17 Customer Service Apps That Make Supporting a Breeze
Customer service plays a crucial part in guiding a business to success. You need to have well thought out customer experience goals from the inception of your business, and have a game plan on how to get it right. So, it’s very important that you pick the right customer service application based on your business’s vision and requirements.
However, with a slew of applications available for customer service, how do you know which one is perfect for your team? To help you decide, we have put together the best customer service apps for teams of different sizes and requirements.
You can use the index here to quickly hop over to the section that interests you.
- Fully-fledged customer service application
- Free tools for solopreneurs
- Easy to use applications for small businesses
- Scalable solutions for large businesses
- Bespoke applications for live chat and messaging
- Hassle-free tools for telephony systems
Best Fully-fledged Customer Service Application
Freshdesk is built by a team that puts its heart and soul into building a helpdesk that makes the lives of agents and customers easier. With plans suited for teams of all sizes that can be completely customized, Freshdesk complements your team’s goals right from the start and can scale as your business grows. Here’s how:
– For businesses that are just starting out and are operating on a shoestring budget, Freshdesk offers a free plan with unlimited agent seats, and helps you manage conversations coming via email and chat. You can also route incoming tickets to the right agent, build a knowledge base, collaborate on issues, and monitor reports.
– For small and medium scale businesses, Freshdesk offers features like a team inbox, automations, automatic ticket assignment, agent collision detection, and more, to help you cut down on repetitive tasks and improve agent productivity. To add on, Freshdesk also has features that help in improving customer experience such as customer satisfaction surveys, SLA management, and multilingual support.
– For enterprises, Freshdesk offers features that help in:
- streamlining workflows (skill-based ticket assignment, sandbox),
- maintaining security (HIPAA compliance, IP whitelisting) and,
- increasing scalability (extendable API rate limit, audit logs).
Additionally, Freshdesk offers out-of-the-box features for proactive support, field service management, and custom reporting that helps businesses go the extra mile and deliver stellar support.
Freshdesk also comes with an inbuilt chat (Freshchat) and telephony system (Freshcaller), both of which are modern and intuitive solutions that integrate seamlessly with Freshdesk and help you provide a truly omnichannel experience.
Plus, the Freshdesk support team is available round-the-clock on all channels of communication, to assist you in case you run into an issue.
Best Customer Service Applications for Solopreneurs
If you have just set up shop, a lot of your time and energy will go into building a good rapport with your early customers. What you need right now is a tool that lets you easily monitor customer conversations, respond to your customers’ questions and solve their issues in a quick manner. The right tools for you at this stage are:
#2 Shared inbox (Ideal for smaller teams where customer support is a shared responsibility and the number of tickets received every day aren’t too many.)
Before your team is divided into functional roles, or if you don’t have a dedicated customer support team yet, a shared inbox is a common email address that can be used by the folks in your organization. Customers can email their doubts and concerns, which can be picked up and answered by anyone on your team.
– Easy to use: The best part about a shared inbox is that you do not have to set up complicated workflows to begin using it. All your customer questions are stored in one place from which you can provide solutions.
– A single, common login: Shared inbox gives your team the freedom to simply log in and use the tool without the hassle of purchasing licenses for each support rep.
– Overlap of work: The downside of using a shared inbox is that there is no efficient way to track the status of an issue. Due to this, your team has no idea if an issue has been answered or not, and sometimes, two reps might end up replying to the same customer. This leads to a duplication of effort and also confuses the customer.
– Hard to close the loop with customers: With a shared inbox, you do not have a sophisticated way to gather customer feedback. The only way to gauge if your customers are happy with your service or product is by integrating your application with a third party customer feedback tool.
#3 WhatsApp Business App (Ideal for owners of small businesses who want to offer real-time assistance to their customers.)
Since WhatsApp is a popular messaging tool today, providing customer support on it can win you some extra customer love. The WhatsApp Business App is a free tool that has been built to cater to the needs of a small business owner. The tool lets you provide business information without having to create a website, organize common inquiries with labels and set up automated messages.
