customer support | 5 min read

Handle, Manage, Respond: How to Identify the Best Customer Service Software Tools

Published by Hardik Makadia on 25-Mar-2022

Customer satisfaction is a right, not a privilege. They maintain a crucial indicator of how your service/product is perceived, help build a reputation, and are a source of free brand advocacy. Tracking customer feedback is vital, and investing in good customer service tools can help boost your brand with key data insights.

For instance, with customization tools, you can:

  • Instantly connect with Customers

  • Troubleshoot Problems faced by Customers

  • Help them Access Info in a Systematic Manner

  • Reduce Your Staff Workload without Sacrificing Productivity

  • Measure Customer Response to Tweak Your Sales & Marketing Activities

This article will walk you through some of the best customer service tools to digitally manage your customers with the right tools.

But First: What is a Customer Service Software?

Customer service software is a type of software companies use to help their customers get their questions answered and issues resolved. The best customer service software solutions offer a variety of tools for assisting customers in finding information and solutions on their own without overly interfering and stepping in to help when nudged by a customer.

With the help of these tools, the industry has shifted its focus from reactive support (i.e., answering tickets) towards more practical proactive support (i.e., creating help articles, help videos, tutorial videos, walkthrough emails, etc.). 

The main objective of such tools is to help mitigate tickets from being created in the first place.

Attributes of a Customer Service Software: How to identify the right tool

Companies that promote a customer-centric culture see an average annual revenue growth three times higher than companies without it, so it is crucial to identify the right tools. 

Here are some of the standard functions you should look out for in an ideal customer service software:

  • Ticket management: Helps in managing customer tickets efficiently. Ticketing systems commonly feature ticket creation, assignment, escalation, routing, tracking, and reporting.

  • Third-party integrations: Integration with other systems like CRM (customer relationship management), marketing automation, email marketing, eCommerce platforms, and business intelligence tools.

  • Knowledge base: Also known as a help center, this feature lets customers find helpful articles on using a particular feature or trying to solve a problem/scenario.

  • Ease of use: No customer can interact with the company if they find the software too difficult to use. The tool should be user-friendly and straightforward to use.

  • Value: Is the software tool you are using cost-effective? Is it fulfilling a need or something nice to have? Can you or customers leverage the means to solve a problem? These attributes can go a long way in determining the value.

Why is Customer Service Software Essential to a Business?

Whether you're just setting up shop as a startup or an emerging global conglomerate, customer support software can add value to your business.

It is critical for customers and support agents to have the best tools to help them through different communication channels that include but is not limited to: email, phone, chat, and social media. Some of the benefits are but are not limited to:

Efficient Automation

An automation tool ensures that your tickets find the relevant agent right away. It also streamlines the workflow, ensuring that your dull, routine tasks are automated and taken care of. By manually assigning tickets, it becomes tiring and cumbersome for your staff, but it also increases the risk of tickets getting mixed up and going unnoticed.

Track and Improve with Ease

A customer service software also helps you monitor and analyze your staff's work, the amount of time they took to resolve an issue, and the feedback shared by customers. Having the correct data helps identify areas for improvement and improve employee productivity.

Effortless Collaboration

Your staff needs to collaborate with other teams to help customers with their issues. A sound customer support system streamlines its features so that your staff can communicate efficiently with each other and across groups, no matter where they are.

Customer service software helps gather these insights systematically and in real-time through surveys, feedback forms, live chat, etc.

Types of Customer Service Software Tools

After identifying the correct customer service tool, you will have to narrow down the various software solutions that help businesses run these support functions. They are all designed to help teams interact with customers and resolve their queries. 

However, some tools have unique attributes that cater to different types of customers' needs by delivering a great experience at every touchpoint in the customer journey or the onboarding processes.

To leverage such tactics, here are some of the common types of customer support software:

Email Software/Shared Inbox

The Shared Inbox Email solution has only started gaining traction recently. A shared inbox is an email inbox that allows multiple people to receive, read, manage, and reply to emails inside the same email account. As every email is visible in the shared inbox space, it grants the whole team access to it. 

