Olark’s Handy, Easy-as-pie Guide to Getting Amazing Results From Your Chat Adventures. (Now in 3D)
Getting started with Olark. A guide, an adventure, and an indispensable tool.
Congrats! You’ve got an Olark account! Whether it’s a free trial plan while you get your feet wet and figure things out, or a full blown Platinum or Ultimate account, everyone can benefit from some tips to optimize their live chat experience. This Olark quick guide assumes you’ve already added Olark to your webpage and have set up your IM chat client to connect. We figure you’ve tested on yourself or with your team, have passed the tapping of the mic, “HALLO, Is this thing on?” phase, and are all the way to the “Hey, it’s live and ready to place on my website for customers and site visitors to start talking to me and what do I do next?” phase.
If you’re not setup yet, go to www.olark.com (any page) and click on the live chat button to talk to one of the Olark team members (it could be anyone from Ben, the Head Cheese, to Sunir, our VP of Marketing, to one of the heads of our technical arms and a founder – we all do a support shift here at Olark) to get instant help, or head to help.olark.com (our knowledge base and support center), or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you going con pronto.
The first thing you want to think about is how to present the chat box so it #1 gets noticed and #2 is extremely inviting to your customers and will make them want to click and talk without reservation.
Part One – Setup and Presentation
1. Make the chat box as seamless a fit into your site as possible, but NOT invisible. E.g. use your site’s color theme but try not to make it hard to find – a little contrast/shading difference can work wonders on drawing the eye to the chat box. Or having a slightly different font color for the “click here to chat” messaging on the minimized chat box.
2. Use the Attention Grabber utility to draw eyes to the chat box or utilize a Click-to-Chat image from an advantageous location on your site (top bar area or side of the page are the most effective) to open the chat box. This can also give you the advantage of having multiple ways to find/start a chat. Your mantra should always be, “Make It Easy”.
Now that your visitor has found the chat box, what to do to make it an inviting experience, to coax the user into making that all important first click to initiate a chat?
1. As comfortingly bland as our default chat box messaging is, you can, and you should, do better than this. Personalize it to you and your site’s unique way of communicating and let people know there is a real human behind that first click. “Click here to chat” is completely understandable and clear. But you’ll get better results with “Hey, we’re here and ready to talk to you and answer your questions” or “Chat live with El Presidente of Acme Widgets.” Have fun and entice people to chat with you. We had one report that a customer with low chat usage quadrupled the amount of chats they were getting when they switched the “Click here to chat” to “Talk with our CEO, Chris A – now.”
2. The same advice extends to your offline messaging. Take it away from the corporate, “We are offline now, send us an email to email@example.com and we will answer you as soon as possible” and create something more like my personal favorite (also from real life) “It’s probably 3am and we’re sleeping, but we super double-dog promise to answer you the moment we get up and to our computers.”
Slight changes like these can make a world of difference in how much buy-in to chat and communication you get from your customers.
Part deux – Chatting
Okay, you got your visitor to click on the chat box. This is your big chance – don’t freeze up!
There are a few of basic rules we observe every day to keep customers happy and we think you should too.
1. Answer the chat quickly. Immediately, like now. Even if you’re in 6 chats and are super busy, take the 4 nano-seconds to say, “Hi, Bill here, what’s up?” There are few things more annoying and frustrating for your customers than initiating a chat and then waiting… without seeing any sort of reply.
2. Be personable and personal, right from the start. If you can see the name of the person you’re chatting with, use it. A “Good morning, Rolando, what can I do for ya?” will go a long way towards relaxing the chatter who may be tense about talking to a stranger, especially when they are having trouble with something and asking for help.
3. Let ‘em know you’re not a bot. Train yourself to NOT speak corporate. React to the verbal/written style of the chatter and speak their language. Meaning, if you’re answering chats on a gamer site it’s great to use slang and truncated words and call them dude. If they are new to your product, slow down and simplify your message; if it’s with a developer, ramp it up and speek tech talk straight to the point. If you sense a sales/marketing VP in a suit behind that chat window adjust accordingly. Become a verbal chameleon.
4. Keep it light and personal. A little joking and lightness (if you typo, tell them you’ve won the Typo King competition at your company for 3 years running, Boohya!) can go a long way towards making your visitor feel at ease. If they ask where your company is located, tell them how hot or not the weather is and ask them what it’s like in Madagascar (or wherever they are) at the moment. A little offline chatter within reason fully humanizes the interaction.
5. I also highly recommend adding an avatar and being creative with it. I alternate my own avatar between images of The Dude and Fred Rogers – one gets me a million responses quoting The Big Lebowski (which I can recite in its entirety from memory) and the other gets somber respect. Who, I ask you, will raise their voice to Mr. Rogers?
Avoid like the plague clip art images of peppy looking people with headsets queuing up to take your call.
6. Take it easy with the canned responses. Sure, I use TextExpander every single day – it’s an indispensable tool for chat – my hello and goodbye message, countless (well, 87 to date) URLs for knowledge base articles and web pages come in extremely handy, but I shy away from standard answers to most questions and strive mightily to adhere to list items 2, 3, and 4 from above. And even when I DO use a canned answer (I’m human after all) I try to almost always edit it before sending to personalize it per user and their issue…it’s well worth the 8 seconds it takes to do so.
7. Never give up on a difficult case and never show impatience. Let the visitor give the clues for ending the chat. Always say “Thanks for dropping by, don’t hesitate to come back if you have more questions.” Do it right and I guarantee that they will come back.
Hope this helps, bubba. For a deeper dig features-wise, do some poking around in the Support Center, searching by keyword or browsing by topic. It’s all here – or – if you don’t find something you need, tell us and we’ll write it up asap. Click on our live chat button anywhere, anytime, and we’ll be glad to help you out.
Guru of Customer Happiness