Life’s Too Short for Bad Customer Service. Meet the New Kayako.


When we built the first Kayako, we wanted to create a customer service tool that had the customer at its heart.  Something that would help us speak the customer’s language, tick their boxes, and voila — ticket closed. Happy customers, happy support team, right?

But times have changed. Customers expect 24/7 availability and an uninterrupted conversation, even as they switch between their favorite channels—from Twitter to email, from email back to your Help Center—without thinking twice or worrying about what might fall through the cracks.

The reality is that businesses are now struggling to keep up with their customers. Multi-channel support is the new standard, yet teams are still supporting all these channels independently.

In turn, we get a siloing effect that prevents teams from connecting the dots on what’s happening with their customers. They’re missing a critical opportunity to build stronger context and understanding, and to make each interaction count for more: friction-free customer service, human conversations, and deeper relationships.

The traditional helpdesk just isn’t helpful anymore.

It’s 2016 and yet, in many ways, customer service is still living in the 1990s. When customers expect more, teams and businesses must raise the bar accordingly.

It’s time to stop treating customers like support tickets, and start treating them like people.

Back to the drawing board we go

We’ve built a customer service platform—not another helpdesk. We’ve aligned everything we do around one key mission: improve customer service by helping businesses and teams focus on their customer again.

So, how do we actually improve? We’ve narrowed it down to three core principles: building better relationships with customers, working better together as teams, and ultimately, going beyond delight to deliver effortless customer service experiences.

Introducing the new Kayako

Unlike traditional helpdesks, Kayako unifies your channels, customer information, and teams around creating context and supporting customers where they are.

Get the whole story about your customers: Kayako connects everything you know about your customer, and puts it at your fingertips. Your team can give more relevant and helpful answers by leveraging customer context relating to their CRM, product usage behavior, and conversation history—all without ever switching apps. It’s so simple, and it’s the way customer service should be.

Better yet – pushing events from your favorite apps into a user or organization timeline ensures you’re capturing all your customer’s activities in one place. It gives your team  the entire customer context—their search keywords in Help Center, why a certain payment failed, what the customer is really trying to accomplish. This positions them to ask the right questions, to avoid repetition, and to have more valuable, personal conversations without any extra work or training.

Unify conversations: Customer conversations are integral to the new Kayako experience. Keep track of every customer and organization interaction within one clean, intuitive timeline view. All customer replies are tied together in the same screen, regardless of the different channels used.


Collaborate in new ways: Imagine if your entire company could get closer to your customer. With Kayako, anyone in your business can get involved as a collaborator for free. Collaborators can see all the interactions and leave internal notes, but lack authorization to actually reply to customers themselves.

Our goal is to break down barriers between your teams, and get the whole company on board for crafting the best answers for your customers, and faster.

Why are we doing this?

Because at the end of the day, we’re all customers too. Life is just too short for crappy customer service.

More so than ever before, we are committed to making customer service about people again.

So what’s next?

Check out and create your free trial to begin kicking the tires. You can get to grips in under 10 minutes—it’s insanely simple to get started. Invite your team to join you, set up your channels, and personalize your Help Center to match your brand.

Learn more about the new Kayako on our website and, while you’re there, register and join us for a thirty-minute demo and Q&A session.

And of course, we are endlessly grateful for our loyal customers and we hope you’ll join us in pushing the world of customer service forward. If you’re an existing customer, log into for all the information you need on your upgrade options and sign up for your exclusive customer webinar on Wednesday July 6th at 4 pm BST.

Thanks and cheers!

Varun Shoor
Founder, Kayako

READ  No Agent Is an Island: Why Collaboration Is Key to Great Customer Service

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About the author
Varun Shoor

Varun built the first Kayako in 2001 to better serve his own customers over the web. Today, as founder and CEO, Varun leads Kayako in our pursuit of the perfect customer experience.

  • Paresh

    Pretty amazing job here guys.. 🙂

  • Juergen Weber

    It´s not acceptable at all to host critical data (customers, passwords, cases) in the cloud and not inside of our infrastructure/firewall. I don´t think you had a look on the German laws when you decided to move to a cloud-only solution.

