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Kayako live chat review

Kayako live chat is a medium-sized help desk and live chat provider. Today, I’ll be looking at their live chat tool and what it has to offer for an online business.

Kayako live chat web application

Kayako live chat setup

Setting up a trial account went smooth. Since Kayako is a help desk first and live chat second, I had to dig a bit to find their live chat code. After the installation, you also need to download an app (either for OSX or Windows).

Here’s where my first bigger problem with Kayako live chat is: you can’t use the web app for live chat. It’s used only to receive and answer tickets. This seems a bit weird as they could have a separate tab for chats in the web app.

Once you install the app, you just need to type in the credentials and switch your status to online to start receiving chats. The app crashed the first time I went online but it was smooth sailing from that point on.

Kayako live chat application review

Kayako live chat first chat

I was ready to have my first chat via Kayako. The chat window looks quite nice and I was anxious to see how the chats are handled.

The first thing I noticed when I started a test chat was the interesting way they ask for visitor emails. There’s a bit of conversational interface in place as the app asks to type in the email. There’s no extra field or survey to fill in. The visitor just needs to provide the email as if they were sending another message.

Once a chat starts, an agent needs to accept it in the app. There’s a nice desktop notification that allows you to either accept or decline right away.

Once I sent a test message over via the chat window, I noticed that there’s some kind of spacing problem going on. All messages are really far apart and the messages themself get clipped by the upper portion of the chat window. I’m not sure if this a problem with my browser size (I’ve tried other sizes without no luck) but if that happens a lot, it would be a serious problem for visitors because it’s really hard to follow the conversation like this.

Kayako live chat widget

Kayako live chat features

The live chat app itself is fairly basic. Apart from the chatting feature itself, you get the option to transfer chats to other agents or groups.

When it comes to the chat features, agents can use canned responses to speed up the chat a bit. Files can also be attached to chats but only by agents.

You also get the option of starting chat proactively with visitors who are on your website. This happens by selecting the visitor in the web app and choosing the start a chat option.

The extra feature that’s not usually available with other chat solutions is the ability to configure notification sounds in the desktop apps to the agent’s liking. The native notifications are fairly decent so there’s probably not much use for this feature.

In the web app, you get access to some data from your help desk and live chat. During the trial, you get a mockup of how the data would look like (fairly clear and simple). You get the option to see the real data but it didn’t work for me.

Kayako live chat data dashboard

When it comes to integrations, it’s been a big disappointment. There are no native integrations available in Kayako. They are only listed as ‘coming soon’ on their integrations page. If you want an integration with another service, you need to do it yourself. You can do it via Zapier, webhooks or through their API.

Kayako live chat integrations zapier app

Kayako live chat pricing

When considering the Kayako price, you need to consider that you’re not really buying live chat but a complete another product along with it. It seems that Kayako is primarily a help desk tool, with a basic live chat feature added in the bundle. Any price we discuss should be seen as the price for two products.

The pricing starts at $25 a month for one agent in the Standard plan. Or should I say $29 a month for one agent because they’ve done what I really don’t like: they pre-select the annual option and show prices with the annual subscription discount. I get why they do it but that seems really strange to me. They at least could show both prices side-by-side to clearly know the potential customer know what is happening.

There’s two additional plans: Growth at $59 a month/agent ($50 annually) and Enterprise at $109 month/agent ($90 annually). There doesn’t seem to be too much difference between the plans. The Growth plan seems to be geared towards teams, as there is a couple of team-related features added in. The Enterprise plan adds an extra dose of customization to how the chat functions and security.

Additionally, all plans cite some kind of SLA. What I don’t understand is why you get SLA in the basic plan, Multiple SLAs in the growth plan and ‘uptime guarantee’ in the Enterprise plan. If uptime guarantee is available in the Enterprise plan only, what kind of service level guarantees you get in the first two plans? Also, what’s the point of having multiple SLAs in place? I’m not sure how they are handling it but maybe they are offering different SLAs for different features?

Finally, they list a couple of features in the Growth plan as ‘coming soon’. What’s the point if the features are not there? Providing a promise that something will be available in the future as a part of the pitch to buy something now doesn’t make sense to me.

Kayako live chat verdict

All in all, I would hold on buying Kayako just for it’s live chat. There are a lot of dedicated live chat solutions in a similar price range with a much bigger feature set.

If you’re looking for a solution that offers both help desk and live chat, you need to ask yourself which you will be using more. If you need help desk primarily and maybe live chat, Kayako could be a good fit for you. If you need live chat first and you could use a help desk as an additional perk, I’d suggest spending your budget somewhere else.

Pros and Cons

  • Really clear client and agent side app
  • Decent knowledge base
  • Primarily a help desk
  • No web app
  • No native integrations
  • High price if you’re looking just for live chat

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