The Scoop: The human element sometimes gets lost with online chat, and Olark Live Chat is determined to change that. The live-chat software company created an online-chat widget (with core features like web-based chat, chat ratings, analytic insights, and offline messaging) to help customers and companies connect better online. When the Olark founders set out in 2009 to develop a way to offer better customer service, they created an on-page chat software that allowed customers to chat with companies as easily as they could with friends. The chat widget can be installed on any dating site in just minutes to help with on-page support.

Sometimes online dating can lack a human element when it comes to customer service. However, knowing that someone is ready to answer your questions (especially on the other end of chat) can make the experience more personal and appealing. That’s what Ben Congleton, Roland Osborne, Matthew Pizzimenti, and Zach Steindler set out to do for major companies.

While working for a web consulting firm, they were involved in helping customers quickly when their websites were down. In 2009, online customer service felt more like a call center — with customers on hold waiting for the next available representative — so the Olark partners created an on-page, live-chat solution that would bring the human element to the web.

Olark, an online live-chat system, was the solution. They wanted the application to mimic GChat, but be available to use on any website. As a click-to-chat widget for on-page usage, Olark paved the way for connecting customers to website owners within minutes. It was a simple solution to a pesky problem.

Here’s Why Customers Want to Know You’re on the Other End of Live Chat

Online daters are always going to have questions, whether they’re creating their profile or messaging with matches. They want to know if a dating site offers features they’d enjoy. Brick-and-mortar companies have the advantage of having bright-eyed, smiling salespeople who are ready to answer questions in just minutes. For dating sites, however, this is one of the biggest challenges to overcome.

Online customer service was anything but personable when the Olark team ventured to humanize it in 2009. Most customers had to get on the phone to get the answer to a quick question. Talking to a customer service representative felt more like talking to a robot.

“The chat experience in 2009 was more like a call center. We were just becoming worn out by that call center experience. It was a collective groan.” — Karl Pawlewicz, the Voice of Olark

With Olark’s software, customers can talk to dating sites within minutes. The on-page chat, a small widget that’s located at the bottom of a website’s page, can be accessed at any time and keeps customers from leaving the site out of frustration. The personal one-on-one experience not only answers customers’ questions quickly but also lets them know they’re talking to a human.

Companies Can Install the Live-Chat Widget in Minutes

Olark describes its online-chat widget as “the most beautiful and effective way” to talk to customers online. Companies of all sizes can easily sign up and install it for free within minutes. All you have to do is copy a few lines of code, paste it into the backend of your site, log in, and you’re ready to start talking with customers. It’s as simple as that. With over 12,000 Olark users, the chat widget has revolutionized the way small- and mid-sized companies help customers.

A screenshot of how to install Olark's live-chat widget

Installing Olark’s live-chat widget on your website takes minutes: just copy, paste, and chat.

“The product experience, for us, has always been customer first,” Karl said. “We’ve always wanted to make sure customers who have a question get it answered.”

If companies are looking for more ways to help customers, Olark offers four affordable plans: Bronze, Gold, Platinum, and Ultimate. Each option comes with core features like chat ratings, web-based chat, targeted chat, integrations, shortcuts, and offline messages that optimize your customer service capabilities to keep customers happy.

Live-Chat Analytics Offer Insight Into What Customers Want

Olark’s chat widget comes with more benefits than just the ability to answer questions. Companies can gather insights on behavior that help them understand their customers better. Chat ratings, one of the Olark’s unique features, allows customers to leave feedback after they chat with companies. Collecting their opinions and overall customer service rating lets companies know what’s working and what needs improvement.

Olark CartSaver is another great feature that answers questions like, ‘Who are these people on my site?’ and ‘What can I do to help them purchase with confidence?’ Companies have the ability to see how customers navigate the purchasing process to improve the overall experience.

A picture of how Olark users can find out how happy their customers are

Olark’s live-chat widget helps you offer great customer service and do business better.

Having insightful tools at your disposal opens up a new world of understanding customers better. Thanks to Olark’s operative reports and transcripts, you can identify your busiest times and personalize email follow-ups. Companies can improve their customers’ entire experience just with Olark’s live-chat widget.

A Tight-Knit Community With All-Hands Support

With a team in Ann Arbor, another in San Francisco, and the rest of the ‘Olarkers’ across the world, it’s hard to believe how tight-knit this community is. The Olark team’s secret to staying connected is by using their own chat system to talk with each other as much as they can. Building ‘on that family vibe’ they already have, all Olarkers and their significant others go on an annual retreat to reconnect and see how everyone is doing.

A picture of Olarkers

The Olark team works together to make sure you and your customers are completely satisfied.

Sticking to the company’s C.H.A.M.P.S core values, each Olark employee is there to relieve anyone who is stressed with a particular project or who needs help brainstorming ideas. One unique aspect of the Olark community is its All-Hands Support. Although the company has a dedicated team of customer support staff, each employee (including the CEO himself) works a 5-hour customer support shift to deal personally with Olark customers.

Using their own chat support system, Olarkers get to experience how their product works firsthand and come up with ways to make it better. Excellent communication with their own customers allows the Olark team to confidently know that the widget works great for their customers’ clients, too.

Coming Soon: Improved Live Chat for Mobile Devices

Giving online customers great experiences will keep them coming back for more. Dating sites understand how important it is for customers to experience that human element, and Olark makes that happen for thousands of websites around the world with just a few lines of code.

What started as a tight-knit team of four guys has grown into 45 strong. While Olark has shifted from operating out of the small townhouse, the company is still focused on creating a great product that humanizes online chat. Soon Olark will launch a revamped live-chat experience on mobile that gives customers a better way to connect with companies.

“So many customers want to talk to owners on their phone and get that ‘Messenger experience’ right on the mobile device,” Karl said. “It reflects our product focus right now. We need to make sure our customers are provided with the best experience ever.”

The need for excellent customer service and effective communication will always be around. With Olark’s tiny, on-page widget, companies can bring the personal human element right to their website and offer impeccable customer service –– even if they’re on the other side of the world.