Drupal Zopim Integration - Pros and Cons

Recently I conducted some research on Drupal integration with Zopim, to integrate this functionality with arocom.de. Zopim is an online chat with an admin service-side backend. Here are some strong and weak sides to Zopim, some pros and cons to using Zopim as your customer support chat.

Pros

  1. Zopim is a support chat. It’s not an open chat, where everyone is chatting in the same channel, but it’s a support chat, where a support agent can talk to each client separately.
  2. Zopim has a unified back end. A single agent can talk to multiple guests presented as tabbed chat in a single service-side back end.
  3. Multiple Zopim agents and departments are allowed. In a paid version, a guest can address different departments, and multiple agents can conduct chats with the guests at the same time, which is great for large sites with lots of visitors.
  4. Zopim chats are stored at the service-end and can be exported via email.
  5. Zopim chat’s widget look can be partially customized. This customization of the Zopim widget’s look and feel is taken care of at the admin interface, service-side. There is also some JavaScript API that can handle it at live-time.
  6. Zopim has integration with some known CRMs, such as SalesForce.
  7. There is a Drupal module for Zopim widget.
  8. Zopim is very easy to integrate. Just paste your JavaScript code in a block.

Cons

  1. Zopim’s does not have data API. You can’t extract chat and client data from Zopim and stream it into your CRM of choice, unless that support is expressly provided by Zopim. You will have to export chats though the export and email function, and then, if you want to integrate, you would have to parse these email exports, which is not at all fun.
  2. Zopim’s JavaScript API is not very extensive. You can mostly set the look and feel for your widget with it, something that you can already do via an interface, but you can’t do anything data-related with it, like exporting chats.
  3. Zopim’s widget is not fully themeable. You can customize the widget to some extent via the UI and with the JavaScript API, but you can’t really theme it with custom CSS or control it with custom JavaScript, because it’s served in an IFrame. As I tried to find a way to customize it, I felt like I had some Zopim manager sitting next to me and hitting my fingers with a ruler, like an old-fashioned teacher. “Don’t poke your nose there!” “Don’t you touch that!”
  4. Zopim’s Widget is not fully multilingual. What?! But their site says, it is? Zopim has a built-in translation system, that can translate your chat texts into other languages. So, in theory, you can type with a chinese, and it will translate. However, some of the widget texts and labels are only translatable via JavaScript (which I call, “manually”), and some presets, like the “Sorry we are keeping you waiting…” message is not translatable at all. Power to the people Zopim, power to the people!
  5. Drupal module for Zopim widget is serving an old type widget. However, that module is not really needed, since pasting JavaScript in a block is easy.

Conclusion

Overall, Zopim is a great tool for client chat support. It’s pros outweigh it’s cons, especially with a free plan in mind. If you are having a mono-lingual site, you are especially lucky. If you are multi-lingual, you will need to write your own translation JavaScript and implement it via Zopim’s JavaScript API.

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