If you have customers, you have to talk to them. But how you talk to them can make or break your business. If you want to create loyal customers, you need to provide fast, personalized experiences, even as your customer base grows.
According to recent research, 83% of customers expect immediate engagement when they contact a company, and 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when their experience is personalized to their needs.
Customer service engagement software can help you achieve these goals.
What is customer service engagement software?
Customer service engagement software is a tool that helps you connect with your audience through organizing messages, automating repetitive tasks, and personalizing interactions.
These platforms often package together several tools like a help desk, live chat widgets, social media monitoring, and email marketing tools. Together, these tools help businesses develop more meaningful relationships with their customers, resulting in efficient and effective customer service and long-term customer loyalty.
The Best Customer Service Engagement Platforms to Consider
- HubSpot Service Hub
Built using HubSpot CRM as a backbone, HubSpot Service Hub is designed to bring all of your customer interactions together in one place for personalized customer service. Customer data fuels every automation and every conversation, so front-line teams need to have the full context of their customer's history to provide a personalized experience every time.
HubSpot's customer service engagement software, including live chat, ticketing, and self-service is free to use, forever. For additional automation functionality, teams can upgrade to HubSpot Service Hubs' premium editions, starting at $50/agent/month.
The original. Intercom was one of the first modern customer engagement tools that began the move towards conversational customer service. Offer product tours, engage users at critical times, and provide support at every step of the way with Intercom's live chat widget and email marketing platform.
Intercom doesn't list pricing on their website or provide it to popular review sites. However, reports show that plans start at $39/month for very small businesses up to $999/month. Contact Intercom for pricing for your specific requirements.
Freshdesk is an omnichannel customer service software built for collaboration with other teams. Offering live chat, email, self-service portals, and more, Freshdesk is part of the Freshworks ecosystem that brings all customer communication together in one place.
Freshdesk's "Sprout" plan offers unlimited agents, email and social ticketing, and a hosted knowledge base for free. Paid plans start at $15/agent/month when billed annually. For enterprise-level features, including Freddy the Freshworks bot, plans cost $99/agent/month.
Zendesk offers advanced customer engagement software that's built around the customer journey. Using their in-depth analytics and insights engine, teams can create a seamless customer experience from the very first contact.
For Zendesk's foundational support software including basic ticketing functionality, plans start at $19/agent/month. For the full customer engagement software suite, expect to pay between $49/agent/month and $99/agent/month, depending on what features your team needs.
Front is a shared-inbox that brings your emails, apps, and teammates together in one view. Work together seamlessly using collaboration tools and automation that give your entire team the power to improve the customer experience.
The Starter plan will set your team back $19/seat/month for up to 10 people. For bigger teams, or if you require more advanced automation or integrations, you'll need the Prime ($49/seat/month), or Enterprise ($99/seat/month).
Built around an engaging live chat experience, HelpCrunch helps teams connect with visitors to their website and deliver the right message at the right time. From onboarding to sales to support, HelpCrunch's omnichannel customer engagement software will help you automate and engage with your entire audience.
HelpCrunch starts at $12/team member/month for their Starter plan which only includes live chat and a limited number of automated messages. For email capabilities and unlimited messaging, check out their Premium plan at $39/team member/month.
Positioned as a revenue accelerator, Drift is tailored to meet the needs of sales and marketing teams that want to engage leads and website visitors. Using their live chat platform, sales teams can deploy AI chatbots that help customers get answers to their questions, book meetings at convenient times, and get qualified.
Drift doesn't list their pricing on their website, but some sites report that the entry-level plan costs $40/month, with an additional $20/month for each chat seat, while a higher-end plan with additional automation features will cost you around $1,500/month with an extra $80/chat seat/month.
Drift also offers a Free plan that includes the basic chat widget, and a Startup plan that offers big discounts on their other plans, if you meet the requirements. Contact Drift for up-to-date pricing for your company's needs.
Sprinklr offers a complete, unified front-office engagement platform for the enterprise. Supporting dozens of channels and hundreds of other tools, forums, and review sites, Sprinklr makes sure your team never misses a message. With advanced AI and insight functionality, you'll be able to interpret and react to Voice of Customer data at scale.
Pricing is only available on request. Contact Sprinklr for more information and a demo.
LiveAgent is help desk software that adapts to the needs of your business - whether you're looking to support customers, engage website visitors, or offer a knowledge base, LiveAgent has you covered. LiveAgent's simple, multi-channel platform makes it easy to engage customers and provide a great experience.
LiveAgent offers a free forever plan that provides basic chat and ticket functionality. For their all-inclusive plan, you'll be paying a very reasonable $39/agent/month
Interact with your customers on the channels they want using Acquire's chat, video, and co-browsing tools. Acquire offers a conversational customer experience by ensuring continuity across channels and different messages. Power your conversations with effective AI and bots, and improve your processes with Acquire's insightful metrics dashboard.
Pricing is only available on request. Contact their sales team for more information.
Kustomer is a CRM-powered customer service platform that helps agents deliver personalized experiences across chat, email, and more. Supported by AI assistants, agents have full context into the customers' history, and conversations are automatically routed to the appropriate inbox or person.
Kustomer starts at $89/agent/month for their Enterprise product. Kustomer IQ (their AI add-on for customer service) costs an additional $20/user/month, or is available on a per-use basis. The Ultimate plan will cost you $139/agent/month.
Organize your customer service conversations into one continuous timeline so agents can easily review history and provide personalized service, regardless of the channels your customers choose to use. Gladly is designed to help organizations deliver "radically personalized" service, efficiently.
Gladly breaks pricing down into administrative, task-based, and customer-facing users. Admin seats are free, task-based seats are $38/user/month, and customer-facing seats are $150/user/month, with all channels, including voice, included in that price.
The Best Customer Engagement Software for Your Business
There are many different platforms available to help you engage with your customers. Choosing the one that works best for your business requires understanding your needs, budget, and customers. Below we've selected a few options that are best suited for particular use cases.
Best Free Customer Engagement Software: HubSpot
HubSpot offers free customer engagement software that's flexible and powerful. Based around an always-free CRM, HubSpot's customer service tools include live chat, self-service, and insightful reports that will help you improve your customer service experience. Best of all, it's free to use and there's no credit card required.
Small Business: LiveAgent
If you're a small business, you likely want to get up and running fast. LiveAgent is simple and affordable software that will do everything you need it to. Start by setting up your chat widget and inbox to make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. Create prompts to proactively ask customers if they need help on critical websites like your pricing page or return policy.
When you're managing e-commerce customer service, you need to be able to integrate your platforms together to check inventory, initiate refunds, and confirm delivery details. Plus, your customers are likely going to talk to you through social media, so you should be able to monitor those sites too. Kustomer brings together all your systems so you can provide a personalized experience to your customers.
Best Intercom Alternative: HelpCrunch
If you're looking for customer engagement software but find that Intercom is too pricey, or has additional features you don't need, HelpCrunch is a great alternative. It's reasonably priced, offers intuitive chat functionality, and you can segment your users for targeted messaging.
Engage Your Customers with the Right Tools
Customer engagement is critical to the success of your business, but you can't do it alone. Choose a customer service engagement software that will help you deliver excellent customer care across all of your contact channels. With the right tools, your business will continue to prosper.
Originally published Jul 2, 2021 8:00:00 AM, updated July 02 2021