Shopify Ecosystem

The Best Customer Support Software: A Great Comparison Guide

the-best-customer-support-software:-your-2022-comparison-guide

Review the best customer service software options for support teams to explore this coming year.

Many factors contribute to a great customer experience, and your customer support software is at the heart of that effort. It’s a decision you want to get right the first time, so you don’t leave money on the table.

And with so many software options, finding the right one can be highly time-consuming.

To help make this process easier, we’ve rounded up and reviewed some of the best customer support software currently on the market. We’ll also use this guide to explain how to evaluate and compare software as you’re researching.

Table of Contents

Defining customer support software

Customer support software products are digital tools for your business to prioritize, respond to, and collect data on customer support requests. They offer a faster and more efficient way to manage the customer support process.

Some customer support tools are highly specialized and only address certain stages of the customer journey, such as ticketing systems to manage post-sales questions and technical issues. Others are all-in-one helpdesk platforms with phone support, social media help, live chat, automated email messaging, chatbots, and more.

Before choosing a more comprehensive solution, verify that it has all the necessary channels and features you’ll need, all in one Dashboard.

Reasons to use customer support software.

Customer support software can optimize virtually any business, whether brick-and-mortar or eCommerce-focused. These products are helpful because they:

Save money

Utilizing customer service software makes your team as efficient as possible, which saves you money while generating more revenue. For example, ticket management tools can help you provide faster, better customer service across all your channels, a critical factor in whether customers return and buy from your store again.

The cost is essential when deciding between multiple software products — each addressing highly customized aspects of the customer support journey — versus an all-in-one software. Sometimes, finding an all-in-one solution is more financially sound rather than stacking several smaller software products together.

This is especially true when considering all other tools in the average ecommerce tech stack.

Allow for automation

Automation in customer service software saves your team time, cuts down on manual work, and ensures customers get fast, on-brand responses. Customer service automation encompasses many evolving features, including email automation, live chat, AI-powered chatbots, social media monitoring, and more.

In our experience at Gorgias, effective automation can deflect up to 30% of tickets before a human touches them — mostly repetitive inquiries like order status and returns. But not all helpdesks can handle that volume of automation with the necessary precision, so choose wisely.

With a leading customer support platform, you’ll feel confident knowing the automation options have been thoughtfully built and tested with teams like yours.

Easily integrate with other customer service tools

Many customer service software tools easily integrate with your other customer service tools. For example, if your company has a chatbot and a CRM, you may be able to combine both into your customer service software to work more efficiently.

But when researching third-party integrations, don’t just check the box when the right apps are mentioned. Dig into the functionality of each integration to see if it goes as deep as you need it to. If not, you may open additional tabs to use your “all-in-one” customer support software.

Pull data and tasks into one central data hub.

One of the best reasons to use a customer support platform is for organizing and analyzing data about your customer base. The right platform can make this process more accessible than manually adding and analyzing numbers in a basic spreadsheet. Some software products even have capabilities to connect with Salesforce and Google Analytics.

Provide real-time data

Your customer support software tool should also provide data that is updated in real-time. This may seem minor, but if your customer service team is updating numbers in a spreadsheet at the end of every week, a real-time platform will allow you to quickly adapt to problems and curveballs.

Support a broader range of channels

Customer service software makes it especially simple to offer better services to support customers across various channels. For example, many customer service software options can streamline your email, phone, and live chat tickets.

Some platforms support social media inboxes and comment sections (including on your social ads). That way, you can respond to each customer in their respective channel without jumping between different tabs and wasting time.

Popular types of customer service software

Your customer support software can truly make or break your customer’s experience. Some of the most common tools include help desk software, live chat software, chatbot tools, ticketing systems, knowledge base software, all-in-one platforms, and more. Learn more about each type below.

Help desk software tools

In customer service, help desk software tools — also called service desk software tools — are often composed of several different types of solutions. Primarily, help desk software helps your customer service team receive, track, and resolve customer questions and requests. It’s about streamlining customer interactions with your company and products or services. It may include toolsets like message automation, live chat, chatbots, customer intent tracking, and more.

Learn more about help desks in our complete guide. 

Live chat software tools.

According to TechJury, 75% of people prefer live chat over any other channel. Regarding streamlining communication, live chat software tools could be the perfect solution for you and your customers. These tools let customers message your customer support team members in real-time and move the conversation to email or a phone call if needed. You can also use live chat automation tools, like chatbots, to automatically greet customers or engage them on your website.

Chatbot tools

Using artificial intelligence (AI) software, chatbot tools also help automate and stimulate user conversation via a chat interface on your website. Some chatbots can even integrate with messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or WhatsApp. Utilizing chatbots at your company can help provide faster and better customer support and reduce the need for live agents. This also frees up customer support team members during work hours for other tasks.

