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.netLIVEHELP Review
by John Spano | Published  09/06/2007 | Software Reviews | Rating:
John Spano

John Spano cofounder and CTO of NeoTekSystems, a Greenville, South Carolina technology consulting company. NeoTekSystems offers IT consulting, custom programming, web design and web hosting. We specialize in Microsoft .Net enterprise development and business design.

I have six years of experience in software architecture. My primary focus is on Microsoft technologies, and I have been involved in .NET since beta 1. I currently hold a MCSD certification, 2 MCTS's (Windows, Web) a MCPD in Distributed, 2 MCITP's, a Microsoft MVP, and have won the Helper of the Month contest for July 2002 in the devCity.NET forums.

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    I have been looking at some live web chat programs lately and got the opportunity to review a very good one called .netLIVEHELP .  It’s priced per web site and not per operator and has a ton of features.  It can use Microsoft Access, which it does by default, or MS Sql Server, Oracle or MySql.  This allows you to scale well for larger enterprises or work cheaply for small ones.

     I download it and began the installation which was very easy.  All I had to do was create a virtual directory under my main website and ftp the files to it.  After that it just worked!  I started up the admin console and a test chat window like I was a customer.  Screenshots are below of the two windows.
Administrator console:

Client chat window:


Client chat window:


     There are many cool features of the live help application.For instance, clients can email themselves the entire chat log or print it so they can keep a copy of it easily.Administrators can have a selection of preexisting chat text selections for easy standard answer issues.

     Operators can also chat between themselves, or administrators can broadcast a message to all operators.You can reassign a chat to another operator if you have to leave your desk and don’t want to disconnect from your clients.Images or files can also be sent to clients as well as text.

     The built in spell check allows you to keep your clients from knowing that you can’t spell also…If your operators are anything like me, you’ll use that all the time.


.netLIVEHELP also allows you to customize the fields that your clients have to fill out before talking to an operator.See the screenshot below for a custom field I added.

The operator can easily see this information when talking to the client.


     Since the main form is a standard Asp.Net form, you can customize it to your organization easily.It’s very easy to add things or totally redo the main form to better help your customers.Here is a shot of where I changed the default icon telling you there’s chat open, to my company’s logo.


     Other cool features of .netLIVEHELP are the ability to see that the customer or operator is typing so you don’t wonder what’s going on, and the ability to rate your operator if you’re a customer.

Also notice in the above shot the tab and name John at the bottom left.When you accept new chats, they become tabbed dialogs in the current window so you don’t have to deal with multiple operator chat windows per person.

Support rating:


     Overall I was impressed with .netLIVEHELP.It’s easy to use and to set up making the job of live help affordable and easy to implement for all size organizations.I would highly recommend you get the trial version and give it a spin.You can check out the what’s new in the help for all the features available or to see what’s new in 2.0 if you are still running 1.0.

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