Adding live chat to conversion pages

One of the holy grails of web development is increasing conversion rates on key pages - new user registration, vacation booking, product purchasing, etc. In addition to traditional approaches, why not try adding a live chat client to the page - so that your customer support people can be there "virtually" during important conversion processes?

www.olark.com is one of many providers of this service. For the past couple of weeks i've been testing their web based service with good results. On this post you'll see a 'click here for...' overlay in the lower right hand corner of the page.

The concept is simple - create an account on olark.com - couple this with a chat client (they use jabber) and paste a few lines of javascript just before the close body tag on your key pages and you are ready to roll. Because i find myself having to offer support during off hours it was important for me to be able to offer chat support from my iPhone - this required two additional steps.

1. after configuring the olark account i used Meebo.com on olark's recommendation. Meebo.com is a universal web based chat client.

2. I tested a few iPhone chat apps and finally settled on meebo's own free iphone app - no ads, stable and free. Since the app stays 'online and available' by default - i was essentially able to offer 24/7 live chat support.

The verdict? Although my users don't take advantage of the feature very often - those that do are grateful. It is a bit tricky to remember to log off during my sleep hours or time away from the phone - so i've ammended my chat instructions to read "if you don't get an immediate response, please email..."

Good luck and happy coding.

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