is, how far their customer support is willing to go to help you solve your issue. It could include getting on calls with your team or even building out solutions exclusively for you. And we at Helpwise, can proudly say that we are the only company out there that does this for our customers.

Here are some of the prices of the pro plans of top live chat widget tools-

  1. Helpwise – $25/monthly (per user)
  2. Hubspot – $49/monthly
  3. Intercom – $99/monthly (5 users)
  4. LiveAgent – $39/monthly (per user)

So these are the pros and cons of building a tool internally vs opting for a 3rd party solution.

Before taking a decision, carefully consider these factors. Especially the time, cost, or your budget to achieve your goals. Not to forget, the various features that every tool gives and at what cost.

To see Helpwise’s live chat widget in action, feel free to book a demo with us