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PHP Live is a web-based live chat support system implemented fully in the PHP programming language. This means it can easily be installed on most hosting providers without too much trouble, but an on-demand, managed package is also available. The feature set isn't huge, but there is enough included to manage most types of customer service scenarios. The area that could do with the most improvement is the reporting capabilities which may not be up to the standards enterprise users would expect.
If you opt for the self-hosted version of PHP Live you might need the assistance of a tech-guy to get set up. It isn't particularly difficult if you are familiar with web hosting and applications, but otherwise we recommend drafting in some help. The managed version is much easier to set up and just requires a few lines of code to be pasted into your site to enable pages for live chat. Once enabled, visitors will see a button that lets them connect directly with one of your operators. The user interface is completely customizable too so it's easy to brand everything with your company colours.
Operators access PHP Live almost exclusively through a web-based interface which means they can easily log in from any computer anywhere in the world. There are no mobile clients available though, so if you plan on having a mobile workforce, best look elsewhere. One other add-in available is for Windows desktops which will pop up an icon on the taskbar whenever a visitor is requesting a chat session. We found everything very easy to use and the admin panel for organising operators and departments is very intuitive,
PHP Live gives operators the ability to monitor all the visitors to your site in real time. They can select any visitor to pro-actively initiate a chat or just sit back and answer calls as they come in. Invitations can also be issued automatically by specifying certain criteria, such as when a visitor has spent over 5 minutes on the site which is useful to make sure you don't miss any leads. One downside is that chat sessions aren't tied back to returning visitors so you may be talking to the same person again without realising it. It isn't a huge problem, but this is a nice feature that some other services offer.
PHP Live is a decent all round solution and we didn't have any problems at all using it. Our only reserve is that there isn't quite as much functionality as some of its competitors offer at similar prices. Check out our top ten to see what we mean and get a wider view of what live chat support products are out there.
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