#WordPressWednesday: 10 Support Tools for Service-Minded Sites
As the most-used content management system (with nearly 60 percent market share), WordPress offers a variety of plugins that can help its users elevate their service before, during and after a sale in order to meet and exceed their visitors' expectations - starting with a traditional, yet critical website element.
1. The Almighty FormWhile they don't have the on-demand nature that other customer support options have (like live chat or a call center), website forms are a necessary evil for both consumers and companies. Consumers typically understand they are filling out a form to get something in return (e.g., be contacted, download an asset, sign up for a newsletter) and companies understand they must fulfill the promise of a completion (e.g., contact the person, deliver the asset, provide relevant material).
When forms are used for conversion purposes, optimization professionals tend to advise businesses to keep their forms short so that the likeliness of completion is greater. For customer support reasons, why not provide visitors with as many fields as they wish? It not only lets them express their complaint, frustration, reservations in greater detail but the support person can do their homework and be better prepared for when contacting back.
Ninja Forms is a solid choice for a forms plugin within WordPress (800,000-plus installs) because there is no limitation on the number of fields and it connects to many of the popular email tools and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions so that people can get a response and their information can be stored to provide a better experience this time and next (as people will not want to repeat what the company should already know).
Despite all the digital ways to contact a business, it's important to remember that people will still want to pick up the phone to get immediate help if the situation calls for it. While a prominent phone number makes visitors feel comfortable with doing business with a company - by its sheer presence -it's also important to remember to include hours of operation so that if a person does call at a time when nobody will answer, the website has done its job by alerting them the company is unavailable during certain hours.
2. A 'Chat Now' Option
A variety of reasons exist as to why someone would want to chat with a company rather than call (like it's convenient and easy to use). The good news for brands that have yet to leverage live chat technology is that it's a simple implementation as well.
With more than 30,000 installs, WP Live Chat Support is a good option for small businesses looking for a way to: turn mobile chat on and off, allow customers to rate each chat, transfer chats to other agents, ban certain visitors and take advantage of other common chat features.
3. An Easy Way to Prove You're Not a Robot
Robots may be cool in customer service (or at least they're quickly achieving that status), but when it comes to causing spam, they're not so intriguing. CAPTCHA creates tests that humans can pass but machines typically cannot. The WordPress plugin directory offers many, many CAPTCHA options. The really simple one has more than 1 million active installs with a 4-plus star rating.
4. A Secure Environment
While it might not be a direct customer support element, having a secure environment for visitors to engage, conduct business and browse must be given priority.
More than 2 million sites trust Wordfence for WordPress Security. It's designed to identify malicious traffic, block attackers, enforce strong passwords, show real-time activity (see image) and more.
5. A Call-Now Button
There's nothing more annoying than being on a mobile phone and wanting to (actually) call a business, yet the phone number isn't linked to allow for click and call.
The Call Now Button plugin takes that functionality a step further by placing a Call Now button to the lower right corner of the screen (companies can customize placement), which is only visible to mobile visitors.
6. The Call-Me-Back Feature
It's safe to say that nobody likes to wait. Companies can make wait times a little less annoying by offering to call a person back. The MightyCall Contact Page plugin includes click to call and a way for clients to request a call back or email.
7. Get-Me-There Functionality
Sites shouldn't leave their visitors hanging - particularly if they want to physically visit the company. WP Google Maps is a popular option to add a customized Google map to pages and posts (pro version shown below).
8. The See What Others Say
Any time a website can help visitors self-serve, it's a customer service win. Customer reviews are one way people try to figure out answers on their own. Reviewer boasts more than 4,000 installs but has only two reviews (both five stars) - one of which said it's easy to use and install.
9. An Interactive Tool
Again with the self-service functionality, anything a site can provide its visitors where they can help themselves and move one step closer to conversion is a win. The Calculated Fields Form plugin can be used for creating both single and complex calculations (e.g., general calculators, ideal weight calculators, calorie calculators, calculate quotes for hotel booking and rent a car services, calculate quotes for appointments and services, loan and finance calculators, date calculators like pregnancy calculators, etc.).
10. An FAQ Section
There's no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such thing as questions a business would never think would be asked. FAQs provide a way for customers to (once again) self-serve. WooCommerce Product FAQs allows visitors to ask questions about specific products, get answers, and view other threads - providing an "Amazon-like experience". Store owners can also manually add questions.
Supporting Your Support Plugins
When choosing a WordPress plugin, check the number of installs, reviews and most recent updates. While those elements do not guarantee a successful implementation, they are good indicators of previous users' experience with the plugins. It's important to be aware of the risks involved with plugins, monitor them regularly and keep them updated.