Kayako is an India-based company that does chat and communication support for businesses around the world. Varun Shoor established the company in 2001. He formed the company and its first office in Punjab after dropping out of college. Shoor is a programming genius, learning programming when he was 13. Later in life, he started working on Kayako at age 17.
Shoor’s company does a lot of charity work, in addition to supporting open-source software platforms. In 2009, Kayako made cost-free full licenses available for charities. The power of Kayako is also available for free for open-source software companies, making it easier for them to support their users better.
One thing that really struck us about Kayako was that they have never received any type of external funding. The company, without a public offering, has been one of the most profitable companies in the web chat industry.
Kayako is a truly global company. They have offices in India. The company is now officially headquartered in London, reaching out to customers from most economically developed countries.
Kayako has a very large customer portfolio. Their solutions for industries include higher education, technology companies, and health care. Some of their leading customers include Pearson Education, University of Alberta, Sega, and other companies from throughout the world.
- Third-party applications
- Customer service
We noticed a lot of "right-out-of-the-box" features with Kayako that we really liked. They have over 100+ analytics reporting features available for customers. Their live chat platforms include Fusion, Engage, and Case. Case is an e-mail ticketing system, that lets customers access help through an email-ticketing platform. Engage is the company's live chat platform, while the Fusion product blends Engage and Case into one marketable, scalable platform.
We really liked the third-party applications with Kayako. These nine third-party integrations include:
- Base Camp
- Fresh Books
- SAML Single Sign-On
Kayako was the first platform that we discovered that included Base Camp. This third-party integration is important for live chat because it builds a project management phase into the platform. The Base Camp integration is truly powerful. It lets customers build Base Camp into their live chat. Without leaving Kayako, the agent can manage all phases of customer support with Base Camp.
We really liked the tour of Kayako. On the product tour page, we were able to see the ticketing system interface. This made it very easy for an agent to:
- See the ticket description.
- Access the priority of a ticket.
- See who last replied to the ticket.
- See due dates and critical deadlines.
This functionality of Kayako was one of the best in the live chat industry, letting agents easily address customer tickets with a project management approach to the live chat environment.
The behavior-based triggers and proactive manual solutions really let Kayako users turn their visitors into leads. There are live footprints of website visitor activity, helping agents reach out to customers who have landed in a particular area of the website. Missed chats can be turned into opportunities with manual chatting capabilities. Hands down, Kayako represents one of the best opportunities for meeting all visitors on your website. The behavior-based triggers automatically will convert customers who have been stuck on your website for a moment or have ventured onto a particular landing page.
The customer service features are also very powerful. With the Fusion package, customers can access the following features:
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Custom ratings (both internal and external)
- Custom user and organization fields to enter applicable support information.
- News and subscriber lists to keep engaged.
- Multi-lingual support (all the major business languages of the world).
We also liked the live chat and calls that were powered by Kayako. There are real-time visitor monitoring solutions available, letting you engage customers as they work through your website. Voice, click-to-call, and VoIP integration make Kayako a powerful tool for engaging customers with both live chat and audio. Intelligent chat routing is also a powerful feature of Kayako, letting chats be funneled to:
- The appropriate agent or department based upon priority.
- "Whispering" to let a senior agent mediate a difficult chat.
- Chat routing based upon a customer's skill set.
Chat routing based upon skill or industry is a powerful tool because it lets customers reach an agent who has relative industry experience.
We had a few concerns with Kayako. There are some basic features not built into Kayako's chat tool that should be included with every live chat experience. The lack of video chat and screen sharing were a big deal for us.
Kayako hasn't done much work with building screen sharing into their online chat portal. It is possible to take screenshots from the agent end and send these to the customer. However, this feature does not give customers the "hands on" experience that they need when they are trying out a new product or trying to navigate a website. On Kayako's help pages, we found that customers have been asking for this feature since 2010, but no plans are in progress to build co-browsing into the chat experience.
Also, we were a little bit disappointed with the lack of video conferencing over live chat. Financial businesses and other certain industries might not be able to use Kayako, as video chat plays a big role in the identity verification process.
The Bottom Line
We recommend Kayako. Even though they are not a US-based company, they have made remarkable inroads in developing a product from the ground up. Their nine third-party apps, as well as an open API support page, streamline the web experience, letting a business handle customers easily without leaving Kayako.
We also felt that Kayako is generous to charities and non-profits. They make full licenses available to charities and open-source software companies, making the customer support equation more affordable. Ultimately, we liked that Kayako lets you integrate two of their products into your ideal customer support platform.