Customer Service Software: 8 of the Best

Customer Service Software: 8 of the Best

Customer Service Software: 8 of the Best

What Is Customer Service Software?

Customer service software is a system a company uses to handle large amounts of customer queries, complaints or requests.

The changing relationship between consumers and businesses means the overall experience is prioritised over agreeable price point.

A Microsoft survey found that 90% of Americans consider customer service as a deciding factor when choosing a company to conduct business with.

Approximately 58% stated they would switch companies if they experienced bad customer service.

Traditional methods, such as shared inboxes and spreadsheets, are laborious, particularly in regards to time consumption.

A recent survey revealed 60% of respondents consider 10 minutes or less to be an immediate response.

A response within 10 minutes is not always feasible when answering thousands of queries, however.

Therefore, customer service software helps by:

  • Providing a ticketing system that streamlines all communication channels

  • Providing the customer service team with the customer background. For example, who is the customer? What is their query? Has there been any past communication?

  • Integrating with a CRM to provide details from other locations, such as billing systems

Customer service software features that improve efficiency are:

  • Phone support – Recordings, internal routing, automated ticketing
  • Email – Automated responses with FAQs
  • Live chat – Around the clock help, helps resolve issues before an agent becomes available
  • Knowledge base – Customer portals, community forums
  • Messaging apps – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp

What Are the Benefits of Using Customer Service Software?

Approximately 80% of customers say they will move to a competitor if they experience terrible customer service.

The cost of investing in new customers averages at five to 25 times more than maintaining existing ones; therefore, flawless customer service is paramount.

Customer service software:

  • Streamlines customer service procedures saving time and money33% of customers say the most frustrating part of a complaint is the wait. A further 33% say that having to repeat themselves increases their frustration. Customer service software helps alleviate these issues.

  • Allows staff to focus on customer satisfaction – Automated procedures resolve smaller issues and direct customers through the correct channels; customer service agents can therefore resolve more complex issues without the pressure of large hold queues.

  • Improves customer experience – Customers can discover a solution much quicker through bots and automated procedures than if they had to call or email. The ease at which they find resolution improves their experience.

  • Improves customer loyalty and retention52% of customers admit that they purchase from a brand they are loyal to. Customers are more likely to stay when they know they can get help when it is needed.

  • Generates reports and insights – This can be used to improve and develop business strategy and customer service procedures. The data originates from consumer behaviour; therefore, strategies and procedures become more customer-oriented.

What to Look Out for When Choosing Customer Service Software

  • Growth – Customer service software should facilitate business growth. Therefore, consider if the software can handle increased operations and evaluate the cost of upgrades before investing.

  • Mobility – Is the software optimised for all devices and operating systems? Do you want it to work offline and automatically sync? These improve the user experience tremendously.

  • Functions – Before making a final decision, decide what features and functions your business requires. A small business with few needs will find that buying the most comprehensive software is not cost-effective.

  • Free trial – Take advantage of any free trials the software might have and ask your team to try every feature to see how it works in real situations.

Customer Service Software: 8 of the Best

1. Zoho Desk

Best for: Ease of use

Features:

  • Alerts
  • Live chat
  • Knowledge base
  • Queue management
  • Performance metrics

Price:

  • Free – $0 for up to three agents and limited features
  • Standard – $12 per month per agent
  • Professional – $20 per month per agent
  • Enterprise – $35 per month per agent

Zoho Desk is one of the best at identifying trends, managing tickets and integrating with other applications. It offers a wide range of support networks that allow your customer service agents to deliver timely results that build better operations.

The analytics tools also offer insight into customer service agents' performance, as well as reporting on consumer behaviour.

Zoho Desk can unify different departments to allow the entire workforce to work as one cohesive team.

However, the software interface lacks customisation and has a dated aesthetic.

The pricing structure ensures that smaller businesses with small budgets have to sacrifice some of the more advanced features. Team management, live chat and AI are only available in the Professional and Enterprise packages.

Visit Zoho Desk

2. HubSpot

Best for: Free service

Features:

  • Alerts and escalations
  • Live chat
  • Performance reports
  • Queue management
  • Knowledge base

Price:

  • Free – $0 and includes ticketing, live chat, team email, time-to-close reports and closed reports
  • Starter – $40 per month for two users, agent reports, scheduling and calling
  • Professional – $320 per month for five users, surveys, customer reporting, knowledge base, and ticket status and routing
  • Enterprise – $1,200 per month for 10 users, integration, playbooks, user roles and teams

The free version of HubSpot has everything required to start, including live chat, ticketing, email, phone system integration and more. It is the most comprehensive free system on the market.

While it offers many features, they are limited in their functions, and upgrading can become expensive, with the cheapest package being $40.

Subscription options are limited, and there is no cancellation or downgrade option.

Visit HubSpot

3. Zendesk

Best for: Customisation

Features:

  • Customisation
  • Third-party integration
  • Custom ticket fields
  • Live chat
  • Self-service portal

Price:

  • Professional Support Suite – $89 per month per agent
  • Enterprise Support Suite – $149 per month per agent

Zendesk is favoured among big brands such as Uber, Shopify and Slack because of its detailed reports, integration options and advanced customisation.

