Live chat solutions

What good live chat/live help solutions are available (preferably for use on a site hosted on a LAMP stack and free)? I’m looking for a way to allow our sales and customer service reps to talk directly with visitors to our site.

I’ve looked at phpopenchat, but it looks very unpolished. The only other free live chat app I’ve come across looked egregious. The aesthetics and UI design alone made me shudder to think what the underlying code might look like.

This isn’t a critical feature, and it wouldn’t be hard to code up myself, so I’m not really looking for commercial software or paid services (unless there’s a really compelling reason to use them). I’m just wondering if any other webmasters have come across a satisfactory free/open source solution for providing live customer support on their website.

As a side note, live voice chat would also be an option, but it has to be be designed (or customizable) for customer support rather than a public chatroom.

Edit:

Looking at the responses, it looks like there probably aren’t going to be many free solutions for this type of business-oriented chat solution, so feel free to post answers even if they are commercial solutions as long as they’re a good value.

Also feel free to post any alternate live support solutions (such as the Skype recommendation) that could be in someway integrated with a website.

This will give me a good lay of the land for what people are actually using for live support, and I think will be more helpful to others reading this question.

Here is Solutions:

We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first solution because it is tested & true solution that will 100% work for you.

Solution 1

Olark is gaining some momentum in the startups / smaller more dynamic sites space. AFAIK the high-level picture of Olark is:

  • Javascript-only on the website
  • with a hosted backend (SaaS monthly subscription)
  • and browser- and mobile clients based on common Instant Messaging protocols.

Solution 2

Here they are some more:

Solution 3

You can show your Skype status on your website. Skype has so many add-ons, including chat rooms, that you can pretty much do anything with it. If you’re wanting other options, take a look at this list of 10 Chat Widgets. CoverItLive is pretty popular as well, but it might not be quite what you’re looking for.

Solution 4

Seems like a ridiculous name, but we’ve used Cute Chat in an Asp.Net environment.

Solution 5

Edit: just realized you wanted a free solution. Sorry, the following is not free, but paying gets you a whole package with no build time.

I’ve used LivePerson extensively at two different companies and their support is excellent, the customization capability is excellent, and it’s got a good pricing structure that doesn’t limit how many operators you have, just how many operators can login at once. And all their customizations generate the javascript you need to plop it right onto your site. It also includes reporting and the user interface for operators is great at handling multiple chats at once, or multiple operators at once.

They have an interesting consumer answer service at www.liveperson.com, but you’ll want to go to solutions.liveperson.com instead for using it as a business service.

I wouldn’t consider this for sites with small traffic, though, due to the monthly pricing model.

Solution 6

Neither LAMP stack nor free, but I thought I’d throw this out there for posterity. WhosOn is a decent piece of monitoring software that also has chat functionality.

They have both a hosted solution or a one-time fee version. I currently use an older version strictly for monitoring, but if I implement live chat then this is what I’ll use.

Solution 7

Take a look at Bold Chat it has a nice feature which lets you setup triggers to open custom chat windows based on keywords in the URL, time on page, referring URL and more.

http://boldchat.com/live-chat-features-chart.asp

Solution 8

I’ve used this site in the past: http://www.chatbutton.com/. It works pretty well, and is usable.

Solution 9

PHP Free Chat is a LGPL licensed open source chat-room chat application, full featured program with a large user base and strong community support.

Note: Use and implement solution 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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