Why WordPress is becoming increasingly popular nowadays? The answer is simple: Simplicity. Anyone from first time WordPress user to experienced developer can now setup a beautiful website by leveraging the ubiquitous content management system (CMS). At times, it can feel a little too simple. On a side note, there are some non-believers that think WordPress is not be capable of offering some of the features they find on websites of larger brands. However, WordPress has grown in its capabilities since its early days as a mere blogging platform. Today, few features exceed the capabilities of a WordPress site, and most can be added via a plugin by even the most novice of site builders.
In order to keep a website lively, one must allow regular interaction between the site visitor and the website owner. One of the most important features for enhancing a site’s engagement with its audience, live support, can take your brand’s reputation from good to great. To fulfill that objective, we present three intelligent approaches to include live support to any WordPress website.
Artificial intelligence or AI is a rage nowadays and one that we will hear a lot more about in the future. What you might not know, however, is that even today AI has already found its way into WordPress. There are a number of WordPress plugins already out there that utilizes artificial intelligence. A good example is the use of WordPress chatbots, which can be found on thousands of sites already. By using chatbots, you can easily create live support for site visitors, thus saving your time and effort to answering simple questions. What you need to do is just simply install a chatbot plugin on your WordPress from your dashboard and train it to answer support questions. Some bots may even respond in a manner consistent with your brand’s voice.
All plugins are not created equal, in which the same goes with WordPress plugins that utilizes AI. These AI plugins vary widely in quality. What we want is a plugin that can handle the tasks you have in mind and that interacts in a natural manner with your audience. On a side note, there are also some high-end chatbots that act like real human and can easily fool human visitors into believing they are real people. However, the use of such high-end AI plugin is costly and require greater technical prowess on your part to train them. For a start, the use of affordable WordPress chatbots which can simply analyze questions and spitting out relevant answers is more than sufficient for most website owners, even if not in a 100% human manner. Even though this method offers a cost-effective solution for live support but there are some guests finding automated systems like this impersonal. Hence, the best way is to consider running A/B test, by testing it against the following two solutions to determine which option works best for your situation.
Outsourced Support Center
If you are not yet ready to embrace the use of AI in your live support, you may want to consider the human option by engaging a team of outsource personnel to handle your support calls. There are many advantages of hiring such labour overseas. One of the major benefits is the lower hiring cost due to the advantage of international monetary exchange rate difference. Since overseas labour rates can be much lower than Malaysia, you will probably pay far less than if you hired a similar service domestically. For instance, you can get an entire team of operators in India for only RM2000 a month, which is less than the average monthly salary of a single web hosting technical staff in Malaysia. And, because the support center company employs them directly, you do not have to worry about benefits and payroll taxes. The second advantage is their good level of technical skills. With a sound technical knowledge, less focus on training is required since these personnel usually work for a company specialized in providing support. As such, they will have the right infrastructure, training, and management in place to get the job done. However, you still need to install a proprietary plugin or install a bit of code on your site to activate their service. When visitors surf your WordPress site and encounter an issue, they can contact your outsourced support team seamlessly via chat, phone, or email. By doing so, your support team remains available to your customers around-the-clock, 7 days a week.
You also need to evaluate your budget for hiring these outsourced personnel. These outsourced support services normally charge on either a time-used basis or on a flat monthly fee. Therefore, pick a plan based on expected use volumes. Many newer and smaller sites have fewer customer support interactions; a situation appropriate to a time-used billing model. Larger, more established brands, on the other hand, may save money on a flat monthly fee.
However, there is also a downside using this method – which is the perception issue. Some customers may feel turned-off by thick and difficult to understand accents or perceive your company as having overseas ownership. Test the service yourself so you know what customers experience. Also, as before, consider A/B testing this approach to other solutions to make sure it provides the optimal solution.
Finally, you can choose to handle the live support on your own. The advantage is getting direct customer interaction, ensures your message stays on point with your brand, and allows the greatest expert on your products (which is you) to answer the questions. However, the downside is this approach is too time-consuming since everything is handled by yourself.
WordPress has a broad array of plugins for fully-functional live chat support. You can obtain some of these plugins for free, but more powerful ones generally require some sort of fee (either one-time or recurring). With such a plugin, you can engage with your customers while they visit your site in real time. No chance of losing them to the competition because you took too long to respond or provided an impersonal interaction.
When selecting the right live chat plugin for your needs, consider these questions:
- How frequently does the plugin developer updates the software?
- Does it offer the features you want/need at an affordable price?
- How will the plugin look on your site? Will it blend well, or stick out and look amateurish?
- How well have other users reviewed the plugin? How many people use it?
The drawback of trying to handle support yourself: your own time. Before implementing your live chat solution, remember that somebody needs to be available when a customer has a question. Research when people visit your site to ensure you or your staff remain available at appropriate times to answer questions. If you cannot offer around-the-clock support, clearly identify hours during which you do on your website. Also, be prepared to change strategies for supporting customers should you grow to a point that individual hands-on responses no longer make sense.
While any of these solutions could work, you will need to find the one best suited to your customer base, budget, and traffic. While they should work on virtually any kind of hosting, any of these that require additional software (like a plugin) can lag without the right environment. ServerFreak’s WordPress Hosting offers the advantage of a hosting platform built specifically for WordPress (and its assorted plugins). With it, chat and AI applications run smoother and faster, making for a better user experience.