Being a webmaster, a live chat application is something I have considered for a while. Now, I have never been a person to just go with the first product I see, so when I finally decided to take the plunge and install a chat tool I made sure I did some research.
There are a number of chat tools out there, Imified and Clickdesk were just two of those that I came across; however, after some deliberation I decided on application named Olark – I am pleased to say I didn’t regret it.
Olark integrates with most popular instant messenger clients. I use GTalk, but I am assured that iChat, Meebo, Miranda and others all work fine. From the end of the operator you get to monitor visitors on the website and gather helpful information such as username, status, what country they are in and which page they are on. You can choose to initiate chat with a visitor or sit back and let them come to you. Honestly, I prefer the latter. I often find that customers either ignore you or are scared away when a stranger pops-up trying to start a conversation. As long as a visitor knows where to go with a problem, they will come to you with a question.
As the operator, you have the ability to see exactly what the visitor is viewing. This allows you scroll the page and point out specific items. You can even redirect the visitor to another page on the site without losing the chat.
Full integration with Google Analytics is available, allowing you to improve your website chat service.
Olark does not change anything about the way the site loads-up or looks; it simply adds a small widget in the bottom corner of the screen. Big enough to notice but not get in the way.
During set-up you have the ability to customise the colour of the widget and coordinate the theme according to your site. Chat is as fast and fluid as you would expect from an instant messenger widget.
There are currently four packages available, all featuring unlimited conversations and a vast list of standard features. Package prices are as follows:
- Bronze – $15/month
- Gold – $44/month
- Platinum – $166/month
- Ultimate – $219/month
Everyone is different but from my own perspective, Olark is the best real-time chat tool on the market – a very worthwhile investment.