One of the best things about selling online is the opportunity to reach prospective customers anywhere in the world. But if you’re attracting a global audience (yay!), you’ll likely find yourself fielding questions and requests in multiple languages, many of which your chat team doesn’t speak (hrrm).
Self care is a critical component of mental health. Because it’s so important, we’ve put the value of Chill at the top of our list of values. The wonderful thing about caring for yourself is that you get to choose what works best for you!
If you work in sales or support, you know the importance of empathizing with your customers and leads. You may also be familiar with that fatigued feeling at the end of the day (or sometimes by 9am!) of expending all your empathy on others and having very little left for yourself. Building a simple kit based on the 5 senses will help you recover and prepare for the next interaction before you can calculate the cost of a 2 week trip to Bali.
Reno Assistance, a Canadian company that connects its customers with reliable contractors, sets itself apart from the competition by offering advice tailored to each customer’s unique needs. That individualized service starts with live chat software powered by Olark.
Today's guest post comes from ThemeXpert founder and CEO Parvez Akther. ThemeXpert is a bootstrapped startup that has grown to provide WordPress and Joomla templatesand extensions for more than 55,000 clients around the world.
Saying no to a customer is one of the toughest parts of any sales or support job. Whether you’re telling someone that your product doesn’t have the feature they’re asking for, that their refund period has expired, or that they’re not eligible for a discount, you know you’re letting them down -- which can feel like the opposite of your goal.
At Olark, we love the benefits of remote work, but we also know that working remotely isn’t for everyone. Transitioning from an onsite role to a remote role can be a big adjustment. Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about taking the #remotelife plunge.
I recently had an "angsty" conversation with one of our customers whose customer support team being overwhelmed with chats. Lucky for this customer, there are two very easy (and one more advanced) solutions to this issue. And lucky for you, the reader, I'm going to share them here.
If you're considering live chat, or just getting it up and running on your site, this is a common concern: How do I keep from being overwhelmed by customer chats?
In addition to my role as Olark’s Director of Customer Service, I am a farmer — well, more of a smallholder, and a fledgling one at that. When I’m not in meetings or talking to customers, I can usually be found in a padded boiler suit, up to my ears in muck and surrounded by animals and vegetables.
If you work in sales, you already understand the importance of doing your homework. A quick LinkedIn search, or a little browsing on a company website, can tell you so much about what someone’s interested in and how they might benefit from your product.
Celebrating with candy is an Olark tradition. We call it Sweet Support. As part of our monthly newsletter, the support team chooses an Olarker (or two or three) who has gone above and beyond for our customers. They get a box of treats to enjoy as a fun way to show our appreciation. Anyone at Olark can receive a Sweet Support package in the mail.
Many years ago, I had to take some time off work for depression. I had a sick note from the doctor, and had disclosed that it was mental health related. After two weeks, when I was just starting to feel like I could cope again, my colleagues invited me out for the evening. I wanted to remain welded to my sofa, but I decided to go, as a way of easing myself back into my normal routine.
I remember when I was first starting my search for a remote job. It was intimidating! Limited resources. Lack of support. Difficult to maneuver through jobs that were fully remote vs. those that allowed “some” work from home. I eventually found the perfect fit at Olark and it’s been amazing for my family, my life, and my sanity.
The vast majority of questions we get at Olark are pretty simple, or at least quick for our talented team to resolve. A few times a day we get questions that are mind-boggling, unusual, new, or just plain hard to figure out. We have some unique and not-so unique strategies to unravel tough problems and reduce the wait time for our customers, all while thriving as a remote team. Let’s follow the path of one of these questions to see what happens!
When Olark was founded, way back in 2009, most businesses offered one of two basic online communication options: email and web forms. There have been a lot of changes since then! Today, businesses communicate with customers not just via live chat, but also via online messaging, social media, and more.
Question: Sometimes when I'm chatting I get a visitor repeatedly checking to see that they haven't lost me. It makes me crazy! What's the best way and frequency to reassure them that I'm still working on their question?
Want to chat with your customers directly from Slack? The Olark Live Chat Slack App makes that possible! You can also share conversations with teammates in Slack, ask for help when things get busy, and celebrate together when one of your team members gets a 5-star customer rating.
This story is part of our Making Business Human series. For more on the series and our mission, check out this post!
Olark has always been a remote-friendly company, but earlier this year we decided to say goodbye to our headquarters in San Francisco and fully embrace the remote life. Our team loves working remotely for reasons as unique as Olarkers are! We thought we’d share a few of these reasons with you in our own words to start a discussion about the benefits of remote work.
This story is part of our Making Business Human series. For more on the series and our mission, check out this post!
….Think Morgan Freeman’s voice as you’re reading this….
Long ago in a land called Palo Alto, four founders embarked on a journey to change online chatting. They lived and worked together in a house with a garden. In the garden grew a faithful redwood tree, Dory.
Creating connections between customers and businesses is at the core of Olark. Since day one, the heart of our product has been about humanizing websites through chat. Our mission can really be boiled down to a single, short statement: Make Business Human.
The following article comes from Olark contributor Tessa Metselaar at Bynder.
Customer care in the Netherlands is at a crossroads.
As Rene Djuricek, Owner of Netherlands-based Meesterslijpers says, "The days of customers using only email and telephone to contact businesses are over. Customers want to contact a business the same way they contact their friends and family."
After all, your visitors are more likely to buy if you provide them with the information they need to make a buying decision.
For some visitors this might mean addressing their sales inquiries before they make a purchasing decision. That where live chat software on your website comes in handy—meeting potential customers at the top of your sales funnel.
In Artificial Intelligence, a lot of people extol the ability to automate repetitive tasks.
I’m more interested in how AI can enhance human decision making. At RapportBoost.AI, where I’m Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, we leverage Artificial Intelligence to help online brands communicate more effectively with their customers via live chat.
In this post I’m going to talk about three different AI technologies available to companies to enhance their live chat implementation.
Almost all of us know someone who’s been affected by addiction or mental health issues. More than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder, and from 2002-2015, the drug overdose deaths in the U.S.more than doubled. (Source: Addiction Center)
A few years ago, while chauffeuring me to the airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my mom casually suggested that I start a food blog. “You’d be such a hit!” she gushed. “We all loved your Piecaken!”