As a product, Zendesk offers everything needed to run a superior customer service strategy.

However, it is very expensive, especially for small businesses. Add-ons and enhanced features are costly; therefore, it is nearly impossible to purchase the software on small budgets.

There have been reports that their customer service is inadequate, and it is difficult to cancel a subscription.

On the technical side, the ticketing system can be challenging to manage. The Zendesk system does not appear to adapt to queries that do not follow protocol.

Visit Zendesk

Customer Service Software
Customer Service Software

4. Groove

Best for: Growing businesses

Features:

  • Knowledge base
  • Integrations
  • Reports
  • Shared inbox
  • Live chat

Price:

  • Starter – $9 per month per user and includes live chat and knowledge base
  • Plus – $19 per month per user and includes integrations, reports and five mailboxes
  • Pro – $29 per month per user and includes 25 mailboxes, teams and WhatsApp
  • Company – Custom pricing, unlimited mailboxes and priority support

Groove is a lesser-known software company; however, it is widely recommended for small businesses and start-ups.

It is easy to use, fast and intuitive.

Groove's selling point is its accessible price points, beautifully designed interface and team collaboration tools.

Visit Groove

5. Help Scout

Best for: Non-profits

Features:

  • Live chat
  • Integrations
  • Reports
  • Custom teams
  • Automated workflows

Price:

  • Standard – $20 per month per user with three mailboxes, reports and integrations
  • Plus – $35 per month per user with ten mailboxes, custom teams and HIPAA compliance
  • Company – Custom pricing with concierge service, flexible users and unlimited mailboxes

Help Scout is another boutique company that offers a high-quality product.

Help Scout’s selling point is that it is a Certified B company. Its goal is to positively impact the environment, and it supports companies that share the same values.

Non-profit working organisations in the field of underrepresentation in tech, environmental sustainability or human rights will be offered Help Scout’s packages at a largely discounted rate or for free.

As a product, the focus is on email; therefore, automated ticketing services are not as developed as other providers. The interface also lacks customisation.

Visit Help Scout

6. Fresh Desk

Best for: AI

Features:

  • Customer self-service
  • Automation
  • Reporting
  • Ticketing
  • Queue management

Price:

  • Sprout – Free; includes unlimited agents, knowledge base and social ticketing
  • Blossom – $15 per month per person; includes automation, marketplace apps and help desk
  • Garden – $29 per month per person; includes time tracking, performance report and session replay
  • Estate – $49 per month per person; includes custom agent roles, multiple time zones and custom portal
  • Forest – $109 per month per person; includes skill-based ticket allocation, IP Whitelisting and HIPAA compliance

Fresh Desk is easy to use and favoured by companies such as American Express and Panasonic.

It is considered one of the best available on the market. It offers a wide range of features, plenty of technical support and is web-based.

Other than some need to update the interface and minor upgrade issues, there are no negatives for Fresh Desk.

Many user reviews claim that the price is worth the service.

Visit Fresh Desk

7. Live Agent

Best for: Live chat

Features:

  • Universal inbox
  • Live chat
  • Performance metrics
  • Integrations
  • Knowledge base

Price:

  • Free – $0 and includes one live chat button, one email address for ticketing and seven-day ticket history
  • Ticket – $15 per month per user and includes multi-brand support, unlimited ticketing history and unlimited email ticketing
  • Ticket + Chat – $29 per month per user and includes unlimited live chat, chat invitations and real-time visitor monitor
  • All-inclusive – $39 per month per user and includes unlimited call centre support, gamification and video calling

Live Agent excels in live chats, customisations and integrations. The software is proven to be time effective and can manage all customer requests in a single platform.

As a service provider itself, Live Agent has an excellent relationship with its clients and boosts its own excellent customer service team with 24/7 support.

However, there are many add-ons for features like time tracking and audit logs which can increase the price of the subscription.

Visit Live Agent

8. Sprout Social

Best for: Social

Features:

  • Analytics and reports
  • User roles
  • Automation
  • Monitoring
  • Customisation

Price:

  • Standard – $99 per month per user and includes social media calendar, all-in-one social box and five social platforms
  • Professional – $149 per month per user and includes reports, 10 social profiles and customisable inbox
  • Advanced – $249 per month per user and includes custom chatbots, custom ULR tracking and advanced customer care tools

Sprout Social is for social media customer service only. There are no additional communication lines, such as live chat and ticket automation.

It is for companies that are highly active on social media and handle most of their customer queries via those channels.

The software manages all social media needs, including scheduling and campaign creation.

However, an additional software provider is needed to deliver a comprehensive customer service strategy.

Sprout Social is quite costly; therefore, the addition of another subscription may not be cost-effective.

Visit Sprout Social

Final Thoughts

Deciding on the right product for your company can be challenging. You need to consider:

  • The costs of the subscription, upgrades and add-ons
  • If the software can grow with you
  • What you want from the software and what it offers
  • The software company themselves and the service they provide
  • If your team will be able to use the tools

Before making any final decision, take advantage of all the free trials. Test as many features as can be tested and ask for feedback from prior customers.

Excellent customer service is essential for your profit and reputation. Investing in the appropriate software for your company's needs may seem costly; however, it will develop income in the long-term.


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