    • Hey Juergen – thanks for taking the time to post. We’re definitely equipped to host important data like that. Our customers have been using Kayako in the cloud to do just that for many years. Our security and infrastructure has only gotten better with the new Kayako, too (find out more:

      However, I understand that there may be local or industry related regulations which may add some more hurdles to things like data protection. It won’t be long before we are able to host people in a EU located data centre with EU safe harbour data processing agreements.

      In the meantime, we’ll be supporting Kayako Download for a long time yet.

      I’d be interested in finding out more about your particular business and use case with regards to data hosting. Would you mind taking a few minutes to tell me a bit more about it? My email is:

      • Marco Eberhardt


        I confirm to Juergen. Everything must be hosted in germany and not in the EU. Also it must be hosted by a german company and not by an US company. That’s needed by our customers to have german privacy protection law.

        • Thanks Marco – we’ll keep that in mind. Germany is the most likely location for any Kayako EU-based cloud. We’re investigating it now.

          • De Criticaster

            Well we canceled our Kayako renewal license because of this. We want to keep everything on our own servers. Not some crappy cloud solution. Never!

          • We’re continuing to offer and support your Kayako Classic (on-premise) product, if you’d like to stay on your own server.

      • voarsh

        I think it’s nuts to force feed cloud, to pad down your bottom line and to secure monthly payments. Self-hosted is sometimes necessary for a project, the information, integration, modification, etc. Very disappointed.

        • Hey Voarsh. We’re doing all we can to ensure the new Kayako platform in the cloud has as much power and flexibility as Kayako Download did with regards to integrations.

          We believe that by building Kayako in and for the cloud, we can offer a significantly better experience to our customers and can leverage modern technologies to deliver far, far better capabilities than we could otherwise.

          We’ll be supporting Kayako Download for the next 18 months, too, so there is plenty of time to evaluate how things go, and you can keep using Kayako Download in perpetuity, if on-premise is a requirement for you.

      • Juergen Weber

        Jamie: We have contracts with some of our clients (government, military and tax/law companies, health companies) that we have to host all information on our own infrastructure inside our building and firewall environment. This includes the tickets which often contain critical data. Why don´t you offer the new Kayako as a self-hosted version combined with some cloud-based add-ons like the Twitter or Facebook functionality?

        • Hey Juergen – I’m sorry, but it isn’t possible for us to do. On two fronts – we cannot package a full cloud stack into a deployable package, and secondly we couldn’t support such a deployment at our price point.

          Architecting the Kayako platform for both on-premise and cloud has meant we have had to make engineering compromises, whether that’s more engineering effort to maintain both and offer the same thing, or an inability to adopt new web technologies because it would make Kayako Download too complicated to setup and host.

          These compromises have become more significant lately. We cannot build the web app experience that is expected of us using PHP and MySQL alone. To give you a taste of this complexity, the new Kayako platform involves PHP, MySQL, microservices based on Golang, ElasticSearch for an advanced search backend, real-time push notification services, high volume transaction services (to consume streams from social networks, for example) and a slave database setup, a service to bullet-proof purify and sanitize HTML, just to name some components.

          Packaging and supporting this sort of stack for on-premise is impossible for us to do at our price point, and trying to do so, when less than 10% of our customers opt for Kayako Download (and decreasing), cannot make sense.

          And ultimately and most importantly, we cannot meet the majority of our customers’ expectations around service, quality and feature requests if we continue to try and be everywhere for everyone, on-premise and cloud. We had to take a call, and we’ve figured that by making the new Kayako cloud-first, we’re able to fulfil all of those expectations and really start innovating, rather than just maintaining.

          Yes, this may mean some customers cannot move to the new Kayako. As I’ve said elsewhere in the comments, I do hope all our efforts that have gone into the new Kayako (and more to come) will enable as many people as possible to upgrade and migrate to the cloud. But if some cannot, we’ll support them and we won’t leave them in the lurch. We’ve got 18 months to help them figure things out – and we will.