At my age, I like to think I’m immune to parental flattery, but I never did outgrow the longing for internet fame. So, I started exploring blog platforms. I didn’t need much—a rich text editor, simple photo formatting, and basic analytics so I could chart my rise to stardom.
The Customer Service team at Olark recently published our first set of service standards, and we’re pretty excited about it!
Here we have some of the Olark Customer Service team, frolicking happily on a recent team retreat, including Dennis (holding the paper pad above his head), Emily to his left, Brian to her left, Alicia across from Brian, Rhi getting ready to make notes happen, Sarah listening attentively, and Brooke sporting our retreat hoody from Estes Park.
More live chat leads are great, unless you're not prepared to keep them organized.
You've installed Olark live chat software on your website, and you're ready to start talking to new customers. But are you ready to capture those conversations? And are you prepared to turn those conversations into actionable sales leads?
Need some creative ways to use live chat for ecommerce?
Here at Olark, we’re continually awed by the diversity and creativity of our ecommerce customers. Who knew there were so many amazing folks out there, selling everything from custom meal plans to electronics insurance online?
Do an unusual number of visitors bounce from your pricing or registration page? Have you noticed that people have a lot of questions about a particular section of your help center? Is there a page on your site that’s getting too busy with multiple calls to action—watch a video, sign up for a newsletter, and chat?
Did you know...you could address all of those issues with automated chat rules?
We’re thrilled to announce that it’s now possible to create detailed JIRA tickets straight from the Olark chat console! Just enable the integration and use the !jira command to send customer bug reports and feature requests straight to the waiting arms of your engineering team.
Collage.com is a Michigan-based ecommerce company that makes it easy to create your own professional-quality custom photo products. They offer more than 50 products—such as books, blankets, t-shirts, calendars, and more—that anyone can customize simply by uploading their favorite photos.
Today, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from our partners at Nexcess, one of the largest web hosting providers for eCommerce stores. Nexcess talked us through a full suite of options, from simple to complex, for improving your eCommerce store’s speed and responsiveness in preparation for the holiday season.
When you have a case history in excess of half a million, the thought of switching help desk software can be more than a little daunting. But in June of this year, the Customer Service team at Olark decided to take the plunge.
As we undertook this behemoth of a help desk migration, we made a note of some of the things we did to make it go smoothly.
Last week, while in line at the grocery store, I checked my email on my iPhone and up popped a clearance sale announcement from my favorite running company. I’m a size medium, so I had no time to lose—millions of averaged-waisted shoppers were vying for my shorts! I made my thumbs do the cha-cha and had three pairs charged to my PayPal account in seconds flat.
Olark customers often wonder—will adding another live chat agent to my team increase my sales? In a previous article, we talked to OnePageCRM about how they used data to justify hiring another agent. In this article, we talk to Ben Jata, Director of Operations at Upper 90 Soccer about the benefits he gained by adding just one new live chat agent.
How one Olark customer increased sales by adding more live chat agents
The old adage is, "Do what you love." Ben Jata loves soccer.
When you’re talking to a customer on live chat, quick responses are critical—a few seconds' delay might be all it takes for someone to go from feeling personally cared for, to wondering if you’re there at all.
German companies are under pressure to adapt their customer service to changing customer needs and expectations. They need to understand the influence of digitization on customer service and review new channels and technologies to understand how German customer care can be improved.
You may have noticed the new Olark homepage with the credo, "Make your business human." As part of this new look and feel, we've asked our friends to share how they make their business human. Today we hear from Nathan Kontny of Highrise.
I'm sure you've heard: It's never been easier to start a business. But with all that ease, there's even more and more competition. It's harder to stand out, even harder to stay relevant. What do we do?
Yet, as is wont to happen in any startup, my role has expanded since I joined Olark. As I've morphed from 'specialist' to 'marketing generalist,' I feel like I've read a million "how to market your startup" articles. What kind of articles you ask? Try starting with the 'Growth Marketing' section of the Appcues blog. They do a nice job capturing actionable insight.
While they often have amazing hints on growth hacking and optimizing different funnels, many articles fail to mention a strategy that may come as a surprise: customer support.
Yes, it actually involves humans, but don't be afraid: it will help you improve your product to ensure existing customers stick around longer, and maybe even buy more; and it makes it easier to attract and sell to new customers.
All Hands Support is our way of getting everyone on the team to contribute to customer support. It means that every week, every team member, even me, the PR guy, logs on for a three hour customer support shift.
Sometimes it's easy - a few questions about pricing or automated chat rules. Sometimes it means handling customer complaints effectively - using what I know about customer relations to ensure that a frustrated customer gets the help they need.
I realize that might seem a little crazy - for Olark and for me - to hand over the ‘keys to the car’ for three hours, but in reality it’s invaluable, for both of us.
An essential part of onboarding new customer support operators is teaching them the right way to talk to customers who aren't happy. Today Alex Ivanovs, of CodeCondo and business/startup columnist for Huffington Post, shares some of his tips for handling customer complaints.
Difficult customers are part of the business process. Nobody likes dealing with them, but often we have to. It's best to be prepared for these situations - like when a customer is typing in ALL CAPS - as some customers might take it a little bit too far.
What's a CRM? When we use the term it typically means a customer relationship management (CRM) platform - a piece of software that makes it easy to get an at-a-glance view of every interaction a customer has with your business. (Read more about CRMs here.)
CRM platforms range in complexity, from Salesforce which comes with lots of sophisticated features to categorize and track interactions, to platforms that are straightforward and simple.
If you're using live chat software on your website, start by integrating it with a simple CRM. This is the easiest way to ensure customer conversations are shared across your entire organization, and to understand what features you actually need.
Bruce Springsteen once admitted, while introducing one of his many songs about car culture, “When I get under the hood, it’s like Alice lost in Wonderland. I don’t know about that stuff.” He is not alone. Much as people rely on cars for the majority of their daily travel, comprehensive (or even basic) knowledge of what goes on under the hood is in short supply.
