You’ve no doubt seen many websites that use chat boxes in the bottom right corner of the screen. How did they get there? How can you add one to your own site?
In this post, we’ll delve into the wide variety of live chat plugins available for WordPress. There are dozens of options available and choosing between them can be a difficult task. But, not to worry, we’ve found the absolute best ones for any situation.
We cover both free and paid options, as well as simple solutions like letting customers contact you on WhatsApp.
We’ll also discuss why you should bother using one in the first place. While they may seem like an unnecessary add-on, they are in fact quite powerful. Offering live chat on your site can dramatically increase revenue, cut down support time, and help you build a better connection to your customers.
Let’s get chatting!
What Is WordPress Live Chat?
Live chat is exactly what the name implies. It’s an app that enables any visitor to your website to engage with you directly, in real time.
This can work both for you and against you.
It can work for you because you can answer any questions quickly and keep the visitor on the path to conversion. You also portray your business in a positive way and show how responsive you can be.
This can be enough to give a potential customer the confidence to buy.
Live chat works against you because you need to be available to answer at all times of day or night. If you run a small eCommerce website that covers different time zones, that can be quite the challenge!
Key Features of Live Chat
There are a few characteristics a good WordPress live chat app should have if they are to deliver the complete experience.
These aren’t mandatory but if they offer such features, all the better!
Hello! My name is Sujay and I’m CEO of Astra.
We’re on a mission to help small businesses grow online with affordable software products and the education you need to succeed.
The design of the live chat app needs to fit into your WordPress theme but also stand out enough to be noticed. Many live chat apps will have standard design templates, while others will let you tweak the appearance to suit your theme.
If you’re depending on an app to provide customer service, you need to be able to rely on it. Native integration means it has been written for WordPress and can work without APIs or third-party apps.
If you want your live chat function to be more than a quick Q&A, having an integrated ticketing system can help. The ability to be able to raise tickets to track queries ensures nothing is forgotten and customers can follow up as required using ticket numbers.
Surveys are an incredibly powerful way for businesses to assess customer satisfaction and gather feedback on quality and service. Including a survey within a chat app is a quick and easy way to integrate a survey into a website and gather important business intelligence.
Proactive greetings are a standard part of chat apps and that’s a good thing. While we all know it’s an app, a polite app that offers to help while staying out of the way is the best of both worlds. Being able to customize that greeting is equally important.
What to Look For in a WordPress Live Chat Plugin?
The above are the ideal for live chat plugins but what should you be looking for when selecting one?
We consider the following to be the essential ingredients of any WordPress live chat plugin:
Easy to Use
Ease of use is paramount in an app you could be spending a lot of time with. There would ideally be a simple chat app to implement on your site and an equally simple app to use for chat.
With web use gradually shifting to mobile, your chat app should be as responsive as your website. It needs to work on any device and any screen size, otherwise it will interrupt the user experience.
We want a chat app to stand out but for the right reasons. Therefore, some form of customization so you can fit it into your WordPress theme is essential. The ability to change colors and fonts should be the minimum so chat can remain on brand.
WordPress Hooks or App Integration
Being able to link your chat app to SalesForce, MailChimp, ZenDesk or other applications is a useful thing to have if you use those programs. Some chat apps naturally work with them while others use an API.
A good WordPress live chat app will have some form of automation to provide a greeting to users and be able to work with triggers. Not everyone wants to be bothered by chat as soon as they land on a page, so setting intelligent triggers to show chat on an action can work well.
Having some form of dashboard where you can manage chats, view tickets and view previous chats is also something to look out for. We often find ourselves having to refer back to previous conversations and we need an effective way to do that.
Why Should You Use a Live Chat Plugin?
Before we delve into the plugins, you might be wondering why you should use a chat plugin. After all, many shops don’t use them and they seem to do just fine. That might be true, but it’s likely that they would make even more sales if they implemented a chat feature.
Above all, chat apps make the shopping experience more personal. Talking to your customers directly via chat, without the impersonal nature of email, is a great way to present a friendly face to your visitors.
It makes you seem like a company run by real human beings and not a faceless corporation.
