By Ty Collins
Customers are the lifeblood of every business, meaning customer success tools are vital for your company's growth. Without customers, you have no one to buy your products or services, no revenue, and no chance of growth.
Concentrating on a great customer service experience can help you draw customers in and keep them coming back for more, with companies that lead in customer performance outperforming competitors by up to 80%, according to statistics from Forbes.
Improving your customer service isn’t something you can do on a whim, however. It takes planning and precise customer success tools to make the tweaks that matter. The following software solutions will go a long way in helping you manage customer interactions and making your clientele happier.
There are multiple channels through which customers might contact your business, and several dimensions to optimizing the customer experience. Unlike traditional online marketing tools, all-in-one customer success tools try to address as many channels as possible from a centralized hub and allow you to manage them from a unified dashboard.
One of the current leaders in all-around, cloud-based customer support software, Zendesk made a name for themselves by offering straightforward management of customer help desk interactions. They excel in this regard, especially when it comes to their help desk ticketing system.
Their ticket forms allow you to create different types of support requests that cater to your customers’ specific needs. You can even add custom fields to your forms, ensuring you collect all of the relevant data you need.
It’s one of the most robust systems of its kind, so if your business uses support tickets to resolve customer issues, Zendesk is a clear option for you.
Even if you don’t use support tickets, Zendesk still offers plenty of features that will help you refine your customer service performance, including live chats, appointment management, social media integrations, and knowledge base maintenance.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $5/month.
Most know HubSpot for their marketing solutions, but they also offer a robust customer service platform in the form of HubSpot Service Hub.
This all-in-one solution, like Zendesk, includes a ticketing system that allows you to field customer support issues. It includes some common-sense features, like the ability to associate tickets with CRM records, that gives you the edge in managing support issues across your client base.
What’s even more impressive about Service Hub is the way it streamlines your customer service practices and allows your entire team to get on the same page.
Features like feedback management and performance metrics giving you an overview on the efficacy of your current customer service efforts, enabling you to quickly evaluate and improve your customer service best practices.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $45/month.
When it comes to customer service solutions, Help Scout sits atop an interesting email-based premise. The platform provides you with mailboxes, linked through a central dashboard that you can use to keep track of all your support requests.
The idea is to provide customers with consistent access to a human support response (with your team checking those emails) while simultaneously keeping your team on the same page and preventing instances of duplication.
Help Scout integrates customer information and history with considerable speed, enabling you to provide more customized service with less effort.
While email communication is Help Scout’s major selling point, that’s not the only customer channel you’ll be able to manage using their platform. The software also includes live chat, knowledge base, and phone support, granting the sort of all-in-one functionality you’ll need as a growing business.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $20/month.
Billing itself as the complete customer communication platform, HelpCrunch provides a multi-channel platform for interfacing with your customers’ needs while maximizing your own business outcomes.
Their live chat, for starters, includes an eye-catching design and streamlined functionality to improve customer satisfaction, and you’ll find this kind of optimization throughout the rest of the HelpCrunch platform.
This platform makes it easy to communicate with customers. Regardless of what channel you’re using, the HelpCrunch software tracks communications so you’re never in the dark about customer needs. It also provides additional features such as social media integrations and a built-in virtual assistant.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $12/month.
Live chat has become more critical than ever for delivering a positive customer service experience. It delivers the highest customer satisfaction rate when compared to other communication channels, and nearly 80 percent of customers prefer to converse using real-time messaging over other options. The following products specialize in providing chat functionality for businesses.
LiveChat’s name is a perfect description of what the company is all about. The software itself is straightforward — it integrates with your website to provide real-time, streamlined messaging between you and your customers.
However, its capabilities go beyond two-way messaging via your webpage. LiveChat offers peerless customer engagement with features like targeted messaging, which allow you to share product announcements and other emerging details directly with your customers.
What’s more, you can use visitor-specific information to provide personalized messaging to potential clients. With more relevant targeting, you’re more likely to make sales. It's a reliable system for quickly responding to customer needs that simultaneously enables you to learn more about your clients and boost your bottom line in the process.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $16/month.
For an alternative in real-time chat software, you might try using Pure Chat instead. This solution specializes in serving small and mid-sized teams.
When it comes to the basics — providing chat functionality — Pure Chat provides an impressive level of simplicity and customization when integrating with your site. You’ll be able to set up Pure Chat with ease and tweak its appearance to match your brand. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the true power of this software comes from its robust visitor analytics.
By gathering detailed information from your customer interactions, you can build a better picture of your website traffic trends, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and the ease of your customer service experience. Together, these details can aid you in better qualifying potential leads and boosting sales.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $39/month.