This, of course, is what fuels the auto repair industry. And while most auto shops recognize the long-term value of transparency and honesty, the negative perception of the typical auto mechanic endures: someone who leverages his expertise to swindle his customers by charging for nonexistent problems and egregiously marking up the costs of parts and labor.
Today's guest post comes from Ashley Dull, Finance Editor at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on CardRates.com and BadCredit.org. Ashley works closely with industry leaders and experts in all sectors of business and finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Today she's sharing some of the most helpful tools she's seen used by small- to mid-sized businesses...
For me - ConversionXL Live is the best conference we attend all year. More intimate than Hubspot's INBOUND conference, the true power of ConversionXL Live isn't in the sessions we attend, but the connections we make over meals, coffee, cornhole, playing Super Mario Bros., gigantic Jenga, karaoke, brewery visits, or any number of other fun activities featured at the conference.
This following article comes from Olark contributor Jack Saville at Bynder Digital Asset Management. Today Jack's sharing current emerging trends for UK customer services, a topic which should prove particularly helpful for those who already have a customer base in the UK or are looking to expand.
At Olark, we're committed to making business human. Whether your sales team uses Olark Live Chat to increase leads, or provide exceptional Customer Support, creating personable, human connections starts with understanding your customers' needs.
That's why we're very excited to announce that the Olark and HubSpot CRM integration is now availble in HubSpot Connect.
Today's guest post is from Daniel Kohn, CEO and co-founder of SmartMail, a company that helps eCommerce stores and online retailers increase sales, average order value, and lifetime customer value through email. Today Daniel shares 3 ideas for personalizing emails, derived from SmartMail’s 4 highest converting email templates to help jump start your eCommerce email marketing program.
Today's guest post comes from Nathan Oulman, CEO of DailyHosting.net. Nate spends a lot of time reviewing and writing about martech software and how it can affect an organization's bottom line. In this roundup, he shares some of his favorite tools for jumpstarting lead gen in your sales funnel...
[editor's note] The Olark team just got back from SupConf Seattle where we spent the days learning and the evenings hanging with our Support sisters and brothers. It was a lot - from the great food of Seattle, to the inspiring talks, the workshops, the coffee, the coffee, the coffee, the cof...you get it. They have good coffee in Seattle. As we start to mentally unpack it, we want to share what we learned. Peter shared a transcribed version of his AI talk on Medium. And today, Sarah a.k.a. "Betts" shares her key takeaways from SupConf...
We've talked before about how ongoing education is a pillar here at Olark. We've set a number of ways to enable teaching within our teams - onboarding, presentations, newsletters, retreats. We really want colleagues to share what they've learned with others.
There are plenty of reasons why you want to review your transcripts. We've written before about how reviewing customer conversations can give you an advantage to overcoming objections in your sales funnel. It's also valuable in understanding where your chats are originating, so you can understand what pages may need optimizing.
Thank you, customers, for helping Olark win gold in the "Customer Service Department of the Year" category
If you're not familiar with The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, they honor customer service, contact center, business development and sales professionals. More than 2,300 organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition. More than 75 members of several specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging earlier this month.
If your current system for tracking leads in your sales funnel or support queue involves a spreadsheet, or matching transcripts with emails, or post-it notes stuck to your desk - then it's time to try a CRM.
We'd like to introduce our newest integration partner, Nutshell, a CRM platform for small businesses, built by a team that shares our commitment to excellent Customer Support. (They're also our neighbors, just a few blocks down from our Ann Arbor, MI office.)
When last we heard from our intrepid traveler Ted, he was wandering the brave new world of chatbots in search of a pair of pants. Ted's first adventure took him to a few different platforms and bots, and while he ALMOST succeeded in buying pants using only chatbots, he ultimately came home empty handed. Not to be deterred, Ted has once again ventured forth from the realm of humans to see if the chatbots are any more helpful...
Maintaining consistency and immediacy when faced with a question like, "How are you better than your competitor?" can be tricky for anyone. Even more so when that question comes in over live chat. So we came up with a system to use Olark Shortcuts to help our team respond, and wanted to share it with your team. And if you try it, we'll buy you pizza...
The following article was written by Mat Patterson, Customer Evangelist at Help Scout. It coincides with a recent webinar we did with Help Scout and Denise Twum, Head of Customer Support, Issuu. You can see the full webinar conversation on the Olark Live Chat YouTube channel.
Today's article comes from Tim Parry, who's been covering the retail and eCommerce industry for the last 10+ years now. Last month, Tim attended the retail industry's largest tradeshow and returned with some observations on how SMBs can apply lessons learned by the world's largest retailers...
Today's post comes from our friends at BigCommerce, the all-in-one shopping cart software that helps you accept payments, grow sales, and builld a gorgeous website (and bonus: integrates with Olark Live Chat!). Check out our integration and learn more about BigCommerce here.
Are you still recovering from the whirlwind of 2016’s end-of-year holiday shopping sprees? Ready or not, here Valentine’s Day comes, and though it may not be as monumental in terms of driving revenue as Black Friday is, it’s still a huge opportunity for your online store.
In the fast-moving worlds of SaaS and ecommerce, it helps to focus on picking a CRM first. CRMs, Help Desks, and Knowledge Bases come in all shapes and sizes, so it's important to evaluate each option based on what will make make your business most successful. Doing so will make it easier for you to customize customer conversations, and analytically highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your communication channels.
Happy New Year! In the past, we've talked about why it's important to connect live chat with a CRM: it helps keep sales leads and customer records in order; and will make future customer conversations more personalized, increasing the likelihood of closing a sale or keeping a customer. In short, a live chat CRM integration will help you achieve your business goals. If one of your resolutions this is to integrate with a CRM then it's best to start at the beginning, with a quick overview of the history of CRM software.
In our increasingly over connected world, there are more opportunities for business people to develop relationships with prospects, customers and their influencers than ever before. Therein, however, lies a daunting challenge: how do businesses cut through the noise to effectively develop relationships with customers, prospects and their influencers that help them grow?
How do you cut through the crowd to connect with the right customer?
Advancements in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are helping us find answers to this question.
