5 top in-app chat solutions to engage your users

Sara Ana Cemazar
January 11, 2023
min read

The technological advancements in the last decade have allowed significant improvements in the customer service environment. One of such innovations is in-app chat.

In-app chat allows users to get their questions answered right at the spot while using a certain app. Not to mention how natural does this approach to support customer’ inquiries seem - no need to get out of the app, write an email, search for phone number to customer service, wait until they pick up…

Read on to find out what in-app chat is, why should you consider implementing it in your app, and how businesses can use in-app chat to drive exceptional conversational experiences.

What is in-app chat?

In-app chat is a chat interface that appears in a certain app. It enables two-way, real-time conversations between app users and customer service representatives, or between users themselves.

In-app chat can be enriched with chatbots, answers to FAQs, pre-built automated messages, and more.

Even though it can be built from scratch, most apps feature a pre-built in-app chat solutions that are white labeled to match the look and feel of the product in general.

In-app chat has numerous benefits, such as increasing app engagement (that also improves user retention) and providing effective customer service.

In-app chat vs. in-app messaging: is there a difference?

Even though they might seem like interchangeable terms, in-app chat and in-app messaging are actually quite different in nature.

In-app chat refers to a conversational experience within an app, meaning two or more parties exchanging messages back and forth. In comparison, in-app messaging is a one-way message that appears within the app. It could be triggered by user actions and also serves to increase user engagement.

Here are some in-app messaging examples that might help you get a better picture.

5 best in-app chat solutions on the market

1. Rocket.Chat

If you're looking to add an in-app chat to your product but stay within regulatory compliances and provide maximum data security, Rocket.Chat is your best choice.

This in-app chat solution can be integrated within a product to provide exceptional chat capabilities, built and tested within the Rocket.Chat app that connects remote teams all over the world. The omnichannel solutions also extend the app's functionality.

But, most importantly, Rocket.Chat is the most secure in-app chat solution on the market. If you work in a highly-regulated industry such as government, healthcare, or financial services, this is your go-to software.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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2. Intercom

Intercom is famous for their in-app solution that helps users onboard quickly, find out about new product functionalities, engage with the app, and more. With built-in chatbots, multi-channel campaigns and surveys, you can really get to understand your users better.

3. Twilio

Twilio is one of the most well-known platforms for extending communications to multiple channels, including SMS and voice. Their in-app chat solution can help you incorporate those channels within the product.

With their chat SDK and essential API, you can add chat functions to your product one by one and gradually build the desired user experience.

4. Sendbird

Sendbird is an in-app chat solution beloved for its good UI/UX. The product itself was envisioned to be a replacement for costly text messages.

The conversational experience includes rich media, translation, and moderation. It also offers superb tracking and analytics for those who want to fine-tune their approach to customers.

5. PubNub

With PubNub, you can easily add one-to-one or group in-app chat capabilities to your products. Prebuilt UI components and client SDKs are available to developers working on the product. The use cases span from gaming and call centers to marketplaces and auctions.

4 reasons why you should get in-app chat

One of the first rules of high quality customer service? Be where your customers are.

In the last couple of decades, the world has grown to become immensely digital. Therefore, we’ve seen customer support move from phone towards digital channels and social media - such as email, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and others.

Why shouldn’t you extend your customer support availability and provide exceptional customer experience to users while they’re using your product or app?

Here are the main reasons why you should get an in-app chat.

Optimizing customer experience with real-time conversations

App users sometimes experience issues when using the app itself. In-app chat enables you to support them right away and provide a native user and customer experience.

Let’s take a look at these stats:

  • In 2017, Microsoft’s research showed that 63% of Millennials began their customer service interactions online. We can only expect this number to be higher today.
  • When facing simple customer service tasks, over 60% of consumers in the US prefer an automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app.
  • Salesforce’s 2019 research showed that 81% of customers use online chat and 82% use mobile apps for communicating with a company. Once again, a couple of years later, it is expected that this percentage is even higher and will continue to rise.
in-app chat

What does this tell us? It shows us that customers are adapting to the overarching digitalization trends. And not only that - they now expect a good user experience and quick answers. Just as texting is replacing phone calls, live chat and in-app chat are replacing traditional customer service. 

In-app chat with integrated chatbot and knowledge base that offers self-service capabilities is a great way to meet your customers’ demands. Moreover, leaving the opportunity for real-time interactions with live agents over in-app chat allows you to optimize your customer experience.

