Recently I’ve got a few site visitors contacting me via the contact us page and I thought that it would be really cool to be able to provide instant online chat for anyone who would like to get in touch with me. photo credit: ThrasherDave
I did a quick search for live chat software and found that most require us to purchase / subscribe monthly.
After Googling some more, I stumbled on this free live chat software for website customer support called LiveZilla.
LiveZilla is a solution for website owners to provide live help by connecting support agents to your website visitors.
If you own an e-store or service based website, allowing potential customers to contact you directly can help increase the chances of converting visitors to real customers.
These are some key features of LiveZilla:
- Freeware (No monthly costs / setup fee)
- Real time visitor monitoring
- Geotracking (view visitor location on map)
- Ability to initiate chat invitation
- Multiple operator support
- and more…
I decided to give this live chat software a try by installing it on my site while attempting to provide a step by step guide on how to set LiveZilla up.
According to LiveZilla’s installation guide, you just need to take 3 simple steps to set it up:
- Local installation (installs on your client desktop (Windows only))
- Create a LiveZilla server
- Integrate with your website / blog
Out of these three steps, the most challenging step has to be step 2. Create your LiveZilla server; as it requires files to be uploaded via ftp. A database also needs to be created.
Before proceeding, ensure that you have the following set of requirements on your server:
- Apache Web Server / IIS
- PHP (5 or greater)
- MySQL (5 or greater)
Firstly head on over to LiveZilla Download page and download the installer (7MB)
Once installed, you will see the LiveZilla Server Admin page.
Click Next to create a new LiveZilla Server. Go ahead to create an administrator account followed by creating groups.
The purpose of groups is so you can group your support agents accordingly. These are some sample groups:
- Human Resource
- Technical Support
- Business Development
When a visitor initiates a chat, he / she can choose to speak to an agent from any of the defined groups.
In my case, I just created a group called Wareprise Blogger since I’m the only agent available 🙂
The next part will be a bit tricker as you’ll need to upload source codes / files to your web server.
You can choose to either upload the files directly to your webserver via FTP or extract the files to your local machine and manually upload the files later on.
I chose the second option and proceeded to upload the files to my server.
Once done I did a server test to ensure that all files were uploaded successfully with the correct permissions.
The next step is to create a database for LiveZilla. To do that, simply start PHPMyAdmin or whatever SQL management tool your web hosting provides and create a database.
Once the database has been created and the correct credentials entered into Data Management, click on Create Tables to allow the wizard to automatically create the table structures for you.
Click next and you should see this wizard completed screen.
We’re nearly there.
Now it’s time to integrate LiveZilla into our website by placing scripts on it which will show visitors whenever we’re online. To do that, under the server admin page, select the Link Generator / Script Generator option and click Next.
After authenticating, you should see the scripts which looks like the following:
Simply copy the script over to your website. As for mine, you should be able to view it (in green) on the left sidebar of this page.
If you do see me online, feel free to send me a message!
Now that your website has been integrated, it’s time to login to your LiveZilla Client account and begin providing customer support to your website visitors.
I hope today’s post shows you exactly how you can set up a free live chat software – LiveZilla on your website. Any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
If you need similar feature but is much easier to set up and integrate into your website, check out Zopim.