As an independent live chat platform, our value is multiplied by the number of platforms we enable our users to connect with. By offering you more platform options to connect with, we increase the power you have to provide a high quality customer experience.
Today's blog post comes from Olark user Timesheets.com who shares how businesses can prepare for balancing employee time off requests during the busy holiday shopping season...
Congratulations - Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over! But as you know, we're not finished with the holiday shopping season yet. As Jordan Vidra said in a recent Olark holiday ecommerce webinar:
"Customer interaction volume at Homage goes up starting with Black Friday and stays high through Christmas, and even after Christmas with returns and exchanges."
This sustained increase in customer interactions makes staffing customer service over the next month tricky. Many employees want to take vacation to spend the holidays with friends and family, leaving businesses with fewer staff than is ideal for helping holiday shoppers.
This is part 2 of our holiday shopping season ecommerce webinar series. In part 1, StellaService discusses why retailers are discontinuing email support and instead adding more help on live chat. In today's discussion, Jordan Vidra of Homage talks about how his company creates unique connections with every customer, and how their lean team staffs accordingly to handle the holiday shopping rush. [-Karl]
Last week I sat down with Carol Krakowski of StellaService to discuss data and trends that are driving change in the retail customer experience. We covered a wide range of topics, from eCommerce to live chat to Facebook Messenger. You can view our entire conversation in the video below, or scroll down to the highlights. [-Karl]
[Editor's Note] Today's article comes from an Olark friend, Mr. John Dubock, a software specialist for BuildTools.com. John first wrote us to share some of the huge sales numbers he was getting from chat on his company's site, so we asked him to share what his sales day on chat is like. If you have questions about his setup, or specific tactics for selling, leave them in the comments and John will get back to you like he does on chat...ASAP! [-Karl]
Salespeople today have amazing selling tools to choose from, but they really only need two: a chat platform and their favorite CRM.
Here at Olark, we’re committed to building integrations with complementary analytics, CRM, and help desk platforms that will boost our users' business.
Google Analytics (GA) is one of our most popular integrations, and is arguably the most popular web analytics service in the world. Data from BuiltWith shows that nearly 76% of the 100,000 top websites in the world use GA. And here at Olark, we found that more than 40% of our paying customers use the Olark and Google Analytics integration.
However, for a long time GA was a major customer support bottleneck for us. We knew enough to handle most basic GA questions, but none of us were GA experts or used GA on a regular basis, and so as a team we would struggle with deeper or more specific customer questions.
The following is an excerpt from our whitepaper on Olark Live Chat and Google Analytics, written by David Kucher of Confluent Forms. To download the entire whitepaper, which includes step-by-step instructions for creating segments, visit the whitepaper download page.
In his article, How to Create a Better Customer Experience, Shep Hyken says, "There is no doubt that creating a better customer experience translates into revenue." Everyone can agree that a good Customer Experience is good for business.
Olark Live Chat offers its employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave, which includes paternity, maternity or adoption. Policies like this, and our vacation bonus, helped us earn a 2016 When Work Works Award, and require a lot of behind-the-scenes work before they see the light of day.
Clarence Bethea created Upsie because he wanted to make it easier for consumers to buy the right kind of warranty for their personal electronics. He also knows it's tricky to convince customers they need a warranty, so he started using Olark to address their sales objections at the right time...
"Customers always, ALWAYS have a question about warranties. They want to protect their new purchase, but don't want to be tricked into purchasing an overpriced warranty," says Clarence Bethea, founder of Upsie. "In brick-and-mortar stores, customers only get to ask warranty questiosn when they're checking out, which might seem like a logical point to have that discussion, but in reality it's tough for both the consumer and the store employee fielding the question. The store employee at check out has intructions to keep the line moving, or might not have been trained on warranty questions, so the interaction is often rushed and doesn't instill confidence in the consumer. We knew we could improve that customer experience."
The footwear industry is full of compelling and fashionable brands, as shoes have long been considered expressions of personality. Socks, on the other hand, might be considered the less glamorous counterpart to shoes in the footwear industry.
However, one company, Bombas, is out to raise the standard for style and comfort when it comes to the socks we slip on our feet every day. But Bombas’ ambitions go beyond developing the best socks in the world—through its “Buy-One, Give-One” model, the company is working to ensure that no human being in need of socks ever has to go without.
Scott Tran, one of the main organizers of SupConf and founder of Support Driven, and I have been doing monthly coffees for almost two years. Over our usual Philz orders, we would exchange ideas, opinions and suggestions: his from from a product and support perspective; mine from HR and culture. One of the most memorable collaborations resulted in me making drastic changes to Olark’s new hire onboarding process and sharing those ideas with the Support Driven community.
During one of these coffee collaborations Scott asked me a simple question, "What do you think about Support Driven doing a conference?" Thus started a year long journey of seeing this conference grow from an inkling of an idea to SupConf 2016, a conference for support professionals. Before the conference happened on May 23 and 24, Scott and I chatted again to revisit how this vision has come to fruition.
I met Richard Shapiro at a recent CX Meetup in NYC and was reminded that he talks at length about high quality customer service in his book, "The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business." As Internet talk of automated chat and messaging bots hits a fever pitch, I found this portion of his book prescient and, with Richard's permission, wanted to share it with you. -Karl
It all begins with hope.
It may sound obvious, but if you wish to make a human connection with a customer—in person, on the phone, or online—then the most important thing to remember is each individual’s humanity. Human beings come to you with hope in their hearts. They need or want something they haven’t found elsewhere, and they hope you have the answer. Perhaps they are looking for the perfect Valentine’s present, a watch for their son’s graduation, or a gift for friends who just moved into a new home. Your job is to give them hope that they’ve come to a place where their problem or desire will be addressed in a helpful, friendly manner.
Before you read further, please take two minutes to read this in-depth article about Olark user, The Black Tux. The article shares insight from The Black Tux on using live chat to train new members of the Customer Service team, and how the team uses chat data to load balance its service efforts. When you're finished reading that article, you can read about my experience with The Black Tux Customer Service team...
I spend a lot of time telling people what it's like talking to businesses that use Olark Live Chat. A few months ago, I got to have that experience firsthand with Olark customer The Black Tux.
