I'm putting this request for a plugin to WPMU DEV because I think they are the only ones who can handle it. A plugin request of this type is actually pretty big.
I went over to SnapEngage the other day and got a demo of their chat system http://snapengage.com and to say the least, it is awesome. However, it is also expensive. I'm building a site now that would benefit greatly from this kind of system.
I already use the Skysa bar for chat and instant messaging, but it only works for logged in members. The other day I was watching my real-time stats on Google Analytics and I watched in real-time as a visitor navigated their way across my site, reading the pages and actually spent about 10 minutes on the site. I was frustrated because I have no way to access that visitor or actually connect. A SnapEngage service would let me do that, but there are limitations.
Current services do not integrate with WordPress members, they only add on to the website. Because of this, when I get a visitor, with SnapEngage or Olark, I cannot differentiate between logged in members and guests. WIth my Skysa bar, I can connect with my logged in members, but the guest (the people I want to convert, I can't get in touch with).
Having a proactive chat system on my server, would save me money (no subscription fees) and allow it to integrate with WP.
These are the features I think something like this should have:
~ Integrate with member database. (logged in members should be identified)
~ The ability to live chat/instant message everyone, including guests
~ Collect an email address
~ Co-browsing (this is only available on SnapEngage, but is a killer feature which allows the host to give a guided tour of the website.
~ Multisite compatible (guided tours of a multisite network's coolest sites? That would be Just Awesome.)
~ Multisite compatibility should also work even if domain mapping is on.
~ Chat transcripts. Saving these for reference is good. A nice feature of SnapEngage was that after my long chat with them, I got a thank you email with the transcript embedded in it. That was a nice touch because I could reference it. I don't think it was automated, I think that the host sent it to me because I didn't get one after my second chat there.
~ Customization control (for branding and theme-matching)
You can kind of see how this is a big plugin request, but I really think the WordPress community needs something like this. This would be a great complementary product to MarketPress since it would allow site operators to more fully engage with visitors and help them around their stores. I also see it as a natural addition to the WPMU DEV plugin portfolio, the size and scope of it is something that fits right in with all the other big feature plugins you guys do.
I hope this request gets a lot of support from the members here and that you'll investigate the possibilities with this. For those members who don't really know what I'm talking about, go to http://snapengage.com and chat with a live operator there and ask them to show you around the site, you'll be very impressed with how they can navigate your browser for you to other pages.