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Best Customer Service Software for Small Businesses

In today’s highly competitive market, excellent customer service is essential to the success of your small business. Being there for customers whenever they have a question that needs answering or a problem that needs solving is key to building customer loyalty and increasing your market share.

If your business has an online presence, then specialized customer service software gives you everything you need to streamline your customer support. The best customer service software for small business helps you sort requests from multiple channels, provide timely response to comments on social media, understand customer engagement with detailed analytics, and a whole lot more.

Here are some of the top features to look for when comparing online customer support services:

Omnichannel support. Does the software organize customer support across multiple channels (e.g., email, phone, chat, social media) on one dashboard?

Automation. Is the software capable of creating a self-service experience for customers through tools like chatbots and a knowledge base on your website?

Internal collaboration. For small businesses with multiple customer support staff, is the software capable of efficiently sending queries to the right person in your organization?

Analytics. How detailed are the software’s analytics and is it enough to help you learn and improve on your customer engagement?

Integrations. Do you have the option of configuring the software with third-party integrations like productivity, ecommerce, and communications apps?

Keep reading for our list of the 10 best customer support software solutions for small businesses:

1. Freshdesk

The name Freshdesk has been synonymous with customer service software for many years thanks to an all-round solution that organizes all customer conversations in one interface, automates your repetitive tasks, and identifies problems to improve your helpdesk performance. Freshdesk doesn’t just streamline your customer service, it motivates your agents to perform better by letting them earn points and win rewards for achievements like resolving tickets, receiving positive customer feedback, or publishing solutions on your knowledge base. In short, Freshdesk constantly pushes your customer support team to do better.

Top features:

  • Omnichannel support. Organizes all support-related communications from email, phone, chat, social media, WhatsApp, and website in one interface.
  • Self-service. Helps customers find the right answer via a Chatbot powered by Freddy AI, Help widget, and popups with suggested solutions.
  • Analytics. Curated and custom reports to show agent performance and customer satisfaction based on different metrics.

2. Zendesk

Zendesk is a long-running competitor to Freshdesk in the battle for best all-round customer support software. Zendesk is more expensive for roughly the equivalent set of features but it offers more integrations and more price tiers, making it perfect for starting out small and scaling up your customer support experience as you grow your small business. Zendesk’s biggest selling point is the 1,100+ third-party apps in categories such as communications (e.g., Zoom), e-commerce (e.g., Shopify for Zendesk), productivity (e.g., Tymeshift Workforce Management), and more.

Top features:

  • Omnichannel support. Organizes all email, chat, phone, and social media communications in the one place.
  • Social messaging add-on. Seamlessly integrates WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter Direct Messages into your omnichannel support.
  • Analytics. Customized and pre-built dashboards for every channel to help your customer support team measure response time, help center views, and more.

3. Wix Answers

Wix Answers is a new entrant in the customer support software market that’s already striking some fear in the established players. Given that it's owned by Wix, the popular website-building platform, it is no surprise that Wix Answers has probably the best-looking interface of any customer support software. That and the fact that it automates a lot of the work traditionally done by human customer support agents is a good reason to consider Wix Answers for your small business.

Top features:

  • Integrated support. One interface for all real-time and offline support channels.
  • 360 view of customers. Full view of each customer’s interactions, history and personal information in one convenient place.
  • Self-service. Helps your customers find answers with a search from inside your website, saving valuable resources for your business.

4. HappyFox

HappyFox is an affordable solution that specializes in converting all your email, phone, chat, social media, and web requests into tickets and keeping them organized in one place. While it isn’t an all-round solution like Freshdesk or Zendesk, it is a lot cheaper. Plus, it can be easily turned into an all-round solution through ready-made integrations with more than 40 third-party apps including Salesforce, SurveyMonkey, FreshBooks, Google Apps, MS Teams, and Slack. HappyFox offers demos on request, followed by access to a trial account where you can configure your proof of concept. This unique approach earns it fourth place in our list of top customer support software. 

Top features:

  • Ticket categories. Classify your inbound tickets into predefined categories like products, sales, support.
  • Internal communication. Use private notes or Slack or Microsoft Teams integrations to discuss tickets confidentially within your team.
  • Canned responses. Create a custom set of reply templates that can be automatically sent to a customer with one click. 

5. HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot is best known for its sales and marketing automation software, but its customer support software is also worth your consideration. Like other top customer support software, HubSpot Service Hub streamlines operations by connecting email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and other channels into one universal inbox that your whole team can access. The main reason to choose HubSpot Service Hub is for its seamless integration with HubSpot CRM, giving you the ability to automatically track customer details and interactions in one dashboard. In other words, if you use HubSpot for sales and/or marketing, you may want to consider integrating HubSpot Service Hub for all your customer support needs.

