How to Setup Live Chat on WordPress

Technology continues to shape the customer service industry in new and compelling ways.

Customers with queries or complaints used to have to directly visit a store but when the telephone was invented, customers were able to call the businesses. Although at one point this was an innovation, people quickly grew tired of the problems it also invented in relation to receiving customer service.

Next came the internet. Email and social media made it so that agents could address more concerns at one time, making response times quicker, but apparently not quick enough. Both email and social media have their downsides when it comes to addressing customer service issues.

The latest attempt to resolve customer questions and issues in a timely manner is live chat, which brings together the best of both the telephone and internet-enabled world.

Live chat has been around since the late 1980’s, when Quantum Link created On-Line Messages (OLM) for the Commodore 64, paving the way for instant messaging. Q-Link later became known as AOL—a company name you’re probably better acquainted with.

Many think of live chat as just another way for customers to reach a seller, but since there are other mediums available for providing customer service support, haven’t given much thought to its implementation. Truly, this is a mistake, as live chat helps increase customer satisfaction, which can increase sales.

Why Live Chat on WordPress?

Many see live chat as yet another technology to master and implement, as well as an additional budgeting/staffing concern. Those that think this way are ignoring the many benefits that come with setting up live chat on WordPress.

First, live chat is convenient for customers. They don’t have to exit the website to create inquiries, and if they have questions, help is just a click away. 51% of consumers say that they like live chat because they can multitask and shop online while at work.

Live chat support agents are able to multitask as well, allowing the company to cut costs by not hiring as many agents as they would need when operating a call center.

Live chat improves the customer service experience by offering timely responses. A study found that 93% of businesses don’t follow the “5-minute rule”—just 7% of companies respond to inquiries made in 5 minutes or less!

This is noteworthy because just a 5-minute delay in response results in a 400% decrease in odds to qualify that person as a lead. In the same survey, the one thing held in common between the 7% of companies who respond to inquiries in a timely manner is the fact that they make use of live chat.

Good customer service leads to sales, with 38% of customers saying that they made a purchase as a result of a live chat session. An eMarketer study also found that 63% of customers return to websites that have live chat.

Most importantly, online customers prefer this method of customer support. 92% of customers feel most satisfied when using live chat compared to any other customer service communication mediums, including voice, email, web forms, or social media.

The bottom line: it isn’t hard or costly to use live chat on WordPress. Here are some of the best plugins to setup live chat on WordPress:

Plugins for Live Chat on WordPress

LiveChat

live chat on wordpress

LiveChat, as straightforward as its name, takes a no-nonsense approach to business. It is the industry leader in live chat support software and offers a free plugin that enables website owners to communicate with their website visitors even while on the go, as you don’t have to be logged into the WordPress dashboard to use the tool. The LiveChat application allows you or your chat operators to access LiveChat from laptop, tablet or mobile.

LiveChat comes with a feature that allows chat agents to send chat invitations to users, based on certain criteria, like how many pages they’ve visited or how long they’ve spent on a site. Other features include real-time monitoring, file sharing, and a built-in ticketing system that provides 24/7 support to customers. The latter mentioned feature makes it so that even if you’re offline, your website’s visitors can still contact you for support.

LiveChat also seamlessly integrates with third-party software solutions such as Zendesk, Google Analytics, popular CRM Hubspot, Salesforce, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The plugin may be free, but the use of LiveChat isn’t. Basic plans start at $16/month/agent when billed annually.

Zendesk Chat

live chat on wordpress

Coming from the top customer service platform, Zendesk Chat (formerly known as Zopim) is one of the leading live chat services and is easy to add to WordPress via the free plugin.

Besides being one of the most popular customer service tool providers, Zendesk has the most stylish live chat box interface on this list of plugins that enable live chat on WordPress, with customizable layouts and themes.

ZenDesk Chat also offers chat triggers (which open chat boxes when visitors stay on a page for a certain amount of time or visit a certain number of pages), a mobile-optimized widget, and an advanced analytics dashboard.

There is a free Zendesk Chat plan available but it only allows for one agent to handle chats—and you can only chat with customers one at a time. If you’re the sole owner and operator of your website (and business), this may be ideal for you. For everyone else, premium pricing for Zendesk Chat starts at $14/agent/month

Olark

live chat on wordpress

Olark is one of the best live chat solutions on the market and you can set it up on your WordPress site using a widget (just add the snippet of code to your child theme) or the Olark for WP plugin.

Olark’s features are powerful and include:

  • Chat reports
  • CRM and help desk integration with many popular software solutions including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Groove
  • Ability to sort operators into teams according to function (like sales or support)
  • Ability to search chat history—each chat conversation box gets a detailed breakdown of the customer’s activity on your website. After the conversation is done, customers can leave ratings
  • White label feature
  • Ability to see what’s in the customer’s shopping cart

Olark’s pricing is fairly straightforward, starting at $17/agent/month.

WP Live Chat Support

live chat on wordpress

WP Live Chat Support is geared towards businesses looking for a cost-effective solution for live chat on WordPress.

It comes in 6 pre-defined chat box themes, the ability to drag and drop the chat anywhere on your page, the ability to have unlimited simultaneous chats, offline message storage, Google Analytics integration, no advertising or links, and the ability to ban visitors from chatting you based on their IP address.