I got married on December 31, and YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT...
In today's guest post, Chris Pontine, owner and publisher at Creating A Website Today shares some tips on how to easily build an online store, and 13 things that should set your mind at ease about the process.
There are a lot of things to consider when building an online store. Sure, there are questions like, "Should I add live chat?" but in my experience these are the 13 most pressing things to consider first.
Without knowing much about a company and what they offer in the way of eCommerce solutions, it can be very difficult to feel confident in your decision to sell your goods online. By determining the answers to your most pressing questions, you, too, will be on your way to eCommerce success.
Let’s look at the 13 most important things to know when building an online store, shall we?
Hi there! I'm Ben Schultz, Data Guru at Olark. In this article, I'm sharing some data and results that other Olark users have experienced by adding our live chat software to their website. Check it out!
We're surrounded by data here at Olark. On regular basis I'm combing our customer records in Looker, checking out event data in Segment, and keeping an eye on our search traffic via Google Analytics.
If you like cat gifs, you're going to want to read on...
Kendall Burke and the team at Acuity Scheduling want to change people's mind about contacting Customer Support. While support interactions can, at times, be a downer, Kendall is working to make every interaction at Acuity human and fun.
The Customer Support community is much different from other 'hard' tech communities because of the emotional involvement of the day-to-day work. Support can be very rewarding, but it can also be a grind. In a recent study, 45% of Customer Support professionals found maintaining and improving team morale challenging. (source)
Why is this important for you as a business owner? Because this proposed law started with a customer who simply wanted to cancel their service. Rather than turn that customer problem into a success story, what followed was a now infamously bad customer support interaction, which was caused by misaligned sales expectations for Comcast's Customer Support team.
Here's what happened, and how you can avoid having it happen to you:
This article is a prequel to my eBook, "Persuading Customer Support to Sell." In the book, I share how to get Support to contribute to sales in a non-salesy way. Why should they do this? Because it helps you fight churn, and churn is slowly but surely killing your business.
Customer Support doesn't bring in new sales prospects - they prevent churn. They're talking to customers after the purchase to ensure customers are happy. If they're not, then they work to quickly help or appease them so they're either happy again, or not mad enough to leave.
When a customer leaves you, this is churn. Churn is people falling out of love with your company. Churn is the biggest problem for the lifetime value of a customer.
When your work is customer support, and your job is to wear a happy face while dealing with angry customers, well it can be challenging to say the least. Heck, sometimes I get overwhelmed and frustrated when I get two chats at once and they're not both asking, "Where is your pricing page?" DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS PEOPLE?
Lucy's story is not unique to those of us providing Olark support. We wish we could have helped Lucy get started on the right foot, and saved her some frustration - her bad day on chat could have been avoided had she taken a few small steps! The names and events you're about to read have been changed to protect the Olark innocent.
Our friend, Matthew Harris is the founder of sendwithus. He recently wrote an article for Venturebeat about social engineering - using a human interaction, like live chat, to trick people into providing security information.
In this follow-up article, Matt explains how the extra data his team populates in the olark UI helps identify customers and mitigate the risk of an intrusion via chat.
Now that we're actually clear of the holiday rush, I checked in again with a few Olark customers who signed up for our Cyber Monday Survival Kits this year. I wanted to know - "What did you learn this holiday shopping season?"
When learning how to handle customer complaints effectively, you have to be prepared for the customer typing in all caps.
Dealing with these customers, especially on live chat, is an art. Some times customers have a problem and need to blow off some steam, and they're going to blow that steam off in the face of the first person they can reach on live chat.
Is it fun? No. Does it happen? Yes, some times. Can they be reasoned with? Absolutely.
An Olark user recently asked me the following: "If you had a customer who was talking to you in all caps and that customer clearly isn't mad, would you ask him to politely turn off caps?"
My response? "No. I would continue the conversation and not call attention to the fact that the customer was using all caps."
In December, I (Karl) had the opportunity to sit down for coffee with Felix Thea - host of the Shopify Masters podcast and founder of TrafficAndSales.com. Through his podcast, Felix has talked with hundreds of different store owners and has a few thoughts on the trends of 2016, particularly a renewed focus on personalization.
As someone who interacts with the Shopify community on a regular basis, I'm always looking at how the eCommerce ecosystem is driving innovation for online retailers.
Nick Oliverio is one of only a few Olarkers who straddles the line between support and sales. He's also held sales positions with other companies before becoming the Chief Support Ninja at Olark.
Nick has a unique perspective on what it takes to be successful at both support and sales. While the two worlds are seemingly unrelated, as Nick explains in this interview, support has made him a better salesperson, and sales has changed his approach to customer support.
Today's guest post comes from Brian Kelly, VP of Product at Nutshell, who explains why end users—not just managers—are the new decision makers for business software purchases. Spoiler alert: vendors are listening...
Today’s guest post comes from Brent Summers who is the Director of Content Marketing at Segment.
In reflecting on this past year, one of the most notable trends we saw was a focus on enhanced customer experiences. Most consumer experiences with brands begin passively, often online when friends share opinions about products and services over social media.
Once a consumer chooses to express their interest - a click, a like, a retweet, etc. - brands now have a plethora of active ways to escalate a 'passive' relationship, and that is the beginning of the 'customer experience.'
If you’ve done any sort of front-end engineering work over the past few years you’ve more than likely been inundated by the sheer volume of new technologies at your disposal. From Backbone.js to React, the rate at which new front-end technologies come out is rapid enough to make anyones head spin.
Today Richard Protheroe of Veeqo provides a few easy steps to optimize your Shopify store to capitalize on end of year sales.
From Thanksgiving right through to New Year's Eve, ecommerce retailers have as many as 10 big shopping days to prepare their store for. It’s no surprise then that sales for retailers in the months of November and December can equate to up to 40% of overall sales for the year.
Understandably it can be a very stressful time for store owners, but ultimately very rewarding. This is especially true for Shopify users who have a plethora of apps and add ons at their disposal to help increase sales, as well as some general ways to increase traffic and sales over this holiday period.
