Best Customer Service Software
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Keeping customers happy is an important part of running a business. Although technology has made it easier to personalize interactions and monitor satisfaction levels, it has also made things more competitive.
A company hoping to win and keep customers in today’s tech-driven marketplace must put the right tools in place to not only know how to help customers, but to have daily awareness of how their customers are feeling.
It’s essential for companies to be able to rapidly respond to customer questions and complaints. And as a business grows, that becomes increasingly difficult without the right software in place.
What you should look for in a customer service software
The right customer service software can make all the difference. But with so many solutions on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the right one for your business.
One thing to consider is ease-of-use — it’s important to find software that your team will find intuitive and straightforward. Another element is the service provided by the company that makes the software — you’ll want good customer and tech support for any problems that arise with your customer service software. Price is another factor that you’ll certainly want to take into account.
On top of those basic considerations, your business needs will dictate what option is best for you. These software solutions come with a range of features, so it’s important to know which are best suited to your business needs.
Here are a few features to get you started. Rank them in order of importance and keep them in mind as you read through our list of solutions below.
- Software integrations — Reduce duplicate work by connecting your customer service software to other tools you use, including email and your CRM.
- Ticket management — When a customer reports an issue, tickets can help you require that things be resolved.
- Omnichannel support — Go beyond phone-based support to let customers contact you by email, text, chat, or ticket.
- Single-click dialing — When customers or prospects want to get in touch with you, one-click dialing from your website can make things easier.
- Automated responses — Businesses often deal with numerous calls on a handful of issues. Automated responses can provide help without requiring a representative.
- Customer self-service — You can reduce customer calls and improve service by letting customers search for their own resolutions.
- Knowledgebase — Both employees and customers can benefit from a database of answers to your most commonly reported issues.
- Multilingual support — Businesses today have customers of all nationalities, located across the globe. This feature offers support in multiple languages.
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How to choose the best customer service software for you
The first step toward finding the right customer support solution is to identify those requirements that are unique to your industry or business type. A small boutique with one location might need a completely different software package than a corporation providing cloud computing services to businesses across the globe. The list above can serve as a great guideline, but you also need to know what matters to you, your team, and your unique customer base.
To choose the best software solution for you, conduct a thorough analysis of your current customer service setup. If you offer multiple contact options, how do the majority of your requests come through? Do your customers veer toward email or phone? If they choose email, you may find that text or chat may also be a viable option.
Once you’ve outlined what your customer support currently offers, consider what you want to provide moving forward. What are your priorities? It can help to survey your current customers, asking what they’d like to see in terms of customer support. Keeping a personalized, small business feel may be a top priority, which will affect the type of software you choose.
Another thing to consider is what your management team will need. Many of the most popular solutions offer reports that will let you constantly monitor your customer interactions. What insights into how your team members are doing will your leaders want? What metrics do you need so that you can ensure your customer base is getting the level of support they need when they have issues?
No matter what your business’ unique needs, scalability is likely an important consideration. As you add more customers and employees, your solution should easily be able to support the growth without having to shop around for new software. Many of today’s cloud-based solutions offer multiple pricing tiers based on factors like the number of agents or the features offered. Consider how your business might look in a few years when you’re looking at pricing and features.
List of software
Among the many tools on the market today, below are the seven that excel in a variety of areas. Any of these software options will serve you well, but they’re not all the same — they come with a range of distinguishing characteristics and features. Some are appropriate for businesses in certain industries or are better for companies of a particular size or type.
Although Freshdesk can be put to use in a variety of environments, it’s most ideal for the technology support situations seen with software development and I.T. support. In addition to heavy ticketing controls, you’ll also get features like canned responses, knowledge base support, forums, and customer satisfaction ratings. You can communicate with customers via email, phone, chat, social media, and your website.