Product stickiness

Product stickiness is a term used to describe the customers’ tendency to return to your product and use it more frequently. A sticky product eads to deeper relationships with customers and encourages them to use your product more often and make repeat purchases.

Customer experience is crucial to product stickiness together with user experience. In-app chat adds to customer experience by offering a native way to get help with certain issues. Therefore, it is an effective way to make your product more sticky.

Increasing customer service productivity

Chatbots, prebuilt answers to FAQs and other automation capabilities of in-app chat allow customer service agents to be more productive. With self-service capabilities ingrained, customers can reduce the occupancy of agents, who can instead dedicate their time to more complex cases.

User and customer retention

User retention is closely related to product stickiness we mentioned above. When a company’s main product is an app, users are also customers. That’s why in this case we use the term user retention interchangeably with customer retention.

Did you know that attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one? Not only that - increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits from 25% to 95%. 

User retention best practices include efficient app onboarding, using push notifications, and enabling two-way communication with customer service. In-app chat is the best way to enable two-way communication without the user ever leaving the app itself.

in-app chat

Browse through these resources to learn more about customer support best practices:

3 examples of how you can use in-app chat

There are numerous ways that you could leverage in-app chat to help app users resolve their issues and engage them. Here are some of the examples how in-app chat can be used across industries:

Healthcare organizations supporting patients

Healthcare is becoming more digitalized. Patients expect online services like self-scheduling appointments, reminders for medical exams, delivery of their lab results to their phones, and more.

With that, the nature of healthcare communication also changes. However, HealthTech businesses and healthcare providers must comply with strict data privacy regulations such as HIPAA. Therefore, they must provide HIPAA-compliant messaging to support their patients.

A secure HIPAA-compliant in-app chat can be added to a healthcare provider’s app to streamline patient communication and reduce the workload of medical and non-medical staff.

healthcare in app chat

FinTech and FinServ businesses assisting clients

Financial institutions and service providers such as banks are met with increasing client demands in the digital age. Most banks provide apps to their clients, but businesses in this industry must rely on exceptional customer service to retain clients due to numerous competitors.

For such organizations, in-app chat is a great way to meet the needs of their customers. Self-service capabilities can filter out the simple from more complex inquiries, thus enabling agents to focus on cases where their actions have greater impact on customer satisfaction.

in-app chat

In-app chat for customer support in e-commerce

E-commerce businesses deal with high volumes of incoming customer requests. More and more of online shops have designated apps, but their buyers still need to contact customer support via email or website.

In-app chat could hep such companies optimize their user experience and lead to happier, more satisfied customers.

in-app chat

In-app chat best practices

There are several ways to optimize in-app chat experience for users. These best practices also benefit customer support agents and reduce their overload by filtering out simpler requests.

Here are the ways to improve the way your in-app chat works:

Leverage pre-built answers to FAQ

As seen in the statistics mentioned above, 60% of customers prefer self-service when faced with simpler issues. Links to knowledge base articles and pre-built answers to frequently asked questions help you attend your customers’ inquiries quickly and efficiently.

Use chatbots

Using chatbots has unfairly gained negative reputation. Users would get irritated by the never-ending loop of questions when they had bigger issues and wanted to be connected with a real person to resolve their requests.

However, research shows that the majority of consumers - more than 87% - have neutral or positive experience with chatbots. Moreover, chatbots are extremely effective additions to in-app and live chat solutions. They are expected to handle up to 90% of healthcare and baking queries by 2022.

Enable feature rich chat with broad integration capabilities

When purchasing in-app chat solutions, businesses should pay attention to several chat features. Feature-rich chats should give users various options and functional capabilities, such as sending pictures, videos, and other rich media.

Moreover, chat APIs can help you deliver high-quality customer service by integrating the solution with your favourite or most-used software.

White labeled in-app chat

Your in-app chat should match your brand and style. Therefore, white labeling is important to achieve consistency across all the communication channels.

Upgrade your customer service with secure in-app chat

In-app chat is a valuable addition to organizations’ customer communication strategy. It provides an exceptional conversational experience and positively influences customer satisfaction.

However, some industries are limited in implementing in-app chat due to data privacy and security measures. 

Rocket.Chat’s in-app chat is a great choice for privacy-conscious companies that want to provide their customers with a flexible solution to fit their needs. Built with organizations in highly regulated industries in mind, Rocket.Chat’s security features match its flexibility and integration capabilities.

Learn more about Rocket.Chat’s in-app chat and get in touch with our sales team to find out how you could add it to your app or website.

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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