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FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM is a fully-featured CRM that helps your team get organized, gain visibility into day-to-day work, and get more done with a powerful, easy-to-use sales platform your sales team will actually love. Work smarter and f...Read more about FreeAgent CRM

4.7 (72 reviews)

59 recommendations

Claritysoft CRM

FrontRunners 2024

Claritysoft is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM withi...Read more about Claritysoft CRM

4.5 (163 reviews)

52 recommendations

Shape

Shape's cloud-based solution offers tools designed to manage online marketing and promotions, capture leads from online sources, organize sales pipelines, connect with customers and automate everyday tasks. Shape is suitable for b...Read more about Shape

4.8 (41 reviews)

37 recommendations

Salesforce Sales Cloud

Grow your revenue and profits with intelligent sales automation with Sales Cloud. Help every rep be more efficient. Close more deals. Collect cash faster. Boost growth and profit with intelligent automation and integrated tools fr...Read more about Salesforce Sales Cloud

4.4 (18233 reviews)

27 recommendations

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SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, expertly crafted to enhance interactions with prospects and customers while accelerating sales success. Renowned for its cost-effectiveness, this potent solution enabl...Read more about SugarCRM

3.8 (406 reviews)

19 recommendations

Tidio

FrontRunners 2024

Tidio Chat is a cloud-based live chat platform suitable for integration into any company’s website. It includes a customizable interface that lets companies make the live chat interface match the look and feel of existing online a...Read more about Tidio

4.7 (444 reviews)

7 recommendations

Creatio CRM

FrontRunners 2024

Creatio is a global vendor of a no-code platform to automate workflows and CRM with a maximum degree of freedom. Creatio offering includes a no-code platform (Studio Creatio), CRM applications (Marketing, Sales and Service), indus...Read more about Creatio CRM

4.8 (113 reviews)

4 recommendations

Issuetrak

FrontRunners 2024

Issuetrak is a flexible issue tracking software solution that can be configured to suit the needs of a variety of industries and usages, including IT Help Desk, Customer Support, Project Management, and more. Issuetrak can be dep...Read more about Issuetrak

4.6 (187 reviews)

2 recommendations

Zendesk Suite

FrontRunners 2024

Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk management solution offering customizable tools to build customer service portal, knowledge base and online communities. The solution offers a customizable front-end portal, live chat features an...Read more about Zendesk Suite

4.4 (3848 reviews)

1 recommendations

Wix

Wix is a cloud-based landing page solution that helps users create and manage websites. The solution provides multiple templates with video backgrounds, fonts and animation. It allows users to customize the website with their own ...Read more about Wix

Webex

Webex brings together Calling, Meeting and Messaging modes of collaboration into a seamless, engaging, inclusive and intelligent experience. Seamless collaboration across devices, locations and organizations • Use any computer, t...Read more about Webex

Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM ecosystem for small, medium and enterprise organizations, with a focus on Sales, Field Service, Customer Service complete with strong integrations with Microsoft’s other Office 365 offer...Read more about Dynamics 365

Freshdesk

FrontRunners 2024

Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service software that helps businesses provide effortless service across every customer touchpoint. Freshdesk empowers businesses to monitor customer conversations across email, phone, chat, soc...Read more about Freshdesk

Zoho Desk

FrontRunners 2024

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution from Zoho Corporation, catering to businesses of all sizes. Key features include management of customer support tickets, a customer support portal, contract management and report creat...Read more about Zoho Desk

ConnectWise ScreenConnect

ConnectWise ScreenConnect (formerly ConnectWise Control) is a cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for...Read more about ConnectWise ScreenConnect

LiveChat

FrontRunners 2024

LiveChat is an all-in-one customer service platform helping brands deliver superb customer service while boosting their sales. LiveChat is intuitive, easy to use, and fully customizable, to naturally blend in with any website. Wit...Read more about LiveChat

LiveAgent

FrontRunners 2024

LiveAgent is an online Help Desk solution for e-commerce businesses at the small and midsize levels. The platform offers live chat application, ticket management, online self-service portals, and change and license management, all...Read more about LiveAgent

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

Intercom

Intercom is the only complete Customer Service solution that provides a seamless customer experience across automation and human support, delivering increased customer satisfaction while reducing costs. We're building a future whe...Read more about Intercom

Zoho Assist

Zoho Assist is a cloud-based remote support software designed for organizations of all sizes. The solution allows IT technicians to remotely support customers all across the globe. Key features of Zoho Assist include file transf...Read more about Zoho Assist

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 07, 2023

Organizations use customer service and support software to track and manage service interactions, whether by phone, over the Web, through email, by social media or even face-to-face. However, there are hundreds of solutions on the market and selecting the best customer service software for your organization is challenging. To support you, here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

What Is Customer Service Software?

Common Features of Customer Service Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Customer Service Software BuyerView Report

Benefits of Customer Service Software

What Is Customer Service & Support Software?

Customer service and support software helps customer service representatives (CSRs, or “agents”) document, route, track, resolve and report on customer issues using a trouble ticketing system. This technology is sometimes referred to as help desk software, though that term is usually applied to resolving information technology (IT) issues, specifically.

