Share this guide with your team to start chatting with your website’s visitors in minutes.

It is broken into four parts:

Read it through fully at least once, and then make sure to bookmark it for quick reference when you’re chatting with visitors. New agents can also find some helpful videos on our Demo Videos page.

Using the Chat Console

Olark chat console

Open the Chat Console in a new browser tab so you can follow along as we explain the chat console section by section.

Changing your status

When you log in to the Chat Console, your status will be remembered from the last time you were logged in.

Click on the button in the top left that says “Not Accepting New Chats” to set yourself to available/online. The button text will change to Accepting New Chats and the background color will change to a bright sky blue.

Pro Tip: If you get a bunch of difficult chats at once, set yourself to “Not Accepting New Chats” so that you can focus on finishing the chats you have open.

The gear icon next to the status toggle button contains several settings, such as the alert sound which you’ll hear every time a visitor sends you a message or you receive a notification. Check out our guide on how to enable visual desktop notifications.

Being forced away If you receive a new conversation and we don’t see any chat activity from you within five minutes, we send a notification asking if you’re still around. If you don’t respond to the visitor or that notification, your status will automatically be set to away so that other visitors will not start conversations that go unanswered. You can set your status to available again at any time.

Using the visitor list

Olark chat console - Left

  • Recent Conversations: Visitors who you have recently chatted with
  • Agents: The other agents from your organization who are logged in to chat. Click on an agent’s name to chat with them. (Agent-to-agent conversations are not stored in your chat transcripts.)
  • Visitors: The people currently on your site. Click on a visitor’s name to start a chat with them.

When you see visitor details in red text, that means that they are chatting with another agent on your account..

Pro-active chatting: Check out the other ways you can proactively chat with visitors

Conversation panel

This is what it looks like when you receive (or initiate) your first chat:

Olark chat console - Middle

Displayed at the top of every new conversation are details such as the visitor’s current URL (the page they’re currently on) and referrer URL (the original URL that sent the visitor to your site, if known).

Type your reply in the text area at the bottom and hit Enter to send the message.

You can manually end a chat with a visitor by either clicking the X icon to close the conversation tab or using the agent’s !end command. Both the agent and the visitor will receive an notification saying that the chat has ended.

Commands and Shortcuts will allow you to become a productivity superhero.

Commands are short phrases preceded by an exlamation point to execute agent actions, such as !transfer!transcript and !end. Be sure to check out the full list of available commands

  • Want to transfer a chat to another chat agent? Type in !transfer and hit return.
  • Want to pull up the transcript URL for the current chat? Type in “!transcript” and hit return.
  • Want to let the visitor know the chat is over? Type in “!end” and hit return.

If you prefer clicking to typing, you can click the Actions button instead to bring up a list of common commands.

Want a faster way to type out your most common phrases? Shortcutsallow you to create commands that expand to user-created greetings, messages or links. Shortcuts are preceded by the semicolon (;) key. Your account administrator can create team-wide Shortcuts, while agents can create their own personalized Shortcuts. Check out how to set up Shortcuts.

Visitor information

Olark chat console - Right

Olark’s technical magic allows you to see visitor details such as:

  • Browser e.g. Chrome or Firefox
  • Operating System e.g. Windows or Mac
  • Approximate Geolocation based on their IP address
  • Page View Tracking i.e. the URLs they’ve viewed since landing on your site

You can also see a visitor’s NameEmail, and Phone Number, if your organization has the pre-chat survey enabled, if the visitor had previously left that information when sending an offline message, or if your company’s developers used our API to display visitor insights in the chat console.

Your Olark dashboard

Open the Olark dashboard in a new browser tab so you can follow along as we explain section by section.


Olark saves all of the chats each agent has had in the Transcripts sectionfor later review. A single speech bubble icon next to a transcript indicates only one party sent a message (either the agent or the visitor). The two speech bubble icon indicates a conversation took place. Finally, an envelope icon indicates an offline message sent by the visitor.

Each chat transcript has a unique URL, which you can see after clicking through to an individual transcript. Use the URL to share links to transcripts with your other agents.

The icons we show to the left of the transcripts indicate what type of interaction took place for each entry.

Transcript icons

Why not read more about other Olark commands?


If your organization has Chat Ratings enabled, then your visitors will be able to rate their experience with you at the end of the chat, and the Reports section is where you can view their feedback.

Account administrators will be able to see the Reports of all agents, whereas agent accounts will only see their own Chat Ratings. This differs from viewing Transcripts, where any agent can read any transcript (for review purposes). You can learn more in our Chat Ratings guide.

Agent Profile

You can access your profile by clicking your display name in the top right and then clicking Profile.

Your display name is the name that your visitors will see. Visitors will never see your username.

You can also add upload an avatar for yourself. It should be 100×100 pixels in size, and will be displayed alongside the first message you send to every visitor.

Your organization’s Olark settings

There are two levels of user roles – adminstrators and agents.

Administrators can view and change all settings. Agents are limited to:

  • Chatting to visitors
  • Viewing chat transcripts for all chat agents
  • Viewing their own chat ratings
  • Editing their personal shortcuts

However, there are many settings that your account administrator has control over which agents can’t amend but should still be aware of.

Ensure administrators have considered each of these settings:

Pre-chat checklist

If you have any questions, message us via the Olark chat box in the lower right. We’re here to help 🙂