Ticketing Systems

Customer service tickets are something that nearly every SaaS company has to navigate, so using a tool specifically made to help organize these tickets is vital for success. A ticketing system helps your support team create, manage, and maintain a list — or several lists — of customer problems or questions. A ticketing system can also be used internally to help your team members manage updates to your product or coordinate IT tasks.

Knowledge base software

You can implement knowledge-based software if you want to help your customers become more self-sufficient in troubleshooting and problem resolution. This software allows your customer service team to create an easy-to-use library of information about your product or service. This might include a community forum, FAQs, product videos and GIFs, tutorials, lessons, etc.

Some knowledge-based software systems can be pretty in-depth, helping customers solve complex problems without submitting a ticket to customer service.

Phone support software

A more basic but essential tool for your customer support team may be phone support software. Suppose your customer support team members are taking phone calls. In that case, this type of software can help your company manage all incoming calls, automatically create waiting lines for associates, automatically assign new customers calling in with a customer support agent, and even record phone calls and develop transcripts of conversations.

SMS and messaging tools

Text messaging may be a service you want to offer your customers, but using a company cell phone for this service will not do in most circumstances. If SMS and messaging are some things you want to implement among your customer service team, a business text messaging software can help streamline this process. This tool can allow customers to text a “help desk” and empower your teams to send customers text messages to implement marketing campaigns.

CRM software

Software that helps your company explicitly with customer relationships is vital for success. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can come in many different shapes and sizes nowadays. Still, generally, these types of tools will help your team better organize and access customer data. Some types of CRM software can integrate with other software or may have different aspects to help with the rest of the customer support process.

Social media management and monitoring software

Whether you’re in the early stages of your startup, or a well-established SaaS company, social media is most likely a part of your strategy. In addition to using social media for marketing and advertising, it’s often utilized from a customer service perspective. Many customers prefer to send a quick, direct message or comment if they have questions and are already online.

A social media management and monitoring software can help organize your messages and comments on your company’s social media channels on a single dashboard to ensure nothing is missed. This software often also allows your customer service team to respond to customers on your social accounts through one interface.

All-in-one platforms

In customer service, you probably already see that many different software options can help increase agent productivity and keep your customers happy and successful. If you’re in a position where your company needs several other software options, you may consider an all-in-one platform that can do it all, from ticketing and chatbot services to a knowledge base and phone support.

Must-have customer support platform features

When researching and deciding which customer support platforms are suitable for your company, there are probably many features on your list specific to your company. However, there are some features we want to point out that are always important to look for during your research phase.

Prioritization and organization of tickets

Whether you have a three-person or a 300-person team, prioritization and organization of customer inquiries are vital for a good customer experience. When a customer contacts your company, the best way to botch that relationship is by not responding to them for an extended period — or not responding at all.

So, when looking at customer support software, we recommend finding platforms with robust triage features in ticket management. This includes tools to detect customer intent, categorize tickets (automatically or manually), and prioritize complicated or resource-intensive tickets.

Grouping similar tickets together also boost efficiency. For example, your team can devise one leading solution (like creating a new discount code because the previous one is buggy) and quickly resolve the entire group of tickets in a single pass.

Robust automation features

Automation is another feature that will always be crucial when vetting customer support platforms. Automation makes everyone’s lives easier — from customer service reps to individual customers. Conversation templates, personalized scripts, and email flows will always be something you’ll need and should be continuously improving. Whether you stick to those tools or expand to advanced chatbots or workflows, you’ll want a platform that can keep up with your company’s automation needs.

Multichannel messaging, ticket management, and data monitoring

Your team is likely already managing messages across multiple channels, like email, Facebook, Twitter, or even text messaging. If this is the case, you need a platform that unites these channels so that your multichannel messaging, ticket management, and data monitoring are seamless. Look for platforms that offer a single dashboard and make it easy to switch back and forth between mediums.

After all, you wouldn’t want team members to go into five different interfaces to find the information they’re after or the conversation they are having. Aside from reducing headaches on your team’s part, this will make it much more efficient in quickly responding to customers and resolving their issues.

Easy integration with other popular customer service tools

A telltale sign of great software allows easy integration with other tools, which typically means there’s little to no coding expertise needed. There’s a growing demand from companies for codeless or no-code integration options, so their team members don’t need to be tech-savvy to start working efficiently. Look for both built-in integrations and tools to create your own if you have a developer on staff.

Actionable data analytics and reporting information

Finally, robust data and reporting is another set of tools that is necessary — and extremely helpful — for any company. Any software worth its salt will have great tools to track the critical metrics for standard customer service and customer satisfaction goals.

