Zendesk vs. Olark: A comprehensive guide
Dernière mise à jour October 11, 2023
The tools your business uses to manage and enhance customer experience (CX) can significantly influence your success. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023, 64 percent of consumers spend more when their issues get resolved in the same channels they used to reach out.
Live chat is one support channel you can offer to improve customer satisfaction, but delivering great CX requires addressing customer needs in other channels, too. Both Zendesk and Olark provide live chat solutions, but the breadth of their services and level of performance differ. Olark is primarily a live chat software solution, while Zendesk helps businesses deliver consistent and personalized support across any channel. On average, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89 percent of their customers, compared to a 33 percent customer retention rate for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
As you evaluate which software best suits your needs, consider each company’s expertise in CX, product maturity, and scalability to help inform your decision. Ultimately, the right software for your business will depend on your specific goals and requirements. Read on for a comprehensive comparison of Zendesk and Olark.
CX expertise and partnership
Zendesk is a recognized leader in the customer experience industry, voted the #1 software on G2 for:
Best Software Product
Best Customer Service Product
Product for Mid-Market
Zendesk empowers users with expert insights and resources from our internal support team and a large network of seasoned customers. Olark is primarily a live chat solution, so you won’t get the same level of broader CX expertise as you would with Zendesk.
We refined the Zendesk suite of products over time through continuous feedback and innovation. This maturity ensures that our customers receive a reliable, feature-rich solution that can effectively address diverse customer service challenges. On the other hand, Olark offers only live chat software, is missing a mobile SDK, and lacks a wide variety of integrations compared to Zendesk.
Zendesk is designed for longevity and growth, giving businesses of all sizes the modern customer service tools they need now and in the future, like AI. With Zendesk, you can consistently offer a unique customer experience as you scale. We help companies of all sizes grow alongside their customer base, and we have the customer proof points to back it up. Olark, however, has limited case studies compared to Zendesk, especially around scale.
More in this guide:
At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Olark
Compare these specs of Zendesk and Olark for insights into the capabilities of each software.
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Unlimited concurrent chats
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Zendesk vs. Olark: Features comparison
Effective customer communication begins with a customer service software equipped with the right tools. Let’s explore Zendesk and Olark’s differing approaches to supporting customer service operations.
Live chat and messaging
Whether it's through the website chat widget or integrated communication apps, Zendesk facilitates immediate, personalized interactions where and when your customers need them. Website visitors can submit a pre-chat form so an agent enters the conversation fully informed. Multiple agents can collaborate on resolving an issue during a live customer conversation without the customer seeing their internal messages. If a customer starts a chat but goes silent, an agent can send a re-engagement email.
With Olark, communication is limited to its live chat widget hosted on the business’s website since there’s no mobile SDK feature. Agents can manually change their availability status to control when they are assigned chats, but one user noted that the interface sometimes incorrectly changes their status. The only way to access customer data from Olark is by purchasing an add-on that shares profile information, like social media links and interests.
Zendesk provides you with omnichannel capabilities so you can engage with your customers across multiple touchpoints. Whether through email, chat, phone, or social media, we ensure consistent service in the channels that customers prefer. Agents can manage unlimited concurrent chats from their mobile devices, with customer data and conversation histories centralized and easily accessible.
Because Olark is live chat software, users must purchase additional software to communicate with customers across all channels, like social media and voice. Additionally, Olark doesn’t have a native mobile app, so agents can’t serve customers when they’re away from their computers without connecting the software to a third-party app.
Self-service and knowledge management
Zendesk self-service and knowledge management capabilities provide customers with a rich and intuitive experience. External and internal knowledge bases serve customers and agents, respectively, so they can get the help they need. Contextual self-service features ensure that customers receive relevant articles and solutions based on their queries. For support teams, Content Cues is a feature that proactively identifies gaps in the knowledge base, suggesting areas where additional content might be beneficial.