– Instant help, anytime, anywhere: With the WhatsApp Business App, you can reach your customers right where they are, and provide responses or updates in real-time. The tool helps eliminate the effort customers generally put in to reach out to you while using other channels of communication such as email or your customer portal.
– Limited to reactive support: Using the tool, you can only provide reactive support, that is, respond to the customer only when they reach out to you. This poses a barrier when you want to send bulk-updates to your customers. Although you can integrate third-party tools that let you send bulk-updates, the workflow might not be very seamless.
Best Customer Service Applications for Small Businesses
As your customer base slowly increases, the requirements of your team grow along with it. You need a tool that offers different ways to optimize processes, and build better customer relationships. You need to move from relying on a tool that lets you provide basic 1-1 customer communication to a tool that offers –
– A ticketing system that unifies conversations from different channels
– Knowledge base management
– SLA management
– Reporting and analytics
Here are four tools that are best suited for small and medium businesses:
#4 Front (Ideal for businesses who want to provide support mainly using email.)
Front improves the experience of using a shared inbox by including capabilities for effective collaboration. This tool is perfect for businesses that do not want to let go of the comfort of using a shared inbox but have outgrown it . With functionalities to organize and manage customer conversations efficiently, Front reinvents the shared inbox.
– Well-organized shared inboxes: Front helps you organize your customer communication by automatically adding tags and routing incoming customer conversations to the right agents. Additionally, the tool also lets you collaborate on different customer conversations.
– Multichannel capabilities: Front lets you manage conversations across channels apart from email including live chat, text, WhatsApp, etc right from a single inbox.
– No in-built capabilities for self-service: If you’re looking to provide self-service by building a knowledge base, you can only do so by integrating a third-party tool for knowledge base management with Front.
– No direct SLA management system: Front does not have specific features to manage SLAs, but you can set up something similar using different rules.
#5 Help Scout (Ideal for teams who provide support primarily on email and chat.)
Help Scout expands the capabilities of a shared inbox by introducing an interesting twist with Beacon, their tool for live chat and proactive support. Help Scout is your go-to app for customer service if you only need a streamlined shared inbox plus live chat to provide support.
– Proactive support – Along with providing support on chat and email, Help Scout helps you offer proactive support using Beacon. With Beacon, you can offer relevant answers from your knowledge base, display a contact form and use a chatbot to communicate with your customers.
– No in-built features to manage support on social media: To provide support on Twitter and Facebook on Help Scout, you need to use third-party integrations as the tool does not have an in-built capability to monitor support on social media.
– No direct SLA management system: Help Scout does not have a native feature that lets you manage SLAs, although it can be achieved using complicated workarounds.
#6 Kayako (Ideal for businesses who are looking for an on-premise support solution for shared inbox and chat.)
Kayako offers both on-premise and online customer service solutions, but is popular for the former. Apart from helping teams manage their shared inboxes more effectively, Kayako also offers an in-built chat support solution.
– On-premise solution: Only a handful of customer service applications continue to offer an on-premise solution and Kayako is one of them. Kayako offers an elegant on-premise solution that is perfect for businesses that provide support mainly on email and chat. Another advantage of on-premise solutions is that they ensure data security, as you don’t share any information on the cloud.
– Takes too long to implement: The biggest disadvantage of using Kayako is that it takes a long time to get up to speed with using the tool. This can delay the time taken to implement the solution for your team.
– Not apt for remote teams: Kayako’s on-premise solution will not be the best option for remote teams, or support teams who work from multiple geos.
#7 Zoho Desk (Ideal for small and medium businesses that have complex workflows.)
Zoho Desk helps small and medium-sized businesses provide support on multiple channels, offer self-service and, measure their performance.
– Multichannel customer service: Zoho Desk helps businesses stay on top of conversations coming through, email, chat and, social media.
