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How clever automated live chat messages increase conversion rates

Sales and Conversions

How clever automated live chat messages increase conversion rates

Look for clever and unexpected ways to greet visitors on your website using live chat software. Today's post comes from Johnathan Dane, founder of KlientBoost. His company got some surprising results after experimenting with the Olark Greeter...

If you're like me, you already have a healthy list of 'to dos' you're working through to grow your business - all the the latest and greatest marketing tips and tricks from across the Internet.

And if you're like me, there just isn't enough time in the day to put all of these new marketing discoveries to use. You want something that will get results, but you're not sure where to start.

Well, I can tell you there's one thing that should be at the top of your 'to do' list that will increase conversions: get clever with your Olark Greeters.

What's a Greeter?

Greeters are the short chat blurbs/windows that automatically pop up in a chat box where when you’re browsing a site.

Sometimes they're helpful, like “Hi! My name is Jamie, please let me know if you have any questions that I can help you answer. I’m right here!”

Sometimes they're inquisitive, like “Welcome to Acme Corp! I am here to help you. Is this your first time visiting us?”

No matter how you use it, the Greeter often gets the conversation started. Greeters let your visitors know their questions will be answered by you, a real human being.

Here at Disruptive Advertising, we found using the Olark Greeter in clever ways on clients' landing pages increased conversion rates by as much as 37 percent!

So how did we find the best Greeter to increase conversions?

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"Traditional," "polite" Greeters don't work that well

We started with asking actual questions that were easy and quick for a visitor to answer. Sometimes we asked questions that weren't even related to the product or service featured on the site!

Those easy answers became the chat operator’s “foot-in-the-door” to initiate the conversation with the visitor and start the early building blocks of a beautiful semi-anonymous relationship, with the end goal of making a sale.

We found, more often than not, traditional “polite" Greeters don’t work that well.

How did we arrive at that conclusion?

Exhibit A - Ask something counterintuitive

Using automated messages in your live chat app can increase conversions. It's best to ask questions that engage the user rather than just asking if you can help.

Here are the four chat Greeters we’re split testing right now for our own site (for context: we’re a pay-per-click advertising agency):

  • “What’s your best marriage advice?”
  • “If your AdWords account was an animal, what would it be?”
  • “Who’s your #1 competitor?”
  • “What are you struggling with right now?”

Guess which one has the highest response rate...

“What’s your best marriage advice?”

How did we know it's okay to ask a question that doesn't make much sense? Because we know our visitors are on our site on purpose, and have arrived either through a PPC click, and organic blog post link, or something else that’s related to the services we offer. We also know that the visitor is either interested in improving their own PPC performance or looking to outsource.

Exhibit B - Get to the point

As you know, experiments are no good unless you can replicate the results again and again. So we took the Greeter experiment to our clients, but this time we made it specific to their product or service (not everyone wants to chat about marriage).

We used the first chat Greeter test on a client who sells promo products. This test was specifically designed for the lanyards they sell. Here are the Greeters we tested:

  • “How many lanyards are you looking for?”
  • “Hi! I’m Brad! Let me know if you need any help!”
  • “What event do you need the lanyards for?”

The Greeter that won by a landslide was “How many lanyards are you looking for?”

This Greeter also raised overall conversion rates within their AdWords account by 37%. (We only tracked conversions through Olark when the visitor replied to the greeter.)

So why did this Greeter work so well?

  • It got to the point
  • It gave the visitor a quick answer to come back with (a number)
  • It lead to what the visitor was looking for (a quote)

Exhibit C - Unexpected, but easy to answer

Here’s another Greeter test we ran for a veterans mortgage firm. We used:

  • How long have you been serving?
  • What military branch are you a part of?
  • Do you need to refinance or home purchase?

Know which one performed the best? "What military branch are you part of?"

We believe this was because it was a unique question that a visitor didn’t expect to get asked, and that a spouse of a veteran could answer. The “How long have you been serving?” would only apply if an actual veteran was on the site, and the “In need to refinance or home purchase?” could seem like a bait-n-switch tactic.


Not only can you split test new ideas for Greeters, but you can also get very creative with them. Just remember to look at your transcripts within Olark and determine which have the highest response rates. Then pause the underperforming ones and create new Greeters to compete with your winners.

Online chat in itself can be a powerful sales tool. Pairing that with automatic chat Greeters can seriously bump your conversion rates and also act as a research tool for you.

If multiple visitors ask the same question again and again, then maybe you should consider having those answers displayed on the site. Or maybe not? Since that could lessen the amount of chats your site initiates and sales you close.

Only testing will give you the answers!