Chat plugins are also great for giving good first impressions. This can have a dramatic effect on whether customers ultimately purchase a product or not.
Decisions are made subconsciously, often in milliseconds, so the sooner you put out a positive impression of your site, the better. Don’t rely on long FAQs or emails to convince customers that you’re worth buying from!
This is also why you should always add your real name and photo to the chat app. No one likes talking to an AI bot, especially when their hard-earned money is on the line.
Many chat plugins allow you to monitor users as they visit different pages on your website. For example, you can see when customers visit the Features page and then send a notification asking if the reader has any specific questions.
Additionally, you can use this data to optimize the sales process and modify your landing pages. Do people often ask the same questions when visiting a certain page? Most chat plugins allow you to record each interaction, so be sure to keep track of each one and make adjustments as necessary.
When you answer customers’ questions immediately in a chat, you also save yourself a ton of potential support time. A few minutes answering questions may save you hours of back-and-forth support emails.
This is especially true if your help desk system displays new emails at the bottom of the inbox. It may take you hours of waiting to close a ticket that could have been resolved in a thirty-second chat.
When it comes to getting help or finding information, everyone’s a little different. Some people like to talk on the phone, while others prefer sending emails. Others prefer to talk via text but don’t want to wait hours or days to receive an email reply.
With a live chat plugin, you can appeal to the types of customers that prefer talking to a real human being immediately. Depending on your market, this may be a very large segment indeed!
According to Statista.com, over half of purchases can be considered “impulse buys.” That means that the customer decided to buy the product immediately, without doing any prior research or price comparison.
Chat apps are a great way to incentivize visitors to purchase something on a whim.
Just as sales associates help customers in real life, your chat app can help customers feel comfortable making impulse buys. You can easily answer any questions they may have immediately, which decreases the chance that they will lose interest without making a purchase.
Cart abandonment is when a customer adds a product to their cart but ultimately ends up not purchasing anything. As you can imagine, this is something that you want to reduce as much as possible. Live chat plugins can help you do this.
By having a live chat service, you instantly address any hesitations or doubts that customers may have. Many services can also send notifications or pop-ups that nudge stalled users to continue the checkout process.
Last (but certainly not least), having a live chat service can help reduce the time and effort required to make a sale. In general, the less roadblocks between your customer and your checkout page, the better.
Imagine this scenario: a customer lands on your website. Before they purchase your product, they have some questions that aren’t addressed in the FAQ or on the landing page. What can the customer do?
If you don’t have a chat app, they’ll need to find your contact page, send you an email, then wait for your reply. At best, this will probably take at least an hour or two — not to mention any extra time spent emailing back and forth with follow-up questions.
If you do have a chat app, however, the friction is almost non-existent. You can address any questions or concerns in a matter of minutes, not hours.
For this reason, adding a chat app is one of the most profitable decisions you can make!
|Tawk.to||Free/$15 per month||7.5/10|
|HubSpot Live Chat||Free/$55 per month||8/10|
|LiveChat||From $16 to $60 per month||8.5/10|
|SendInBlue||Free/$25 per month||8/10|
|ZenDesk||$19 to $99 a month||7.5/10|
|ChatBot||$50 to $499 a month||8.5/10|
|Tidio||Free/€18 per month||8.5/10|
|3CX||Free/POA per month||8.5/10|
|Olark||$19 per month||8/10|
|JivoChat Live Chat||Free/$13 per month||9/10|
|Live Chat by Formilla||From $29.99 to $69.99 per month||8.5/10|
|Freshchat by Freshworks||Free/$15/$69 per month||7.5/10|
|Chaport||Free/$15/$23 per month||8/10|
|Intercom||$59 to $999 a month||7/10|
|Click to Chat||Free||8/10|
Now that you know why using a chat plugin is important, let’s dive into the available options.
Best of all, it is completely free to use, although you’ll need to pay $15/month to remove the Tawk.to logo from chats.
With over 4 million users, Tawk.to is a popular choice for those looking for a rich feature set at a low price.
