This article is part of a larger series on Customer Service.
Customer service software provides business owners with a centralized platform to manage their customer communication touchpoints—from the interest stage to after-sales support. Designed to help users deliver excellent customer support, it typically requires an omnichannel approach that includes shared inboxes, live chat, in-app phone, and ticketing. In this article, we explore what customer service software does and give examples of its usage.
While standalone customer service software is available, some of its key features, such as chat boxes and shared inboxes, can also be found in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. If you are currently using a CRM to manage and improve your customer service, you can integrate additional tools, such as ticketing and live chat, for a more robust and streamlined customer service platform.
Why Your Businesses Needs Customer Service Software
Customer service software helps businesses unify all their communications in one place, so all messages and queries are answered promptly and efficiently. It enables users to automate responses, keep track of tickets, record customer communication history, and coordinate responses across multiple teams.
Customer service features vary from one provider to another, and each vendor offers different plans with scalable features. Users could choose to use only one of the following: live chat, ticketing, shared inboxes, messenger, and help desk. Others may opt for a more integrated approach that includes two or more functionalities for a more extensive customer service front-office.
Customer service is a critical part of running a business and is one of the main reasons some businesses fail and some succeed. Remember, a sale doesn’t always end after a purchase. Communicating and getting timely responses and resolutions to their queries are major drivers of customer satisfaction.
Below are some statistics that highlight the importance of good customer service:
How Customer Service Software Works
Customer service software works by integrating your customer communication touchpoints and storing important information in the system. It enables your team to resolve customer issues in a timely manner. All information from various customer communication channels is stored and organized in a centralized system that members of your customer service team can easily refer to, depending on their role and access levels in the system.
Click through the tabs below to see various functions of customer service software and how they can help you improve the overall support you provide to your clients.
Customer service software has various features that let users automate their responses to customers. These include email auto-replies to acknowledge queries when filling out a contact form or through chatbots that automatically respond to initial customer questions before being assigned to an actual customer service (CS) agent.
Raise Tickets & Monitor Support Cases
Larger customer service teams, especially those who handle extensive volumes of customer queries, can use tickets to streamline the process. By using tickets and support cases, any CS rep can take on an active case by searching for the ticket number and referring to the conversation history. It also makes it easy for customers to make a follow-up to their query by simply providing the ticket number to the CS rep.
Communicate in Real-time
Customer service tools, such as live chat and chatbots, provide users with easy and instant access to the customer support team. This is particularly useful for customers who want immediate answers to their queries and prefer to raise their concerns via chat instead of writing an email or calling via phone.
Analyze Customer Service Quality
Customer service software lets you generate performance reports and analytics, giving a general overview of your team’s customer service efforts. Reports provide individual agent performance summaries, customer satisfaction ratings, number of issues resolved and escalated in a certain period of time, and average time to close cases.
Types of Customer Service Tools
When choosing customer service software, determine the type of touchpoints you want to prioritize. Factors to consider include the size of your team to see if there are enough people to manage multiple touchpoints, the importance of real-time response, and the budget. While some companies choose an integrated approach that utilizes various touchpoints, choosing one or two channels also works for businesses that don’t receive many customer queries.
Take a look at the types of customer service tools below to see which one fits your business needs best:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs focus on improving the quality of your customer service activities to increase customer retention and satisfaction. It allows you to communicate with your customers through multiple channels and create a centralized database for all your interactions with them. The benefit of using a CRM as your customer service tool is its ability to give you a 360-degree profile of your customers, enabling you to provide highly personalized customer service.
Freshsales is a full-featured CRM that offers essential functionalities for providing customer support. It allows users to chat with their customers directly from the platform and call them using an in-app phone. It also provides users with a 360-degree customer profile, including communication history, recent activities, and notes to help customer service (CS) reps provide highly personalized support to their customers.
Help Desk & Ticketing
Help desk and ticketing systems are typically integrated with live chat, phone, and email features. When a representative receives a query, a ticket or support case is raised to ensure it gets tracked and resolved in a timely manner. Ticketing tools help teams coordinate responses as a different agent can handle the follow-up communication with the customer by referring to the historical information in the software.
Zendesk logs detailed communication history with customers for all open cases, including responses from actual CS representatives and customer interactions with chatbots. The communication trail also displays the name of all CS representatives involved, helping teams coordinate responses efficiently.
Live chat software provides real-time support to customers to help them ask questions about products and services, or get resolutions on their concerns by talking to a CS representative. Live chat boxes or widgets are integrated into your website and allow your customers to use the live chat function while still being able to continue browsing your site.
LiveChat provides robust live chat functions to users, including canned responses, chat tags, chat transfers, and chat ratings. It also offers rich message support that lets CS representatives include clickable buttons in their chat responses to customers, as well as send images.
Chatbots, or “chat robots,” are a customer service feature that automates and simulates human conversations through an embedded chat box in a user’s website. Chatbots are often programmed to answer customer queries during non-business hours to ensure all queries are captured even when no actual CS representative is available. It is also used to answer commonly asked questions, saving businesses time in resolving simple queries.
HubSpot Service Hub has a chatbot function that users can integrate with their website without any coding knowledge required. It allows you to capture queries, qualify leads, book meetings, and provide answers to common customer support questions or frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Shared inboxes help teams monitor all email queries in a centralized channel. In a shared inbox, any CS representative can open a new email that comes in, see the ticket number or refer to the conversation trail, and respond accordingly—potentially expediting a resolution. This saves customer service teams so much time as any available agent can take on a case without the need for the one who created the ticket to be involved in the whole process.
Zoho TeamInbox provides a unified inbox that makes all conversations in that inbox visible to every user added. CS managers can also assign a thread to a specific CS representative, archive emails once resolved, and snooze threads of lower priority.
Who Can Benefit From Using Customer Service Software
Customer service software’s main purpose is to equip users with the necessary tools to coordinate with their customers and help them answer questions, address concerns, and resolve issues. Below are members of your team who can benefit the most from using customer service software.
- Small business owners who wear multiple hats: Users running small businesses who don’t have a dedicated CS person find customer service software useful as all queries will be directed to the system, making sure no message or issue goes unresolved.
- Customer service representatives: Agents tasked with taking and managing customer service calls and queries benefit from logging all details in the system and accessing any active cases to expedite resolutions.
- Customer service managers: Managers who oversee a group of customer service representatives can assess the quality of support their agents provide to customers and identify areas for improvement. They can do this by extracting reports on customer feedback for each agent, which customers can provide after having their queries addressed.
Being easily accessible to your customers and providing them with timely responses to their queries help to build stronger customer relationships. Whether you are a user who wears multiple hats within your company or an established organization with a dedicated CS team, customer service tools help streamline your customer communications, increase satisfaction, and ultimately contribute to growing your business.