With so many different customer support software available, figuring out which is the right fit for you is tough. You know you want software to help your business handle your customer service tasks more efficiently, but you need to figure out which system is best. In this post, I share my insights on the best customer support software for managing, organizing, and responding to customer service requests efficiently, based on my personal experience as a CX specialist.
What is Customer Support Software?
Customer support software is a type of cloud-based SaaS platform that help customer support teams automate and optimize their processes. They include an integrated ticketing system for multi-channel customer support via email, chat and social media. More advanced features include chat widgets, a customer-facing knowledge base, Slack integration for your support agents, automated responses, email templates, custom reports, and service level agreement (SLA) features.
Customer support software helps businesses improve the efficiency of their customer service operations by routing customer requests to the best possible agent or department for a particular concern. Basic issues can be routed to a chatbot or self-serve knowledge base, while more complex issues are routed to a live agent for more effective resolution. In doing so, this software also improves your customer satisfaction rates by providing faster and better service, while also helping teams scale up their customer service abilities to manage higher volumes of inquiries.
Front is a collaboration software that serves as an email management tool, designed to facilitate communication within teams. It allows team members to collaborate through shared drafts, comments, and the ability to assign threads and use tags for organization.
Front additionally assists customer support teams by providing a platform that centralizes communication from multiple channels, such as email, social media, chat, and SMS, into a single collaborative space. This enables teams to manage customer interactions more effectively by assigning, tracking, and responding to inquiries in a unified manner.
Front's omnichannel approach ensures that all customer communications are accessible in one place, which can help support teams provide personalized and timely responses.
Front integrates with Asana, ClickUp, Dialpad, Dropbox, Google Drive, HubSpot, Jira, Monday, Slack, and Zoho CRM.
Front costs from $19/user/month (billed annually) and includes a 7-day free trial.
Issuetrak is a ticketing software that provides a centralized platform for managing help desk operations, including tracking and resolving issues. Its capability to accept ticket submissions from various channels positions it as a suitable choice for organizations seeking a versatile ticket management system.
What differentiates Issuetrak is its ticketing system, designed to centralize issue management by allowing users to submit tickets through multiple channels, including email and web forms. The Issue Hub acts as a central point for viewing and updating all tickets, facilitating the monitoring of issue statuses. The software also features round-robin issue assignments to automatically distribute tasks evenly across user groups, a task manager to create consistent workflows, and a knowledge base to store solutions.
The system also includes entity and permission settings for user organization and controlled information access, and maintains a focus on customer satisfaction and legal transparency.
Issuetrak integrates with a range of platforms in two distinct ways. The first is through Zapier, which requires an additional subscription but will allow you to connect Issuetrak to thousands of apps. The second way is through its API, which you can use to build custom integrations with your current tech stack.
Zoho Assist is a customer support software that allows your CX team members to provide support via remote device access. In other words, support reps can help diagnose issues and implement solutions by accessing customer devices from their own device.
The software allows for either on-demand and unattended remote access, so you can make updates and solve issues regardless of whether the customer is with their device. Unattended remote access feature can be used to push bulk updates, reboot devices, troubleshooting, and more. In addition to its remote access capabilities, live chat, video, and voice calls are also supported to facilitate communication between agents and customers.
A high level of security is built into the software, ensuring protection for support reps and customers alike. It's GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and CJIR compliant and has SSL 256-bit AES encryption. Access permissions management is also included so the right people have the right access to various data and parts of the platform.
The software integrates with other tools, most notably the Zoho product suite. Other integrations include Zendesk, ServiceNow, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Freshdesk, Spiceworks, and the Google Suite, among others.
Pricing starts from $12 per month, and a 15-day free trial is available.
Guru's customer support software capabilities are designed to empower support teams with instant access to the knowledge and resources they need to efficiently resolve customer inquiries. The platform acts as a dynamic repository of information, where support agents can quickly find answers to customer questions, access product information, and view company policies, all in real-time.
This immediate access to a centralized knowledge base helps in reducing response times and improving the overall quality of customer service. Additionally, Guru's AI-driven suggestions offer contextual help by recommending relevant content to support agents as they interact with customers, further enhancing their ability to provide accurate and timely assistance.
Key features include advanced search capabilities, customizable dashboards, secure data storage, real-time collaboration tools, knowledge management, AI-powered suggestions, robust analytics and reporting, integration with multiple platforms, personalized user experiences, mobile accessibility, document management, workflow automation, social networking features, and multilingual support.
Integrations include Google Chrome, Google Workspace, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, Outlook, HRIS solutions, YouTUbe, Vimeo, Loom, Airtable, Sendesk, Salesforce, Intercom, Freshworks, Confluence, and more. Plus, you can use Zapier, Workato, or their custom API to connect more tools.
Guru starts at $10/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial, plus a freemium version available.
Zoho SalesIQ is customer engagement and support software that enables businesses to communicate with their customers in real-time. It's a great tool for businesses that want to increase their customer engagement and provide quick and efficient support to their website visitors.
The user interface is straightforward, making it easy to navigate and use all its features without hassle. The live chat feature allows you to communicate with website visitors in real-time, which is helpful when dealing with urgent customer queries or complaints. You can also track visitors' behavior on your website, which provides valuable insights into their interests and preferences, and customize chat widgets, allowing you to match your website's branding and design.
Integrations include the Zoho suite of software, Google Analytics, and Salesforce. .
Plans start at $7/operator/month, and they offer a 15-day free trial.
Custify is a customer success software designed specifically for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies that need to focus on product adoption and upsell opportunities. When leaving your ecosystem is as easy as hitting “unsubscribe,” Custify positions itself to identify churn risk long before your customers find themselves in that position.
