At Sprout Insights, we comb the web to bring you the most up-to-date and actionable resources on how to use social media to grow your business.

To that end, we’re pleased to present the Sprout Insights series Spotlight on Startups. We’ll find the most innovative, useful startup companies out there, get the inside track on what they’re doing, and tell you how you can leverage their products and services for your own business. This week we’re pleased to cast the spotlight on LiveChat — a web-based live chat application — based in Wroclaw, Poland, with U.S. offices in Chapel Hill, NC.

What Is LiveChat?

As you might expect from its name, LiveChat is a website chat application that enables people visiting your website to engage in real-time chats with your staff or agents. According to its website, LiveChat is “the only chat solution on the market designed to help businesses make money, not just to communicate.”

LiveChat has a number of unique features that make it much more than a simple chat-based service. For example, it integrates with over 30 third-party customer service applications, including ZenDesk. It also has powerful web analytics and tracking tools built right into the application so that you can “see through your visitors’ eyes” and see what pages they’re viewing on your site. Add even more features, like keyword tracking, report generation, and a one-click rating system for your support staff and it becomes clear why the app positions itself as a money-maker, not a cost center, for your business.

LiveChat is a multi-tired, paid service, but you can sign up for a free trial to try the application before you buy it (but be sure and check out the special offer, exclusive to Insights readers, below).

What Needs Does it Address?

At Insights, we’ve told you about how social media is changing customer service. Integral to this entire new paradigm is the expectation from your customers that when they reach out to your company online, there will be someone on the other end to help them. LiveChat allows you not only to meet those expectations, but to exceed them, converting support clients into brand advocates.

“With LiveChat, our goal is for your customers to feel as if they’re walking into a brick and mortar business, speaking to someone from your company face to face,” says LiveChat CEO, Mariusz Cieply. “Our own support staff is second to none, and we provide not only the application, but a comprehensive knowledge base, including best practices, case studies and so on, that can help your staff make this goal a reality,” he adds.

“We’re not the only live chat software out there,” says CMO, Szymon Klimczak, “but we like to consider ourselves in a class of our own.” With the ability to integrate LiveChat into a number of customer relationship management (CRM) tools, LiveChat is able to extend its user base considerably. “You can even use LiveChat on your Facebook Page, offering even more flexibility for your customers, and giving them an opportunity to interact with your company where they hang out,” says Klimczak.

How You Can Leverage LiveChat

If your company has any form of online, customer-facing component, adding a live chat feature to your website can help you streamline your customer support infrastructure, improve customer satisfaction, and according to at least one LiveChat customer, it can improve your bottom line. In fact, check out LiveChat’s “Customer Stories” page for a variety of real world use cases for LiveChat from a number of its satisfied clients.

One of those satisfied clients is Sprout Insights’ parent company, Sprout Social. Carolyn Breit, Customer Support Manager for Sprout Social, had this say about LiveChat. “At least once per day, we hear from our customers via LiveChat telling us that it’s incredible that they get to speak to a live person — and so quickly! Live Chat also lets us log our chats in Salesforce, create tickets in Zendesk, and send transcription history to the customer upon request. It really helps us to be more effective in our pursuit to wow our customers!”

Feel free to reach out to LiveChat through its website, its Twitter account, or on Facebook. If you’re interested in finding out about all the new features that LiveChat has in store, you can also sign up for the beta release of its new version, called LiveChat NEXT, scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2013.

Exclusive Offer for Insights Readers!

LiveChat normally offers a free, 30-day trial, but exclusively for readers of Sprout Insights, LiveChat has offered to extend the free-trial period to 90 days! “We’re sure that after 90 days of using our product, your readers will realize the value of LiveChat and become our customers too,” says Mr. Cieply.

To activate your 90 day free-trial of LiveChat, simply click this link: LiveChat for Sprout Insights Readers and your trial period will automatically be extended to 90 days.

Know of any other startups that would make a good feature on Spotlight on Startups? Contact us, or let us know in the comments below.

[Image credits: LiveChat]