While contact forms are an effective way of letting your visitors get in touch with you, there are other options available to WordPress site owners.
By using a service like a live chat plugin you can provide a user friendly way for your visitors to communicate with you in real time. Online chat services can encourage potential customers to ask a question they might not deem worthy of an email that would’ve otherwise gone unasked and preventing them from making the purchase. An available live chat icon can prompt an impulsive action from a customer to make contact, moving them along the sales cycle.
For personal bloggers the ability to make it easier for your readers to reach out and connect with you can go a long way towards strengthening your relationship with them and enhancing the personal aspect of your website.
Whatever your website, there is a good chance it can be enhanced by one of these tools, provided you are prepared to answer questions and respond to invitations to chat from your audience.
Adding Live Chat to WordPress
Adding a live chat facility to your website is a great way to letting your visitors ask any questions they might have about your service before signing up and handing over their money. Many online retailers, both big and small, are now incorporating this form of communication into their websites and there is no reason why you can’t too with these WordPress live chat plugins.
FlexyTalk - Live Chat
It’s free to get started with the FlexyTalk - Live Chat plugin for WordPress so it’s a good choice for experimenting with this type of communication on your website.
As well as working with your WordPress site, you can use this service to add a live chat widget on a Facebook page to connect with your visitors there too. The appearance of the chat windows can be modified using the bundled themes or by using the appearance editor allowing them to be easily integrated into your site’s design.
Since the introduction of Hangout this plugin no longer works with the Google service as it once did with Google Talk which is something to consider for those looking to integrate their live chat service with Google. The plugin owners have since released their own XMPP offering which reportedly works like Google Talk.
Signing up with this service gives you access to a free trial of the premium features, which switches you to the free price plan when the trial expires. If you want to continue using the premium features you will have to sign up to one of the premium price plans, although you are free to continue using the basic version.
The ClickDesk live support plugin for WordPress has proven very popular and has garnered lots of positive reviews.
Users can click to call and voice chat with you from your website and start communicating from within their web browser. There is a help desk function for managing your email and offline chats which is very useful for referring back to conversations and queries from customers.
Calls and instant messages can be configured so that they can be accepted on your mobile phone allowing you to field questions from potential customers while away from your computer. The plugin can use Skype for communication so doesn’t require the use of another service to enable you to chat online.
The ClickDesk plugin is easy to setup and when you are offline, displays a mini contact form which still enables your visitors to get in touch.
This is a feature packed plugin that can easily allow you to add a live chat button to your website and a whole lot more.
Is a premium chat plugin for WordPress and is available at Code Canyon at an affordable price.
Once installed, the plugin adds a popup chat window to your web pages that users of Facebook will be familiar with. If you are online then users can ask you questions about your service or any other queries they might have. On those occasions when you are not available, the chat window displays a brief contact form allowing your visitors to still get in contact, although not in real time.
After the one off payment for the plugin there are no other costs such as monthly fees or other pricing plans making it a great choice for those who just want an online chat solution with no additional costs.
The skins can be customised to fit in with your current site design and the plugin can be used with multiple operators to help share the effort of responding to visitors who are making contact.
Chat logs are stored for future reference and analysis and the chat window uses a tabbed interface to operators can easily manage multiple conversations without being deluged with separate chat windows.
This is a great value plugin that is ideal for those who want basic but well executed chat functionality added to their website. While it lacks some of the premium features of other services such as mobile chatting and integration with other IM services it does what it sets out to do very well.
Other Live Chat Options for WordPress
There are plenty of other plugins out there that can bring live chat functionality to your WordPress site including:
- Chat by WPMU Dev: this is a low cost premium plugin that allows you to host live chat sessions and interact with your visitors in order to help boost sales and works with BuddyPress and Multisite networks.
- Comm100: this plugin allows you to install the Comm100 Live Chat onto your WordPress site. The chat button is displayed easily onto your pages and posts or in a sidebar widget to easy access for your visitors.
- WP Live Chat: this plugin allows you to add a live chat service to your site for a low priced one off fee and allows you to initiate chats with users as they browse your site. You can also easily add your own avatar and branding to the chat windows.
- Live Chat Cassengo: this plugin is free for one agent and then charges for additional users. It’s a great way to add this service to your site and it has a good rating from users at WordPress.org
- WP Live Chat Support: while there is a pro version of this plugin, the free version has everything you need to get going. Features include being able to initiate chats and the lack of any advertising or links from the authors.
By adding one of these free or premium plugins to your site you can now answer queries from customers quicker than ever. By adding a further way for your potential customers to get in touch you can also more effectively allay any concerns they might have before they decide to make a purchase on your site.
Leave a Voice Message
Allowing your visitors to record a voice message for you, through your site is a novel but effective additional communication channel to add to your WordPress site.
By giving your users this choice you can increase the chances of them getting in touch with you, giving you an extra opportunity to reach out to your audience by responding to their queries and comments.
There are lots of uses for voicemail plugins including answering questions, receiving feedback and testimonials as well as managing competitions and contests.
Speakpipe for WordPress
Speakpipe is one of the most popular services for allowing visitors to send site owners voice messages through a browser without involving any phone calls.
The plugin is free and adds the ability for your visitors to record a voice message for you on your WordPress site. Use of this plugin requires a Speakpipe account and included in the pricing plans is a free version making this effectively a no-cost way of adding this functionality to your WordPress site.
The recorded messages are stored on the Speakpipe website which saves you the trouble of managing the files but also raises potential privacy and security concerns.
WP Squawk Box
This premium plugin adds a ‘dynamic virtual voice mailbox’ on your WordPress site allowing your visitors to leave voice message from within their browser using their computers microphone.
Unlike Speakpipe, the voice messages made using WP Squawk Box are stored on your site rather than on the authors servers making them fully accessible to you at all times as well as addressing any privacy issues you might have about employing a service of this type.
There is also an option to receive an email notification each time a voice message left on your site allowing you to quickly respond to messages from your visitors.
If you want to add this functionality to your site for a one off cost and have control over all your messages then this plugin could be a good choice.
Download WP Squawk Box »
Contact Call + Skype
The free contact call plugin adds a ‘call me’ button to your WordPress site which allows visitors to contact you via Skype. By activating voicemail in Skype you should be able to combine this plugin with Skype in order to be able to receive voicemails via your WordPress site. It might not be the most elegant solution but it shouldn’t involve any costs or fees.
Hopefully these plugins have given you some ideas on increasing the ways your visitors can get in touch with you beyond the traditional email contact forms. Whether you are a personal blogger looking to connect with your audience or a business using WordPress and want an easy way to answer questions and provide support these tools should be able to help you.