One way to offer customer support on an e-commerce site is to offer a live chat option within the front-end of your website. This is known to help generate more sales and make the customer feel more appreciated right from the off.
Most tools to do this within WordPress offer just the chat function, while other websites only offer an email contact form, however there are others that take it a step further. This extra step is what offers the customer a quick reply, in turn potentially convincing said customer to make the purchase right there and then.
With mobile-browsing increasing every year, the use of mobile-specific features for customer support will follow suit. These include such services as text messaging and international calls, all of which will be accessible through a simple interface.
Say Hello to Bontact
Bontact, a startup company established back in 2014, is looking to offer the ideal tool for such a service. Their aim is to offer a way for a visitor to your website to have his or her questions answered in real time, hence driving conversion rates and helping you to grow your e-commerce business.
With plenty of visitors using their mobile phones to access e-commerce sites it was only a matter of time before someone would fill in the gap for mobile-specific chat support, and hence the creation of Bontact. This plugin works across all major e-commerce platforms including WordPress.
It’s a smart, multi-channel communication tool that offers a clean and customisable widget that hovers neatly over your website’s front-end, providing your visitors with live chat, callback, text and email options, all in one place. On the back-end it offers a dashboard from which you can manage and monitor all interactions.
The ability to monitor how long each customer is spending on your site gives you the opportunity of stepping in and initiating a live chat when you see fit, hence offering a potential customer the assistance they might need to make up their mind. This level of accessibility and flexibility within a customer support system is certainly something worth looking into.
Follow this review in the video below or keep reading further down.
Setting Up and Using Bontact
Install the Plugin
The Bontact plugin can be downloaded for free from the WordPress plugin repository or installed directly from within your WordPress site’s Plugins section. Once downloaded and installed you simply need to activate the plugin and head to the new Bontact section of your Dashboard menu.
This is where I found it disappointing to see that there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of effort put into the WordPress plugin itself. Instead, Bontact uses an iframe to embed the Dashboard from their website into your WordPress dashboard. Although this does provide all the necessary features, it doesn’t fit quite right into the dashboard when viewed on a smaller screen.
The dashboard loses its structure and the whole thing becomes unusable. The menu disappears and nothing resizes to the available screen. After contacting support regarding this issue they informed me that although the dashboard is unresponsive, there is a mobile app available for use on mobile devices. They later also informed me that they’ve decided to proceed with making the whole dashboard responsive and this will be available within a few weeks.
Putting this issue aside and focusing on the functionality, let’s see what it’s like to work with on the back-end.
Activate Your Bontact Account
From the Bontact section you are immediately asked to create your new Bontact account (or sign in if you’ve already registered). This is a free and simple process to follow that will allow you to make use of its services and start implementing the new customer support features.
Browse the Bontact Dashboard
Once logged in, you’re provided with a Bontact dashboard right within the WordPress dashboard. From here you have access to everything you might need, from monitoring live chats to choosing your ideal settings. Let’s get started with the settings first.
Choose Your Settings
The settings section of Bontact is split into a number of sections. The general settings are split into four tabs, the first one being the alert sounds. You have four different sounds to choose from for incoming chats, a new chat message as well as a new site visitor. Next you have the analytics and API tab that includes options for Google Events, conversion codes, as well as API and CRM integrations. The final two tabs give you the options of blocking IP addresses and phone numbers.
The next settings in the list are the channel settings. This is from where you can turn on or off the live chat, callback, sms and email options, depending on what you’re able to provide. There are some additional settings for each individual support method such as setting a time period after which the chat options automatically pops up for the visitor.
Moving on to the look of the plugin on the front-end, your next options are the widget style and custom widget text. The styling options include a number of different colour schemes and some formatting options including placing the widget on the left or right hand side of the screen, and choosing whether to have the widget collapsed or expanded upon first visiting your website.
You can also opt to change the default widget text for the general layout of the widget as well as the individual contact options, but above all that you can even set a number of popular, quick-chat phrases and links that you can make use of during your chats for the most common queries.
Your last few options are related to your account and your team. First up is the agents section from where you can add, edit and remove as many support agents as you’d like, giving each one its own level of permission ranging from a simple representative to an administrator. Next up are your personal profile settings where you can change your name, gender, password, welcome greeting for all site visitors and even add your telephone number for making calls.
Last but not least is the account and billing section where you can change the general information and billing options, and also view which plan you’re currently on and how much of each available option you’ve made use of so far, be it calls, text messages or others. Speaking of plans, you’re also provided with another section from where you can upgrade to the premium plans available.
Inbox, Online Visitors and Reports
Some of the most interesting aspects of Bontact are its inbox, online visitors and reports sections. Here you’re able to monitor live who is visiting your site, with details of where they’re from, what browser they’re using, and more. You can also reply to the customers’ live chat requests, view the emails and call requests, and more from these sections.
The reports then provide a way to monitor your history over a specified range of days, showing you the number of call, text message, email and chat requests made, while also providing a couple of charts and other statistics that you can use to your advantage.
On the Front-End
Now heading to the front-end of your WordPress site, the Bontact widget will appear on the designated side with the chosen colour scheme and the activated methods available. It hovers above the rest of your site, either collapsed or expanded depending on your choice, and doesn’t interfere much with the rest of your site.
It’s very easy to use for your visitors (or potential customers) as all it takes is clicking on the desired choice and following your instructions. Whether on a mobile device, tablet or desktop computer, the widget displays and functions as expected.
There are currently three pricing options available on the Bontact website, with a fourth mentioned in the plugin’s “Choose Plan” section in it’s dashboard. The free version has unlimited use with 50 minutes of international calls, 50 mobile text messages and a maximum of 2 chat agents, so it’s enough for a small team.
If you need more resources though you can then opt for their paid plans. There is a $9 per month Lite plan followed by a $29 per month Business plan, while the plugin also lists down a Professional plan that takes up to 5 chat agents, 500 SMS and 500 minutes, and it comes in at a cost of $69 per month.
Documentation and Support
You will find some documentation provided in the Bontact User Guide that covers all aspects of the service, and you can also follow this simple introductory video.
The support team for Bontact can be contacted through the Bontact service itself (unsurprisingly). I contacted the team personally about the screen resizing issues through the live chat and was pleased to find that Jean got back to me in no time. I also used the email support and found that the replies are clear and concise, without too much waiting time at all.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Overall the Bontact dashboard is easy and intuitive to make use of, and it’s widget works just as described on the front-end. The styling options might be a bit limited for the time being, however you should be able to find a colour scheme that fits your site’s styling.
It’s not ideal to have to use an app to monitor Bontact when using a smaller screen such as on a mobile device or tablet, especially when you already use your website’s back-end to monitor the rest of your website while simultaneously handing support.
Having said that, it might work well when you have an employee (or more) dedicated only to customer service, as they only need to access the Bontact app to do their work rather than your website. This means less hassle of having to set up more users on your WordPress site with limited accessibility and so on.
It’s definitely worth giving the free version a go if you’re looking for a way to introduce customer support. Have you used Bontact or a similar service before, either as a customer or website owner? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.