– Reasonable pricing: Zoho Desk offers a host of features at a very reasonable price. So, if your team is running on a shoestring budget, then this is a good place to get started.
– Clunky design: While Zoho Desk’s features are great, the clunky design of the tool gets in the way of providing an optimal agent experience. For instance, even accomplishing basic tasks requires multiple clicks and navigating through complicated UI elements.
– Takes too long to set up: Since the tool is highly customizable with plenty of features, it comes with a steep learning curve and takes quite a while to set up an account or configure it to work in line with your business.
Best Customer Service Applications for Enterprises
When you have a huge customer base, you need a robust app that can handle a large volume of customer conversations along with multiple automations running at once. In addition to the features that are required for small and medium businesses, large businesses should look for tools that also include the following:
– Audit log
– Custom reporting
– AI-powered solutions
Here are two customer service apps that are popular with enterprises:
#8 Dynamics 365 Customer Service (Ideal for businesses that deal with intricate workflows involving close collaboration between multiple teams.)
Dynamics 365 Customer Service is a legacy customer service app designed for large scale businesses that have complex workflows and require high-level customizations.
– Can handle complex workflows: Since the tool is built for large teams, it can handle complex workflows with ease. Using it, you can collaborate with various teams in your organization effortlessly.
– Completely customizable: Dynamics 365 Customer Service offers fine-grained customizations that are required for large teams.
– Hard to use: The tool is not on par with other modern customer service apps in terms of sophistication. It’s rather clunky, making it difficult to use and hard to set up.
#9 Salesforce (Ideal for teams whose workflows revolve closely around the integration with a CRM, specifically the Salesforce CRM.)
Salesforce is a tool for large scale businesses that have complex workflows and are looking for a system that is loaded with one or more features for every requirement.
– Very flexible: The tool that can be customized to cater to a large team’s needs. It works wonderfully well for customer service teams that collaborate closely with sales and other customer-facing teams.
– Hard to adopt and use: The tool comes with too many features that take a while to get familiar with and thus delays the overall deployment time. Since the tool isn’t intuitive, using it every day even after deployment might be challenging.
– Hidden costs: Basic features for self-service management such as customer portal or customer community, Sandbox; and more come with an additional cost. Plus, Salesforce offers premium customer support that comes with a charge as well. Businesses that do not subscribe to premium support have to deal with delayed resolutions.
Best Customer Service Applications for Live Chat and Messaging
A survey conducted revealed that 75% of customers prefer using chat to reach out to customer support and the average customer satisfaction using live chat service in the technology industry exceeded 87% in 20191. This makes chat an indispensable channel of communication for teams of all sizes.
#10 Freshchat (Ideal for businesses of all sizes.)
If you’re looking to add chat as a channel of support, Freshchat, a modern and intuitive messaging app, is the best tool to get started with. Freshchat’s UI makes it easy for first time users to navigate through the app and get familiar without a complicated onboarding process. With Freshchat, your team can offer different self-service options, provide proactive support, and deliver delight to your customers.
Here are three applications apart from Freshchat, that you can try:
#11 Intercom (Ideal for businesses that are looking for a chat + chatbot solutions.)
If you’re very particular about using a chat solution that is visually pleasing along with being easy to use, then Intercom is probably what you’re looking for.
– Customizable: You can make the tool look a lot less like Intercom and a lot more like your brand using their customizations. With Intercom, your team will probably feel more at home in comparison to the rest of the solutions.
– Chatbot: Intercom’s Answer Bot is an intuitive and customizable chatbot solution that can help your team provide assistance to your customers 24/7.
– Steep pricing: For small businesses that are operating on a shoestring budget, paying for every new feature that’s released might not be an option.
#12 Helpshift (Ideal for businesses that are looking for chat + different self-service options.)
Helpshift is a customer service app that is popular for its chat solution which brings together different self-service options — AI-powered chatbots, mobile and web help centers that work brilliantly well for teams that are looking to optimize ticket deflection.
