In many ways, Olark is an interesting company. Founded in 2009, they are a fully remote team with employees distributed all over the world.
It's also one of the most popular live chat tools out there, claiming to serve more than 12,000 businesses.
What's great is that they sport advanced features such as live chat automation (targeted chat as they call it).
They also have a selection of holiday themes, which is a pretty nice touch (e.g. a Halloween pumpkin or a Santa Claus hat). With their "attention grabbers," that can be put on top of a regular chat box, you'll make sure that no visitor passes by not noticing the live chat.
Pricing is simple: they feature a free plan (slightly hidden on their website), which only allows up to 20 individual conversations, and one premium plan. You can choose to pay monthly ($17), yearly ($15) or bi-yearly ($12).
And here is what you get:
per agent, per month
per agent, per month
Billed every 2 years
per agent, per month
Ease of use
Olark’s usability is fine, it’s very easy to understand. The menu structure makes sense and they offer explanations where you need them.
Integrate the code snippet provided to your website and you are ready to go.
Themes and Style Options
Various templates and color options available. Custom CSS edits available as well, which is a paid feature though.
The client is pretty basic. Nice touch: it will show the chat agent’s image if you activate this option. Allows file uploads.
Chat agent console
Use a third party instant messenger (e.g. Pidgin, GTalk, iChat) or the (basic) web-based chat console. There is a range of commands for special actions like blocking or transferring customers. Enter !help while chatting to see all your options.
Either automatically with a greeting message or manually via the chat console. Unfortunately, the web console doesn’t show who exactly got triggered. This makes it a bit difficult sometimes to know if your automations actually work. You can also hide Olark altogether and only initiate chats yourself.
Also collects feedback when you are away through the contact form.
Shortcuts / canned messages
Set up shortcuts through their new editor. While chatting, you simply hit the semicolon key and all the available shortcuts will pop up.
Tracking & live analytics
Analytics on the web-based console gives you all the relevant information (visitor’s country and city, whether it’s a returning visitor and their browsing history). The information should be presented in a more efficient way: the URLs, for example, get cut off and you only can get to that information by hovering over the visitor’s list.
The primary language is English but you can customize most of the backend texts. Via their API you can make it multilingual but that requires programming skills. A useful feature is the Translation Power Up, which translates questions and answers on the fly ($29 per month).
They don’t have their own solution but integrate with Desk, Help Scout, and Zendesk.
Integrations and add-ons
Integrates with Assistly, Highrise, Salesforce, Webhooks, and Zendesk. Can send transcripts automatically to your CRM. There is even an app store where you can get “Power Ups” that enhance Olark’s functionality.
Chats can be transferred from one agent to another and you can set up groups.
Mobile support / apps
Runs on mobile instant messaging clients as well (e.g. IMO.im). There are third-party smartphone apps as well. The Hummingbird feature optimizes the chat window for website visitors on mobile devices. Native iOS or Android apps are not available.
Available via Power Ups. It’s pricey though! Expect to pay $99 per month.
… but you can only block someone for the current session. With their rules feature, you can hide the chat bar for certain countries (e.g. those you don’t ship to anyway).
Creates transcripts for each conversation.
Overall, very good support.
Olark is very strong on chat automation and offers reasonable prices; overall a solid solution. It’s also fun to use it.
Olark’s browser-based console looks smart and is promising. But there is still some room for improvement. Instead of providing buttons for quick access to key features, a lot of commands have to be keyed in, for example !block for blacklisting a user or !transfer to pass a visitor on to another agent.
Generally, we very much like the look and feel of Olark’s user interface and the chat client. What’s also great is that visitors can rate their chat experience, allowing you to collect satisfaction data. Their pricing is very affordable and they offer excellent chat window templates. Also, if you are looking for a live chat software featuring cobrowsing, Olark is your top choice.
Just give it a shot and see if Olark is right for your company. Chances are pretty good that it actually is.