- Monitor your conversations and review them later
- Check performance analytics
- See what users are doing in real time and follow their journey through your site
- Support for 45+ languages
- Free version available
- Easy installation
- Apps for Android and iOS
- Ban and unban users
- Built-in shortcuts and canned responses
- Used by tons of well-known companies like Adidas, Chevrolet, and Dominos Pizza
- Less integration with other analytics and CRM services like HubSpot
- To remove the watermark, you’ll need to pay $15/month
- The basic service is completely free. However, you will need to keep the “Powered by Tawk.to” branding in the chat app.
- To remove this branding message, you’ll need to pay $15 per month.
- The company also offers their own chat support representatives, which you can hire for $1 per hour. It’s a unique service that may be useful for certain types of businesses.
HubSpot is a CRM (customer relationship management) suite of software programs. Well-known to marketers and customer service professionals, their software covers everything from email marketing to customer support.
One of the programs available is Live Chat, which is full of awesome features like automatic saving of all conversations, mobile apps, and integrating data with other HubSpot services.
With a basic free plan, HubSpot is a good choice for those anticipating future growth for their site and who want to manage everything in a single software program.
- Tons of other integrations and services with HubSpot
- Customize the chat widget to fit your brand
- Direct inquiries to certain teams depending on the chat content
- Automatic saving of every chat conversation
- Respond to all chats directly from the conversations inbox
- Utilize data from saved conversations with other HubSpot tools
- No coding required
- Mobile app and support for Slack
- Designate office hours
- Many features might be overkill
- More advanced features require expensive plans
- Only community support for free plans
- HubSpot is an integrated CRM platform with tons of different tools. These are all included under their different plans, so it is not possible to only download the Live Chat feature.
- There are multiple plans, each with different feature sets. There is a basic free plan, which includes Live Chat, as well as other features. However, to use more advanced HubSpot services, you’ll need to pay for a paid plan. These start at about $55/month.
LiveChat is a customer service platform that covers virtually every aspect of chat customer support. It has a number of powerful AI and automation features that can both utilize computer chatbots and route questions to the most qualified customer service rep.
It has a ton of other features and works on multiple platforms, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and iMessage.
LiveChat is a good choice for companies that have a chat-focused support system and can afford the $16/month starter plan.
- Used by many famous companies like IKEA, CBS, McDonalds, Adobe, and Mercedes-Benz
- Support for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Email, Apple iMessage, SMS, and website embedding
- Display recommended products directly in the chat window itself
- Qualify leads with customized forms
- Track sales and other data to boost revenue
- Integrations with over 200 tools, including MailChimp, Dropbox, and Zendesk
- No free plan
- Basic plan starts at $16 per month and scales up to $50
SendInBlue is an integrated marketing platform with a variety of features, including email marketing, SMS marketing, CRM, landing pages, and live chat. It is focused more on marketing than on customer support, but still has quite a few options for live chat.
If you’re looking for a well-designed marketing software package that also offers live chat support, check out SendInBlue.
- Integrated platform with a variety of marketing features
- Elegant design and easy setup
- Customizable colors and design
- Extra features may be overkill
- Focused more on marketing than live chat
- Free plan includes chat and some other features like email and SMS marketing
- Paid plans start at $25/month
ZenDesk is a very popular customer service platform with a number of different software packages. One of these software features is a live chat function, which you can embed anywhere on your website.
ZenDesk is designed as an all-in-one management system, which makes it ideal for users that want to manage everything in one place. This is especially useful if you anticipate contacting users across multiple channels; e.g. on Facebook and then chat on your website.
While it can be somewhat expensive, the feature set of ZenDesk makes it a good choice for any website that wants to adopt an integrated approach to their customer service plan.
- Support for web and mobile
- Embeddable chat windows
- Automated responses and bot options
- Redirect questions to the right department based on complex rules
- Easily view past questions by the user
- Premade personalized responses based on the customer
- Expensive compared to other options
- If you only need chat, it may be overkill
- No free plan is available
- All plans charge per support agent. In other words, if you want to have 2 agents, you’ll need to double the prices listed below.
- Very basic plan for one support representative starts at $19/month
- Other plans range from $49 to $99 a month
ChatBot, as its name suggests, is a service focused on chatbots. Their Visual Builder technology lets you easily create highly complex chatbots that have multiple paths, as shown in the image above.