As you prepare for Cyber Monday, we want to provide you with as much information as possible to get you ready. So we thought - what could be better than hearing from those who have been on the frontlines during the busiest online shopping day of the year?
Last year, sales on Cyber Monday topped two billion dollars. That was an 8.5 percent increase from 2013 as Cyber Monday was, again, the busiest day of the year for online shopping. We saw it on our network too. Chats for Olark customers went up 40 percent on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and those numbers stayed high for the week following Cyber Monday.
Onboarding new employees starts with hiring the right people. As part of our continuing series, October is for Onboarding (#October4Onboarding), Kara Silverman of acast tells us how her team uncovers talent that best fits their culture.
Yet at the end of last year we did an informal poll of retailers (Retail Lessons for 2015) and when asked what they'd do differently for the holiday rush, many retailers said they would have added more operators on live chat:
I fell in love with Olark shortly after my co-founder, Ainsley Braun, and I started Tinfoil Security in 2011, mostly because I'm extroverted and gregarious by nature. I'm the type of guy who is absolutely willing to hop on a site, see an Olark chat, and start a conversation. Remarkably, this is exactly how we met one of our future advisors, now also a good friend.We’ve been using Olark for four years now, and while not every chat has led to serendipitous meetings, enough conversations have led to unexpected outcomes that I find it an invaluable resource for meeting people and learning more about our customers.
We recently completed our fourth-annual, week-long, all-hands, extra-hyphenated Olark retreat. Since then, I've been fielding lots of questions about our retreat from curious friends: Why do you do it? What do you there? Should my company do a retreat?!
The answer to that last question is unquestionably yes, although it might look very different from ours. To understand why, let's start at the beginning.
Online retailers listen up - you have 104 days until Cyber Monday.
Now, that might seem like a lot of time, but you know - and I know that you know - holiday shopping season will be here in the blink of an eye. If you're not preparing now, you'll be scrambling come November.
Today's guest post from Giles Adam Thomas, CEO at Whole Design Studios, provides a step-by-step tutorial on how his team achieved a 176.33% conversion rate increase by studying chat transcripts and making simple website copy changes.
A little while ago we announced reaching 10,000 paying customers. It was, without a doubt, a huge milestone and we wanted to celebrate. Not only did we want to celebrate, but we wanted to celebrate with our customers who helped to make it all happen.
Today's post comes to us from Hannah at TRULY who wrote in to tell us how a particularly busy holiday shopping season caused their team to rethink their live chat experience and improve their customer experience.
As a developer at Olark, I really appreciate the creativity and ingenuity of the customers that integrate with our API. I find it rewarding to see people not only using the products we create, but also the APIs we provide to interact with our system. These interfaces provide a peek into the big machine that Olark is, to allow deeper integration of a customer’s specific needs to better communicate with their own users. Once in a while a special integration comes up that is so elegant that I can’t wait to share it with my co-workers and other Olark customers trying to solve a similar problem.
Olark customer Jane Clayton & Company was recently featured in the winter issue of Retail Technology UK. You can read the full article on pages 52 and 53 of the magazine by going here, but since that article will only be available through May 2015, we've captured some of Jane Clayton's story here on the Olark blog.
There may have been 101 dalmatians, but did you also know there are 101 tactics you can try to increase conversions in your Shopify store? Jevin Maltais, editor of Ecommerce Growth Weekly and ownerof QuickJack Solutions, wrote a cracking article that lists those 101 tactics, which you can read here. The following is an excerpt of Jevin's article that highlights some of those tactics.
There are a myriad of ways to remedy an issue on your Shopify site, especially if sales aren't meeting expectations. But which best help increase conversions?
Check out this awesome talk by Simon Ouderkirk of Automattic about how to ask questions to get a better product. Based on the 5 Whys developed at Toyota in their heyday, this talk will make you think about how to approach problem-solving.
Let's be honest: guys can be tough to buy gifts for. San Francisco-based Man Crates is making it easier. As a popular destination for awesome gifts for men, Man Crates says 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets, and instead hand picks gifts like hard to find hot sauce, outdoor survival gear, or delicious craft meat products.
During our 10K customer campaign back in February, Nosh Detox chatted with us to say they'd closed a £1,000 sale on chat in one day. So I called Tevita Lesuma, Nosh Detox's business growth manager, to find out how they did it.
"Originally we thought it would be complicated to organize a chat service - that it was only for larger companies with an existing call center. That wasn't the case at all."
"This is my first position in marketing, and I am the only one in my department, so it’s ALL on me to generate leads."
Sound familiar? If so, you're not alone. That quote is from Jessica Potter-Adkins, Director of Marketing & Communications for a national distributor of insurance products. Jessica and I met earlier this year at the ConversionXL Conference, where we discussed the challenges she was facing as a newly minted marketing director, and the benefits of live chat, a technology she had been eyeing for some time.
Poornima Vijayashanker is a software engineer and serial entrepreneur. She is the founder of Femgineer, an education company for tech professionals interested in entrepreneurship and leadership. She was the sole female engineer at Mint.com, which was acquired by Intuit in 2009. Post-acquisition, she decided to leave Mint and launched her own startup, BizeeBee, helping fitness studios and other membership based businesses across the world grow their business.
Last month I attended ConversionXL Live, where we spent three days talking about conversion rate optimization (CRO). It was a fascinating look at the latest trends in site design and the chance to connect with others who had the same question that I did: how do I increase conversions?
(Moha Antani (l) and Jorge Hernandez (r) of the CoPromote community team)
"Four years ago it was a complete mess," says Jorge Hernandez, CoPromote's communications director. "On an average day we'd get 50 emails, half of which were negative, and 10 chats in a row from people who were confused or frustrated or both."
Today's guest post comes from Andrew Batey, CMO, Spinlister, who explains how his company goes to great lengths to put customers above all else...
Spinlister is a peer-to-peer bike share service. We are building a global network of cyclists that help each other no matter where they travel. Our service is built entirely on trust. We depend on positive relationships with all of our customers.
All Hands Support has become a cornerstone of culture at Olark. Every Olark employee does direct customer support on a regular basis. In this video, our founders discuss how the practice began and how it's impacted the growth of Olark to 10,000 customers.
