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If you're using your WordPress website as a business storefront, you already know you need a way for prospective customers to contact you with questions. An email form is a start — but many customers won't find a form buried in your contact options, and by the time you respond to an email, those that do may have moved on to purchase from a competitor.
You're probably spending much of your day working on your business anyway, so wouldn't it be nice if you had a way talk to customers as soon as they realize they need information? Fortunately, WordPress live chat serves exactly that purpose!
By installing a WordPress live chat plugin, you can add a small "chat" button to your website pages. Visitors can click the button to open a chat window and ask their question, at which point you'll receive an alert to reply through a browser console. You can also initiate chats with visitors who land on certain pages or have already spent a few minutes browsing your site.
The experience is very similar to having a conversation over GChat or another instant messaging app — and broadly similar to having a salesperson available to assist customers browsing a physical store.
There are dozens of live chat plugins available for WordPress, offering a wide variety of features and price points. Olark is one stable, affordable option that is easy to install and includes features like canned responses, targeting, and an offline message mode.
If you're running a WooCommerce store, Olark will also give you visibility into the contents of your visitors' shopping carts. Seeing your visitor's shopping cart can can help you save big sales and upsell customers on complementary products.
Ready to try it out? Here's what you need to do to to get set up with live chat:
● Start a free trial on the Olark website. You'll have free access to all their features for 2 weeks, and you won't be charged if you cancel before the trial ends.
● Follow these instructions, to install the plugin. You'll need access to your WordPress admin interface, as well as your Olark site ID, which you'll find in your Olark dashboard.
● Navigate to the user view of your website and refresh the page — you should see your new chatbox!
The Olark Help Center offers lots of good tips for configuring your setup and making the most of specific live chat features. At a minimum, you'll want to configure the following:
● Chatbox visibility — if your website has a lot of traffic, use rules to control who sees the chatbox so you're not overwhelmed with too many chats. For example, you could show chat only on certain product pages, or only allow visitors to see the chat option after they've browsed for at least a few minutes.
● Canned responses — if you know you'll want to provide certain information to many visitors on chat (for example, a reminder of your shipping and return policies), store that information in a canned response so you can recall it quickly while chatting.
● Integrations — connect chat with other tools and systems you rely on, such as a helpdesk or CRM, so you can attach transcripts to customer records and access customer information during a chat.
● Agents and groups — add agent accounts for any colleagues who will be joining you on chat. If you'll have many agents with different specialties, you might find it helpful to group them so you can transfer chats to anyone in a particular group.
● Offline mode — you can't be online all the time, and you don't need to be! Just one or two conversations per day is enough to make a difference for your business. Decide whether you'll hide the chat button entirely when you're not available, or keep the button but replace the chatbox with an offline message form.
Live chat is an incredibly powerful business tool, and if you're already using WordPress, adding it to your website only takes a few minutes. It's also supported with any WordPress themes, so you do not need to about integration. Get started with the steps above, and then add a comment if you have additional suggestions or advanced tips and tricks to share!