Other features include premade templates for certain situations like discounts or customer feedback, analytics to track conversations, and use of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to continuously improve your chatbot’s performance.
If you need a powerful chatbot that is flexible in all situations, look into ChatBot. Its technology is more advanced than many of the other options.
- Templates for customer service, discounts, lead generation, and more
- Dynamic responses that change based on customer replies
- Artificial intelligence using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning
- Extensive analytics
- Expensive for smaller companies
- Starter plan is $50/month for 1,000 chats
- Business plan is $499/month for 25,000 chats
Tidio is a chat-focused service with additional email marketing features. Everything is managed in a single panel, making it easy to reply to any inquiries. Installation is likewise easy, taking only a few minutes to add to your site.
The pricing plans are also reasonable and include most features necessary for providing chat support to your customers.
Tidio is a solid, affordable option for those wanting to add chat support to their site.
- Integrations with MailChimp and other services
- Customize the design to match your site
- Mobile app support
- See customers typing in real time
- Automation to reply to common questions
- Free plan includes up to 3 users
- Paid plans are 18 Euros per month and include additional features
3CX is a completely free chat plugin for WordPress. It has been downloaded nearly 2 million times, making it one of the more popular chat plugins for WordPress. The plugin is very easy to set up and use and the free plan has no restrictions on agents, which is a nice benefit compared to the competition.
If you need a simple WordPress plugin to add chat functionality to your site, definitely try 3CX.
- Unlimited customer service agents/users
- Easily transfer chats to other agents
- 30 second installation
- Fully customizable chatbox
- Save message offline
- Quickly switch text chat to video or audio call
- Available for iOS, Android, and desktop
- Not as many features as some other options
- The free version has most features that you’ll need, but is only free for 1 year.
- Paid plans include extra features like SMS messages, call center functionality, and CRM integrations. They have a complex system for calculating the price.
Olark is a live chat software service designed for making sales and offering support to customers. It has many features, including chat transcripts, customized pre-chat forms, triggered messages, and offline “away” replies.
The pricing model is also extremely simple, which is a welcome relief.
With a variety of options at an affordable price, Olark is a great choice for anyone looking to add chat functionality to their website.
- Keep track of all data and transcripts of chat logs for further analysis
- Customized pre-chat question forms to get more information from your customers
- Send triggered messages at certain moments
- Offline messaging
- Real-time dashboards
- Monthly plans start at $19 per month
JivoChat is an “all-in-one business messenger” that integrates with various messaging systems like WhatsApp, Apple iMessage, and Facebook. It has plenty of features, including real-time monitoring, chat log storage, chat transfer between agents, and smart triggers.
JivoChat has a simple and affordable pricing structure, which makes it a good choice for those on a budget.
- Unlimited chats and websites
- Support for over 20 languages
- Storage of chat logs for up to 2 months
- Real-time monitoring
- Get complete visitor information like IP, region, source and more
- Use smart triggers to be proactive and send chat invitations
- Transfer chat between agents
- Chat storage is only for 2 months with free plan
- Free plan doesn’t allow for transferring between agents
- Free version allows up to 5 agents
- Paid version is $13/month
Formilla is a company that offers two services, live chat and marketing automation. Their live chat offering has tons of features, including real-time monitoring, multi-channel communication, and AI-enabled chatbots. It also lets you send chat invitations to certain types of visitors, like returning or completely new ones.
Since their other product is focused on marketing automation, Formilla is a great choice if you plan on using live chat to increase your sales.
- Integration with marketing automation
- Real-time monitoring
- Integrate with popular apps like Google Analytics, Zapier, and MailChimp
- Multi-channel communication over email and instant messaging
- AI-enabled chatbots that learn while responding to customers
- Smart messages that target particular types of customers when they visit your site or read a certain page
- Match the colors of your brand or website
- Saved reply shortcuts
- Google Play and Apply iPhone apps available
- No free option available
- No free plan available
- Paid plans start at $29.99 per month and range up to $69.99 per month
- Discounts are available if you pay in advance for one or two years
Freshworks is an enterprise-focused customer service solution. They have over ten different software programs, including Freshdesk, Freshcaller, and Freshchat. Freshchat is focused specifically on live chat, while the other programs address things like email support or CRM.
