Kayako Support Suite

I don’t like Kayako’s support ticket system. We looked into using it for supporting our clients, but decided not to after the trial period. We settled for something with far less functionality but much easier for the customer to use.

Kayako Support Suite

One Way to Keep Support Issues to a Mininum

My confidence in an an online support service once I realise support tickets are handled by Kayako. I think it keeps support issues to a minimum because it’s often an annoying an experience to log a ticket. If I ever log a ticket via Kayako, I have to be very motivated to do it. Why?


First of all, you get the impression that the support system it’s difficult to style because people rarely do it. Most of the Kayako support sites I see are the default blue.

When we were on the trial period I contacted Kayako and asked if they provided a styling service. They said no. Further they told me it was easy so why didn’t I just read the style guide. I didn’t read the style guide because I had about a billion other things to do.

Multiple Logins

Next is that in most cases you have to sign up to a service with one username and password, and then when they run into a problem, sign up again with Kayako. Having to register again with a company you have already registered with is nuts.

Once you’ve registered with the service provider again, you’re kind of doubly annoyed – once for whatever it is that has gone wrong, and once more because you had to think up more usernames and passwords.

Once inside, assuming you get there, Kayako it isn’t intuitive. I imagine a lot of people just give up on getting an answer at this point.

Kayako Can Make Your Company Seem Uncaring

I recently signed up for SimpleCDN. Then I had a problem, and found I couldn’t get support. My tickets were ignored.

Turned out that their Kayako ticketing system broke down in such a away that it failed to send through a high proportion of support tickets. When I emailed the company direct after several days of waiting they came back to me saying that Kayako was broken and that they were working with them to try and get the system running again. Many days later – over a week a think it took, the support system was restored.

Another way to keep support tickets to a minimum

Today I hear, Kayako has failed on another site that I belong to. And again, it’s taken the company concerned a few days to work out that the support issues hadn’t gone away, customers were not suddenly a lot happier, no. It’s just that Kayako seemingly has no system to alert users of it’s service to catastrophic failure. Or is it that most Kayako customers just don’t try hard enough to customise the product and double check what it’s telling them?


  1. No – I haven’t tried that – never heard of it. Is it new? Will take a look. Thank you.

  2. Hello,

    Have you tried the WordPress Advanced Ticket System for WordPress? This one is being used by several companies. It is very easy to use and highly configurable…

  3. That’s the crunch.

    For us Kayako did more than worked out of the box – it bettered on what we wanted and we ended up adjusting our business to take advantage of some of the features it adds. A simple ticket system wasn’t adequate.

    I definitely agree there’s a good case for Kayako or a third party building a loginshare module and some sort of theme inheritance for WordPress. Mind you I think it’s unfair to judge the user experience or quality of the software based on some people’s flawed deployments of that software.

    .-= Ian Wild´s last blog ..Forrester Research on Optimizing Globally Distributed Software Development Using Subversion =-.

  4. It isn’t a question of cost. I would not mind paying a realistic price for what I’ve described – given that we are all focussed on our core businesses, what you need is something that works out of the box.

    There is probably another solution out there, I just haven’t found it yet. I am using a very simple WordPress plugin that does an adequate job. Took 5 mins to install – required no styling whatsoever – it inherited the site’s style, and with no extra software, no tweaking – nothing – allows people to access it from the same login that they use for our site. Not an enterprise solution – no way. But a small business solution to die for.

    I don’t think we can state that every non-styled Kayako hosted installation that forces you to log in twice is about people not wanting to invest. It is a time issue – it was for us. You are a startup, you are exhausted, you’ve set everything else up, you are a small team, you just want something that works because you have 10,000 other things to think about. At the last minute you realise Kayako is blue in most places for a reason (already stated above) and logging in twice is the default annoying option. It’s 3:00am, you settle for it. Then you never get around to fixing it.

    The world has changed – there are many more small businesses now. So while enterprise level enhancements are good, solving the two issues I pointed out plus their associated documentation issues would make millions of small businesses very happy. Someone else will fill the gap.

  5. I think what’s happening there is that people choose Kayako because it has the lowest cost of entry, and for the same reason (ie they are cheap) those companies don’t invest time in the styling or in fact their support operation as a I whole. I think you’re blaming Kayako for a problem not of their making. It truly is *very* easy to skin (certainly no harder than creating a wordpress theme).

    It’s an interesting idea building a wordpress customisation. I like the idea of wordpress as a CMS generally and anything that extends it is good. That said, my conclusion from what you said is that Kayako is too cheap, and in reality I’d prefer to see more focus on enterprise features (Their API for example) which would allow third party developers the freedom to develop such solutions if a market does in fact exist.