There’s a free version of Freshdesk that includes an unlimited number of agents and basic support through phone, social, email, and chat. For features like team collaboration, satisfaction surveys, custom domain mapping, and time tracking, you’ll need to upgrade to the Blossom plan, which is $19 per agent per month. Multilingual ability, ticket templates, custom agent roles, and skill-based ticket assignment are available with the more advanced plans, costing between $35 and $89 per agent per month.
Zoho starts as a CRM, providing customer service as part of CRM services. Using this software, you can add customer chat to your website, incorporate single-click dialing, and capture leads from your social media interactions. All the information is collected and stored under the customer’s profile on your CRM, which makes it easier for your sales team to follow up. That said, Zoho CRM is more geared toward sales teams than businesses that solely accept calls from customers about issues.
Zoho CRM is free for up to three users, but you won’t get tools like webforms or workflow rules until you upgrade to the $12 per month per user plan. More advanced tools like email integration and social CRM are available on the $20 monthly plan.
Zendesk realizes that small and midsize businesses have unique needs, filling its platform with features to help them compete with large corporations. These include features that let you provide omnichannel support, including web, app, email, voice, or chat. Zendesk uses tickets to log customer calls, letting your team prioritize and follow up to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. With Zendesk Talk, you can set up a call center and employ multiple agents to take customer calls.
Zendeck’s pricing depends on the solution you choose, but the full suite runs $89 per seat per month. You can get the basic Support solution for as low as $5 a month, and solutions like Chat and Talk have free plans with limited features.
Already known as a respected sales support platform, Salesforce has expanded to help businesses keep customers after they’ve won them over. Salesforce builds Einstein artificial intelligence into its platform to help technicians resolve problems the first time out. Businesses can provide support through phone, email, chat, and SMS messaging, with each transaction logged as a ticket that can be tracked later. At any time, you can get a 360-degree view of each customer, whether you’re logging in to make a sale or to help resolve an issue.
Plans start at $25 per user per month and go as high as $300 if you want unlimited users and the full suite of features.
This simple, out-of-the-box customer support solution includes features like integrations and ticket escalation. When a request comes in, rules can automatically assign it to the appropriate team member for quicker resolution. HappyFox is highly customizable, which makes it popular with any business that wants to create a solution that accurately reflects its own environment. You’ll also get support for more than 35 languages to help with your efforts to go global. The solution is easy to use until you add in integrations, which may require technical support intervention to set up.
The basic plan costs $29 per user per month, which includes unlimited tickets, smart business rules, and multilingual support.
LiveAgent is designed to collect customer contact in one place, whether it comes in via a ticket, live chat, phone, your support portal, or social media. One of the most unique features of LiveAgent is that you can connect to your VoIP service to let customers call you by clicking a button on your website. Other features include time tracking, service level agreements, and contact groups. Although LiveAgent is a great tool, its ticket-based nature makes it more ideal for businesses that deal more with troubleshooting than general customer service calls.
Pricing starts at $9 per agent per month, but you’ll need to upgrade to a $29 plan if you want live chat, visitor monitoring, and chat reports.
Samanage is targeted to companies in the I.T. field. Features are designed to capture customer issues in the form of tickets, which technicians can then resolve. I.T. teams will also have access to features that fit their environment, including asset management and risk detection. The latter feature looks for multiple reports on issues that could be a serious security issue, alerting teams so that they can look into things before they become a problem.
Pricing starts at $29 per month per agent, with an additional $0.40 per supported device each month. This tier includes incident management, a service portal, and a knowledge-base. For features like service level agreements, you’ll need to upgrade to $59 per month per agent.
The bottom line
It is essential to understand the needs of your business in order to choose the right customer service software. Investing in a solution with features you don’t need may be a waste of money and unnecessary aggravation. But choosing software that doesn’t fulfill all of your needs will lead to frustration for your team.
Don’t rush the process of deciding what you’re looking for — think critically about your needs, ask yourself incisive questions, and do some comparison shopping before settling on a solution.