While they are designed to integrate with each other, it is possible to use Freshchat individually. It has all of the features you’ve come to expect in a chat plugin, including group chats, automation, proactive campaigns, and connections with other services like Stripe or Salesforce. There is also a free plan that is very capable.
If you plan on using a single service to manage all of your customer service and HR needs, try the FreshWorks package of programs. They are both affordable and powerful.
- Access to other Freshworks apps
- Powerful free plan available
- Automation and chatbots
- Reach out to customers with proactive campaigns
- Connections to dozens of other tools like Stripe and Salesforce
- View chats in the inbox
- Group chats
- Conversation labels
- Not intended to be used individually
- May be too many features
- Free plan with up to 100 agents
- Other plans range from $15/month to $69/month
Chaport is a straightforward plugin that lets you add a chat function to your website. Unlike many of the other options, there are not a lot of confusing features and options. This makes it ideal for those looking for a simple, easy way to add chat support to their site.
It includes most of the standard chat plugin features, including automated replies, group chats, integrations, and chat logs.
If you want an affordable plugin that focuses entirely on chat, check out Chaport!
- Affordable compared to many other options
- Automation features and chatbots
- Send automated chat invitations based on rules
- Saved replies
- Group chats
- Send files and other documents
- Apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OSX
- Integrated with MailChimp, Facebook, Google Docs, and over 2,000 other packages
- Focused only on chat
- Free plan for one operator
- Paid plans range from $15 to $23 per month, per operator
Intercom is a customer service platform designed around “conversations.” These include live chat, emails, product tours, and more.
The app itself is well-designed and very modern, which makes it feel less formal and more personal than many competitors. Features include chatbots, product tours, integration with apps like Slack and Facebook, and a number of other conversation-focused tools.
Intercom is a great choice if you have a larger budget and are looking for a more personal approach to customer service.
- Chatbots to answer common inquiries
- Give product tours and walkthroughs with popup chat windows
- Integrated apps to schedule events and accomplish other tasks
- In-product messages for onboarding
- Integrations with Slack, Facebook, Salesforce, and more
- Quite expensive compared to competitors
- May not be ideal for some formal types of industries
- Basic plan starts at $59/month and range up to $999/month
15. Click to Chat
Click to Chat is a completely free plugin that lets you connect your WhatsApp account to your WordPress site. When users click the button on your site, they’ll immediately be sent to a designated WhatsApp chat.
WhatsApp has become a popular platform around the world, both for personal and business use, which makes it ideal for offering customer support.
While the plugin is basic and only has a single use case, it’s nonetheless quite useful. If your user base is active on WhatsApp, it may be worth a try!
- Extensive customization options that can be activated on certain pages
- Easily answer chat inquiries from anywhere, via WhatsApp
- Create a pre-filled message
- Support for group chats
- Call-to-action buttons are easy to make
- Phone number required for setting up your WhatsApp account
- Won’t work unless the phone with WhatsApp installed is connected to the internet
- Customers need to have a WhatsApp account to contact you
- Completely free to use
While all of the plugins above are solid choices, our absolute favorites are these three:
- Tawk.to is an excellent choice for any budget. With a rich set of features, it’s sure to solve your chat plugin problems with ease. The free version is also quite powerful.
- If you have a larger budget and want extensive features, ChatBot is a great option. It is quite powerful and is recommended for those that want to take their chat support to the next level.
- Click to Chat lets users quickly contact you on WhatsApp. While it’s mostly a link service and not a true “chat app” it’s a very easy and free way to set up chat support on your site. If you’re in a hurry or have no budget, definitely check it out!
At this point, you should both understand the power of a chat app and know how to add it to your site. There are a ton of options available, so it’s easy to find one that fits your specific needs.
Having a chat app is a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your website. By using one of the plugins above, you can build a stronger relationship with your customers, reduce support time, gather more data, and increase your revenue.
What do you think about chat apps? Do you use them on your site? If yes, what has your experience been? And if not, why haven’t you added one to your WordPress site? Let us know!