– Quick deployment: The limited functionality of Helpshift makes it easy to understand and get familiar with. This goes a long way in speeding up the process of setting up your account and getting started with it.
– Limited reporting capabilities: Generating reports is a critical step in assessing your team’s workload as well as your customers’ happiness but Helpshift’s reporting capabilities fail to give you an in-depth analysis of your team as well as your customers.
Steep pricing: Although the product is most suitable for small businesses, the pricing isn’t very friendly to startups.
#13 Crisp chat (Ideal for startups and SMBs that want to provide support on-the-fly and do not have well-defined workflows yet.)
Along with offering a powerful chat solution, Crisp offers a shared inbox functionality that helps you stay on top of conversations coming in from email and social media, making it an ideal tool for businesses that are just starting out.
– Common inbox: Apart from helping you offer support on chat, Crisp also lets you answer customer conversations that come in through email, and social media. This makes Crisp an ideal solution for young businesses that want to provide support mainly on chat along with email, and social media.
– Takes too long to deploy: Getting started with the tool requires the setup of a ton of configurations. This extends the time taken to deploy the tool.
Best Customer Service Applications for Telephony
With phone channel, customers receive instant solutions and get completely personalized experiences. So you need to look for tools that let you make and receive calls with little to no hindrance.
#14 Freshcaller (Ideal for businesses of all sizes.)
Freshcaller is a modern cloud-telephony system that helps businesses of all sizes provide hassle-free phone support to their customers. With Freshchaller, you can set up your call center on the cloud, and manage your customer complaints and your team effortlessly.
Here are three telephony systems, apart from Freshcaller, that cater to the needs of different businesses:
#15 Aircall (Ideal for large teams who are specifically looking for a native telephony desktop application over an IP telephony system.)
Aircall is a cloud-based call center software for support teams of all sizes. Apart from customer service, the tool can also be used by sales teams.
– Desktop apps: If you prefer using a native desktop app over logging in to the web app, Aircall would be the right choice for you. It supports both Windows and MacOS natively.
– In-depth analytics: Aircall’s dashboards helps you track the number of inbound calls on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis and helps you identify trends and spikes.
– Steep pricing: Since Aircall does not offer a free plan, it’s pricing is not friendly to startups. Plus they aren’t very transparent with the cost of customizations.
#16 Talkdesk (Ideal for businesses that are looking for an AI-backed telephony system.)
Talkdesk is a cloud telephony system that has all the basic features of a call center software and also offers dedicated AI-powered automations and enhancements to boost productivity.
– Boosting agent productivity: For some complex customer issues that require your team to make a lot of outbound calls, Talkdesk conveniently lets you to switch between inbound and outbound calls from the same dashboard.
– AI-based agent assistance: Talkdesk has an AI solution called Talkdesk IQ that provides intelligent guidance to agents and helps them take the most optimal steps to resolve customer issues.
– Reports are not in-depth: Talkdesk does not offer in-depth analytics, so, most of the reporting would need to be done by exporting data to a third party BI tool.
#17 Dialpad (Ideal for enterprise businesses who are looking for a native desktop telephony application.)
Dialpad is an enterprise call center software that lets businesses do away with desktop phone systems and seamlessly transition to a cloud-based application. For teams that would prefer having the flexibility to alternate between mobile and desktop applications, you’ve hit the jackpot with Dialpad.
– Easy to set up: Unlike other tools for enterprise support, setting up Dialpad is a seamless process.
– Contextual help: Dialpad gives you a complete picture of your customer’s profile by letting you easily view your customers’ details and historic call data.
– Lack of transparency in pricing: Since the enterprise plan needs to be customized, there isn’t enough information about the pricing.
Finding the right customer service app that you and your team trust might turn out to be a lengthy process. However, once you find the right tool, it can help your team provide better support by leaps and bounds.
Which customer support tool is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments below!