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User story: As a client, I would want to come to the website, log into my own private online 'room' (preferably without downloading software, although a mobile app would be a useful bonus), leaves messages for my support person and schedule appointments with them, and then talk 1:1 via video/text within that room.

What I've looked at: Obviously Skype comes to mind, but I want to keep clients within our website (or at least give them the feeling that they're on our website in the probable event that I need to send them to a hosted saas that does what I'm asking for).

I've looked at Slack, HipChat, and many of their competitors, but they're all geared more towards group collaboration, and I find their interfaces to be a bit busy and confusing for our clients. Plus, most of them require a software download.

I've also looked at telehealth software such as WeCounsel, which has a lot of the functionality I need but is quite confusing for clients. I've looked at Doxy.me, which is beautifully easy to use, but doesn't have the private room functionality. I'd say WeCounsel is the best so far, but I need a much simpler interface.

If I need to handle the billing and scheduling with other software, so be it.

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Hangouts Chat

Not to be confused with Google Hangouts, the confusingly-named Hangouts Chat is Google's business offering as of 2018, and is available to G Suite subscribers.

  • Create dedicated chat rooms
  • Start a video call directly from the chat
  • Web app: No software install required.
  • Simple interface.
  • API to create your own chat bots

Use Cloud Identity to give your customers a free account without giving them a full G Suite license (Gmail, Drive, etc).

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I would definitely keep billing and scheduling separate simply because whatever is good today may not be the best in 5 years.

That said, I'd look at Big Blue Button for the video conferencing part, either self hosted (trivial to install/set up and a $10/mo linode.com vps can handle 20+ concurrent users) or from one of the several providers that host commercially. Browser based, can do audio only, audio+video, share documents, share part or all of your screen, text chat, etc.

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