17 Customer Service Apps for Businesses of all sizes
Customer service apps play a crucial part in guiding your support agents to offer great customer service. It’s very important that you identify and deploy the right customer service software based on your business needs. However, with a large pool of customer service tools in the market, how do you know which one is perfect for your support agents?
To help you decide, we have put together the best customer service apps for teams of different sizes and requirements.
Choosing the Right Customer Service App for your Business
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 quickly. Here’s our recommendation of what you might need at the moment:
For Small Businesses
As your customer base slowly increases, you will observe a surge in customer requests and you might need a bigger support system to manage these customer queries. You need a customer support tool that offers different ways to optimize processes and nurture customer relationships. Right from managing customer communication, the support tool should offer:
- A ticketing system
- A unified dashboard to monitor customer data across support channels
- Knowledge base management
- Reporting and analytics
- Automation capabilities
- SLA management
Here is a list of promising customer support apps that would help you scale your business.
When you have a huge customer base, you need a robust customer service platform that can handle a large volume of customer conversations and enable automated triggers simultaneously. In addition to the features that are required for small and medium businesses, enterprises should settle for a helpdesk software that supports:
- Audit log
- Custom reporting
- AI-powered solutions
Here is a list of customer support apps, ready to support your large business:
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 and leads you to the recommended list of support tools:
With the phone call standing its ground as a popular support channel, you need to look for customer support apps that let you make and receive calls with little to no hindrance. Customers have reported having received instant solutions to their problems and getting completely personalized experiences over phone calls. This results in higher customer satisfaction and leads you to a list of apps that support this requirement.
Take a look at Freshdesk-Avaya Integration, if you’d like to find out more about our computer telephony integration
The Best Customer Service Apps
Now that we’ve identified the list of apps that should be on your comparison list based on the size of your business, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each app to find the one that’s right for your specific business requirements.
Freshdesk Customer Support software helps you delight your customers and agents alike. With customizable features, Freshdesk complements your business goals right from the start and helps you scale over time. Here’s how:
- If you are a solopreneur or operating on a shoestring budget, Freshdesk Support Desk offers a free plan with unlimited agent seats. It helps you manage support tickets coming in via emails, phone calls, and chat. You can route incoming support requests to the right agent, build a knowledge base, design an FAQ portal, collaborate across teams, and monitor real-time customer data.
- If you are a small and medium scale business, you would benefit from the Freshdesk Growth plan that offers features that optimize the workflows of a scaling business, including a team inbox, smart automations like automatic ticket assignment, agent collision detection, and more, to help you cut down on repetitive tasks and improve agent productivity.
- If you are in a high ticket velocity industry such as retail, Freshdesk Omnichannel offers Chat and Telephony capabilities that help you reach customers where they are most likely to reach out to you including messaging channels such as Apple Business Chat and Whatsapp, while offering agents a single dashboard to manage these conversations instead of having to access multiple tools to make sure every customer issue has been resolved.
- If you are an enterprise, the Freshdesk Enterprise Omnichannel plan allows you to reduce ticket volumes, offer proactive support and take full control of your support operations by streamlining workflows in your private Sandbox environment. Freshdesk’s open and extensible architecture also helps you to seamlessly integrate mission-critical business systems through its app marketplace and APIs, assuring secure data transactions. Thanks to the HIPAA compliant, SSL-certified Freshdesk software that comes with IP-whitelisting enabled logins and GDPR-ready features, set to delight your customers and agents alike.
What’s more? The Freshdesk support team is available round-the-clock on all channels of communication, to assist you in case you run into an issue. Learn more about why a growing business needs a free ticketing system/software.
Shared Inbox is an ideal tool for smaller businesses where customer support is a shared responsibility for the limited number of support tickets received every day. Before your team gets 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. Customer queries can be shared on this email and addressed 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 service agent.
- 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 resolved or not, and sometimes, two reps might end up replying to the same customer. This leads to a duplication of effort and may also confuse the customer.
- Hard to close the loop with customers: With a shared inbox, you do not have an inbuilt capability that lets you 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.
This business app is ideal for owners of small businesses who want to offer real-time assistance to their customers. Since WhatsApp is a popular mobile app, providing customer support through this channel 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 small businesses. 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 WhatsApp Business, you can reach your customers right where they are, and provide responses or updates in real-time with app notifications. This makes it a more effective channel of communication for your customer base as compared to others such as email, SMS, ios messenger, or your customer portal.
- Limited to reactive support: Using the app, you can only provide reactive support, that is, respond to the customers 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.
Integrate WhatsApp with Freshdesk to seamlessly support customers on the most popular messaging app.
Front is ideal for businesses that want to provide support mainly using email. Front improves the experience of using a shared inbox by including capabilities for effective collaboration. This customer service 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, SMS, 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 or FAQ portal, you can only do so by integrating a third-party tool with Front for knowledge base management.
- No direct SLA management system: Front does not support features like SLA management but you can set up something similar using different rules.