While live chat is the preferred method of contact for many customer service needs, there are still plenty of clients who can’t resist picking up the phone and calling your business directly. For those types of interactions, you’ll need the right software to sort calls and direct customers to service reps who can assist them properly.
Cloud-powered phone systems are becoming increasingly popular, and Aircall is no exception. This easy-to-configure platform rolls all of your phone support activities into a centralized location, allowing you to monitor everything from call volume to individual employee performance from a single dashboard.
Additional features include the ability to schedule, route, and record calls, which aids in making sure calls get filtered to your most suitable reps and allowing you to analyze customer interactions for important information.
There’s a power dialing feature, which gives your team the power to call through long lists of numbers with just a single click. What’s more, Aircall integrates well with other business tools — like your CRM — to help you maximize your productivity. For remote teams especially, Aircall is an outstanding alternative to a traditional office phone system.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $30/month.
Marketed as a fully-functional, AI-enhanced cloud contact center, Five9 brings a combination of powerful features to prioritize the human element of customer service interactions. While the platform has a bevy of tools for multiple contact channels, it shines when it comes to handling customer calls.
For incoming call routing, voicemail, call records, etc. — Five9 provides the ultimate in management through its easy-to-navigate dashboard. It’s not just those expected call features that Five9 offers either.
Predictive dialer modes mean your agents will be able to squeeze more out of their time, and the ability to provide self-service to your customers means that they can handle smaller support issues on their own and leave your customer service team free for more complicated tasks.
Pricing: Flexible, call for quote.
The best customer services experiences include repositories of predetermined responses to common customer queries.
This allows your clientele to get the information they need without having to contact you in many cases, and this sort of self-service is something that most tech-savvy individuals crave. Knowledge base software is what powers this customer-facing content, and you’ve got plenty of options to pick from.
If you’re looking for one of the more affordable knowledge base solutions on the market, you might want to turn to HelpSite. This mobile-friendly platform makes creating FAQs and guides amazingly simple, and ensures those collections are searchable so that your clients can find the answers they need quickly.
That search includes smart contact forms, so that when customers are typing in queries, your system will automatically suggest topics that closely match what they’re looking for, saving time and increasing satisfaction.
You can implement all of this without a great deal of technical knowledge, and format your FAQs and knowledge collections so that they look clean, match your brand, and clearly convey everything you want to your busy customers.
Pricing: Multi-tiered; free version and paid versions starting at 14.99/month.
The brainchild of the developers at Kovai in the UK, Document 360 is a way to create not only self-service knowledge bases for customers, but also private knowledge bases for your team and codified standard operating procedures.
The developers of Document360 based it around 5 “core pillars,” those being the three knowledge bases catered toward customers/employees, editors/writers, and a separate assistant for SaaS products, along with integrations/extensions, and finally platform APIs.
Combined, you have the ability to provide answers to just about everyone on just about everything relevant to your business. You’ll just need to determine how large a database you’ll need to accommodate your business, then choose the appropriate plan to match. Each tier provides a different amount of storage, analytic capability, etc., so make sure you review them carefully.
Pricing: Multi-tiered, starting at $39/month.
Meetings are common, but scheduling them can be a pain point for businesses and clients alike. It’s essential that you schedule customer appointments to address your clients’ most immediate needs, and you’ve got to do it swiftly to maximize satisfaction and improve customer loyalty.
That’s where scheduling software comes into play. By taking the guesswork out of the equation, it enables you to optimize time to resolution on every interaction.
If you’re looking for a powerful, user-friendly scheduling solution, Calendly is a top pick. This easily integrated scheduling solution is trusted by millions of users.
The premise is simple; instead of going back and forth via email to schedule meetings, you can set up a calendar with your availability preferences, share that link with your customers, and let them pick out the times that work best for them. This streamlined approach completely eliminates the guesswork and frustration that scheduling can cause.
In addition to its intuitive, streamlined design, Calendly touts integrations with a whole host of other software platforms, including Office 365, Google, and Outlook. If you’re looking for an effective solution that’s easy to set up, Calendly should be near the top of your list.
Pricing: Multi-tiered; free version and paid versions starting at $8/month.
If you’re looking for a way to easily accept appointments from multiple sources, Schedulista might be the software platform you’re after. You can use this software to have clients book meetings directly from your website, social media pages, or even through emails and text messages.
The scheduler is an easy add-on for most of your online meetings, customer facing accounts. What’s more, it will enable seamless communication between you and those potential customers, and even provide automated reminders so that neither party forgets that a meeting is upcoming after it’s scheduled.
Pricing: Multi-tiered starting at $19/month.
The customer service experience is one facet of your business that you can’t afford to overlook.
It’s essential that you do everything possible to provide the very best customer service for your clients, and the software mentioned here can give you and your team the power to make that happen.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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