WordPress comes equipped with several features built into Core. For instance, you have the option of enabling or disabling comments. You can configure profiles for all users on the site. What makes WordPress so attractive to developers, however, is its flexibility. Whether you add custom code or use a plugin, you can modify how your site looks, feels, and functions without having to build anything from the ground up.
If you run a business, taking advantage of one of the many live chat plugins out there is a good idea. Not only will it put you in direct contact with your potential customers, it can also create a sense of community around your site, which is kind of, sort of important these days. Just a little bit.
Okay, so I’m being sarcastic there, but you get the idea. Using a live chat plugin can dramatically change how people interact with your site—for the better.
Why Use Live Chat?
There are many reasons why using a chat plugin is smart for WordPress websites. Here are my top 4:
- Access: If you’re going to be asking that people shell out their hard-earned dollars for your product or service, it’s only fair that you make yourself available to them to answer any questions they may have. In fact, one study showed that having a chat module on your site can increase conversions by 44 percent!
- Customer Service: Having a live chat also shows that you’re available to your customers after they’ve made a purchase. This shows a confidence in your product and a willingness to extend the customer relationship.
- Authority: A chat plugin makes your site look more official. As shallow as that may seem, perception can be everything in business. And giving off a vibe that you know your industry and that you’re willing to be there for your customers can only help you in the end.
- Brand Reputation: This goes along with authority, but deserves its own mention. Your brand’s reputation follows you wherever you go. So getting a rep as a people pleaser and as a company that values its customers can go a long way toward making a good impression.
Now that you have a clear idea of why you should use a chat plugin, we can delve into some of the best options out there right now.
ClickDesk Live Support
ClickDesk Live Support is one of the most popular chat plugins by far. It comes with so many features that I don’t think I’ll be able to cover them all here—but I’ll surely try!
For starters, this plugin combines a variety of features into one seamless interface. That means you don’t have to install multiple plugins to get all of these features. Can you say faster site load time? Specifically, it combines live chat, help desk, voice chat, and a social toolbar. This means that site visitors can ask questions through a live chat interface or call in using voice chat on Google Talk or Skype to speak with a customer service representative. The help desk component lets you or your employees manage emails and offline chat messages, too, with a built-in ticketing system.
Beyond these primary features, this plugin really shines in the details. You can view website visitors in realtime in your WordPress dashboard, take chats and calls on mobile devices, hold conferences, produce reports, and save chat transcripts. You can also use the click-to-translate feature to answer questions in any language, send and receive files, and display social media info on the chat widget for further communication options.
Finally, ClickDesk Live Support integrates with Salesforce.com, Zendesk, Unbounce, and several other tools.
Chat by WPMU DEV
Though you’ll have to pay $19 for this plugin, Chat by WPMU DEV has a slick interface and plenty of features to cover all of your needs. With it, you can hold standard one-on-one chat sessions plus chats between several site users and public chats.
Site visitors can login using their social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and BuddyPress. They can use their Gravatars and emoticons. The chat window can pop-out or pop-in, depending on your needs. Speaking of, you can customize the chat boxes however you want to match your site’s theme and it can appear in any corner.
Chat can be inserted into posts and pages, you can view recorded chat logs, and you can set up restrictions including profanity filters, and user blocking by email address. This chat covers all your bases. It’s truly multipurpose and designed to satisfy any chat-related needs on a WordPress site.
Banckle Chat is another multipurpose plugin that does more than just add a chat box to your site. You can offer live support and get up-to-date stats about your site’s visitors and activity. I’m talking everything from demographics to technical details. This free plugin lets you set up new departments and assign users, add the chat box to multiple websites, and change its aesthetics to match each site’s look.
You can also set up automated messages to greet customers as they visit your site or perform a certain behavior and it features multi language support and live translation, so you can connect with people from all over the world. Additionally, you can make it so messages sent to you when you’re offline can be sent automatically to your email address. Block IPs, enable audio and visual alerts, and enable a wide range of customizations.
Zopim Live Chat
This is another really popular live chat option for WordPress users. Zopim Live Chat is designed to be your all-in-one customer support solution by letting you answer customer questions while they are in the process of making a purchase. This plugin lets you manage several conversations at once, so you can always be present for your those site visitors who are most likely to convert.
You can set up triggers that let you reach out to every visitor automatically, so you’re more available to hold in-depth conversations with serious prospects. You can use the chat system on your mobile device thanks to dedicated mobile apps and you can use the included analytics to assess how visitors use your website. You can also easily customize it to reflect your site’s design and color scheme.
Simple Simon Live Chat
If you want to add a chat box to your site but don’t want to get bogged down by excess features, the Simple Simon Live Chat plugin is a good option for you. It’s perfect for small businesses with small staffs that just want to make connecting with customers a little bit more intuitive.
Set the chat to show you’re online when you’re available and offline when you’re not. Enable audio notifications when a new chat is initiated and engage in multiple conversations at once, if need be. Select the chat box’s location on your site and customize it to look however you want. You can even rename it from “Live Chat” to “Bob’s Chat Corner,” if you want, though I’m not sure why you’d want to do that.
Live Chat – Casengo
Another chat option for your site is called Casengo Live Chat and it lets you receive questions from potential customers and site visitors through the live chat box, email, Twitter, and Facebook. And you can respond to all of these questions from just one interface, which has the potential of saving you a ton of time.
You can currently try out the plugin for 30 days under a free trial then you’ll have a choice of service plans that start at about $12 per month. Push notifications were just added to the Casengo app, too, so you’ll know when customers are trying to get in touch while you’re on the go.
FlexyTalk – Live Chat
If you want a cloud-based chat solution, then FlexyTalk – Live Chat ought to do the trick. It easily integrates with whatever instant messaging app you currently use, so you don’t have to worry about having multiple windows open. Plus, you’ll have access to your chat on mobile devices thanks to apps like Apple Messages, IM+, Pidgin, or Adium.
You can easily transfer open chats to a different person, if you need to step away. You can also enable chat between employees and establish trigger rules that dictate when site visitors will receive a custom invite to chat with you. Set up a queue when everyone on staff is currently busy, receive offline messages, send chat transcripts, and enable chat routing that selects the least busy employee at the time of a new chat request.
There are so many features included with FlexyTalk, I can’t talk about them all here. Just know that it integrates with just about every social media channel, offers Google Analytics integration, supports Gravatars, and has several chatbox themes and designs to choose from. You can even search through previous chats for forgotten details, if need be.
Flyzoo Live Chat
Last, but not least, is the Flyzoo Live Chat plugin. This plugin’s features are twofold: you can set up live customer support and chat rooms for your site visitors. It comes equipped with visitor monitoring, one-on-one chats, group chats, and more. Customize the color scheme, set up messages for when you’re online and offline, use avatars and emoticons, and generally hold conversations with your potential customers. You can also moderate chats if you wish and take a gander at your chat history if you want to evaluate how members of your team are doing on the customer service front.
This chat system is cloud-based, offers smart chat routing, and has tab sync so you can chat from multiple browser windows at once. Other features include SSL, embeddable group chats, private chats, and more. After signing up for a 14-day trial, you can get Flyzoo starting at $1.90/month.
Well, there you have it: several WordPress chat plugins to choose from. They all bring something a little different to the table but what they share is an intention to make interacting with and converting customers just a little bit easier.
What’s your favorite chat plugin? Did I miss any? I’d love to hear what you think!
Article thumbnail image by Jane Kelly / shutterstock.com
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