How is live chat for enterprises different from SMB offerings?

A hand holding an iphone displaying an online live chat
(Image credit: TBC)

High-quality, reliable customer service is one of the keys to succeeding in today’s competitive business world. It’s just as important for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) as it is for large international enterprises. 

Live chat software is increasingly integral to providing excellent customer service and support. There are numerous live chat programs to choose from, sometimes making it difficult to select the right one. Different-sized organizations can have significantly different requirements, which can further complicate matters. 

To help you understand more about the live chat options on the market, we’ve taken a closer look at how enterprise-level live chat programs differ from SMB offerings.

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LiveChat is the #1 Live Chat Software
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Why is live chat software useful?

Every year, our lives become increasingly digitized, and people spend increasing amounts of time online. Live chat software can bring loads of benefits to your business when used properly. 

Delivering premium customer service—There’s nothing worse than asking a quick question about a product or service you want to purchase, only to wait days for a reply from the company’s customer service team. By integrating a high-quality live chat solution, you can deliver live support and significantly improve the customer experience. It’s even possible to offer true 24/7 support if required. 

Helping with customer acquisition—Once you’ve engaged with a potential customer via live chat, it becomes much easier to sell them something. For example, you could offer an exclusive discount or a deal if you sense that the potential customer is losing interest, or you could suggest the most appropriate product without them having to research it. 

Boosting staff productivity—With a reliable live chat program, you will almost definitely find that your customer service staff becomes more productive. A customer’s issue can often be dealt with in minutes, and a well-trained agent can handle multiple chats simultaneously. But remember, some live chat programs are better equipped for this than others.

SMB vs enterprise-level live chat software

SMB and enterprise-level live chat programs can be quite different, and it’s important to be aware of the features of each so you can make an informed choice. Below, we’ve listed a few of the most important features. 

However, be aware that these often cross over, and some programs include tools for SMBs and larger organizations that can be used (or not) as required.

Key features of SMB live chat software

SMBs are usually defined as organizations with fewer than 999 employees. They generally have specific IT and software requirements due to their small workforce, and they are often more niche-focused than larger companies. 

Here are a few key SMB live chat features to look for.

Usability—As an SMB, you probably don’t have a lot of resources to dedicate to staff training and rolling out a complicated new system. Look for something easy to use, that offers decent technical support, and is intuitive for new support agents to get started with. 

Affordability—Most SMBs can be serviced by a cheaper live chat program or Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription. Look for something with the right features for your small team, consistent pricing, and, if you’re on a tight budget, long-term sign-up deals. 

Cross-platform functionality—Another super useful feature of some SMB live chat programs is cross-platform compatibility. This enables you to address everything from live chat and email queries to social media messages and even SMS from a single centralized dashboard.

Key features of enterprise live chat software

Enterprise-level organizations generally have significantly more employees than SMBs. They often work internationally, with multiple office locations and large teams. This creates its own set of challenges, and enterprise live chat software comes with a few features to address these. 

Integrations—One key feature of enterprise-level programs is integration with other software. This makes it easier to link your live chat software to your other customer service programs and tools, increasing productivity and efficiency. 

Collaboration tools—Another super important feature for larger businesses are collaboration tools that your support agents can use to work together on difficult cases. The larger your customer service team is, the more useful collaboration tools tend to be. 

Automation & AI options—Chatbots are relatively new in the tech world, but they are extremely useful when used correctly. Integrating an AI-based chatbot and other automation into your live chat and customer service workflows can boost productivity and take the pressure off your support agents.

Choosing the right live chat program for your business

First, identify what sort of live chat software you require. Are you looking for an enterprise-level offering, or will a simpler, more affordable SMB option do the trick? 

Once you’ve answered this question, you can think about the following:

  • Ease of installation and setup, especially if you have a small team without much IT experience. If this is the case, look for an out-of-the-box option ready to use immediately.
  • What analytics tools are included? These can measure everything from customer engagement and average wait time to targeted performance metrics related to the entire customer lifecycle.
  • Software and app integrations with any programs your company or organization already uses. We’ve already touched on this, but it’s super important and worth highlighting again.
  • Affordability, especially if you run an SMB on a tight budget. Look for an all-inclusive subscription with no extra fees, and keep an eye out for introductory or exclusive deals.

Above all, make sure that you take your time, take advantage of free trials and trial versions to test different live chat programs, and settle on one that fits your business and business model.


Live chat programs have one core feature shared across the board—the ability to interact with customers in real time via messaging functionality. Other than this, different programs can look extremely different. 

Enterprise and SMB offerings generally come with specialized features, and it’s important to understand what these look like to ensure you’re purchasing the right software for your company. 

To find out more, check out our guide to the best live chat software. You might also like to read about what lead generation software is, or go back to the basics with our complete guide to live chat software and why you need it for your website.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in B2B and B2C tech and finance, with a particular focus on VoIP, website building, web hosting, and other related fields.