A Beginner’s Guide to Customer Service and Popular Customer Service Tools

By: on November 5, 2020

You can’t expect to beat your competition and attract customers by offering just quality products or services. There’s more to the game! To win loyal customers and retain them, you need solid customer service to back you up. And that can be an uphill task if you’re just starting out. But don’t let it hold you back.

To help you, we’ve created this guide that explains everything you need to know about managing customer interactions. Understand what customer service is all about and how it can benefit your business, and invest in the right tools to serve your customers well.

What is customer service, and how does it benefit you?

Gartner defines customer service and support (CSS) as being “responsible for retaining and extending customer relationships once a product or service is sold.” This means the quality of customer service you offer directly impacts the relationship between your customers and your brand.

Providing good customer service can differentiate your brand from your competitors and benefit your business in many ways. It can help you win customers’ trust by boosting their satisfaction. Happy, satisfied customers will remain loyal to your brand and make repeat purchases. They’ll also refer you to friends and family, bringing in more customers.

The good news is, there are many customer service tools to help you provide exceptional service and increase customer retention. But before we get into the details, let’s first discuss what a customer service tool is.

What is a customer service tool?

A customer service tool is a software solution used to monitor and manage service interactions between a business like yours and its customers. These interactions can be via phone calls, live chat, emails, social media, or in-person visits.

Let’s look at some common features of customer service tools:

  • Live chat: Lets your customer support team chat with leads and customers in real time. If your reps are offline, they receive an email notification of the missed chat with contact details of the customer.
  • Knowledge base: Allows you to create a knowledge base where you can add support articles, frequently asked questions, product documentation and videos, etc., to improve the customer experience.
  • Self-service portal: Offers a web-based self-service portal through which your customers can raise service tickets as well as monitor their status.
  • Multichannel support: Lets you respond to customer queries across platforms, such as email, website, social media, and phone.
  • Reporting and analytics: Allows you to generate custom reports on your support team’s performance, customer journey, customer satisfaction levels, number of open or resolved tickets, etc.

Now that you understand what customer service software is, let’s take a look at five popular tools (arranged alphabetically).

Products are selected from Software Advice’s 2020 FrontRunners report for customer service software. To learn more about the methodology we used to feature these products, click here.

5 popular customer service tools


1. Deskero

User rating: 4.65/5.0
Number of reviews: 104

Deskero is a cloud-based help desk and ticketing system that lets you offer customer service across channels, regardless of your business size or type.

Social customer care is a noteworthy feature of Deskero. It lets you manage customer requests on various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. It automatically converts customers’ social media comments into service tickets. This makes it easier for your customer service team to answer, monitor, analyze, and report on the tickets right from the tool’s dashboard.

Other key customer service features of Deskero include:

  • Live chat support
  • Internal team chat
  • Advanced ticketing
  • Knowledge base management

Support ticket dashboard in DeskeroSupport ticket dashboard in Deskero(Source)


2. EngageBay

User rating: 4.64/5.0
Number of reviews: 56

EngageBay is a cloud-based integrated tool offering marketing, sales, support, and customer service modules. Within its service module, it provides a free help desk and live chat tool.

The tool has a consolidated dashboard that displays information about customers’ chat requests, profiles (their journey on the website and contact details), and previous interactions. So when customers start a live chat, your support agent already has complete details about them. The tool also lets you collect customer feedback after every chat session.

Other key customer service features of EngageBay include:

  • Ticket management
  • Marketing automation
  • Canned responses
  • Customer data and contact management

Complete profile of a customer in EngageBay

Complete profile of a customer in EngageBay (Source)


3. HelpCrunch

User rating: 4.80/5.0
Number of reviews: 162

HelpCrunch is a cloud-based customer communication platform that offers customer support, marketing, and sales management.

It lets you build a self-service knowledge base for your customers using a WYSIWG editor. The editor helps create, edit, and publish articles that provide answers to common customer issues or queries. You can also add images, videos, and tables to the articles. The metadata editing feature of the knowledge base lets you optimize articles for search engines and social media, helping them rank better.

Other key customer service features of HelpCrunch include:

  • Live chat
  • Help desk
  • Team inbox
  • Live chat integration with the knowledge base

Search functionality in HelpCrunch’s knowledge base

Search functionality in HelpCrunch’s knowledge base (Source)


4. Help Scout

User rating: 4.70/5.0
Number of reviews: 161

Help Scout is cloud-based help desk software that lets you boost agent productivity and manage customer relationships.

Its in-app messaging feature allows you to offer proactive customer support via trigger-based messages. You can send messages to announce a new feature, suggest helpful articles, send welcome messages, take feedback, etc. You can also set triggers to send relevant content based on the website page customers are browsing. For example, you can send price quotes to customers who spend 30 seconds or more on the pricing page.

Other key customer service features of Help Scout include:

  • Web chat
  • Shared inbox
  • Customer management
  • Reporting

Agent mailbox in Help Scout customer support software

Agent mailbox in Help Scout customer support software (Source)


5. LiveAgent

User rating: 4.68/5.0
Number of reviews: 937

LiveAgent is a cloud-based customer support tool that offers help desk, ticketing, live chat, and call center capabilities.

With its call center functionality, you can build a virtual call center to manage both inbound and outbound calls. You can customize the IVR menu to direct callers to the right departments. The tool also lets you call customers back if you miss their calls. You can even record the calls for training purposes or future reference.

Other key customer service features of LiveAgent include:

  • Time tracking
  • Knowledge base
  • Contact management
  • Help center management

Agent dashboard in LiveAgent

Agent dashboard in LiveAgent (Source)

Ready to select a customer service tool?

If you want to explore more customer service tools, check out our complete list of products along with actual user reviews. And here’s our customer service software buyers guide to help you make a smart choice.

Need more help? Have a one-on-one with one of our software advisors, who’ll help you narrow down your options in 15 minutes or less. Click here to schedule a phone call, or start a live chat here.


Methodology

We shortlisted the most popular products from Software Advice’s 2020 FrontRunners report for customer service software. Each selected product had a 4.5+ overall rating and 50+ reviews as on October 19, 2020.

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