The plugin is technically free but you can upgrade to their Premium version for a one-time payment of $39.95 for a one site license. Premium features include unlimited live chat agents, predefined responses, customer satisfaction rating, and the ability to add agent photos to the live chat window.

Tidio Live Chat

live chat on wordpress

The Tidio Live Chat plugin is the easiest live chat plugin to set up—simply activate it and you’re ready to go! It comes in 3 different designs and you can adjust the color scheme to suit your company’s branding.

Tidio offers a dedicated app for mobile and desktop devices where you can manage your live chat, as well as an integrated widget that supports live chat in over 140 languages.

If you aren’t available online, visitors will be able to send you questions via email, and you will be able to contact them back via email as well. Furthermore, Tidio Live Chat integrates with Zendesk, GetResponse, SalesForce, and MailChimp.

Tidio offers a free plan that supports one agent and one open chat. The premium plan starts at $15/month for 3 operators, with the ability to add additional operators at $10/month/person. Alternatively, you can choose a plan that costs $15/month for every 5000 unique site visitors.

How to Setup Live Chat on WordPress

Live chat is a must for many websites today—especially ecommerce sites where people often have questions before completing purchases. Live chat on WordPress improves the customer service experience by offering timely responses, which can have a positive effect on the business: increasing brand loyalty and sales.

Using plugins, it’s easy to setup live chat on WordPress. The only other thing you have to worry about is making sure that your live chat is staffed by customer service agents trained to handle customer service inquiries!

Maddy Osman
Do you use live chat on WordPress? Are there any other plugins you’d recommend?

11 Responses

    • Chief of Keepin' it Fresh Div.

      Thanks for checking in. :) I gave a little longer answer bellow. Our Chat plugin is maintained. The reason we did not push to include it in this post is, our Chat plugin isn’t really meant for 1-to-1 support/sales chat with new visitors. It serves a different purpose than the other plugins on the list and the post highlights a different purpose.

      It is more a social group chat plugin that you can use alongside BuddyPress to have a Facebook messenger style chat for 1-to-1 conversation.

  • Mr. LetsFixTheWorld

    As the rest of my note will be perceived as negative criticism, I will start with a thanks for this article and appreciation for citations of the value of live chat. Good work on that. Now…

    Ditto @RavanH – No mention of WPMUDEV’s own chat plugin? Yes it’s a “lite” plugin and probably not great for anything beyond the most basic needs. Frankly as I was loading up a site with plugins yesterday I passed on it for those reasons, and wondered if it’s another plugin that will be deprecated off to GitHub this year. But it’s still on this site, so is WPMUDEV suggesting we use it or not?
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/wordpress-chat-plugin/

    No suggestion for a search at WP.org for Many more plugins?
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/search/chat/

    Yes, the tawk.to app is very popular, full featured, and well maintained. How was that missed? How did this article get posted with no one else at WPMUDEV vetting the content and noticing most popular chat plugin in the industry is missing?

    A personal annoyance exemplified with LiveChat: “free” software that provides access to services only available by monthly subscription. That’s their verbal judo echoed in this article. Please don’t do that. We all know it’s deception intended for the lowest of mentalities. This would be like WPMUDEV saying “get free access to all of our content with a monthly subscription” … that doesn’t happen for good reason. With LiveChat, “free” is like “you’re free to walk in our front door but of course it you must pay for goods” – which is reasonable, but when we’re talking about bricks and mortar we aren’t insulted by such rhetoric.

    Related, on the note about WP Live Chat Support: “The plugin is technically free but you can upgrade to their Premium version”. No, that’s not “technically” free. It really IS free. That’s the freemium model. You actually do get something for nothing here, with a choice to pay for more. That word “technically” could have been used with “free” for LiveChat – but in that case there’s no real point in adding subtlety to something that’s not true in the first place.

    So again, kudos and thanks for the first part of this, but as to the rest, I hope to see better quality from this author and others posting on this fine and valued site. We’re here at WPMUDEV for many reasons including Quality. We all need to be vigilant about preserving that.

    • Chief of Keepin' it Fresh Div.

      Thanks for the feedback and your commitment to quality.

      Our live chat plugin is maintained. The reason we did not push to include it in this post is, our live chat plugin isn’t really meant for 1-to-1 support chat with new visitors. It serves a different purpose than the other plugins on the list and the post highlights a different purpose.

      The WPMU DEV Chat plugin is a community group chat plugin and serves a different purpose than the other plugins on this post. If users are looking for a dedicated live chat support/sales system, our Chat plugin is not ideal.

      It’s a social group chat plugin that you can use alongside BuddyPress to have a Facebook messenger style chat for 1-to-1 conversation.

      I hope that helps!

    • Chief of Keepin' it Fresh Div.

      Thanks, Tom. WPMU DEV tested a number of tools when preparing for 24/7/365 live chat support. Intercom was limited with our ticketing system and scale of chat we were doing. We found LiveChat most full-featured for our needs but I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. Especially in regard to the way they handle automation when you’re not online around the clock. Thanks for sharing these options.

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