Drift Review

Drift offers live chat as part of their conversational marketing platform, as well as chatbots, meeting bookings and a wealth of integrations.

Last updated: September 2019

Drift is an innovative 'conversational marketing platform'. You can use it for basic live chat but it also offers sophisticated approaches to capturing and qualifying leads in real-time. For example, with Account Based Marketing you can specify what sorts of companies and contacts you want to target. Then when relevant leads are on your website (with help of the Clearbit integration) you can target them with relevant content and communications. This can of course be automated, but you can also have sales people be notified when leads are live on the website so that they can reach out personally.

One other standout feature is allowing visitors and customers to book meetings directly with your staff. You can set up a unique profile URL (mine is drift.me/mattsteen), where leads can chat directly with you, or schedule a meeting on your calendar.

Although the chat experience is very good (see below), I found the various settings and administrative pages slow to load.

User Experience

The chat widget offers a very good user experience for your customers, both on mobile and desktop. One thing I particularly like is how easy it is to switch between conversations with different people or bots.

The user experience for chatting with your customers is also very good. The leftmost panel lets you filter chats. The middle panel shows the conversation and the right panel shows customer details.

Pricing

Drift's pricing is user-based (referred to as 'seats'). As the chart shows, the price rises linearly with the number of users. Assuming you have a stable number of users, pricing is therefore predictable from month to month and not tied to the number of contacts you have, or messages you send (as with some other providers).

Drift also offers a free plan which is good for trial purposes or if you only need live chat or calendar booking for 1 user.

Features

Style Chat Widget

Customize widget colors, icon and font. Show Screenshot

Remove Branding Upgrade

Available in Pro Plans and above.

Office Hours

You can set the chat widget to automatically display when you are offline according to your schedule. You can also define when a particular team should be considered online or offline. This requires the Drift Teams feature, which is available on the Company and Enterprise plans. Show Screenshot

Teams Upgrade

Requires the Drift Teams feature, which is available on the Company and Enterprise plans. Show Screenshot

Routing

You can rules to route chats to a single person, a group or team (via round robin) or the Drift account owner.

Saved Replies Upgrade

You can create saved replies to save time answering frequently asked questions. Saved replies can then be inserted into a conversation via a button (you cannot use shortcuts for them). This requires the Standard plan or above. Show Screenshot

Block Users

Users can be blocked by their IP address

Hide Chat Widget Upgrade

You can decide only to show the Drift chat widget based on conditions such as whether a particular team is online or where the website visitor is geo-located. This feature requires the Company or Enterprise plan. Show Screenshot

Trigger Chats Upgrade

Drift lets you target website visitors with its sophisticated Playbook feature. This feature requires the Company or Enterprise plan. Show Screenshot

Tagging

Drift has two types of tags: customer tags and conversation tags. Customer tags are associated with a person to surface important information in the conversations view and so you can segment your customer base. Conversation tags can be used to follow-up on conversations and also to analyse how many conversations your team is having about a specific topic. Show Screenshot

Reports

There are three report types accessible from the conversation view (top right): Conversation Volume (metrics related to the conversations in general), Team Performance (metrics about your team's interaction with visitors such as response time) and Routing Rules (a report about where your conversations are being routed). Show Screenshot

Chatbot Upgrade

Drift's chatbots are available from the Pro plan upwards.

Email Inbox

You can set up multiple email inboxes with separate email addresses (in the form xyz@fwd.drift.com). You can then forward emails to these addresses, for example from a public-facing email address like help@yourdomain.com.

Custom Email Address Upgrade

Drift supports DKIM so you can send emails to customers from your own domain, rather than the Drift domain. This is only available in the paid plans.

Track User Data

The Contacts feature lets you filter contacts based on attributes and events. You can create user segments for targeting via email or chat, for example.

Campaigns

Drift has an email marketing feature called 'Sales Sequences', which is available in all plans.

GDPR-compliant

Self-certified under the EU-US Privacy Shield and the Swiss-US Privacy Shield. Updated Data Processing Agreements are available for customers to sign upon request. Customers can choose to capture consent from all customers, only EU customers, or none at all. Admins can retrieve or delete end-user data (this can also be done via the API). Data Protection Officer appointed.

Internationalization

Drift's admin panel is in English only. The Chat Widget supports various other languages.

Offers App

Drift offers apps ("Drift for Sales") for iOS and Android devices.

Knowledge Base Upgrade

Drift offers its own Help Docs solution. Alternatively, you can integrate with Knowledge Bases from HelpScout, Helpjuice or WordPress. Both of these options require the Standard plan.

API

Drift has an API for building apps, customizing the chat widget or integrating with your platform. They also have SKDs for iOS and Android.

Matt

Review by Matt

I've developed this site to help businesses like yours find the best software for your needs. My work is supported by affiliate commissions.


Review Updates

  • Jan 25, 2019 Review published
  • Sep 27, 2019 Review updated