Top features:

  • Customer feedback surveys. Use custom surveys to gather feedback and build a better customer experience.
  • Personalized videos. Create help videos for individual customers inside HubSpot and easily add them to emails to tickets.
  • Dedicated onboarding. Quickly set up your HubSpot Service Hub with a personalized onboarding plan.

6. LiveAgent 

LiveAgent specializes in all types of live interactions, including live chat, video chat, and real-time monitoring and response to posts, comments, private messages, and Tweets on social media. Its biggest selling point is its native live chat widget, which it calls ‘the fastest on the market’. LiveAgent’s smart routing options enable your business to connect each customer to a live chat with the agent best equipped to handle their query. To add live chat and other functions to your website, simply copy and paste the line of code that LiveAgent sends you during onboarding.

Top features:

  • Proactive chat invitations. Allows you to set up rules to invite visitors on your website to chat with an available support agent.
  • Website monitoring. Shows all current visitors to your website on one dashboard, allowing your agents to prepare talking points before starting a live chat.
  • Real-time typing view. Allows your agents to see what the customer is typing, without having to wait for them to press send. This gives the agent time to prepare the optimal response.

7. Zoho Desk 

Zoho is another of the big names in CRM that also happens to have excellent customer service software. Zoho Desk comes natively integrated with Zoho CRM and Zoho BugTracker, enabling your sales and support teams to work in sync. In addition to ready-made integrations, Zoho Desk gives you the option of writing custom functions to accommodate needs specific to your business–such as adding a specific task to your project management app or sending time spent on a ticket to an invoicing app. Custom functions are only suitable if you have someone with the tech know how to write them–but when used, they can really supercharge your customer support.

Top features:

  • Self-service. Allows you to embed a knowledge base, user community, and AI capabilities into your website or mobile app to help customers find answers quickly.
  • Mobile apps. Enables you to close tickets on the go with Zoho Desk’s mobile app for agents or monitor ticket traffic and support KPIs with Radar for Zoho Desk.
  • Artificial intelligence. The AI-powered assistant for Zoho Desk lets you proactively jump in on support tickets, analyze customer sentiment, and spot anomalies in ticket traffic.

8. Salesforce Help Desk Software

If you’re one of the 150,000+ businesses that already use Salesforce, then you’ll find it convenient to add Salesforce Help Desk Software. This customer support software plugs in seamlessly to Salesforce and to thousands of third-party applications. Salesforce offers guided setup and live help to get your Help Desk Software up and running on the very day you purchase it. Once it is set up, Salesforce Help Desk Software helps route inquiries from your help center, email, phone chat, and social channels into one easy-to-use dashboard. The best thing about this customer support service is its simplicity, with no customization required to use it.

Top features:

  • Integration. Leverage thousands of plug-and-play apps from Salesforce’s AppExchange or connect with external apps through APIs
  • Real-time insights. Customizable reports, dashboard, and AI-driven analytics give you a 360 view of your customer support.
  • Community assistance. Get help from the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, a global network of passionate Salesforce users.

9. Intercom

Intercom’s support solution combines messenger-based conversation support with proactive self-serve support. Personalized support revolves around the Business Messenger chat function, a centralized inbox where you can manage and reply to conversations from all channels, and smart routing of conversations. Self-serve support is enabled by help center articles, custom bots, and resolution bots. Intercom is a big supporter of emerging businesses and startups. While its flat $499/m fee for up to 10 users puts it at a similar price to competitors, it also offers basic chat and messaging from $39 for one user as well as a flat $49/m for the full service for qualifying startups.

Top features:

  • Personalized chatbots. Customize how your chatbots approach customers based on spending,  business type, and more.
  • Resolution reports. Measure and improve your bot performance with resolution reports.
  • Mobile carousels. Connect with mobile users at every touchpoint, resolving common questions in your app–before the customer reaches your team.

10. Groove 

Groove fills an important place in the customer support software market with a product that is cheaper and quicker to set up than the bigger alternatives like Zendesk and Freshdesk. With a range of flexible packages starting at $12 per month (after a 15-day trial), Groove is the ideal option for early-stage businesses or start-ups with plans to quickly scale up. The basic plan includes an integrated mailbox for your various customer support channels plus a knowledge base for your website. Live chat will be added soon. It only takes a few minutes to set up your Groove customer support software, making it an ideal service for busy small business entrepreneurs.

Top features:

  • Automations. Speed up your workflow with rules, tagging, canned replies, and custom folders.
  • Reporting. Constantly improve your support with real-time insights on important metrics like new vs resolved conversations, average resolution time, and customer satisfaction.
  • Customizable themes. Groove offers a range of mobile-ready themes that you can customize with your logo, brand colors, selection of Google Fonts, and backgrounds from Unsplash.

Testing Makes Perfect

As this guide shows, there’s top customer support software out there for all price points. All the top software providers offer either a free trial, free demo, or free version with basic capabilities. Therefore, when shopping around, test 2-3 solutions before settling on one.

How we created this
list
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.