The reason why zopim came into existence was because of the many many problems that traditional live chat solutions or chat widgets had, especially for business owners who are trying to sell effectively via their websites.

One of the problems we wanted to solve was the clunky chat interface for your visitors. If you value your customers’ surfing and chatting experience, do read on..

How others do it

The traditional chat solution involves a chat button inserted into the website. When clicked, another browser window pops up. In many cases, users might have to fill up a long survey form asking for their name, purpose of contacting, etc.. etc.. before actually getting to talk to someone at all. If your company is a mega corporation with many angry customers wanting to complain about bad service, this is totally fine.. your first line of defense (the clunky chat interface) has helped you scare off most of your customers.

Popup Chat Window

Popup Chat Window

How we do it

However, if you’re a business owner who value every surfer on your website as a potential customer, what you want is a chat service that integrates right into your website – or in technical jargon, an inline chat window – just like the one here (with all its AJAXY goodness and sleek look). Our premise is simple, many of our existing customers just want a chance to pitch to visitors on their site. If the interface stands out, and the interface is simple, chances of that happening is much higher, as our testimonials show.

Inline Chat Window

Inline Chat Window

The fact is popup browser windows has usability issues and is considered by many to be a clumsy interface that will gradually be phased out. Google led this move by replacing popup-ads with inline text ads a long time ago. The keyword here is inline.

Inline chat window, contextual chat window, draggable lightbox-like chat window, cool funky meebo-like floating window, whatever you want to call it. We just want to create the ultimate chat interface for visitors on your webpage.

Here are a couple more reasons why popup chat windows pale in comparison to our inline chat windows:

  • Context matters, seamlessness does too. A chat session should happen on the webpage which maintains the context of a chat conversation. Not in another lonely browser window. The reason you’d embed chat on a page is to help that visitor as he’s navigating your page. You don’t want him alt-tabbing between the conversation in the chat window while trying to read the content on your webpage. That sucks.
  • Popup blockers. Over enthusiastic ones might block all popups. You’ve done it right? Clicked on a link, page, image and then…(nothing). What happened? Oh it’s the pop-up blocker that ate it. So while you figured that out, the average user who is not savvy to browser features and functionality (such as pop-up blocking) will probably blink and miss the hidden “aha”.. and move on, missing out the chat session altogether.. UNLESS you do the below.. (This screenshot from an actual website explains it all.. LOL)

LOL

  • Its just cool. Hack, look at meebo, they blew everyone’s socks off when they first launched.. like WOW, i didn’t know i could IM like this on a browser. There were other web-based chats out there, but they just weren’t half as cool. Now we want to bring that one step further and recreate the same experience on any website that embeds our solution. When your visitors chat within zopim’s window, we want them to be blown away by the ease of use and come back to your website for more.

You might ask, why’s no one else doing it like us. That’s another story by itself, lets just say its not easy making sure this interface works seamlessly across different webpages with different layouts running different javascripts embedding different kinds of media (flash etc..) on different browsers (like a certain IE6?!), with users opening multiple tabs. There were bleak times when we wanted to give in and just resort to using a popup browser window. ;p

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Royston Tay

Royston Tay

Chief Executive Dude at Zopim
Royston is CEO and Co-Founder of Zopim. He spends his time envisioning how Zopim can help other businesses by providing simple, yet effective products. When he's free, Royston dreams of being back in Tahoe, tumbling down the double black diamonds with his trusty snowboard.
Royston Tay

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