The 13 best customer service software platforms

Now that we’ve covered what your company should look for when evaluating customer software platforms let’s look at some of the best options that could be perfect for your company.

1. Gorgias

First on our list is Gorgias, a feature-rich helpdesk platform built specifically for ecommerce businesses, including live chat, chatbots, a self-service portal, a ticketing system, automation, and detailed data analytics. It’s compatible with major ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce.

Highlights

  • Social media sentiment analysis that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Broad and growing list of integrations with popular ecommerce add-on apps
  • Familiar email-like user interface that makes the learning curve less steep

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Gorgias is an excellent solution for businesses, from small and medium-sized enterprises to more giant corporations in ecommerce. Some companies that use Gorgias include Steve Madden, Marine Layer, and RadioShack. Discover more successful Gorgias customers here. 

2. Freshdesk

As a cloud-based customer support software, Freshdesk provides helpdesk support utilizing intelligent automation to help businesses get things done faster. It is often cited as a Zendesk alternative but at a much more affordable price.

Highlights

  • Integration options for CRM and project management features
  • AI and chatbot capabilities
  • The self-service support portal for customer support agents and customers (knowledge base)

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Freshdesk is best for small non-eCommerce businesses or SaaS startups looking for a tool similar to Zendesk but less expensive.

Explore our Gorgias vs. Freshdesk comparison.

3. Zendesk

As one of the most well-known (and popular) customer support software options, Zendesk is a cloud-based, multichannel help desk management solution that offers many customizable features.

Highlights

  • Customizable front-end portal
  • In-depth analytics and reporting, including integration with Salesforce and Google Analytics
  • Customer self-service options

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from Zendesk’s features — from startups to enterprise-level businesses — however, because it has a ton of advanced features, larger companies who require a lot of customizable options and in-depth reporting may find it the most helpful.

Ecommerce brands of all sizes would benefit from the tailored feature set of a platform like Gorgias. And smaller businesses from other industries will likely find Zendesk too cumbersome and loaded with features they pay for but don’t use.

Explore our Gorgias vs. Zendesk comparison.

4. HelpScout

Designed for small businesses and teams, HelpScout is a cloud-based help desk solution designed to look like a personal email. In HelpScout, there’s no focus on ticket numbers or case numbers. The solution lets users create multiple inboxes for each shared email address to work across departments and manage several products and brands from a single account.

Highlights

  • Clean and simple yet functional interface for communicating with customers via email
  • Knowledge base capabilities
  • Simple to learn

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Small businesses with small teams would be ideal for HelpScout, as the platform is pretty simple and clean. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other platforms, but higher-end features aren’t always necessary when you’re a small business.

Explore our Gorgias vs. Helpscout comparison.

5. Aircall

Getting into call center software options, Aircall is a cloud-based call center software that helps manage and streamline customer support and sales engagement operations. The software allows users to make and receive calls using an app on a computer or smartphone. It’s known for being very easy to set up without hardware. However, you can opt to include telephone hardware if you wish.

Luckily, Gorgias’ Aircall integration makes it easy to bring phone support into your customer support software, so you don’t have to choose from less-than-stellar alternatives.

Highlights

  • Various call-related features, including voicemail, queuing, recording, shared call inbox, and contact management.
  • Third-party application integration (Salesforce, Pipedrive, Slack, and more)
  • Explicitly designed for offices and teams in remote areas

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Aircall can help any sized business stay connected regardless of where they are. Because the software is cloud-based, it can be great for teams that are spread out all over the world.

Explore Gorgias’ integration with Aircall

6. Kustomer

As another CRM platform explicitly designed for customer service teams, Kustomer prides itself on being a modern, turnkey option to transform the customer experience. It combines CRM, customer engagement, and helpdesk into one omnichannel platform.

Highlights

  • Omnichannel operations: customer data merge options across relevant systems, single-screen view of the entire customer journey in chronological order, ability to quickly find, share and act on information across platforms in one central place
  • Supports email, chat, social, SMS, and voice.
  • Utilizes AI to reduce response times and maximize team efficiency

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Any business can benefit from Kustomer’s features, but it’s best for a company with many priorities that would like everything streamlined in one place.

Check out our list of the ten best Kustomer alternatives.

7. HappyFox

Marketed as a help desk software that “reduces chaos,” HappyFox is a help desk and customer support software with a robust support ticket system that includes a self-service knowledge base and community forums. The platform organizes tickets based on predetermined criteria, which ensures each queue is relevant and managed logically.

Highlights

  • Intelligent, clean, easy-to-use platform
  • Integration options for other customer support applications
  • Personalization options for custom fields, workflows, and overall support experience

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

All types of businesses could use HappyFox if they are looking for a solid and straightforward solution specifically for support tickets.

