By Chris Cardinal on January 19th, 2012
Whilst in the throes of exploring my favorite airfare booking site (Hipmunk), I noticed their live chat tool looked a little… different. It was bouncy, fun, and unassuming. Turns out, they use Olark: by far the most impressive live chat tool I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with.
The fun doesn’t end there: Olark allows you to actually redirect a user to a different URL, including external addresses, all while maintaining persistent chat. This is absolutely fantastic, as you can literally direct a user to the page they need while still helping them out. Olark reports what page they’re currently looking at, and their new co-browsing feature allows you to literally see what your users see, scroll the page for them, and circle certain elements.
This level of interaction is fantastic: it can help clinch a waffling pre-sale customer who has a small question but isn’t able to find an answer and doesn’t want to go through the trouble of filling out a contact form. Or it can assist with the on-boarding process: new users are the most likely to encounter experience-ruining burrs, problems, small barriers to entry that can be resolved with a simple chat.
The ability to transfer conversations, native Jabber/XMPP utilization (such that I can use Trillian for managing my chats), and a robust API round out the core features of a very compelling product. Olark is free for up to 20 conversations a month and one operator, but the clients we’ve signed up on Olark needed the Gold plan, since it’s the lowest plan that supports SSL.
Check out Olark for pre-sale potential customer engagement, and post-sale onboarding/getting started assistance. Reducing friction for new and potential users is the surest way to build a loyal following or make a sale.
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