Bill Thompson

Bill Thompson
Bill is the Guru of Customer Happiness for Olark. He's been building and writing about community and online customer service since Internet 1.0.

Recent Posts

Guru's Guide to Live Chat: How do I control how many chats I get?

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?

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Olark hits the road for UserConf

Recently some of our support team made a road trip from San Francisco to Portland, OR for UserConf 2015. Channeling my inner Jack Kerouac, I kept a short journal on the trip. Ride along with us...

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The Guru’s Guide to Happiness: How to keep a remote team united

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.

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The Guru's Guide to Happiness: Giving back

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....

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The Guru's Guide To Happiness: All Hands Support

My everyday goal is to have each visitor who comes to 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.

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The Guru's Guide to Happiness: Teach the art of great customer service

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?

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Olark Live Chat Offers New Sounds for Operator Notifications

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 (

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When Pidgin goes offline and sets live chat to idle

You are ready to chat. You have Pidgin up and running and connected to your Olark chat box, and in the meantime you are attending to the work on your desk.

But oddly, no chats come in and later on, you see emails in your offline messages inbox. Huh?

It could be that you are getting set to idle/away by Pidgin against your will.

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The Guru's Guide to Happiness: Being amazing and being amazed

A wise man once said, "what goes around comes around."

I've found that the same sentiment holds true for creating happiness and amazement for your customers. Everything we do to stun and amaze our customers comes back to us tenfold.

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Best practices for getting started with live chat

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.

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