We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the products and services we buy both online and in-person.
No matter what your company does, you have customers.
Those customers are going to have questions, demands, and expectations.
If you don’t, they’re going to find another vendor who can meet their expectations.
Luckily, providing excellent customer service isn’t rocket science, and half the battle is ensuring you have an open line of communication where your customers can reach you.
However, as your business grows, you’ll quickly realize that you need dedicated systems and processes in place to manage your customer service requests.
Enter customer service software.
There is a wide range of tools designed to help you engage and communicate with your customers in an easy-to-manage way.
In this article, we’re going to show you some of the best customer service software available to help you and your team manage your customer relationships in the best way possible.
Let’s jump in.
You might be thinking:
“Can’t I do this manually?”
Unfortunately, probably not.
96% of consumers say that customer service is an important factor in choosing a brand.
Customer service matters. If you try to do everything manually through your email inbox and phones, you’ll quickly need to start hiring people to help you.
You’ll also end up with slow response times, and won’t be able to keep up with rising customer expectations. Over half of consumers say they have higher customer service expectations than they did a year ago, so if your processes aren’t evolving to match those expectations, you’re falling behind.
So, if you’re ready to provide world-class support to your paying customers, keep reading.
There are so many companies providing customer service software and tools that it can be hard to keep track of what’s what.
Three main kinds of software can help you. Let’s take a look at what they are.
The first kind is Help Desk software. Typically, it provides a way for your customers to ask questions, find answers, and solve problems they’re having related to your business.
When a customer asks a question, you’ll get notified, and a ticket is opened. When the issue is solved, you can close the ticket. You’ll be able to see a nice overview of what issues are currently open, how quickly they get resolved, and more.
Many help desk tools offer a wide range of functionality and can encompass the other two main kinds we’re going to look at.
Finally, we have live chat software. While live chat can be incorporated as part of help desk software or a CRM, we’ll look at them as their own solution for now.
They’re very popular for internet-based businesses as you can quickly engage with customers in a conversational manner, and they can have a powerful backend to help you keep track of ongoing conversations and issues that customers are having.
The next is CRM software. These can be huge in scope and quite similar to help desk software.
The key difference is that they’re more closely focused on marketing and sales.
If you have long sales cycles and need to engage with leads before they buy from you, a CRM is essential.
Software like timetoreply’s email response time tracking and analytics is a little different.
It works to monitor email reply times on everyday emails, unlike CRMs that control marketing-related content on a mass scale.
If you’re concerned with improving response times to leads and customers or are in the dark as to your team’s email volumes, an email analytics tool is key.
Key Features: Bring all of your customer service tools under one roof
Pricing: Starts at $9 per month per agent
Zendesk is one of the most popular customer service software companies out there, and for good reason. They’re well established and have a range of products and solutions for all types of businesses.
They have products for everything from live chat, to integrated customer service, to knowledge base systems, to a CRM.
If you’re already using multiple products and would rather have everything under one roof, then Zendesk is for you.
Key Features: Store all of your customer service conversations in one place and automate repetitive tasks
Pricing: Free plan available or paid plans from $15 per month
Freshdesk is help desk software suitable for businesses of all sizes.
It has all of the features you would expect from a help desk solution, such as live chat, email, and phone support, but you can even integrate your social media messages into it.
If your brand is active on social and you regularly receive messages on there, Freshdesk is an ideal way to manage them and ensure no customer goes without a reply.
Key Features: Bring all support channels into one place
Pricing: Free plan available or paid plans from $15 per month
Another all-in-one solution, LiveAgent is a customer service management suite. They boast of having the fastest chat widget on the market and have 175+ help desk features and 40+ integrations to make sure all of your apps can work with it.
Like Freshdesk, it’s affordable for most businesses, especially considering how feature-rich it is.
Key Features: Designed to help improve your customer relationships at every stage of the customer lifecycle
Pricing: Starts at $39 per month
If you’ve been on a tech company’s website, you’ll instantly recognize the Intercom widget. Used by many, it’s designed to help you build better customer relationships by enabling businesses of all sizes to deliver personalized messaging to their customers.