Rickshaw Bagworks has been providing custom-made bags to San Francisco for many years. Their store is a colorful playground for bike fans and bag lovers alike. To bring their superlative customer service to their online store, Rickshaw uses Olark live chat to be available immediately.
10,000 paying subscribers worldwide are now using Olark to make their customers happier.
San Francisco, CA, February 17, 2015 – Olark live chat (www.olark.com) today announced it is now serving more than 10,000 paying businesses on its worldwide network. This includes businesses such as Acquia, Casper, Front, PagerDuty, Product Hunt, ShippingEasy, WordPress.com, and thousands others who offer instant service, sales and support using Olark to make customers happy.
When Olark passed the 10K customer mark in 2015, my co-founders and I reflected on five years of bootstrapping and building Olark live chat from a hobby to a business. We have lots to be thankful for, but I am most thankful for my awesome and flexible teammates who care about how we work together.
The challenges we took on in 2014 raised tough questions about our organization. What are our most important projects? How do we determine our priorities? How do we find the right teammates to solve a problem? Who makes decisions in a "flat" structure? Should we remain flat?
Olark is the first software company I co-founded. Starting out I really had no idea what to expect. Previously I worked for several years as an early employee at another startup, so I had a fuzzy picture in my head of what I wanted Olark to look like, but I wasn’t sure how to get there or how long it would take.
Now it’s 2015, our team is over 30 people, and we have thousands of customers. People ask me all the time about those early years: how long it took to become profitable, what “typical” revenue growth looks like, or when to make that first hire. Time has really put those first few years into perspective, and as we get set to cross a major customer milestone next week, I thought it’d be helpful to share what those early years were like for us.
CommitChange.com currently works with nonprofits looking to raise funds via crowd fundraising, event ticketing, or other means. Based on each non-profit's needs, CommitChange.com builds them a customized suite of tools to manage their campaign and achieve their fundraising goals, all from a single platform.
The company currently services more than 300 nonprofits across the United States, recently released its first monthly subscription tier for its core fundraising suite, and had more than 9,000 donors use the CommitChange.com platform for their charitable giving in 2014.
Nothing is more exciting to an entrepreneur than a new user, standing at the precipice, poised to convert. So much could go wrong at this moment. Will they put in their email address? Will they go to the next screen? Will they enter in payment information or share referrals? Is your product even right for this person?
Today's guest post is from Angelica Valentine, Content Marketing Manager at Wiser. You can follow her on Twitter here: @AngelicaSaidSo.
Every retailer knows there are plenty of opportunities to maintain and even grow their sales after the holiday rush. January is a prime time to strengthen customer relationships and extend the life of those initial purchases or even inquiries that happened in late November and throughout December.
San Francisco, December 9, 2014 - Olark today introduced Chat Ratings, a feature that allows companies to garner more detailed customer feedback and better understand if they are making customers happy through live chat. Chat Ratings let customers quickly and easily rate the helpfulness of their live chat experience, and let operators and managers immediately review that input to measure the quality of service being provided.
As SynapsePay grows, its use of Olark live chat has grown with it. This case study shows how...
In late 2014, Memphis-based SynapsePay launched its platform that allows anyone with a bank account and Internet connection to transfer money and issue payments. It also gives merchants a secure portal for accepting payments, either in-store or online.
Casper Sleep and BarkBox are superstars of the NYC online retail world. Both have had phenomenal success, building legions of evangelical customers and getting loads of press and accolades along the way.
Making sure that they are aligned with the needs of their customers has helped them create a number of initiatives intended to increase happiness and build relationships with customers. Taylor Aldredge, Grasshopper's Ambassador of Buzz, details some of these programs and shares what they learned.
Huge thank you to Miha for allowing us to share this article, which originally appeared on his website breakthebit.org. If you're an advanced Olark API user, you might want to skip straight to our full API section. If you're a new Olark API user, then you've come to the right place.
We acquired a customer 30 minutes after we installed Olark. Here's how:
Pipemonk (formerly Zapstitch) is building a Cloud Data Integration platform. We automatically sync and transfer data between various cloud business apps. Today, we connect Shopify (eCommerce platform) and QuickBooks Online (financial software).
As an early stage startup, it is critical for us to learn from every user that signs up. We use Olark to provide live product support, get customers’ feedback, reviews and sometimes just exchange quick plain hellos :).
A few weeks ago we attended a "Customer Success" conference put on by one of our excellent customers, Gainsight. There were lot of interesting talks, but my major takeaway was that successful companies invest in building longterm relationships with their existing customers.
At Olark, we have people spread out over three continents, in four countries and six time zones. We're most interested in finding the right people as we build our business and location is not as important as what each and every member brings to the team.
Thus, we find ourselves spread out pretty far and wide, from our offices in San Francisco and Ann Arbor to as far away as Sao Paulo, Toronto and the Isle of Tiree, 40 storm-drenched miles off the West coast of Scotland.
Humans figured out trade very early on. By 3000 BC, humans were setting out on missions of waterbound trade, and by 1000 BC, merchants were becoming a part of societies. There were ideas about how to treat customers. The butcher, the baker and the local perfumier had to meet the needs of the customer with custom products as well as nascent marketing techniques.
The beginning of the industrial age brought the vast new challenge of a customer base the proprietor would likely never meet in person.
I've written before about the amazing things we've had happy customers do for us; from baking cookies to delivering homebrew beer to sending us chocolates and cheese and wine -- jeeze, thinking about it, we've got some pretty amazing customers....
Olark Co-founder and Master of Customer Experience Roland Osborne delievered this talk about improving your product by getting your whole team involved with support. Apparently designers wearearphones quite frequently.
Lincoln Murphy is Customer Success Evangelist at Gainsight and is driving thought-leadership in the areas of Customer Success Management, customer retention, churn mitigation, and expansion revenue. Since 2008, as Managing Director of Sixteen Ventures, Lincoln has helped 300+ SaaS companies rapidly improve customer acquisition and retention to create efficient engines of growth.
I wanted to find out how Lincoln looks at "Happiness Hacking": testing customer-service solutions and improving the product in direct response to customer feedback.
