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5 Live Chat Platforms with Location Intelligence

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Businesses of all shapes and sizes have embraced live chat as a way to communicate directly with customers through their websites. That was true before the pandemic, and it’s still true today.

Popular solutions like LiveChat and Olark are regularly used to help customer service agents connect directly with website visitors, and chatbots relying on artificial intelligence are giving brands a way to communicate with customers efficiently. But digital interactions have changed during the pandemic, and consumers in 2021 are more likely to be using their smartphones than desktop computers. The shift has put a strain on brands that were relying heavily on live chat for customer support, since many of the most popular platforms aren’t optimized for the way consumers are behaving.

Consumer surveys show a strong preference for communicating with brands through SMS and in-app messaging, rather than telephone. Nearly three-quarters of adults (72%) say having the ability to text with a live agent in real-time would improve their overall customer service experience.

As mobile interactions become the new norm, more retailers and brands are seeking out mobile-friendly live chat solutions that leverage real-time customer behaviors, like locations and progress within the shopping lifecycle, for more personalized SMS chats and in-app messages.

We’ve rounded up five live chat platforms that are innovating and changing the way brands communicate with customers on their mobile devices.

5 Live Chat Platforms with Location Tools

1. Airship

Airship’s live chat solution is brand new to the market, having been introduced just last month. Like other live chat platforms, Airship is offering two-way chat between website or mobile app users and a brand’s customer service agents.

However, the company is differentiating its product by leveraging its mobile marketing automation platform to proactively create live conversations. Brands can leverage customer locations and lifecycle events to trigger contextual, personalized invitations to in-app and SMS chat. Customers can then tap on the messages to get real-time assistance from a brand’s support agents. Brands also have the ability to pass on chatbot conversations to live chat managers using Airship’s Open APIs.

2. LiveChat

LiveChat is one of the most well-known companies in this space, with a history that dates back to 2002 and a roster of more than 30,000 clients. The company’s product is robust, with tools for lead generation, online surveys, and in-app support.

As smartphone device usage has grown, LiveChat has beefed up its mobile capabilities. Brands can now set up automated and interactive greetings based on users’ location and visited pages, and they can use features like automated chat routing to ensure customers are getting to the agent best equipped to resolve their issues. Customers can connect through any number of mobile platforms, including Messenger, SMS, and Apple Business Chat. With connected CRM, brands are able to personalize the interactions they have with customers based on actual real-world behaviors.

3. Olark

Olark has been supporting mobile chat since 2016, when the company redesigned its chatbox for a more seamless experience for visitors on their smartphones and tablets. A non-obtrusive chat button can be embedded on any page, giving mobile users a live chat experience that mirrors other messaging apps.

Olark uses a third-party service called MaxMind to display the geolocation and organization affiliation of customers, when that information is known, based on the visitor’s IP address. This sort of targeted chat capability means brands can hide their chat boxes based on visitor location. For example, a retailer that ships exclusively to U.S. addresses can hide its chat for Canadian visitors.

4. Zendesk

Zendesk’s live chat software allows businesses to track customers and engage them at the most opportune times. Brands that add messaging to their websites, mobile apps, and social channels can proactively start chats with visitors based on real-time behaviors and actions.

Customer data is used to facilitate conversations that are tailored to customers’ actual needs. Brands can install the Locator app to see a contact’s location displayed on a map image with their current time, or they can use the Chat Conversations API to capture an end user’s location. The information is often helpful in supporting agents who are working to cultivate more personal and engaging one-on-one conversations.

5. LiveAgent

LiveAgent is a multi-channel help desk that combines live chat, ticketing, and automation. Brands can reach customers through any number of channels, including social media and email. Incoming chats are routed to the best member of the team based on personalized factors like location and specialization.

LiveAgent offers an advanced system for proactive chat invitations, where agents can invite customers to chat through targeted messaging based on a number of factors. A native Android app also allows support agents to provide customer service on mobile devices.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.