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Olark Review: 25% of our Customers Live Chatted with Us Before Buying

5 Comment(s) | Posted | by Joel Sutherland | |


We soft-launched HiFi about two weeks ago.  This meant closing down the beta program and launching our pricing and sign-up pages. We've been writing posts on this site for some time so we get a fair amount of traffic to the blog from people who might be interested in our product.

Like most new products there is a lot of marketing left for us to do. We haven't come close to explaining all of the features and advantages that HiFi has on this site.  Since the our team knows the product well, it only made sense to try letting our customers contact us and ask us about it. We turned to Olark to help make this possible.

The results are already pretty impressive.

Just over 25% of our signups have been from people that have chatted with us first. About 50% of the people that chat with us have gone on to sign up!

Generally the conversations have gone really well: our customers are web designers and developers and our staff is made up of web designers and developers so both parties have a lot in common.  For the most part, customers have been happy that we have been able to answer their questions with as much depth as we have.

How to set it up

Olark works through a simple Javascript file you include at the bottom of your page.  On HiFi this is super easy to do.  We like to set up a JS block that allows us to add scripts only on the pages they are needed.  We just wanted Olark to run on the pricing and signup page.  To get it to work there, I edited the JS block on both pages as follows:

{% block js %}
    {% parent %}
    <!-- begin olark code --> <script type="text/javascript">...</script> <!-- end olark code -->
{% endblock %}

Once you've done that, Olark will recognize that it has been installed.  From there, you can sign in to just about any IM client and link it to your account.  I use Google Talk so I linked that up.  When you do this, Olark will automatically request to chat with you from a number of different names like "".  Once you approve this, you're good to go.

Now, whenever somebody is browsing a page on your site with Olark installed, you'll see an active buddy on your chat list.  Either you or your customer can initiate the conversation, it's that simple!

One great feature for those on gchat is that Olark is smart about when to show up. If you aren't logged in or have your status set to 'Busy' it won't give visitors the option to chat with you.

Also, you can connect it with multiple gchat accounts.  Once one of them responds, it blocks the others.  This allows for several of us to be available at the same time without having to worry about whether someone else is already chatting with a customer.

How it looks

olark on hifi

You can control where on the page Olark shows up.  The bottom right is default and probably most common so we put it there.  It starts closed, but will open when you click on the title. You can control 100% of the copy that people see.


Our experience might not be 100% typical.  We're able to make our founders and developers available to our customers. I don't know that it would be working as well otherwise.  Additionally, our product has high switching costs.  Before someone commits to using HiFi as a CMS they will need to be willing to build a site on it!  This means that our customers likely want to do a lot more research before making a purchasing decision.

That said, we would highly recommend giving Olark a shot.  It's so easy to install and its defaults are really sensible.  You'll be able to get a feel for how well it works quickly and uninstall it if you don't think it's worth it.  There is a 14-day free trial so you can figure out if it works for you at no charge.

5 Comment(s) | Posted | by Joel Sutherland | |


  1. Tim's avatar
    | Permalink
    If 25% message them directly, seems like a revenue model difficult to scale
  2. Joel Sutherland's avatar
    Joel Sutherland
    | Permalink
    Tim, what do you mean?
  3. Emil Hajric's avatar
    Emil Hajric
    | Permalink
    @Joel Sutherland

    What Tim is saying is. If you have to engage with every customer, it's really hard to scale..
  4. Eric's avatar
    | Permalink
    Depends on the price point and how long the buying cycle is. Looks like this is a big ticket item.
  5. Abbas Javed's avatar
    Abbas Javed
    | Permalink
    Great Post! There is also a 14-day free trial for Banckle Chat as well. Its way better than other vendors in terms of Live customer support.