Once the issue is addressed, you can just mark it resolved. This allows seamless communication as assigning it to a team member becomes easier. Hence, avoid situations where multiple people may accidentally approach the same customer with varied responses and add to the confusion or commitment. 

Your public email account turns into a place of teamwork as it combines your external and internal emails, files, and chats in one app.

Top companies in this category:

HubSpot

  • It offers a freemium version for most of its offering.

  • Features across a complete lifecycle from prospect to customer.

  • Rich features and reporting capabilities.

Kayako

  • Offers a flexible pricing system.

  • Kayako is accessible and is designed in a way that requires little effort from you.

  • It has many features that cater to small business sizes to a multi-billion enterprise.

Hiver

  • Offers mobile access flexibility.

  • Provides good integration with 3rd party tools.

  • Customer support is live and helps in real-time.

Messaging/Chatbot Software 

A chatbot can be defined as a computer program bot that simulates interactions in a conversational form that seems human. 

They are also known as digital assistants that interpret the user intent, process their requests, and give prompt relevant answers. 

Bots can communicate through voice and text and can be deployed across a websites, mobile app, social media channels, and messaging channels such as Text or WhatsApp, thereby helping the business be available to its customers 24/7 across all these channels.

Chatbots help provides level 1 support to your customers by answering the most frequently asked questions and automating the most common actions like creating tickets fetching ticket status. And by being tightly synced with your ticketing tools, the data flows seamlessly from the bot to those tools. 

As a result of chatbots, you can scale support instantly and only transfer chats that require human assistance to your team of agents. Ultimately, improve agent productivity and saves costs.

Manually reaching out to every prospect on your website or social channel requires a huge sales team.

Top companies in this category:

WotNot

  • Build chatbots with a visual interface with absolutely no coding required.

  • Offers a freemium plan as well as cost-effective pricing plans that do not penalize you to grow.

  • If you need help building the bot, they provide a bespoke tailor-built solution

  • Rich integrations with leading tools and the ability to integrate with APIs through HTTP requests.

Chatbot.com

  • Easy to set up and beginner-friendly.

  • Provides rich integration support with third-party tools.

  • Offers limited but simple chatbot functions that don't complicate things.

Ada

  • Complete package of design to build.

  • Deep integrations with your customer service software.

  • Pricing plans are tailored differently to every business, but be prepared to expect price quotes greater than $50,000/year.

  • Their conversational AI helps improve your CSAT and optimize costs.

Phone Support Software (e.g., IVR, VOIP) 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is also referred to as Cloud PBX and Phone Support Software. Regardless of the name, they pretty much offer the same functionality and features. Essentially, VoIP replaces wires and phone lines with the internet, which allows you to make calls digitally, from anywhere.

This tool allows customer support for any business and provides support across channels. With VoIP, you can cater to customers who have raised support tickets via web, email, phone, SMS, and social media— and give a direct call to their number, regardless of their location, in a cost-effective manner and instantly.

Small and enterprise-level businesses can use a toll-free number with VoIP cost-effectively. Having a toll-free number enables your customers to contact you quickly and establishes credibility, reliability, and ease of customer service.

Top companies in this category:

GoToConnect

  • It is a customizable all-in-one cloud phone and meeting system.

  • Define workflows for fully customizable call routing and dial plans.

  • Personalize your calls with custom hold music and advanced ring strategies.

8x8

  • Offers unlimited calling, SMS, and fax.

  • A convenient directory that's easy to browse so that you can connect with everyone.

  • Advanced analytics on CX and speech.

  • APIs available for tighter integration with your existing software.

OpenPhone

  • Allows users to get a second phone number while keeping the same phone and SIM.

  • You can share a phone number with teammates.

  • It offers one of the most affordable pricing plans among VoIP products.

