Dean Roscoe talks about chat app, Olark and how it can help you to close your online sales

Your customers want to chat with you! That’s the slogan which greets you when you visit, one of the most popular online chat apps on the market. In this column, I’m going to take a look at some of the benefits of live chat and explain how easy it is to add to your website.

Customers have questions, and lots of them! So being available to reply in an instant could mean the difference between winning or losing a sale, especially if it’s an impulse buy and they don’t have time to pick up the phone.

There are two pages where you must have live chat enabled – the product selection page and the checkout page; it’s here where your customers will most likely need assistance. If you have an online designer tool, then enable live chat there as well. Olark has a brilliant feature called cobrowsing that allows you to take control of a visitor’s screen show them what to do.

The Olark chat box

The Olark chat box

Probably the biggest fear of adding live chat is not being available to take messages all day. But there’s no need to be concerned. Olark will sense when you’re not around and automatically set your status to ‘away’. If any messages are left they will be forwarded by email.

How it works

Adding Olark to your website is really easy. Sign-up to get your unique code and copy it to your website’s index file; if you’re using a popular platform like ShirtTools or WordPress then there’s a plugin that will do this for you. Now your chat box is live and it can be customised to match the look and feel of your site.

The tab that launches the chat window can be discreetly pinned to the side of the screen, or you can have it open by default. It’s even possible to make it pop up with a welcome message after a customer’s been on the site for a set length of time – this works really well if the popup contains an open ended question to start the conversation flowing.

olark admin console screen shot

The Olark admin console

When you’re ready to start receiving enquiries click the Accept New Chats button to begin. The admin console will show a list of live visitors and tell you where they came from. If you click on their profile you will see which pages they’ve visited and how long they’ve been on your site, this information is gold because you can send a direct message if you sense they need help.

Olark plans start at £10 per month, which is incredible value when you consider it can be used on multiple websites simultaneously. Find out more by visiting the Olark website and test drive it for free.

Dean Roscoe is the director of Decotech Solutions, which specialises in software, training and support for the garment decoration industry. He is the developer of ShirtTools, the online product customiser, and Inkquoter, the cloud based invoicing app for embroiderers and printers.