The popularity of live chat is on the rise because of the immense benefits they bring to both businesses and clients. It is a huge time and resource saver compared to traditional methods of responding to customer queries online through emails. Though most consumers are yet to tap into the power of live chat for getting support, current reports show that 73% of those who have used it were very satisfied.

As such, businesses are keen on implementing live chat websites, and with so many vendors in the market today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know which ones to choose. Just like purchasing any other service, due diligence and ascertain must be done before committing to a live chat solution that will surely serve your needs. With that said, here is a look at some of the questions you need to ask a potential live chat provider before you make a commitment.

Is your chat solution a hosted SaaS or will I be able to host it on my own?

Knowing whether the chat solution you are interested in is a SaaS or one you can host on your servers is vital for many reasons. In most cases, vendors will offer either SaaS or self-hosted options, with a very few of them offering both. Depending on your specific needs, taking into account your tech skills or ability to hire tech staff to support the system, you can choose whether to self-host or go for SaaS solutions.

With the SaaS model, you may be compelled to pay for a subscription after a trial period. This is unlike the self-hosted live chat software where all you have to do is simply pay a one-time fee. Though the SaaS models may seem expensive initially, they normally turn out to be the best choices for most people because you won’t have to worry about the costs associated with set up and maintenance, since the provider will take care of all those on behalf of their clients.

Does your live chat service provide staffing?

You also want to know whether or not the live chat service provides staffing or if you will have to get your staff to work on it with the software. You will find some vendors selling you the software alone, while others will sell you the software and staff to help you manage it. Ultimately, it is entirely up to you to make your choice. For example, if you already have an in-house team that normally handles your customer care needs, then you can simply get the software on it’s own, but if you are looking forward to outsourcing the workforce, then your best bet would be to look into a live chat service that provides staffing as well.

What is the ease of installation of your live chat software?

If you buy a live chat software where the installation and user interface is confusing, this may cause a lot of problems in setting it up and getting it to work successfully. If you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge in this area, you may be compelled to engage a webmaster which will come with additional costs in the installation and set up of the software. Therefore, be sure to ask the potential vendor about the ease of installing and setting the software to suit your needs. This is especially the case if you are going for self-hosted solutions. However, it will not be a problem if you opt for SaaS live chat solution.

What is the nature of the support I will be getting from you?

The last vendor you should ever consider for your live chat website software needs is one who will leave you high and dry after getting your money. You don’t want to get your software from a vendor who will not offer after-sale services or will not be willing to offer such services for free. Ask the potential client the nature of support they will offer after you buy the software and if a binding document will be included.

What mobile devices and operating systems are supported by the live chat software?

Asking about the supported devices and operating systems will ensure that you will not be limited after you buy the live chat software. With the fluid nature of the online business, you may likely wish to have access to the software both on your computer as well as on your mobile devices so that you can monitor chats even when you are away from your desk. If the software doesn’t support mobile devices, or a particular operating system in a device you will use to monitor the chats, this will be very limiting and will deprive you of the pleasure of exploiting the full potential of the software.

Will it be possible to use the live chat software on multiple websites?

Unless you only have one website with no intention of growing or expanding in the future, then this question will not be relevant to you. With most vendors, the software can be used on two sites without any additional charges, and for any other website, you may be compelled to purchase additional license keys. Therefore, be very clear about this before you go ahead with the purchase.