Customer Happiness Manager at PressMate April 28, 2018

We ditched ZOPIM for Chatra

Good morning / evening depending on which part of the globe you are reading this right now. Today, I will like to tell you about an amazing chat system that we recently started using. It’s called Chatra. I’ve been into Customer Servicing since past 6 yrs and from the day I launched PSD To Manythings, I have been using ZOPIM ( now Zendesk Chat ) . And I loved using it. I had 3 Zopim paid accounts for different websites. Few things that I loved about Zopim were

  1. Notifications for new incoming visitors
  2. Canned Messages
  3. Ability to initiate the chat with visitors

Over the time, we had more than 7000 chats with our visitors . Those were the days when I’d just wake up till 3 A.M. and close deals like a pro. Over the time, we became pretty selective about the projects we wished to do. But, I had those conversations through Zopim since 2012. 6 years of using Zopim and referring it to tons of people. Used the free alternative Tawk.to too . Anyways, the Tawk.to UI was not that impressive. So, ditched it after using a month or so.

Before I get in detail about my journey to finding my perfect chat system, following is the screenshot comparing Chatra & Zopim.

The Era of Intercom styled chat systems and Bots

While we were using Zopim that had a typical widget design, there was a sudden change in the way chat systems looked. Intercom basically just nailed it and then tons of other chat systems followed. To name a few who just copied the intercom are Drift, Crisp, Livechat ( Livechat infact has another chat software with a different named chat.io that is open source. ) , Hubspot.

Intercom just did bring a new standard for chat systems. They are not loud anymore. But, they look pretty sweet, tidy resting with a small bubble at the right corner. This made the chat system more approachable.

Zopim somehow failed with this. Zopim just wanted to be loud and occupy a huge space at the bottom right which literally looked like it’s saying ” Hey !!!! Please start chatting with me. Hey !! Please “. I was not that happy with the design but I had a kind of emotional relationship with Zopim. I had the comfort level using Zopim . Think of it as a long relationship with your girl friend who is not adapting to the changing times. But, still you decide not to break up. It was tough guys. I was basically using a Chat system that I wasn’t comfortable at all. But, I kept dragging it on.

Hunt for the best Intercom alternative

I just knew that Zopim was not the right chat system for me. So, I officially started looking for options. Well,you always want to have what’s best and so, we started looking out at Intercom !! What shall I say about it. Their interface looks beautiful and almost every start up uses it. Check out any website from product hunt, lapa.ninja or landingfolio, 75% of them use Intercom. But there is a small issue with Intercom.

First thing first, it’s not a chat system. It is a customer acquisition software that is focused on end to end customer acquisition , knowledge base, retaining , follows ups, App Integration and tons of other things. It is a great product. But not for me. Still as everyone was using it, I signed up for a free trial and it was awful. The interface is just an overkill. I run a very small dev company and I don’t have heavy reliance on such systems. I use Freshdesk for support and ticket system. So, clubbing everything together was something I wasn’t looking for. To add to this complicated system, Intercom is super expensive. It starts at $59 /mo and then the price keeps on increasing as your contacts increase. This was too much of “MATH” for me.

But, I had in past saw other chat systems that looked a lot similar to Intercom. And I started checking them out. I checked out Drift, Crisp. They all never had everything that I was used to. I typically look for these things while using a chat system.

  1. Notifications for incoming visitors
  2. Mobile APP so I can serve my clients on the go
  3. An ability to start chat with the visitors

These were the specific requirements after being with Zopim over the years . But, not every chat system was able to offer all these 3. So, I just kept on using Zopim. Deep inside, I knew I was not happy with Zopim but I had no other option 🙁 Also, it was difficult to confront to Zopim coz Zopim guys feel that they don’t need to change their look at all. One thing I knew after years of experience in training and sales, is that you can tell people the truth . But, it’s upto them to adapt to it. You cannot changing anyone’s perspective. But, I never stopped. In last 1 yr, I have tried the following chat systems

  1. Drift
  2. Crisp
  3. Intercom
  4. Tawk.to
  5. LivechatInc
  6. Chat.io

But, no perfect Intercom alternative.

Finding the true love finally 😍

So, recently I signed up on Product hunt just to see what’s up in the startup ecosystem. And found a website “proficonf.com”. First thing that immediately captured my attention was the chat widget. It was beautiful . I just remember the moment I saw it and I was like “Yes ! Yes ! This is what I have been looking for” and officially I started dating  my new chat system. It was so beautiful and perfect in every ways, It had everything that Zopim offered but with a look that I always dreamed about. The best part, it had unlimited concurrent chats and that too for free. Nothing can replace this but !!!

Product Hunt came in and was like “Yo !! Getting married to chatra? Hold on !! There is a new chat system that looks same as Intercom . You may want to check it out “. I almost fell for it. Guys! There is an amazing product out there called Chaport. The guys just nailed it in terms of stealing. Think of Chaport as  Free Intercom with all the unnecessary cluttering removed and just chat. I almost finalized everything with Chaport and ALAS !!! Chaport had everything but the notifications for incoming visitors.

Well it didn’t work out between me and Chaport. Just in case you want a free Intercom, check out their website at https://www.chaport.com/  . If you want to see some fun conversations about how people are roasting Chaport, visit their product hunt page at https://www.producthunt.com/posts/chaport

And destiny had it written that I had to live my next few years with Chatra. So, finally on 23rd April, I tied a knot with Chatra and officially broke up with Zopim. Check these guys out at https://www.chatra.io. P.S.  I am not Chatra’s affiliate. I am referring because I love their product and I love to appreciate good things as much I love to get appreciated.

What is in there to learn from this story

1. Stay updated with the trends and listen to what your clients are saying. Zopim is just arrogant about their chat widget design. The easiest thing for them to do was just add a new widget appearance and also keep their old design. People would’ve opted for what they failed is best for them. But, Zopim is too confident about their design. I feel like this may turn out to be a Yahoo / Google , Orkut / Facebook story for Zopim / New chat systems.

2. It doesn’t matter how big you are. Zendesk bought Zopim for $29.8 M. I switched to Chatra as I love the product. So, if you are building a product and have to fight big time guys, don’t worry !!. Be confident in your product and solve the specific pain points. You are destined to succeed.

That’s it guys !! Now, allow me to spend some time with my new love !! Just in case you wish to sign up for Chatra, check out their website at http://chatra.io/

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