The meaning of ‘great customer support’ is changing dramatically. In 2020, buyers are demanding more instant responses, more accessibility and a more human experience than ever before.
If we want to rise to the occasion as businesses, we need to make sure our teams are ready and prepared to provide customer support that’s not just fast and efficient, but also feels personal and authentic.
To do this, we need to find tools that let us communicate with customers across multiple channels, manage tickets more effectively and enrich the customer experience.
But with so much software out there, we know it can be a little overwhelming deciding what to choose first!
Luckily, we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. We’ve evaluated and tested dozens of the most popular customer support tools on the market, and today, we’re sharing 10 of the best - in no particular order - based on their affordability, value, effectiveness and ease of use.
Let’s get started:
#1 HubSpot (Service Hub) - Free
Help desk software is at the heart of your customer service strategy. It's where your agents spend most of their day and the main way they communicate with customers. Because of this, it’s important that you choose a reliable and powerful help desk for your business!
At telbee, HubSpot is our help desk of choice. We love its powerful automation features, and how its shared inbox functionality makes it super easy to communicate personally with customers at scale. HubSpot’s reporting tools are also very robust, allowing your support team to easily identify areas for improvement and analyse trends to better serve their customers.
HubSpot’s Service Hub was designed for small to medium-sized businesses, but there are also enterprise plans available for larger teams.
#2 ZenDesk (Support Suite) - $29 per month
When we’re talking about help desk software, Zen Desk is another great option for businesses looking to go omnichannel with their customer support.
Zendesk’s Support Suite allows teams to work with a single set of tools and processes that work the same on any channel. And yes, we mean any channel; from email, chat and voice, to social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, WeChat, and more.
#3 LiveChat - $16 per month
Your customers want live chat, so it's important your team has a tool that keeps up with the demands of covering a chat channel.
In particular, chatbots are a great idea for businesses who receive lots of similar queries, and automated instant messages are the ideal tool to provide more information and drive sales.
But it’s important that you choose the right chat tool for your business, as we think displaying a poorly designed chat screen or glitchy chatbot to your customers is worse than offering no live chat at all!
We like LiveChat because of its ease of use, sleek design, affordability and the ability it gives you to support your customers instantly with either live chat or a chatbot.
#4 Hootsuite - $29 per month
In 2020, going omnichannel with your customer support is more than just an option - it’s a necessity! This means simply responding to your customers’ tickets, emails and chats isn’t enough. If you want to provide five-star customer service, you’ll need to be responding to customers’ comments, questions and feedback on social media as well.
Hootsuite’s social media management platform lets you easily manage all of your social channels in one place, and respond to social support messages quickly and efficiently.
Of course, there are a lot of social media management tools out there to help you with this, but at telbee, we use Hootsuite as we really like its functionality. For example, one feature we love is the ability to filter for different keywords, hashtags, and locations to keep your finger on the pulse of what customers are saying.
We also love Hootsuite’s clean, comprehensive dashboard that you can customise to suit your business’ needs. In fact, Hootsuite has recently (as of August 2020) updated its user interface, so its usability is better than ever!
#5 telbee - Free
If you’re looking to save time on customer support, keep track of customer communications, stand out from your competitors and give your customers a more personal experience, our voice-first customer support tool might just be for you.
We built our online voice recording and messaging platform for websites to give businesses an easier, more personal way to speak (quite literally) with customers - and manage all of these voice messages within a simple ‘voice inbox’. It’s like visual voicemail for business!
When you create an online voice recorder for your website, your visitors can simply hit the record button and let you know what’s on their mind.
You’ll then receive all your customers’ voice messages in your voice inbox, where you can claim voice notes to respond to, or assign voice messages to a colleague who may be better able to help.
You can even choose to see clients’ voice notes transcribed as text, and include your own text, links and information along with your voice reply.
As the concept of voice notes for business is still relatively new, implementing a telbee voice recorder on your website is a great way to stand out from your competitors; offering your customers a natural, personal and easy way to communicate with your team.
#6 Refiner - $39 per month
We all want to do a great job for our customers, but it can be difficult to know exactly how they're feeling. Sending out satisfaction surveys is one great way of collecting their feedback and gaining deeper insight into your customers’ wants and needs, but asking for feedback days or weeks after an interaction isn't the best idea, as customers can forget details or not want to give feedback at all.
Refiner is a great solution to obtain customer feedback at the right time. You can customise your surveys to match your company’s branding, customise questions for your specific needs and automate surveys to be delivered to customers whenever you want. Refiner also offers in-depth analytics; helping you get the most out of the feedback your customers provide.
Lastly, Refiner easily integrates with a variety of customer service software - such as HubSpot or ZenDesk - making it a quick one to add to your customer service toolbox.
Building a sense of community among customers has been shown to significantly boost customer loyalty, engagement and number of purchases - as well as dramatically increasing consumer trust and encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations.
Community forums are one great way to build this sense of community among your customers. This is because forums typically end up functioning as a way to share knowledge and showcase different uses for your product. They act as a place for users to share best practices and get advice on projects from others who also use your product. And when you create your own community forum, you can moderate and be involved in the conversation.
Vanilla is our top pick for community forum creation as it has a bunch of awesome features, such as customisable user profiles, multiple discussion types and gamification to encourage interaction.
Vanilla offers free and paid versions of their tool, so don’t be put off by the price we’ve listed above. It's easy to start affordably and expand later if you need to.
#8 StatusPage - $29 per month
Sometimes, great customer support is about anticipating and responding to a problem before it’s even happened. For example, to keep your customers happy, it’s important to inform and warn your customers about scheduled maintenance on your site.
With StatusPage, you can easily communicate with your website’s visitors and warn them about any future downtime. By proactively notifying customers in this way, you can avoid any disappointment or negative situations where you disappoint a customer with a website that won’t do what they want it to.
#9 JIRA Bug Reporting - $10 per month
Customer service agents don’t just talk to customers - they act as the voice of the customer. Often, this means reporting feature requests and software bugs to your company’s development team.
The problem is that without a dedicated tool, bug reports and feature requests can get lost, be difficult to follow up on, or missed altogether. JIRA not only allows you to report bugs and feature requests, but it also keeps the requests organised. Agents and developers can comment on each report and get updates every time something changes.
Basically, it's a place where your customer service and product teams can collaborate, which can make a world of difference to both your internal staff members and your customers.
#10 Zoom - Free
If this pandemic has taught us one thing about remote work, training or customer communications, it’s that video conferencing really couldn’t be more of a life-saver!
Although Zoom is primarily used to facilitate internal meetings, it’s also a great way for your customer support team to run webinars for customers and onboard new customers easily. Zoom makes sending invites simple, and customers don't need to do much to join meetings.
Along with its ease of use, you can also record training sessions on Zoom, allowing you to include participants who couldn't attend the live session.
Choosing the right customer support tools for your business
Of course, every business will have unique needs, audiences and preferences. But when it comes to having a well-rounded customer support strategy, you want to start off by getting the basics right. So, look first for a great help desk software to help you cover the essentials.
Next, decide how you want to talk with your customers and set up your communication channels accordingly. We recommend taking an omnichannel approach here and offering your visitors a range of communication options - from a call centre to live chat to a voice messaging platform. That way, you’re really letting your customers decide how they want to be heard.
Then, as your support team grows, you can consider investing in some more dedicated, robust tools to help you take the customer experience to the next level. As long as you keep your customers top of mind when adding new customer support tools, you'll always make the right choice.
If you’d like to find out more about how our online voice recording and messaging platform can help you enhance your business' customer support strategy, get in touch with the team at telbee today!