pwired

Chat support for your website

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Hi,

Live chat support on your website/shop can bring more customers and increase sales.

I tried many chat programs but most of them are not self hosted or otherwise

require registration or an account, etc.

Does anyone know a good self hosted chat without account, registration, etc

that can be easy integrated in your website ?

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Your phone number

Or even something like Skype, or a call back button, etc

Actually, I am not being facetious, one of the biggest mistakes company's make is in assuming that communications that require people to type can adequately replace more natural communications like voice or (better still) meeting in the flesh. This shows an alarming lack of understanding about human beings. There is a really good reason why we, as an animal, have not just a highly developed speech centre, but an incredibly developed and perceptive process of analysing voice.

Encouraging customers to actually talk to you properly can increase sales potential and improve customer relations enormously - it is why more and more fraudulent scams are being conducted using call centres. It is much easier to be convincing using voice that using text.

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I think I found something with microchat. http://microchat.sourceforge.net/

http://www.phptoys.com/product/micro-chat.html

Micro Chat is a simple PHP based chat script with very easy installation. The script is designed for smaller traffic and so no database is required. You only need to upload the files and the script works fine. The look and feel is easy editable via CSS.

It is easy and looks good. I have it running on my local wamp where it accepts characters like ü , ö, etc.

But when I have it on-line on my hoster suddenly I can´t type characters anymore like ü, ö, etc.

Instead for example ü appears like ÃŒr

How can I fix this ?

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Dude that is an inactive project (last modified in 2004).  Unless your prepared to vet it from a security perspective and update it for current versions of PHP,  you should not consider deploying in production.  Unless you like being owned. 

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Dude that is an inactive project (last modified in 2004).  Unless your prepared to vet it from a security perspective and update it for current versions of PHP,  you should not consider deploying in production.  Unless you like being owned.

I´m afraid you are right, microchat has it´s folder in the root of the website. So yes if the code has leaks

it opens access to the whole website but unfortunately I haven´t found anything better yet.

Still searching.

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I don't think live chat is going to bring more customers.

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Just curious: who are you going to have online 24*7 to take care of the users who want to livechat when you are asleep? Or are you wanting to allow the site's visitors to chat amongst themselves?

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We´ll, I have seen websites with live chat support where there is a chat button that says "chat now on-line"

or "chat now off-line - leave a message" I am trying to accomplish a chat button like that.

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@pwired. Ok. But I'd be tempted to call it something other than "live" chat if that were the case.

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Yes without "live" that would be better. I found something like this. "Question ?" - "Click here to chat with us!"

So microchat would be too dangerous because of old version, though I like the easy setup of it.

I´m trying mibew now to see if that one is more secure.

Does anyone know a way to hammer such a chat program to see if it is secure enough ?

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General rule of thumb in marketing is "never disappoint." If you cannot man support or sales 24/7, don't add something that looks like you can and then "dissapoint" by asking people to leave a message. That is very much a techy sort of solution, rather than addressing the realities of human communications.

In this situation you need to offer a form of communication that fits with the company size. So, perhaps, a nice pop up contact form from the bottom of the browser that says "Please leave a detailed message and we will respond to you fully during our business hours. If you need to talk to us in detail, leave a phone number and we will be happy to call you. Let us know a time that would suit you best."

The most important thing when communicating is not so much that you will communicate at any time, but rather that you will be very HAPPY to communicate and answer all questions IN DETAIL.

That sounds like you care about your custom and treats it seriously. You score far better points with that than with trying to sound immediate and awake at all hours.

Think of a good old fashioned shop. Would you rather a shop that was open 24 hours fronted with meaningless personnel who wait for you to choose then just take your money, or would you rather wait till a shop opened but was manned by someone who smiled and then tried to fund out exactly what you need?

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@Joss. Thanks for putting it in a wider perspective. About 24 hours, we´ll here in europe there is already

a shift going on to a 24 hrs economy followed by 24 hrs support. Anyway the basic idea is when visitors

see your products or your services on your website and have questions they will appreciate it when somebody

is there to answer their questions directly. Were talking here about (ever growing) on-line shops/business/

and services, not the old fashioned shop in the street.

Same thing for on-line support in a world where everything goes faster these days.

(needless to say that old fashioned shops in bad economic times need a website/shop/service on-line)

The best thing is to put it on-line and then see how it works out in both ways.

If it doesn´t improve your shop/business/service then leave it, if it does, expand on it.

It is also a matter of finding ways to improve your website/shop/services.

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Our mother company is large company which deals with hosting and domainname registration. They generate most of our revenue through online checkout. There are people who don't understand the process and the chat helps them a lot by giving (pro-active) advice and information. But you have to have a dedicated team trained in assisting and chatting with people. I often hear these requests from small companies with one or two employees. Chatting isn't an option for them because who is going to man the chattingchair? It also may depend on targetaudience, culture and other variables. I see a lot of small webshops where the chat is always offline.

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Of course not every business can afford 24 hours employment. In this client´s case his wife is doing the emails already and is going to take care of the on-line support during their daytime. During their night time the support button has to show "support off-line" together with the on-line support hours and "leave a message".

That is going to be my work to accomplish. I found mibew as a good one to start with.

More input will be welcome.

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The most important thing when communicating is not so much that you will communicate at any time, but rather that you will be very HAPPY to communicate and answer all questions IN DETAIL.

On a slightly related note, I've found clients to be quite happy with "I don't know, I'll find out and get back to you", but if they've got an issue and can't reach anyone at your side, they won't be happy at all. Be clear about when you're available and stick to that.

The absolute worst thing you can do is making promises and setting expectations you won't be able to fulfil. An easy way to increase customer satisfaction is exceeding expectations.. and the trick to exceeding expectations is setting them at a realistic level in the first place :)

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Some self-hosted solutions:

https://livehelperchat.com/ (turn down your volume so you won't be scared by the demo chat notification..)

https://frug.github.io/AJAX-Chat/

The least amount of strain on your server is achieved by using websockets. The Blueimp one offers sockets, but you have to use Ruby. Livehelper offers sockets through node.js as far as I can tell.

The thing is, you need to be able to control what ports your server listens, so you can't use it with shared hosting.

Here's a tutorial, which uses the newish Ratchet PHP library: https://subinsb.com/php-websocket-advanced-chat

I'm going to try this with a small community: https://pusher.com/tutorials/realtime_chat_widget

With Pusher, I can use websockets with shared hosting. The free plan is enough for me (20 concurrent users, 100k messages per day).

Edit: ok I got that Pusher thing to work.. populating chat name with the PW user's fullname :) Would be nice to store some message history, but don't have the energy to figure that out now.

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I've just bookmarked this recently:
https://rocket.chat/

"The Ultimate Open Source Web Chat Platform"

"From group messages and video calls all the way to helpdesk killer features.
Our goal is to become the number one cross-platform open source chat solution."

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I have a list of a few others that seem quite interesting (some of which also serve as an alternative to Slack, including one from Atlassian), but I've just found that the following one is going to be the basis for the French State's new secure messaging system:

https://about.riot.im/ (based on https://matrix.org/).

(Not to be confused with RIOT - The friendly Operating System for the Internet of Things.)

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