Live (Support) Chat - Useful or Annoyance?

Hi there,

i find myself seeing sites with live support chats increasingly more and more. it seems like every other site features a live support. stores, or other retailers no matter how small seem to offer them now.

So i am wondering if it’s worth it, what do you think about them?
If you have experience with them, i am happy to get some recommendations to check out.
Free / Open Source Options are welcome. I have seen there are quite a few commercial ones and others who seem to put big branding on your chat as long as you do not pay for license.

Anyways, what do you think?

My two cents: Pain in the neck. At times, it’s helpful but in most cases, too intrusive. It would be enough for the chat to be there, but why do these have to pop up every time you are just looking around.

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you mean a proactive chat? let’s say you are browsing a few minutes and they set a timer which will try to initiate a chat if you have been there for longer than X-amount of minutes?

I think having this small widget saying “we are online” or “support chat online” is fine, as long as it’s not starting to run some sound alerts…

Personal experience: annoying in 95% of the cases, helpful in some occasions.
Every time I have a domain related issue on I use their chat support because I discovered that’s way faster than a traditional ticket.

I agree with @texnixe, those popup are an absolute pain.

I wouldn’t mind a popup after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity but in most times it’s instantaneous.
Hey welcome to our site, let me know if you need help

No thanks.

As for the question about their usefulness, I have no clue.
I tried one back in the days because it was one of the first that was integrated with slack (and it was free) and I removed it from the site probably 2 days later.

If I had to integrate one, I’d probably only include it in the contact/support page.
This way if someone is actually looking to contact you they then have a direct way to get in touch.

Back in those day, everyone thought they must have an intro that took ages to load… Now everyone thinks they have to have these live support chat popups. There’s always something someone starts and the rest of the flock follow…

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Couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the (imo) sad aspects of the web.

When I use the live chat option, it’s mostly because I can’t find the information I’m looking for. Often, that is the case, when the website owner is hiding information away from me, things like “how can I cancel my subscription”. If you provide a well structured website, where the information a user might be looking for, is easily accessible and easy to understand, you probably don’t need a live support chat.

Rather than having an annoying popup, I’d prefer this live chat to be easily accessible if and when I need it. No need to disturb my visit with something that distracts me.

Nothing makes me leave a site quicker then autoplaying video with sound and pop up support chat windows. The only place chat works, in my opinion, is within an account area that a user has logged into. Hosting companies do this all the time and it works great.

For proactive sales and badgering people before they’ve had a chance to take in your website and form an opinion about your company, it’s a real annoyance.

So true.

And popups that want you to sign up, subscribe to a newsletter, take a survey …

And copy written for search engines instead of for humans.

I agree on everything. Personally I like a subtl green online dot that I can click on if I need to chat with someone. Other than that there are two more solutions.

1. Impement a chat form and send it as a mail

This is kind of an ugly trick I’ve seen and tried. It looks like a chatbox or what you may call it but as soon as you click send it says:

Thank you for your message! We will respond to your mail as soon as possible!

The user will probably not be super happy as she/he may need to wait a few days for a reply. For you as a site owner it means you don’t need to be sitting there and wait for someone to start a conversation.

But the best here is probably to be honest that it’s a mail form before sending the message.

2. Make the user talk to a robot

A clever search function or AI could solve simple problems without anyone on the other side of the chat.

We all love to have a conversation with a clip, don’t we? :wink:


I had the same question about 1.5 years ago so I tried to do several test, had several similair sites at the time.
We tried LiveChatInc,, Kayako, Crisp and chatra.

The first three are direct chat apps so when the operator is online you can chat, otherwise you get a ‘we’ll be back’ which is terrible for small companies like mine.
Crisp and chatra send out an email with the questions and you can respond via email and the vistor get an email and the web chat panel will be updated,
Eventually I decided to go with chatra because of 3 things:

  1. They have mac and windows app which automatically log you in and off so whenever I open the lid of my laptop I am logged in and get notifications so can respond pretty fast and users like that.
  2. They update the panel and email the user so the user will never miss the reply.
  3. They chat also supports js code so I created a small link in my page to chat and hide the button.

Been using chatra for over 6 months now and my users like it,
they experience it as easier than my contact form (which has as many fields :)) but still.

Any other questions you can pm me,
Wanna try chatra you can try them out for 14 days or use my affiliate link (can always try)

popup for adding them on facebook…

providing this service as an available option without being too annoying is fine?

e.g. your visitor should find his answer within a minute or two anyways, so if the proactive chat does not trigger before 5 minutes it should be fine?

no nasty popups but a bubble to display chat is available?

i once tried it with chat once and got in touch with a customer i later met, i took my chance to ask him about the chat and he thought it’s a great thing “IF it works” … like it would suck if it shows “chat is online” but noone would ever respond.

i am not sure if this customer would’ve also contacted me without a chat function though, that’s why i put up that discussion for other experiences.

from the other perspective, i am using amazon, dhl, and other support chat all the time, i don’t want to bother getting called by anyone who can’t speak my language properly. i remember back in the day, hosting agencies like godaddy, or any other had chats which i used as well. so i like them “in a way”

another example is email inquiry… i have contacted several companies questioning for a similar product each, and none of them have gotten back to me, oh well… they don’t want my money apparently.