As an internet user, you have undoubtedly visited websites with built-in chat for instant help or support. As a website owner and part of the WordPress universe, you can add that same functionality to your own site by using one of the many purpose-built plugins available through the WordPress dashboard.
Before explaining how to do it, you might be wondering whether it would help your business or organization. Perhaps it would, perhaps it wouldn’t. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your website. We can tell you that adding a chat function:
- makes interacting with customers easier;
- improves response times relating to support questions;
- increases customer engagement; and
- provides a way of communicating with customers outside of e-mail or social media.
The biggest advantage of adding online chat is that it offers an instantaneous connection point to your website visitors. You can monitor the chat during your normal working hours and then let the plugin’s automation capabilities (if applicable) handle things when you are not otherwise available.
How It All Works
Getting started with live chat support begins with choosing the right plugin. There are plenty to choose from, so it is not practical for us to attempt to make any recommendations. We do recommend that you choose a plugin with some history behind it. You want a plugin that has been around a while, gets plenty of positive reviews, and is regularly updated.
One of the most used live chat support plugins for WordPress at the time of this writing is known as WP Live Chat Support. It currently boasts more than 30,000 active installs and has been tested with WordPress. Other candidates include Zendesk Chat and Wise Chat.
Choosing your plugin is a matter of deciding exactly what you want to offer. If you are only looking for basic live chat support during normal business operations, a simple plugin with no frills would do the trick. If you want to offer more, you may have to do a little research to find the right plugin. The best chat plugins offer tremendous functionality, including:
- Automation Capabilities – A plugin with an automated chat bot feature lets you create a series of FAQs that make it possible for the bot to provide answers to questions even when no one is monitoring the chat.
- Social Media Integration – Some live chat plugins include social media integration that give visitors the option of contacting you through Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Customization Options – The most common customization features relate to private chat channels, user registration and restriction, message filtering, message history, and even the ability to embed links, videos, and attachments.
This post has merely scratched the surface of offering live chat support on your WordPress site via a purpose-built plugin. If you have always wanted to add a chat box to your site, you now know how to get started. Just be sure to do your research before choosing a chat plugin.