Growing your team can make your customers more loyal and increase your sales --- if you do it right.
When you add new people to your team, consider two important factors. You want to quickly get your whole team ready to talk to customers effectively, with a set of best practices to follow. And you want to make sure your system is optimized to take advantage of features that can make your team work better.
Freshbooks has developed a rather legendary reputation for their obsessive attention to customer experience.
They are the winner of multiple Stevie Awards for Best Front-Line Customer Service Team and have generated countless customer tweets remarking on their astonishing support. Mark MacLeod, Chief Corporate Development Officer shared:
In the early days of Olark, we took a very traditional approach to customer support. We did what most companies do and hired someone smart to handle it. Andrew did such an amazing job of handling issues that we hardly heard from our customers.
In the Fall of 2009, Andrew decided to go back to college and finish his degree. So we had to change things up a bit.
When I asked some cloud software companies about doing All Hands Support recently, ZenPayroll gave by far the most enthusiastic response. It was clear their whole team eagerly participated in talking to customers. Everyone wanted to talk about it.
My everyday goal is to have each visitor who comes to Olark.com with a question leave with a sense of amazement at the quality of the support they receive. I want them to feel like they received personal service like they might get when walking into their neighborhood barbershop.
At Olark, we dedicate ourselves to building great software and also to using it every day of the week to help our customers with billing, upgrade, product queries and more.
As first engineer, I've been at Olark for a while (three years this March!), and support has been one of my roles since the beginning. When it was just the five of us (and the odd intern here and there), that just made sense--nobody wanted to burn out on our support volume. It helps that all of us were, to some degree, "people who like people," but as time went on and the team grew and grew, it stopped being something we had to do, and started being a part of our culture.
San Francisco, CA, March 31, 2014 - Building on its culture of All Hands Support, in which everyone in the company participates in customer service, Olark (www.olark.com) today introduced 'All Hands Support Month (www.olark.com/allhands).' Throughout the month of April, Olark will share lessons in getting the whole company involved with customer service, as well as best practices and case studies on how leading companies use All Hands Support to build cultures of customer insight and customer service.
It’s well known that live chat can increase conversions and sales.
We wondered why some of our customers can sell better than others. I spoke with some of the most effective users of Olark on Shopify to find out what they do, and the answer is is incredibly simple: be human.
Some people are born to greatness, some people achieve it through Herculean effort, and some strive their whole life and never obtain it.
In hiring great customer service teams, I've met of a few of the first case: the ones who you know fifteen seconds into the interview that they're getting a job offer and their own desk. And I've known a few that I would build a stone wall to keep them away from any interaction with the public.
But the million dollar question is; can greatness be taught? Is there a formula to get your team to that peak of greatness where you just know they are doing far more for your company's image and future beyond merely answering questions?
In the early days of Olark, the only choice you had for notifications in the in-browser chat was the default "pop" sound for incoming and outgoing chat messages.
A lovely sound to be sure, especially when you hear it all day long during hundreds of chats. But feedback we've received from the field was that for some, the "pop" is just not arresting enough, especially in a busy office with phones ringing and many things vying for your attention.
So, by popular demand, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to our latest feature enhancement: New sounds for the Olark in-browser chat (chat.olark.com).
Live chat can increase user engagement on your site, but sometimes just adding a 'click to chat' tab isn’t enough. It might require some work to get customers familiar with the chat function and to help them understand that a real human is standing by, ready to answer questions.
The following are a few ways to proactively start a conversation with visitors browsing your site and help them find what they’re looking for.
Every day, Olark sees more than 3 million visits across thousands of different websites and browsers. We constantly have to ask ourselves: are we causing any issues or slowdowns on our customers' websites?
Knowing the answers to these questions is critical to our success.
A casual misstep means we could be silently breaking thousands of websites, halting transactions, angering the world, causing the next recession...you know, the usual.
Scheduling on-call schedules has always been a bit of a pain, especially given the way we rotate shifts. PagerDuty’s interface really only satisfies one type of on-call schedule: scheduling people manually for multi-day or week-long blocks of 24/7 coverage.
Lots of our customers use their Olark box to help visitors and make sales. Which is quite awesome! But some have come up with creative, innovative and thoughtful ways to Olark and bring new uses to the features we offer.
MoonClerk is an online payment system that allows non-programmers to use Stripe to accept recurring payments and one-time payments. Founder Dodd Caldwell and Gabe Cuevas have come up with some great ways to talk to customers with Olark.
If you're an advanced API user, you might want to skip straight to our full API section. If you're a new Olark API user, then you've come to the right place.
All sorts of visitors see your site each day. Some might check out your service, visit a few pages… and hopefully even sign up and become a customer. All of your favoriteanalyticssoftware can show you these visitors with numbers and graphs, but what about the actual people behind those numbers?
The days of 'I just want to talk to someone' are rapidly disappearing and being replaced with 'the last thing I want to do is have to talk to someone'. This is especially relevant in the part of the process that the internet dominates, which is self-service research, education, comparison and selection.
However, chat only works when the response is timely. As a startup, with only a handful of people, we faced the concern of 'How do I ensure a timely response to users on our site?'
Congrats! You’ve signed up for live chat to talk with your customers.
This quick guide assumes you’ve already added Olark or another live chat 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 for customers and site visitors to start talking to me and what do I do next?” phase.
Okay, so you are signed up and ready to jump into All Hands Support Month along with the rest of your company. Ready to help provide stellar customer service and meet your customers directly.
Exciting. But it can be scary too. Say you're the CEO or the VP or marketing or a development engineer who's gonna chip in and do some chat shifts now that you have free operators for a month. You may be thinking,"What if I don't know the answer to some of the questions our customers will throw at me? Won't I look dumb or something?"
On September 11, 2013, we had the pleasure of hosting CUSTOMERELATE in San Francisco with the insightful Sophie Monroe of payment platform WePay and the ridiculously knowledgeable Kevin Hale, who built WuFoo before becoming a Y Combinator partner.
Along with Olark founder Matt Pizzimenti and Chief Storyteller Laure Parsons, and a very large cake, we had rousing discussion about talking to customers and what makes it work.