Help Scout is ideal for teams that provide support primarily on email and chat. It 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 support if you only need a streamlined shared inbox plus live chat to provide support.
- Proactive support: Besides 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: The tool does not have an in-built capability to monitor support on social media. To provide support on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook via Help Scout, you need to use third-party integrations.
- No direct SLA management system: Help Scout does not have a native feature that lets you manage SLAs. Although, it can be achieved by using complex workarounds.
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. 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 apps continue to offer an on-premise solution- 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 none of the information is shared 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 does not offer assistance for teams across multiple geographies to function remotely.
Zoho Desk is 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 customer queries received across multiple channels like 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 it’s 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, basic tasks may include multiple clicks 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.
Dynamics 365 is ideal for businesses that deal with intricate workflows involving close collaboration between multiple teams. It 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. This gives you the chance to collaborate with various teams in your organization effortlessly.
- Completely customizable: Dynamics 365 Customer Service offers fine-grained customizations that may be required by large teams.
- Hard to use: The tool is not at par with modern customer service apps in terms of sophistication. It’s rather clunky, making it difficult to use and hard to set up.
It is ideal for businesses where 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 customer service tool can be customized to cater to a large team’s needs. It works 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. This 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.
(Ideal for Businesses of All Sizes)
It is a modern and intuitive messaging app, which is an integral part of the Freshdesk portfolio. The intuitive UI makes it easy for first-time users to navigate through the app and get familiar with the interface without a complicated onboarding process. Its native integration with the most popular apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business chat, LINE messenger and the fact that it’s the official solution provider for these channels, makes it the best tool for you to start with if you’re looking to use chat to support your customers on your website, app, or any of the popular messaging channels.
With Freshdesk Messaging, your team can offer different self-service options, provide proactive support, and deliver delight to your customers. You can easily deploy AI-powered chatbots using a low-code, easy-to-use bot builder that resolves customer queries in no time, across different channels.
Here’s how Travix, a leading global online travel company, leveraged bots, and automation to navigate customer service during a global crisis.
Intercom is ideal for businesses that are looking for chat + chatbot solutions. If you’re very particular about using a chat solution that is visually pleasing and easy to use, then you’ve found your match.
- 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 as compared to the rest of the solutions.
- Chatbot: Intercom’s Answer Bot is an intuitive and customizable chatbot solution that can help your team provide 24/7 assistance to your customers.
- Steep pricing: These customizations come with a high cost to your company. For small businesses that are operating on a shoestring budget, paying for every new feature that’s released might not be an option.
Helpshift is ideal for businesses that are looking for chat + different self-service options. It’s a customer service app that is popular for its chat solution which brings together different self-service options. The AI-powered chatbots, mobile and web help centers 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.
- 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.
Crisp is 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 manage incoming support tickets from multiple communication channels like 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 support tool requires you to configure a complicated setup. This extends the time taken to deploy the tool.
(Ideal for Businesses of All Sizes)
It is a modern cloud-telephony system that helps businesses of all sizes provide hassle-free phone support to their customers. With Freshdesk Contact Center, you can set up your call center on the cloud, and manage your customer complaints and your team effortlessly.
The best part is that this customer service app has been developed for the remote-ready workforce. If your business operates across different time zones, the intelligent call routing capabilities help you route calls to the right team.
Looking for an app that lets you monitor agent performance, keep a pulse on your CSAT with live dashboards, and continue customer conversations across channels? Look no further.
Aircall is ideal for large businesses that 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 help you track the number of inbound calls on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis and enable you to identify trends and spikes.
- Steep pricing: Since Aircall does not offer a free plan, its pricing is not startup-friendly. Plus they aren’t very transparent with the cost of customizations.
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. It also offers dedicated AI-powered automation and enhancements to improve service efficiency.
- Boosting agent productivity: For some complex customer issues that require your team to make a lot of outbound calls, Talkdesk conveniently lets you switch between inbound and outbound calls from the same dashboard.
- AI-based agent assistance: Talkdesk has an AI-powered solution called Talkdesk IQ that provides intelligent guidance to agents and helps them take the most optimal steps to resolve customer issues.
- Reporting failure: Talkdesk does not offer in-depth reporting and analytical capabilities. Hence, most of the reporting would need to be done by exporting data to a third-party BI tool.
Dialpad is ideal for enterprises that are looking for a native desktop telephony application. It 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 customer support tools, setting up Dialpad is as easy as it gets.
- Contextual help: Dialpad gives you a complete picture of your customer’s profile by compiling your customer details and historical call data.
- Lack of transparency in pricing: Since the enterprise plan needs to be customized, there isn’t enough information available about the pricing.
Choosing a customer service solution for your business can be a time-consuming process but we hope that the above recommendations can help you identify the right customer service app for your business.
We would love to know which customer service app is your favorite and why. Let us know in the comments below!
Originally published on Jan 27, 2020. Updated on Dec 20, 2021.