Getting live chat right is much more than a software sale – Interview with Jamie Edwards of Kayako


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Today’s interview is with Jamie Edwards, co-founder and COO of Kayako, an omni-channel customer service platform that their customers use to talk to and support their customers. Jamie joins me today to talk about some recent research that they have conducted on the uses and successes of live chat software, what are companies getting right and what are they getting wrong and what customer service leaders should be fixing or doing differently when it comes to live chat.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The future of customer experience and how digital transformation is as much a human problem as it is a technology problem – Interview with Brian Solis – and is number 248 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Highlights from my conversation with Jamie:

  • The impetus for the research was that Jamie and his colleagues had a hunch that something wasn’t quite clicking with live chat as a communication channel and that there was a mis-match between what businesses were executing and what was being delivered to customers.
  • Many businesses have implemented live chat either as a box ticking exercise as everyone else is doing it or they hear that customers quite like it.
  • Check out the The Live Chat Statistics research here.
  • Headline findings from the research:
    • For instant support, customers opt for live chat. But they’re rarely satisfied – most customer chat experiences end with frustration.
    • Nearly 50% of live chat customers surveyed have had a negative live chat experience within the last month
    • Businesses that prioritize customer satisfaction over live chat speed metrics will see huge benefits.
    • Live chat (done well) grows sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
    • Whether it’s by phone or via live chat support, consumers want to communicate with a real person.
    • Many businesses think that customers prefer the phone over other channels. But, that is not always the case and they may be in danger of over-staffing their telephone support.
    • Many business (around half) know that their live chat channel is not ‘up to scratch’ but they are not diverting resources away from other channels, particularly phone support, to help build their capabilities.
    • Whilst most customers report that they like the idea of live chat they don’t like the way that it is often implemented i.e. clunky forms, bad design, having to wait in queues etc.
    • Nearly two-thirds of people who spend between $250-500 a month online are the most likely to both buy from, and be loyal to, companies who offer live chat. This is particularly true for those under the age of 35.
  • One of the most frustrating things that customers report when using live chat is the use of ‘scripted’ responses.
  • One of Jamie’s favourite stats comes from The Effortless Experience book by Mathew Dixon (CEB), which found that two-thirds of what makes up a customers feelings about the service that they receive is how they perceived it and how they felt about it rather than what the actual outcome was.
  • 80% of businesses that have implemented live chat properly report positive benefits across the board on sales, revenue and loyalty.
  • Live chat is starting to be seen as a growth centre. This can largely be put down to where live chat sits and is engaged i.e. it’s your front-desk on your website.
  • Live chat is becoming inextricably linked with conversion rate optimisation.
  • A major job of live chat across the customer lifecycle is to reduce customer effort.
  • Huge differences around channel preferences tend to exist across different generations.
  • However, there are variances within these too and there is no such thing as an average customer.
  • It is your assumptions about your customers and how you deliver service that will drive many, if not most, of your outcomes.
  • Jamie’s advice for customer experience and customer service leaders:
    • There is a huge opportunity that is there for the taking when it comes to live chat. However, that involves much more than a software sale.
    • Don’t treat live chat as a second class citizen amongst channels.
    • How long has it been since you took a fresh look at how you are resourcing all of your channels and what technology you are using? Technology and design can get old fast.
  • All live chat channels need to be modern (design and tech), fluid, aligned with your brand and staffed well.
  • Jamie tells the story of their client: who has been using their live chat solution for customer support for around 10 years. They have had huge success with their use of the solution and have seen nothing but positive movements in all of their metrics as a result. Check out other customer stories here.
  • Whilst what goes on your product roadmap should be driven by customer feedback, your customer service roadmap should be driven by customer feedback too.
  • Check out the Kayako Blog, the work that they all do at Kayako and their The Live Chat Statistics research.

About Jamie

Jamie EdwardsKayako is a customer service software company based in London and builds customer service and help desk software which businesses use to talk to and support their customers.

Kayako was established in 2001 by Varun Shoor, who formed the company to better serve his own customers over the web. It’s first office was in Varun’s hometown of Jalandhar, India. They have since relocated their headquarters to London and also have offices in Gurgaon, India and Singapore.

Jamie joined Kayako in 2006 as it was evolving from a project to a movement. Jamie focuses on creating the best product experience for our customers and growing the company.

The company now serves 50,000 customers in over 100 countries, including Peugeot, De Beers, NASA and the American Motorcyclist Association.

You can find out more about Kayako here, check out the Kayako Blog, say Hi to Jamie and the folks at Kayako on Twitter @jmedwards and @Kayako and connect with Jamie on LinkedIn here.


Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


  1. Very spot on article. I took 32, 000 chat hits in 32 months, it’s a totally new way to ‘sell’. Great when customers, vendors, and Prospects hit your site. Engage in six seconds, visitor realizes you’re not a robot, and neither are they! Incoming chat talk moves both super fast, and slow and a chat operator has to play the wack a mole game. Visitors want answers fast, and typically visit more than once to make a purchase. The future is hiring chat operators in rural areas, help them gain a new skill. The market has spoken, and inquiries via chat are exploding in every vertical.


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