Knowledge-base Software

A knowledge-based software tool lets employees across your organization share content to a central, searchable hub. This allows a brand to create, store, organize, manage, and share self-service content with an audience. Things like FAQ pages, video tutorials, and how-to articles are all common types of content housed in a knowledge base.

Companies can store common questions their customers ask in FAQs or an online library with knowledge base software. This way, they can save time by using these answers and improving the customer experience.

Apart from improving productivity and increasing employee engagement, having a knowledge base tool also prevents knowledge loss enables employees to work from anywhere by overcoming the limitations of email and other siloed communication channels. It also reduces redundancy as subject matter experts won't have to respond to the same question more than once.

Top companies in this category:

Intercom

  • Offers multilingual support to auto-translate help articles for global customers.

  • Repetitive questions are automatically answered by its bot, which suggests relevant help articles.

  • Get SEO benefit for all the help articles your team writes.

  • The help center integration connects directly with its business messenger making it easy for customers to find what they need quickly.

Help Scout

  • Cost-effective pricing plans with a large team limit.

  • It gives the ability to add notes for each customer, add notes, and functionality with up-to-date information.

  • Tag related articles for better suggestions to your users.

  • It saves every version of the article that is published.

  • Embed your knowledge base articles on any web page through multiple options i.e., Open in beacon, Popover, Modal, Sidebar.

Crisp

  • It has a great search function that helps people searching data find it faster and more accurately.

  • The questions and answers are based on the reputation system, so that one can review the reliability of the information.

  • Crisp MagicMap gives a real-time look at where the users are currently located and what pages they're actively using.

Ticket Management Software

Ticketing Management Software offers solutions that help manage the process of logging, recording, and resolving incidents/issues/questions raised by your customers. The main aim of such software is to offer an interface where they can log their queries and see the answers to their queries.

The aim is to restore average service performance as soon as possible and minimize the adverse effects on operations by ensuring the quality and availability of the service.

The ticketing system allows requests to get prioritized according to the need and urgency of a query instead of being approached in the order they are received. This helps in ticket categorization and prioritization, routing, alerts and notifications, and ticket status. Such tools help create a better customer experience by improving the customer's perceptions of the company.

Internally, an in-built tracking and reporting ticketing system on the analytical data created by the tool helps to drive the decisions process improvement and enables the tuning of support processes to increase customer satisfaction.

Top companies in this category:

Zoho Desk

  • It offers a wide range of features and functions like chatbots, notifications, sentiment analysis, social media, and a lot more.

  • One of the most affordable software that offers a wide range of features.

  • Define rules for SLAs with its workflow automation tools so that reporting managers are notified if tickets are not acted upon in time.

  • Write custom code to connect modules and other software products.

Freshdesk

  • The UI is very interactive and easy to use.

  • Smart notifications help you get notified of unique events.

  • Automatically suggest ticket fields categorize, prioritize and route incoming tickets.

  • Assign to the right-field employee or service group based on problem type, location, skills needed, and more.

  • Divide and conquer issues with parent-child ticketing.

  • The APIs available are robust and well documented.

Zendesk

  • Access 1000+ prebuilt integrations to automate processes.

  • View audit trails of your customers so that agents are aware of the historical actions of the customer.

  • Sends personal alerts to your email if a ticket is about to breach SLA.

Conclusion

As many businesses will only expand digitally to avoid disruptions during a pandemic or any future crisis, catering to customer service will be the driving force behind their growth. A sound support system with automated integrations can differentiate between a satisfied customer and a dedicated fan base that turns into loyal consumers.

Chatbots are an excellent solution for reducing customer support load and improving customer satisfaction.

The target audience will likely be businesses of all sizes that need to communicate with their customers efficiently and conveniently. WotNot's platform is flexible, allowing users to design their bots in the way that suits their business the best. WotNot's platform augments and does not replace the support employee's role and takes care of necessary follow-ups. With a growing list of features and integrations with third-party tools, there's more reason to try out WotNot.

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