The other day, an onboarding specialist told me about one HubSpotter who recently purchased customer service software for their business. Both of us being former support agents, my colleague and I were amazed that this company only had one person responsible for fielding service inquiries. Before adopting customer service tools, this lone rep was stuck using a traditional email inbox to manage dozens of cases each day.
Needless to say, this process created headaches for the rep as well as friction within the customer experience. Support cases were sometimes overlooked, and it was tough to keep track of what needed to be done.
Now, this service rep has a help desk and ticketing system that supports her day-to-day workflow. Her company doesn't need to hire additional reps because the agent can keep pace with customer demand and deliver exceptional service experiences. When equipped with the best tools for the job, one rep can do the work of a full customer service team.
In this post, we'll lay out some of the best customer service software available for this year. And, we'll also include some free tools you can adopt if you're just starting to scale your customer service team.
Best Customer Service Software
- HubSpot Service Hub
- Sprout Social
Service Hub is an all-around customer service software that connects a variety of tools into one consolidated platform. It has help desk software to support your agents and an advanced ticketing system to help your team keep track of long-term service inquiries. On top of that, there's knowledge base software that helps customers find answers to their questions more quickly.
It also has a free live chat tool that you can install chatbots on and expand the bandwidth of your customer service team. And, all of these tools are synced with the HubSpot CRM, so you can align marketing and sales operations alongside your customer service functions.
Price: Starts free, Starter Plan ($50/month per user), Professional Plan ($400/month per five users), Enterprise Plan ($1,200/month per 10 users)
LiveAgent is another platform-based software that includes tools to support your call centers as well. While it has standard call center tools like call routing and transfers, it also has more advanced features like recordings and callbacks. That way, your customers can still communicate with your team even when your agents are busy or unavailable.
Price: Ticket Plan, $15/month, Ticket+Chat Plan, $29/month, All-Inclusive Plan, $39/month
Gong is a unique customer service software that can train your agents to produce more delightful customer interactions.
For example, it has tools that can analyze phone conversations between customers and service agents. Agents can see how much they speak versus listen and they can look at sentiment analysis reports that assess how well a conversation is going. And, if an agent wants to see how they've progressed, they look at previous conversations that are automatically recorded within the Gong database.
Price: Pricing available on request
Intercom takes live chat to the next level by installing chat widgets on your website, mobile app, and product. With this omni-channel setup, customers no longer have to navigate to your site to receive chat support. Instead, they can get help right where they're working, saving them time and reducing friction in the customer experience.
Price: Essential Plan, $87/month, Pro Plan, $153/month, Premium Plan, Pricing available upon request
In addition to Intercom, Podium is also a messaging tool that can be used to communicate with customers via live chat.
However, unlike Intercom, Podium has internal communication channels so your agents can communicate with each other privately. Agents can collaborate on complex or time-sensitive service cases, which leads to faster response times and resolution rates. And, Podium has easy-to-use handoff features that make case transfer seamless for both agents and customers.
Price: Pricing available upon request
TeamSupport is a service platform that specializes in self-service tools. It has a "Customer Hub" where customers can create and view the status of their support tickets. They can also search through your company's knowledge base and reach out to service agents using the same interface. This centralizes your team's service operations and makes it easier for you to communicate updates to customers.
Price: Support Desk Plan, $50/month per agent, Enterprise Plan, $65/month per agent
Sprout Social provides businesses with tools that manage social media engagement. Part of this includes customer service features that help support agents respond to customers who ask questions or provide feedback through social media channels. With social media quickly becoming a fundamental service medium, Sprout Social gives your team the resources needed to delight your online customer base.
Price: Standard Plan, $99/month per user, Professional Plan, $149/month per user, Advanced Plan, $249/month per user
SysAid uses a modular approach for its platform, which is different than other help desk providers featured on this list. Instead of buying all of its tools in a combined package, SysAid users can purchase features as they need them. This lets you fully-customize your SysAid account and ensures you don't spend money on tools and services that your team never uses.
Price: Pricing available upon request
Kustomer uses a cool timeline feature to display your customers' data into one, easy-to-understand report. Your agents can see your customers' purchase history and past interactions, and leverage that data to create a truly personalized service experience.
Additionally, Kustomer has single-thread conversations so all communication will be funneled into one chat, regardless of where the conversation takes place.
Price: Enterprise Plan, $99/month per user, Ultimate Plan, $169/month per user,
HappyFox can stand toe to toe with pretty much every other software provider on this list. What makes it unique, though, is its custom reporting tools. With HappyFox, managers can review advanced reporting metrics like NPS and CSAT, which helps them determine which agents are performing best.
It also provides reports on your company's overall service trends, so upper-management has the data needed to make successful changes to support workflows.
Price: Mighty Plan, $29/month per agent, Fantastic Plan, $49/month per user, Enterprise Plan, $69/month per user, Enterprise Plus Plan, $89/month per user
While these tools are considered to be the best in customer service, that doesn't necessarily mean they're the right fit for your business. If you're looking for software that can help scale your service team, take a look at the next section for a list of free tools that you can adopt.
Free Customer Service Software
- ConnectWise Control
HelpSpot is great for small customer support teams that want to get familiar with fundamental service tools. It has a basic help desk, ticketing system, and reporting features that are all universally applicable regardless of the industry your company is in. HelpSpot can also send out customer satisfaction surveys, giving your team the power to collect feedback and improve customer experience.
Freshdesk is help desk software that unifies customer messages into one continuous thread. No matter where customers reach out to your support team, Freshdesk funnels those conversations into a single chat, making it easy to keep track of open conversations and recall important information. And, Freshdesk has a mobile interface, so agents can respond to tickets even when they're not at the office or near their computers.
Hesk is a reliable, cloud-based ticketing system that's easy to use and set up. It lets your team create custom ticket fields and modify feature arrangements so that the interface is aligned with the agent's workflow. It also has a ticket submission tool where customers can create web-based tickets and assign them directly to an available agent. This empowers the customer while eliminating a tedious task for the support agent.
ConnectWise Control has a service level agreement (SLA) feature that can help management set clear expectations for customer service quality. Once you program benchmarks for response times and resolution rates, every ticket is automatically monitored and held against these standards. If a ticket doesn't meet either benchmark, management is notified so they can address the issue. This not only helps your team reduce potential churn, but it also helps managers set a precedent for what excellent customer service looks like.
If your customer service team primarily operates through email, Deskero makes it easy to switch from a traditional email inbox to a shared inbox tool. The software has an email integration feature that can import emails into Deskero and automatically transform them into tickets. So, if you're hesitant to adopt a shared inbox because you have open cases in your current one, you can rest comfortably knowing every conversation will be carried over and easy to find.
Pipefy not only has customer service tools, but it also has resources that help your customer success team operate more efficiently. For example, its onboarding template provides an actionable outline that agents can use to onboard new customers. This creates an organized communication structure that leads to a consistent onboarding process. And, when your onboarding is clear and easy-to-follow, you can decrease churn early on in the customer journey.
For more service tools, check out these customer support resources.
Originally published Feb 18, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated July 21 2020