Olark doesn’t provide users with a knowledge base. If users want a public or private knowledge base, they must integrate with a third-party service. However, customer service teams can add pre-written responses to frequently asked questions to their chat system, so chatbots and agents can share information with customers.
Zendesk offers a comprehensive ticket management system that streamlines customer support interactions. The software can automatically create tickets from various channels, ensuring every customer query is captured and addressed. Community forum managers can also escalate posts to support agents for direct intervention. Ticket-sharing workflows enable collaboration between teams so they can resolve complex issues efficiently.
Olark doesn’t have a dedicated ticket management system, but it does offer some basic ways to assign customer inquiries. Round-robin chat routing selects the next available agent. Users can also limit the number of chats an agent can handle at once. However, one reviewer noted that the software occasionally surpassed this constraint and sent them more conversations.
With Zendesk, you can effortlessly unite various systems you already use, like customer relationship management (CRM) software, thanks to plug-and-play integrations. The Zendesk Marketplace is home to over 1,500 pre-built apps, eliminating the need for intricate coding or technical expertise. This means data flows smoothly across different systems and provides agents with a 360-degree view of the customer.
Reporting and analytics
Zendesk reporting and analytics software offers users an extensive view of their performance and customer behavior. Pre-built and customizable dashboards let you see the key metrics and trends most relevant to your operations in real time. Benchmark metrics provide a comparative perspective, so you can measure your performance against industry standards.
Olark allows users to send automated reports directly to their email inboxes, providing an overview of real-time data. Alternatively, users can filter their data to track customer satisfaction and chat volumes.
Zendesk offers abundant customization options, enabling you to tailor the software to align with your brand identity and specific needs. You can personalize chat widgets and help desk software to align with your branding, ensuring a consistent look and enhanced user experience. Additionally, you can send localized greetings to engage with your global clientele in a culturally relevant manner.
Olark users can customize their chatbox to match their brand identity. Users can control aspects like the color, placement, and agent avatar. But the chatbox has a default “Powered by Olark'' message that users can only remove by purchasing an add-on for $59 per month.
AI and automation
Through our advanced features, Zendesk can automatically route tickets to the appropriate agents and use AI to predict customer satisfaction scores. Users can set automation rules to trigger specific actions based on ticket conditions, facilitating proactive messages and reducing manual interventions. AI-powered chatbots can engage with customers in real time, answering questions and gathering information before escalating interactions to human agents if needed.
Olark lets users automate certain aspects of their live chat system. Businesses can program chatbots to auto-start a conversation based on pre-set triggers. One user noted limited options for setting up chatbots and designing automated responses, though.
Pricing plans: Olark vs. Zendesk
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Zendesk offers full-service customer experience software that provides you with the tools you need to connect with customers and provide high-quality service. You can message your customers, manage tickets, and build a knowledge base within the base Suite pricing tier.
Olark users, on the other hand, would need to purchase multiple services to get the same capabilities. For instance, they need to purchase add-ons, known as “PowerUps,” to get access to advanced features—greatly increasing the overall price of the service. For example, if you need live chat translations, customer profiles, and screen sharing, you’ll pay three individual add-ons ranging from $29 to $99 per month.
Here are a few examples of how real Zendesk customers have benefitted from our live chat and messaging software.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts: Consistent, high-quality service
Four Seasons, a luxury hotel company, has always been committed to delivering unparalleled guest experiences. The company recognized the need to provide consistent service across various communication channels. By partnering with Zendesk, Four Seasons introduced a conversational concierge-like service accessible through multiple platforms, including Messenger, Line, SMS, X (formerly Twitter), and WeChat.
A primary concern during this transition was that live chat wouldn’t be as effective at engaging customers as voice-based channels. But Four Seasons discovered the opposite was true. Chat-based conversations offered guests smooth and enjoyable interactions, bolstering brand loyalty. As a result of implementing its chat service, the company experienced a 7 percent increase in its Net Promoter ScoreⓇ.