  • Alex Saavedra

    Hello Varun,

    Besides confidentiality and legal concerns mentioned by Juergen, which also apply in Canada, we also have deployed customizations for compensating some limitations in Kayako, such as custom fields being written after ticket reply is processed (see We have also invested in multiple reports using ETL approach by accessing MySQL directly. I can foresee similar if not more time and effort invested just for moving to new Kayako. Needless to say this effort is comparable to switching to a new platform entirely, as we did a few years ago, while migrating from a different ticketing system. For now we will be evaluating new version.


    • Hi Alex – we’d be very interested to hear more about your customisations and reporting requirements. One of the things we’re trying to do is make sure the new Kayako platform can accommodate them, whether apps or integrations.

      Regarding the custom field placeholders in your replies, you might be interested to know the new Kayako supports that out of the box (including a whole load of other placeholders, too: ).

      While custom reporting isn’t supported yet, we have plans to introduce it this year. We’re currently talking to about providing the big data and BI backend to Kayako.

      I understand that with every change comes effort, but I’m convinced that you’ll find the effort worth it, and I am sure that the automated migration (available in August) and support we provide will ease your transition (and be worth it many times over!). Let me know if you’ve got any questions at this point.

      • Alex Saavedra

        Hi Jamie, I guess we could live without some of the customizations we did so far, if some of the benefits of going cloud were worth it. If moving help desk and chat to cloud, we would expect integraring our phone system at the same time. Currently Kayako is not capable of tracking a conversation accross phone stats (waiting and talking times), or maintaining a multilingual ACD either. For this reason alone, moving along with Kayako to the cloud just for plugging in social media, without the phone component doesn’t seem wise at this point. What’s more social than a phone conversation anyways?

  • Alexandr Gritcenko

    Hi All,

    Exciting news regarding the new version of Kayako – congratulations to Varun, Jamie, and the team!

    Our company has been customising Kayako ( for over 8 years now, and we would be happy to offer endless support and customisations to those Kayko users who would prefer to keep their on-premise solutions for the foreseable future.

    In the meantime all of our modules and solutions will be modified accordingly to work with the new version 5 (hosted) of Kayako.

    • Stacy Martin

      Could someone provide some context as to how these 3rd party modules and solutions will be supported with K5 (hosted)? With K4, my understanding was the only way one could really take advantage of these add-ons/customizations was with the Download version. I put off some changes/customizations with the expectation of K5 arrival… now that it’s here would like to understand how will these types of customizations work with K5?

      • voarsh

        You cannot personally customise Kayako V5. It is cloud based, operated by Kayako. V4 will be discontinued.

  • Ivan Mannion

    Same as others here, we won’t be putting our data in the cloud (some of our clients would fire us on the spot, regardless that we think its a bad idea anyway) and we also have integrations/compensations/reports that we are not prepared to write against a new, immature, possibly buggy, possibly poorly performing cloud hosted API.
    Did anyone in Kayako Google the phrases “Data Protection Act”, “Legal Compliance” or “Systems Integration” before thinking this was a good idea? Why do you think companies choose to have an on-premise solution?
    As a City of London based company if we wanted to move, which we don’t, given our customer base and our contractual acceptance to support their obligations under the DPA, various regulatory compliance requirements and their own IT policies we couldn’t anyway, unless we wanted to lose more than half of our clients overnight.
    Shame on Kayako to force your customers down a route they weren’t asked if they wanted. No one asked us, and we’ve been a client for a long time, so I’m not sure where this “feedback” came from. There seems to have been an awful lot of work done without consultation.

  • Dennis

    I agree with what others have said here, if Kayako is going to a cloud solution and eliminating their on-premise option we will have no option but to explore other solutions. Due to contractual obligations to our clients and the fact that relying on a third party to secure your sensitive information just doesn’t make sense – we cannot offload our sensitive information contained in tickets to a third party cloud. We don’t even allow Kayako support direct access to our helpdesk, what makes Kayako believe that we will allow this data to be hosted on their cloud?

