Olark: The Only Tool We’ve Tried With 5000% ROI

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One fateful evening in July 2012, in our small, one-room office in Los Altos, our CTO Kaz made what turned out to be the best marketing/sales/product development decision thus far.

He added an Olark live chat widget to our documentation page.

For those unfamiliar with Olark, it’s a simple service that allows any website to have a live support widget. By simply embedding one line of JavaScript in your page’s HTML, boom, you have a nice looking chat window. Moreover, you can brand it however you want and hook up to an IM client of your choice.

To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect at first. It was surely an improvement over arbitrary chains of email we exchanged with our customers, but we weren’t really sure how much additional value it would give us. After all, it’s just this little chat box. Would it work at all?

But it worked. It worked shockingly well.

We were pleasantly surprised that people actually asked us questions via Olark, and they were equally surprised that we answered their questions promptly and knowledgeably.

As we answered more and more questions on Olark, we began to realize that Olark is way more than a customer support tool: it’s a product feedback collector, lead converter and inbound marketer.

Olark the Product Feedback Collector

Say you have a question about a software service. Probably the first place you go is their documentation page. Now, let’s say you are still lost after reading the documentation. How likely are you going to email support@<company_name>.com to detail your problem when you aren’t even sure if someone can responds to your email in a timely manner?

The answer is ‘very unlikely’, and this is where Olark is extremely powerful.

Olark dramatically lowers the hurdle to ask questions online because all you have to do is type your question into a textbox without leaving the page. We experienced this first-hand: the moment we turned on our Olark chatbox, visitors started asking us all sorts of questions. Some of them pointed out bugs while others gave us insights and ideas to improve usability. All of them gave us valuable feedback to make Treasure Data a better platform.

Olark the Lead Converter

Treasure Data is fortunate to have a number of paying customers. As we asked them why they decided to use our service, we noticed a pattern: they all spoke glowingly of our customer support.

And the more I think about it, the more I feel that Olark is central to our customer support setup. Olark didn’t just lower the hurdle for our customers to seek support: it lowered the hurdle for us to help our customers.

I often ask myself, “How many of our paying customers converted because we provided interactive, immediate support through Olark?” Of course, it’s impossible to know, and we wouldn’t dare to A/B test this. But considering how highly our customers speak of our customer service, Olark might be the single most effective lead conversion tool we have.

Olark the Inbound Marketer

From day one, customer support has been a mission shared across the team at Treasure Data. Our informal policy is “whoever is most qualified should provide customer support as promptly as possible”. Both our CEO and CTO have done plenty of customer support, and engineers answer all the technical questions.

Apparently, this is not the norm.

Time and again, our customers have been surprised that we provide quality support via Olark. Here is a screenshot from a real Olark session:

The mere fact we do not oursource technical support made us “impressive” in one customer’s eye! To be sure, this customer was particularly impressionable, but it’s true that our customers absolutely love our customer support. There is no better marketing than endorsements from your customers!

Run an online business? Start using Olark NOW!

If you sell anything online, start using Olark today. Hypothetically, you can create your own in-browser, live chat system. But why build your own if Olark “just works”? And Olark is very affordable: our ROI on Olark has been at least 5000%.

So, go start talking to your customers. Now.

Kiyoto

P.S. If you want to be part of our awesome team, drop us a line: We are hiring =)

Kiyoto Tamura
Kiyoto Tamura
Kiyoto began his career in quantitative finance before making a transition into the startup world. A math nerd turned software engineer turned developer marketer, he enjoys postmodern literature, statistics, and a good cup of coffee.
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