These solutions streamline the issue resolution process by automating many common support activities. Ultimately, they improve agent productivity and increase customer satisfaction.

PhaseWare-Self-Service-Center

PhaseWare self service portal

Customer support management software is available as a standalone trouble ticketing system, as part of a broader customer relationship management (CRM) suite such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or as part of an enterprise suite from vendors like Oracle or SAP.

Some customer service support systems may be integrated with other enterprise applications. Examples include service dispatch software (to enable on-site repairs), inventory and cataloging systems (to ensure that exchange parts are in stock) and sales force automation systems (to inform sales reps of critical or chronic issues).

Common Features of Customer Service Software

Depending on the type of buyer you are, below is a list of common and useful features that are found in customer service and support solutions and online customer support software. This is not an exhaustive list but is a good place to start.

Live chat

Allows CSRs to chat with customers online and automatically capture key content from those conversations in the trouble ticketing system. Many customers prefer to interact with CSRs by chat instead of by phone.

Customer self service

Offers a Web-based customer portal through which customers can search for answers to common problems. This can take the form of documentation, searchable FAQs and how-to pages, among other things. If the customer can’t find an answer, Web self-service tools usually enable them to submit a ticket online or engage in live chat with a CSR.

Knowledge base

Manages a repository of descriptions to common or previously resolved problems. These resources might be available publicly via a self-service website, or reserved for internal use by CSRs.

Multi-channel management

Manages customer interactions received through multiple channels, including phone, Web, email, live chat, mobile app, Facebook, Twitter and others. All interactions are stored in the software and routed to appropriate agents for resolution.

Analytics and reporting

Enables managers to create custom reports that provide insight on team performance, time to resolution, customer satisfaction and other important indicators.

Salesforce-Case-Management

Multi-channel case management using Salesforce.com

What Type of Buyer Are You?

When beginning your customer service support software comparison, keep in mind that different organizations have different drivers and requirements. They typically break out as follows:

Enterprise buyer

These buyers work for organizations that typically have a lot of users, have complex functional requirements and value the vision of an integrated software system across all departments and business units. They will typically employ a best of breed strategy. Representative vendors include Salesforce, Oracle RightNow CX and SAP.

High-volume call center buyer

These buyers operate one or more large call centers. Their goal is often to manage as much of the call center business process as possible using automated rules and scripts, which many customer service software applications support. These buyers should also look for computer telephony integration (CTI). Representative vendors include inContact, SAP, Salesforce.com and Goldmine CRM.

Small business CRM buyer

These small businesses want to evolve beyond contact tracking capabilities of products like Microsoft Outlook and add basic trouble ticketing and interaction tracking to enhance relationships with strong service and support. Representative vendors include inContact, GoldMine CRM, Zendesk, Maximizer CRM and SageCRM.

Field service buyer

These buyers work for large firms that deliver service at the customer location and will benefit from mobile access. These buyers will also look for strong client data integration with other applications. Representative vendors include PhaseWare Tracker, FieldAware, SugarCRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Customer Service BuyerView | 2014

We've spoken with hundreds of customer service software buyers over the years. Based on these interactions, we compiled answers to the following questions:

  • What systems to buyers currently use?

  • For those replacing an existing system, what are their top reasons for doing so?

  • For those buying customer service software for the first time, what are their top reasons for doing so?

  • Which features do buyers request most?

  • Which deployment model did buyers evaluate most?

From this research, we discovered that many times companies buy customer service software when they need to scale. They might have been using a more a general contact management software system before, but grew to the point of needing more specialized customer service features, such as trouble ticketing. Others in the sample were buying because they needed to increase efficiency, resolve issues faster, or consolidate their databases.

Benefits of Customer Service Software

A well-implemented customer service solution increases satisfaction, empowers agents and provides transparency and reporting to management on the support process. Some of the benefits customer service systems can deliver include:

Increased accountability. By documenting every contact, a system allows management to see which agent handled which problem and provides agents with ongoing feedback on their performance.

Improved coordination of accounts. When paired with sales force automation systems, customer support systems afford both the sales and the service organizations better transparency into the customer’s data. This can yield benefits such as letting sales representatives know of any outstanding issues before making a call, or letting an agent know that repair parts are already ordered so that a customer does not double order parts.

Better asset management. Customer care software systems that fully integrate with service dispatch allow reps to be more efficiently assigned. Similarly, integration with the inventory management system will allow agents to confidently confirm to the customer that repair parts are in stock.

Improved infrastructure scalability. Customer self-help systems handle straightforward issues, giving customers with more complex problems faster access to agents. This allows a growing company to expand at a faster rate while maintaining or improving customer satisfaction.

Reduce time required to resolve issues. Customer service management software reduces the amount of time required to resolve an issue. This means that the same number of agents can address more issues, or the same load can be handled by fewer agents. For example, YouSendIt was able to respond to customers 35 percent faster after implementing Zendesk customer support software.