    .-= Ian Wild´s last blog ..Forrester Research on Optimizing Globally Distributed Software Development Using Subversion =-.

  6. Everything’s about care and attention. If your solution works for you that is good news, but it still seems to be the case in my experience, that most sites using hosted Kayako don’t style , and force you to login twice. It would be brilliant if Kayako created a WordPress plugin version of their software for the following reasons :
    a) which would mean it would merge seamlessly with a WordPress site – the site-wide styling would apply, thereby removing that headache
    b) They would appeal to a larger group of people, including startups
    c) It would be self-hosted so people would be responsible for the status of the system themselves

  7. It’s all about how much care and attention you put in as to what you get out. Kayako is far and away the best solution for us and is a fraction of the price of alternative solutions we’d need.

    We run our own hosted version, and it was around a month of work for our developer to configure Kayako, migrate all our tickets from Sugar, skin the site to match our main website and test everything. It does still look like Kayako, but also looks close enough to our main site.

    Self hosting removes the issues you’ve spoken about with ‘having to login twice’ (I think) and also puts the onus on us to ensure email etc is working. There’s nothing wrong with the code that we’ve found in this regards and we have monitoring in place to ensure everything is running normally.

    I’d be interested in what you ended up choosing. I guess though that with any product there will always be a group of people who for one reason or another don’t find it appropriate. Using Kayako doesn’t mean we don’t take support seriously though. The opposite is true.

    .-= Ian Wild´s last blog ..Forrester Research on Optimizing Globally Distributed Software Development Using Subversion =-.

  8. Hi Jamie

    Loginshare sounds like it could improve the user experience of Kayako. I certainly missed it when I was evaluating the product, but then it seems (I’ve checked) it wasn’t shipping out of the box. Why do so few Kayako installations appear to use it?

    I tried to find Loginshare information on kayako.com, but not seeing a search box on the site (I could have missed it – it wasn’t jumping out at me), I did a Google search of your site for information on Loginshare.

    Only three pages came up. One didn’t mention loginshare at all, one was a forum post containing a question about how to use it and another pointed to a PDF user guide.

    I think you need to publicise it some more on the site itself – not just buried in a user guide. Is it available in all flavours/levels of your product? I never see it implemented. Every time I’ve used Kayako, I been forced to create a new login and password.

    Regarding the skins – yes supportskins offer a service, but they also state this :

    “With every upgrade Kayako™ products require you to restore some if not all of your existing templates to its original format. This means that you shall loose out on the existing customizations you made when you purchased the skin from us. Not to worry, we shall take care of this for you! With the upgrade service, we make sure that you are using the updated skin package with your new helpdesk version. All upgrades shall be carried out within 1 business day from the date of order provided we have all the required information.”

    That is problematic. I don’t like the idea that once the skin has been made I have to revert to the original skin for an upgrade. Why is that?

  9. Liz,

    Firstly, I am sorry to hear that you felt Kayako was not for you.

    I would like to jump into a debate with you about your comments, as we are eager to receive feedback.

    >> If I ever log a ticket via Kayako, I’m really motivated to do it.
    In a typical Kayako set up, users just need to click on the big “Submit Ticket” icon on the support centre home page. Then they pick a department, fill in their name and message and press submit. Or, if the support desk owner has enabled e-mail integration, a user could (for example) fire off an e-mail support@yourdomain.com which will then raise a ticket. What other, simpler methods of ticket submission would you like to see?

    >> Does anyone know of any? They all seem to be the default blue.
    Yes – many. Here are some I can think of off the top of my head: https://support-desk.net/ https://desk.surpasshosting.com/ https://desk.hostdime.com/ https://support.dhwireless.net/ http://helpdesk.care.nl/

    >> When we were on the trial period I contacted Kayako and asked if they provided a styling service.
    This is correct, we don’t. However, many third-party vendors do specialise in Kayako style customisation and design, such as http://www.supportskins.com

    >> Having to register again with a company you have already registered with is nuts.
    We agree! That is why Kayako has always shipped with LoginShare – a feature which allows your support desk users to authenticate against a third-party database, such as LDAP, WordPress, vBulletin, phpBB, etc.

    >> Today I hear, Kayako has failed on another site that I belong to.
    I cannot comment on specific cases, but I must point out that thousands of organizations use Kayako for their support desk, and the support desk ‘breaking down’ is certainly not a regular occurrence (and, more often than not, such fatal problems are related to a component of the organization’s environment over which we have no control).

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    – Jamie