    This is sad considering we’ve been a paying client since 2008.

    • akrus

      Same here, we will not be able to switch to cloud 🙁

  • Jono

    Killing the on-site version again is just stupid… We were waiting for this release to deploy on-site and chnage from our current system. Guess we wont be doing that anymore.

    We checked out a trial in the cloud seems to be a few bugs that need to be addressed
    – Cant make new category if using a language other than US English in the Help Centre
    – Search seems to be hit and miss
    – Not being able to make a new case without Requester/Recipient that is not already in Kayako IS SO STUPID
    – Email triggers based on FROM address in a email is now removed (This sucks if you have 1 email address with alias that need to go to different teams)

    Other changes
    – Not being able to create a new article from the angst interface is stupid
    – No easy way to view a list organisations
    – User and lasted changes should be in the top bar not in the search bar (search bar should run right accross the screen)
    – Need to be able to add our own IMAP and SMTP email account, not forward to the

    • Hi Jono, thanks for taking the time to check out the new Kayako. Sorry you ran into problems. Let me address them below:

      – Cant make new category if using a language other than US English in the Help Centre.

      Looking into this

      – Search seems to be hit and miss

      Which problems have you ran into specifically? We haven’t had any reports of search issues just yet (and it was also one of the main focuses of our attention for the new Kayako: getting search right).

      – Not being able to make a new case without Requester/Recipient that is not already in Kayako is stupid

      We’ll be adding a way to quick-create a new requester when creating a new case soon 🙂

      – Email triggers based on FROM address in a email is now removed (this sucks if you have 1 email address with alias that need to go to different teams)

      You can still achieve this using case triggers – this sort of rule should work:

      – Mangers for organisations have been removed???

      No – they’re still there, but shared organisations are only available on the Enterprise plan (note: if you’re upgrading from Kayako 4 OnDemand or if you purchased Kayako 4 Download after July 2014, you’ll get all the product features in the Enterprise plan).

      – No easy way to see users in a organisation

      We’ll be improving that, and shortly you’ll be able to do a search query like this: “organization:acme in:users” to list users in an organization.

      – Cant embed Case forms into websites

      You couldn’t do that easily in Kayako 4 either. We’re looking at ways we can make this easier out of the box. Until then, one of the ways you could quickly achieve this is by using a form service like Wufoo, Google Forms or Typeform along with Zapier. You can embed one of those form services into your website, and use a Zapier rule to create a new case in Kayako based on the form contents.

      – Cant add your own IMAP and SMTP email accounts / not forward to the

      Hmm, this isn’t so much a bug, but by design. We’re able to deliver much more reliable email processing and infrastructure with the forward-to-Kayako setup. We don’t have plans to add fetching from IMAP and POP3 email accounts back to Kayako. If you need help forwarding your email to a address, drop us a line:

      – Not being able to create a new article or view articles from the agent interface is stupid

      Moving content management into the Help Center has been one of the most popular changes so far, so I’m sorry to hear that. Why do you want to create new articles from the agent area specifically? If I can understand your use case, we can feed that into future design decisions.

      – No easy way to view a list organisations

      Good call. You can pull a list of organizations using the search query “in:organizations yoursearchterm”, but there’s no directly to speak of yet. Adding one is on the cards.

    • Hi Jono

      – Cant make new category if using a language other than US English in the Help Centre

      Looked into this for you. We can’t find a bug here. In Kayako, you have a default language (set in your admin area -> Localization). Every piece of content needs a translation for at least your default language, right now. Any other languages you’ve enabled are optional.

      Hope this helps!

  • Fabio Assenzio

    i’m a customer from 2008, kayako 5 it’s a very good solution and you guys made a huge and perfect job with communications! The software you have built is fantastic, and finally we have social integrations, HURRA’!!!! ….but..

    fact that is in the cloud will be a problem. You can’t expect that
    thousand of company leave a core software management outside of them.