You can link it up with your website to send targeted messages depending on the page someone is on, or automate your customer service by sending answers to frequently asked questions through it.
Their automated answering bot can supposedly resolve up to 33% of commonly asked questions without you even having to do anything. You can also build your knowledge base in Intercom, which can be a big time saver, as you can quickly send links to customers with questions that have a published answer.
It can get expensive on the higher tier plans, but it does come packed with features and helps with everything from acquisition to retention and support.
Key Features: Conversation-driven live chat with powerful automation
Pricing: From $40 per month
Drift is more of a sales tool than a customer service tool, but it can do both well.
If you’re looking for a powerful live chat tool to help engage with support requests in real-time, Drift has you covered.
You can create automation sequences that guide customers to the answers they need, or qualify them and connect them with the right support agent to help with their question.
Key Features: “Context-aware” help desk software
Pricing: Free plan available or paid plans from $12 per month
As well as being a complete suite of customer service tools, Zoho Desk is complete with additional features designed to make your life easier.
It can help you identify and act on trends and patterns in your customer questions, and in your team’s responses, as well as incorporating time tracking and reporting features to help you easily see how your team is performing.
You’ll be able to identify areas that you can improve upon or automate to help get the right answers to your customers as quickly as possible.
If you’re already part of the Zoho ecosystem, Zoho Desk is a great option.
Key Features: Create shared email inboxes
Pricing: Starts at $20 per month.
Help Scout is designed to help companies provide a personalized customer service experience and avoid making customers feel like they’re shouting into a void when they need help.
It has powerful features such as a shared inbox so your team can get an easy view of what other team members are working on and help them as needed, as well as robust reporting features.
It integrates with 50+ tools such as Salesforce, Slack, Mailchimp, and Shopify, so no matter what your tech stack looks like, Help Scout will fit in nicely.
Key Features: Add customer service features to your email
Pricing: From $9 per month
Front is primarily an email app, but it does more than your average inbox.
It provides a crystal clear picture of your customer service needs and integrates your team inboxes into one place.
You can connect your calendar and apps to it, allowing you and your team to schedule meetings or bring your team into the loop as needed.
You’ll even be able to see if another member of your team or support agent is in the process of replying to a customer to save multiple messages being sent at once.
Key Features: Text-first customer service for local businesses
Pricing: Custom pricing, but expect to pay $350 – $450 per month
If you’re a business with local customers, then Podium is for you.
It’s designed to provide an easy way for customers to engage and ask questions to local businesses by using text messages rather than web-based messaging.
Great customer service shouldn’t be reserved for businesses with a strong online presence, or for those who have time to be on the phone all day. If customers have questions, they want clear, quick answers, and Podium’s text-based customer service software facilitates that.
Key Features: Chatbot platform for marketing, sales, and customer service.
Pricing: Free edition right up to $199 per month billed annually
MobileMonkey is a multi-channel chatbot platform that enables companies to proactively engage with audiences on their website, Facebook Messenger, SMS text messaging, and other popular web chat applications.
It allows you to message your followers on Instagram with your Messenger Chatbot.
Key Features: Email reply time analytics and reporting
Pricing: From $19 per month and 15-day Free Trial available
timetoreply is there to help you improve your customer service and gain clarity into how well you’re performing.
Our email analytics and reply time reporting will show you how well you and your team are replying to customer inquiries, and provide the data you need to help your team succeed with all client-facing communication.
It’s perfectly suited to customer service but can also act as a great motivator for your sales reps, or those who manage key accounts.
You can view email reply performance by individual or group mailbox, set response time goals, and create reports that provide your management team with all the data they need.
Customer service can be a major competitive advantage, and I hope this post has helped you find the right type of customer service software for you and your company.
Regardless of which one you choose, the key is to always focus on delivering customer service that you’d expect from any product or service you paid for.
These tools are going to help you get organized and streamline your customer service, which can only lead to improvements.
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