Live Tech Support – Click Here (Part 1 of the review)

Live Web Site Chat Services Review - iStudioWeb BlogLast couple of days one of our clients and I spend quite some time researching providers of online chat service. This is one of those services where a visitor of your web site can click on the image with a smiling lady and supposedly chat with a friendly (or not so friendly) sales person.

The advantages of this sales tool and live help tool are numerous – you can see how visitors move from one page to another in real time, you can engage them in chat when they reach certain part of your web site or even walk them through your site! Various services allow popping up an invitation window after certain period of time, based upon certain rules or pages visited. We looked through several live help services and I have decided to share some of the research on live help service with readers of this blog.

BoldChat – overall we got a good impression of this live chat service. The setup consists of putting special code on your web site and downloading a Windows-platform software (they don’t have Mac version, as far as I know) to keep track of visitors, engage in live chat sessions and so on. The drawbacks are confusing list of features and a little higher price then most competitors – $29.95 per operator per month, $79.95 per 3 operators per month (there is a discount that adds to pricing confusion).

Live2Support – very confusing pricing model. Chat services are divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold plans with different number of operators available for each “denomination”. Cons: basic (bronze) lacks most of the basic features, poor sales representatives level. Pros: rich features on the pricier plans, ability to use both web interface and Windows-based software to keep track of users and chats, advanced chat functions – chat sharing, transfer, moderation. Pricing: from $9.99 Bronze plan with single operator to $69 for Gold plan with 10 operators.

LivePerson – one of the most expensive providers of live web site chat services. I was unable to find any mention of the pricing online, but through a chat session with a live operator I was quoted pricing from $99 and up per month per operator. The sales agent was very pushy, offering some discounts on a “take it or leave it” basis. They, however, are very popular service, powering many large-scale web sites.

(Continued – Part 2 of Live Chat Review series)


Offline-Online Promotion For Small Businesses – Part 4

Mini CD Find Me If You Can - iStudioWeb BlogThis wouldn’t be a guide to promote your small business offline, but rather a rant of small business owner who tries to do something good – and not quite succeeded.

Yesterday I spend a good hour and a half searching for small CDs at local stores – both computer oriented and those selling office supplies. While regular small CDs were sporadically available at certain merchants, the business card CDs were nowhere to be found. At a single store only I was able to find a mini-CD in quantities over 8 pieces for 8 dollars.

The story with CD labels was even worse. If you are looking for regular-sized CD labels – you are all set pretty much anywhere you go. But if you thought you could find labels for any other CD size – think again!

Overall I visited around 8 stores, 5 of them were Staples and Office Depots, three others were BestBuy, DataVision and CompUSA (that was a sorry view). While trying to order labels online at Neato I almost got hit with a charge of $50.01 for shipping on 200 pages of two sorts of labels. The amount itself was about 40% higher then the price of labels.


8 Web Design Mistakes That Developers Make – Turn Mistake Into Challenge

An excellent website takes a particularly savvy blend of both great design and great code. Because of this, you often find designers having to figure out code and developers trying their hand at design…

read original | digg story

Great article if you are involved in web design and if you read it thoroughly. I must admit – in our web design studio we sometimes get carried away with using free fonts and free images. However, the problem (at least sometimes) isn’t our laziness or not knowing any better.

Most problem arise with such “bad behavior” are tied to our inability to persuade clients not to use widespread imagery. At times it gets all but funny – “it worked for them, it will naturally work for us“. Naturally, it won’t. We’re getting better at explaining things to our clients, but we’re not flawless yet.

This, however, poses another opportunity to be better then competition. Alright, we’ll use that image you’ve seen a dozen times, but we’ll try to do it the best we can. So that the next time you see it on someone else’s web site, you would recall our client, not that other web site. Use that image to create a point of origin.

Creativity doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be creative.