The integration of chat and messaging platforms facilitates real-time communication and ensures that guests receive timely, personalized responses. Guests can reach out over their preferred channels and interact with agents who speak their preferred language, further solidifying the brand’s reputation for exceptional service.
“That’s what is lovely about messaging because it’s actually conversational. … It completely changes the dynamic and the interaction you have with the guest.”
–Marco Trecroce, Chief Information Officer at Four Seasons
Uber: Seamless live chat
Uber, a global transportation giant, has always prioritized the rider and driver experience, and it maintained this focus as the company expanded its operations to over 450 cities and introduced additional services. Uber initially chose Zendesk to cater to its customer service needs, recognizing the importance of a robust support software solution. The agility of Zendesk made it easy to deploy in new cities as Uber expanded.
As the Uber support team grew, the company began exploring other channels to keep providing excellent service. One significant development was the integration of Zendesk live chat. Support agents now handle over 30,000 chats per week in the U.S. alone; live chat also helps them onboard new drivers and resolve issues quickly for riders.
Additionally, Uber Eats utilizes live chat to connect “eaters” with restaurants and couriers, ensuring a seamless experience for all parties involved. The real-time dashboard provides insights into chat volumes and customer satisfaction, which assist management with decision-making. Uber has greatly utilized its chat channel, maintaining a 95 percent CSAT and an average first-response time of fewer than 30 seconds.
“Chat is great for onboarding new drivers, empowering agents to answer many questions in one interaction. It’s really fast.”
–Ashley Bradford, Global Chat Support Program Manager at Uber
Liberty London: AI-powered innovation
Liberty London, a renowned retailer, has always been at the forefront of offering unique designs to its fashion-savvy clientele. However, as digital channels became more popular, there was a pressing need to modernize its customer service operations. Liberty saw the potential of leveraging AI to further enhance its customer service.
With Zendesk AI, Liberty can automatically classify and route incoming customer queries to the appropriate agents, ensuring timely and efficient responses. This feature, intelligent triage, is instrumental in identifying customer intent, sentiment, and language, so issues are directed to the right channels for swift resolutions.
AI has improved the company’s efficiency and allowed its support team to focus on more critical tasks. This strategic use of AI has led to a 9 percent increase in customer satisfaction and an 11 percent decrease in ticket resolution time.
“Liberty is all about delivering a personal service. I see AI enhancing that personal service because now our customers will be interacting with a human who’s being put in front of them at the right time with the right information.”
–Ian Hunt, Director of Customer Services at Liberty London
Cheerz: Omnichannel performance
Cheerz, a leading digital photo printing company, is known for delivering memorable experiences to its customers. With its rapid growth and expansion across 45 countries, the company faced the challenge of managing peak loads and supporting customers, especially when creating intricate products.
To address these challenges and elevate the customer experience, Cheerz partnered with Zendesk to implement a comprehensive omnichannel customer service strategy. Cheerz empowered its customers with multiple interaction touchpoints, including email, chat, WhatsApp messaging, and various social channels. Additionally, the company introduced a help center to cater to customers who prefer self-service.
The results of this partnership have been nothing short of impressive. Cheerz boasts a CSAT score of 90 percent. Direct communication channels like WhatsApp and chat have been well-received, with WhatsApp accounting for 23 percent of the tickets and achieving a CSAT score of 89 percent. Introducing the help center also led to a significant reduction in the contact rate, which dropped by 5 percent within one year.
“Thanks to Zendesk, we have brought everything together on a single platform. This allows us to avoid spreading ourselves too thin and save time in resolving tickets.”
–Laura, Customer Service Agent at Cheerz
Zendesk vs. Olark: Frequently asked questions
Learn more about why Zendesk is a superior option for businesses.
Ready to try Zendesk?
Zendesk stands out as the superior software when compared to Olark due to its comprehensive and versatile approach to CX that extends beyond live chat. Zendesk offers a broader range of customer service features, including ticketing systems, knowledge management tools, and multichannel support. See how we can help your business create great experiences throughout the customer journey.