8. Richpanel

Richpanel is a CRM software designed specifically for ecommerce stores. Empowering customers to resolve the majority of their issues without engaging with a customer support live agent is one of the platform’s top goals. The platform can help customers track orders, request returns, and complete exchanges.

Highlights

  • Works on Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, and WooCommerce
  • Multiple communication channel ticket options
  • API available for use
  • GDPR compliant

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

RichPanel is best for large enterprises and mid-sized ecommerce businesses.

9. DelightChat

Designed explicitly for Shopify ecommerce stores, DelightChat is a helpdesk that can help manage customer support across channels from a single interface. The software boasts several features to help streamline your team and customer communication without jumping between multiple tabs.

Highlights

  • In-depth social integrations (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram comments and DMs, and WhatsApp)
  • Self-service features like the fast reply, automated reply, automated ticket actions, and self-service widget
  • Analytics and reporting tools

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

DelightChat is best suited for small to mid-sized ecommerce businesses that use Shopify. Companies that don’t use Shopify could technically still benefit from this platform but may not be able to utilize all its features. DelightChat’s extensive list of features may prove overwhelming without easy access to dedicated support. That being said, DelightChat’s license has a very narrow crossover window with regular U.S. business hours, so it may be challenging to catch someone for help if you run into a problem.

10. Gladly

Considered one of the easy-to-use customer service platforms, Gladly was created for B2C companies as an all-in-one option to maximize the lifetime value of their clients. It can integrate with Shopify and Magento. One distinguishing Gladly from other customer service solutions is that it empowers agents without tickets.

Highlights

  • Conversation timeline across all channels instead of converting customer requests into tickets
  • The “People match” feature automatically connects customers to the correct customer support agents.
  • Knowledge base with scaling capabilities
  • Variety of integration options

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Gladly can be helpful for companies in the B2C space that are interested in all-in-one customer support software that eliminates tickets and numbers. It also may be best for companies who already use Shopify or Magento. Some Gladly users note that the search functionality is limited, and search results are not chronological, making it harder to locate customers and records within the system. Similarly, once customer profiles are merged within the platform, there’s no way to unmerge them, making this feature somewhat unforgiving.

11. Re: amaze

Created by GoDaddy, Re: amaze describes itself as an integrated customer service, live chat, and helpdesk platform for websites, stores, apps, and other online businesses.

Highlights

  • Re:amaze Cues to message online customers automatically
  • Re:amaze Live Dashboard to monitor online activity in real-time
  • Variety of native integrations with popular third-party apps like Slack, Shopify, BigCommerce, Stripe, MailChimp, and Google Analytics

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Re:amaze can be great for small and mid-sized online businesses. You’ll get the most out of this product by tapping into its integration options with other applications. Some Re:amaze customers report there isn’t much support from the Re: amaze team within the platform, which can complicate initial setup and day-to-day use for newcomers.

12. Shopify Inbox

If you’re already using Shopify, Shopify Inbox can be an obvious choice. It is a new messaging app built into the Shopify platform to help you close sales, build customer relationships, and manage conversations across multiple platforms. Best of all, it’s free.

Highlights

  • Mobile app-friendly; manage customer conversations via phone app
  • Customize online store chat appearance
  • Detailed conversation analytics
  • Free when you already have a Shopify store

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

Because of Shopify Inbox’s connection with Shopify can only be used if your company uses Shopify to run your online store. Beyond that, it can be an excellent option for any Shopify-supported business looking for a streamlined way to support customers.

13. RingCentral

RingCentral is a cloud-based communication solution focusing on message, video, phone, and contact center services. The software stands out for being a secure, reliable VoIP service that users can tap into to make calls anywhere there is access to the internet.

Highlights

  • Collaborative user experiences for both internal and customer-facing use cases
  • Variety of SMS features
  • Open API for in-depth customization options

Which Businesses Should Consider This Tool?

RingCentral can be an excellent option for any size of business at any growth stage. Its website promotes business solutions from startups to enterprise businesses. It can create customized solutions for various industries, from finance and professional services to health care and nonprofits, to name a few.

RingCentral’s integration options can also help businesses get the most out of the platform. RingCentral and Gorgias’ integration is ideal for companies looking to streamline their call ticketing process, allowing users to create tickets when a call ends, a call is missed, or when you have a voicemail.

Explore Gorgias’ integration with RingCentral

Choose Gorgias for Ecommerce Customer Support Software

Now that you’ve read about some of the best customer support software on the market, we encourage you to take a closer look at Gorgias.

As the best ecommerce all-in-one customer service tool — affordable and compatible with your other favorite store plugins — it could be an excellent option for your business.

Whether your online business is running on Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce, Gorgias can help. Explore Gorgias’ features more in-depth.

Special thanks to our friends at Gorgias for their insights on this topic.
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