Customer Service Software

What Are the Main Types of Customer Service Software?

29-Apr 2021
Screen Shot 2021 04 12 at 3.56.03 pm
Kirsten McNeice MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Customer service software is designed to help businesses coordinate and track their communications across e-mail, chat, messaging, and self-service channels. These tools help companies deliver on their promises of great customer service.

Some packages focus on managing leads and improving sales. Others have help desk features that help businesses track bugs and problems in their systems to ensure that customers’ issues are resolved to their satisfaction. 

Depending on which type of customer service software a company selects, these apps can facilitate operations in several ways:

  • Coordinate activities across multiple employees or departments 
  • Ensure that service goals are being met
  • Identify patterns of user problems or dissatisfaction
  • Relay feature requests to product designers
  • Nurture leads effectively
  • Upsell existing clients
  • Improve customer experience
  • Turn users into superfans

 

Types of Customer Service Software

There are five primary types of customer service software available. A company might implement more than one of these solutions, depending on its size and complexity. 

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software collects customer and prospect information into a database designed to assist companies to identify strong leads, personalize communications, manage marketing efforts, and keep track of service issues. 

Anyone in a company can pull up a customer or prospect’s file and see who they are, their history with the business, when they were last contacted, any concerns that they may have voiced, and other relevant information. 

CRM packages are a good fit for companies that want to develop new sales and track all their client interactions in one place. A good CRM is the only customer service software that many companies will need.

Some CRM software is specialized for particular types of business. For instance: 

  • Little Green Light: donor-management CRM for non-profits, with built-in tools to create campaigns, track giving patterns, create tax statements, and other non-profit specific features
  • Accelo:  designed for professional service businesses, with features for sales, quotes, projects, retainers, timesheets, billing, and scheduling; helps professionals maintain long-term relationships, nurture prospects, and spend less time managing the business and more time serving clients

 

2. Messaging and Chat Tools

If a company wants to make support accessible but does not require a full-featured help desk, it may consider cloud-based customer service software solutions that add a live chat box or messaging system to its website.  

These features put a team at the disposal of both customers and prospects, sending the message that a business cares about their needs. 

Some systems respond to common questions with a bot, while others put users in touch with live support instantly. Messaging allows conversations to take place at the convenience of everyone involved, rather than holding a real-time conversation via chat. 

Popular messaging and chat systems include:

  • Elevio: deflects common questions to “contextual content” solutions, which can resolve up to 1/4 of customer issues
  • Olark: offers custom forms and triggered messages, live chat, and offline messaging when a team isn’t available.

 

3. Shared Inbox Software

A shared inbox is a collaborative space where team members can access the same emails. Multiple accounts can be collected into one inbox, allowing teams to work together as they respond to inquiries, complaints, and questions. 

Team members can collaborate within the app to ensure that every inquiry receives the benefit of their shared expertise. These apps also allow companies to build workflows and tasks around messages. 

These apps work well for businesses that want to solve problems as a team, but don’t need full-blown service desk software. 

Some examples of shared inbox software include:

  • Hiver: a shared inbox help desk program built for Google Workspace
  • Gmelius: a collaborative platform made especially for Gmail
  • Freshdesk: a cloud-based customer support service

 

4. Service/Help Desk Software

Anyone who has filed a customer ticket to get help with a product has used service desk software as a customer. These apps permit customers to request support with product problems, license management, and other issues. 

At the back end, they help a team stay organized and ensure that problems are resolved promptly by the person best suited to offer support. 

These programs are a good fit for companies that produce software or other products that require a lot of customer support. Many businesses use CRM software to help with sales and general customer service, in addition to a service desk program for problem management.

Customer service software examples that create a service desk for  customers include:

  • Zendesk: a popular solution that helps handle customer issues with web widgets, pre-defined ticket responses, and full customer history.
  • SysAid: an IT-specific solution with an incident and service request management module, plus problem management and change management features

 

5. Knowledge Bases

When a company's products come with a steep customer learning curve, a knowledge base allows its staff to publish the tips, tricks, and information in the searchable format that its customers need. 

Having a self-service knowledge base in place can free up staff time to interact with customers who want or need one-on-one care. Many customers prefer to solve their own problems and appreciate it when the information that they need is well-indexed and organized.

Knowledge base software is a good fit for some businesses. Typically, it’s offered in addition to communication tools like live chat or a service desk for customers who can’t find the answer to their questions. 

Some of the leaders in the knowledge base field include:

  • Document360: a cloud-based app utilized by enterprises like Microsoft and Harvard University
  • Helpjuice: beginner-friendly option with strong customer support that offers a familiar Google-like search interface

 

Find the Right Mix

Many businesses need multiple customer service solutions. For instance, a company may want a CRM to manage its leads and customer communications, a knowledge base that answers common questions, plus a chatbox on its website to offer instant service to potential customers. 

Many of the programs listed here offer more than one function — particularly if the tool was developed with a specific industry in mind. For instance, Accelo offers both a powerful CRM system and a built-in help desk to resolve customer support tickets. 

It is highly recommended that any service professional who’d like to experience a customer support system built especially for their company and its clients take advantage of Accelo’s 14-day free trial to see whether it is the right solution for their business.

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