    For example there are official certifications for company that doesn’t allow to mantain personal data out of the company itself (iso27001 certification ), so these certifications is very important for and give us a quality of excellence compared to other companies, we should lose certifications to use Kayako? Obviously no. Data must will be protected as every country’s law says, there’s no a global government.

    Also perfomance: we work next to our datacenter how can you expect that we are going to choose a cloud solution that is not in OUR cloud?I mean i known that you are trying to change business model and sure there are many positive behaviour from the cloud but why think to be the perfect cloud solution?

    As usually you did in the past, i hope you listen to your customers and do the right choice. Good luck guys

    • Hey Fabio. I’m happy to report that our data facilities are ISO 27001 compliant (find out more on If you’d like to talk more cloud, let me know. Happy to discuss and make this work for you.

      No longer offering Kayako Download was a difficult decision to make, as we know that many of our existing Kayako Download customers enjoy being able to host and manage their own Kayako installation. However, we strongly believe it is the right one for Kayako and our customers. I made a lengthy post explaining the reasons why we are not offering the new Kayako on-premise, which you may be interested in here:

      • Mirko Villalta

        I agree with most of the people here…I want an on-premise solution and will be looking for another solution.
        The Cloud is over hyped–basically me paying for someone else’s servers at exorbitant rates.
        SAAS normally means lousy and slow support with your hands tied since you cant access the data other than what is exposed.
        Pricing is way out of line for the v5.
        Sorry Kayako–I was a loyal customer for the last 10 years but every relationship eventually ends.

        • voarsh

          This is exactly what I’ve said and I do not think they will change their minds on this.

          I am trialing a competitor at the moment. I am undecided, it’s called Vision Helpdesk and offers on-premise and works similarly to Kayako V4.

  • jc

    Bad move, but I’m not surprised. The Download option was the only reason I opted for Kayako over ZenDesk because we needed it hosted internally, not externally. I assume Download will be supported long enough for customers to migrate to alternate offerings? At least provide us with a migration wizard that eases the pain. If you don’t your competitors will and they’ll use it as a selling point.

    • Hi jc. We’ll be supporting Kayako Download for a long time yet – 18 months. After that, you can keep using it forever, just without support and updates. We will provide you with an automated upgrade and migration path to the new Kayako and the cloud. If you’d like to discuss the cloud and reservations you have moving to it, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk to chat.

      You can log in to to find out all this information including your loyalty upgrade offer on the new plans.

      Regarding the migration tool, we probably won’t be building one for an alternative solution, but we will happily help another provider if they want to build their own. I do hope all our efforts that have gone into the new Kayako already, and the efforts that are yet to come as we add more integration and customisation options, will enable you to upgrade and migrate. But if you cannot, we’ll support you and we won’t leave you in the lurch. We’ve got 18 months to help you figure things out – and we will.

  • Ferry

    Not surprised, the last years Kayako was really behind all the other systems. To be honoust, these prices are not reasonable for a brand new system with no trackrecord. Paying customer from 2004 but last year already migrated because the lack of a responsive support center and a lot of unreaolved bugs. Sorry Kayako, but if we have to pay we will choose a vendor with a proven trackrecord.

    • Hey Ferry – Kayako was one of the first ever customer service apps to be offered via the cloud. We’ve been hosting customers in the cloud for more than a decade, so we have a lot of expertise. Don’t forget to log in to to find out about your loyalty upgrade offer on the new plans.

  • Naveed

    Jamie, you need a better offer for customers who

    a) have been with you over a decade
    b) who own fusion unlimited agent license.
    c) who are willing to try the new version,

    Moreover, this new version which in my opinion should be called as beta as there are tons of important features missing and your dev. team have them on the roadmap, so the 75% that I believe is for all existing download customers, is not good for customers who have unlimited agent license to try the new system, and keep give you feedback / suggestions.

    How about a flat rate per year for unlimited agents or may be 20 agents? and little bit more than the support package that we used to pay.. but per agent really not cool. As someone said, many of the download client will either continue fusion, or move to another as the new* cloud version is not worth playing around.

  • I have used Intercom. Is Kayako different or better than intercom?

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