Custify provides customer 360 reports, customer health analysis, renewal and upsells suggestions, workflow automation, and a task management system with customizable alerts.
Custify costs from $99.50/user/month.
Groove is an easy-to-use help desk for growing businesses who need to connect with their customers across a variety of communication channels like social, email, and live chat. Groove offers a GraphQL API to automate, manage, and extend all the functionality of the platform with a bit of IT know-how and elbow grease.
Groove integrates natively with Hubspot, Salesforce, JIRA, GitHub, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Trello, Constant Contact, Slack, Zoho, Capsule, Delighted, JustCall, Nimble, PieSync, Nicereply, ChargeBee, Influx, MailChimp, Stripe, Campaign Monitor, Ask Nicely, and thousands more with a paid plan through Zapier.
Groove costs from $15/user/month and comes with a 15-day free trial.
Forethought is the maker of Agatha, an AI automation chatbot tool for customer support agents to manage any customer request quickly. Agatha pulls information from your knowledge base and Salesforce Service Cloud to automatically assist basic customer queries without live agent intervention.
The AI will intervene with easy answers or quickly ping an agent for concerns it is not equipped to handle independently. Forethought also offers automatic triage and routing and customer support operations analysis. You can pick between multiple feature packages so that you are only paying for the stuff you need.
Forethought offers customized pricing upon request and has a free demo.
You can ask their contact center for details. They do not offer a free trial.
JivoChat is a business communications tool that features an integrated messaging solution that allows your clients to talk to you using Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Instagram. Your customer service agents receive all chats, emails, and calls in the Jivo app, no matter where or how the customer is reaching out.
This saves the time and confusion of jumping between different windows or platforms. JivoChat integrates with the software you already use in your day-to-day workflow, like CRM tools, WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, Slack, BigCommerce, Wix.com, and hundreds of others with a paid Zapier plan.
JivoChat Basic is free for your first five agents. Paid plans cost from $189/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
Help Scout is help desk software for small businesses to high-growth start-ups. It is designed for easy workflows, team assignments, and assessing productiveness. Standouts include an easy-to-use shared inbox to organize all support requests into a single queue.
Small businesses may not yet have a lot of customer service manpower so Help Scout lets you create a searchable library of pre-written help desk replies to reduce the administrative burden on your team.
You can pull data from a variety of sources for a more personalized customer profile—contact information, previous customer conversations, and data/activity from other apps.
Help Scout costs from $25/month and includes a free 15-day trial.
Best customer-to-customer chat solution
Best for simple knowledge base management
Best for its automated customer conversion strategies
Best to manage your help desk and knowledge base
Best customer support software for enterprises
Best for collaborating with external stakeholders
Best inter-company help desk
Best customer support software with project management
Best for building a knowledge base
Best all-inclusive ITSM software solution
Best multi-brand help desk system
Best for subscription-based services
Best for small business
Best email capturing and record automation
Best customer feedback software
ProProfs Help Desk
Best for customer satisfaction surveys & NPS
Salesforce Service Cloud
Best for ease of use & community support
Best IT service desk automations
Sunview Service Desk
Best all-in-one IT service desk software
HubSpot Service Hub
Best for inbound calling + VoIP calling
Best for Shopify users
Jira Service Management
Best for dev, IT ops, and business teams
Best free customer support software
Best targeted messaging marketing
Best for global service teams
Selection Criteria for the Best Customer Support Software
Are you wondering how I choose the best customer support software for this list? Allow me to explain my methodology.
I started out by reviewing recent customer support software market data to create an initial long list of the most popular software providers in this space.
Next, I assessed each platform's website to make sure that their software covered all the basic features that a customer support team would need to manage their processes from beginning to end.
Lastly, I used my selection criteria below to help me finalize my selections. Using these criteria as a framework, I compared each customer support software to see how it stacked up to the rest of the tools, allowing me to find the best of the bunch.
To satisfy your curiosity even further, below are the main features and other key criteria I assessed to make my final selections for this list.
Essential Features for Customer Support Software
Here are the main features I assessed as I sifted through all the possible software systems for this list. To determine their depth, I asked myself the following questions:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM software): Does it include features like contact, lead, document, or quotes/proposal management? Are customer issues logged in the service hub and analyzed for actionable insights? Or, does it integrate easily with tools that do these things?
- Ticketing Support: Is launching, assigning, and following up on a customer ticket easy to do? Can support tickets be customized with the data fields you need most?
- Response Automation & Wiki: Does the tool let you automate answers for commonly asked questions? Does it provide space for you to host an FAQ or wiki where your customers can access answers to their questions independently, without waiting on a live agent? What about email templates and chat support scripts?
- Customer Metrics: Does the software allow you to track customer attrition, customer conversion, average wait times, ticket resolution times, and other important customer data? Can you easily pull this data into custom reports?
- Multichannel Communication: Does the software provide your customer service team with access to phone calls, SMS/texting, live chat support, video calls, social media channels, and anything else the modern customer requires?
- Performance Monitoring: Does the platform allow you to monitor the team’s performance and provide customized feedback to live agents? Working with your customer service team to improve skills is a great way to enhance your service experience.
Other Assessment Criteria
In addition to the key features above, I also always assess the following criteria no matter what type of software I'm reviewing:
- User Interface (UI): Customer service software needs to have a clean, intuitive UI for both the agent and the end user. Customers who can’t figure out your system navigation aren't going to wait around to learn it.
- Usability: The last thing you need is customer service software that doesn't work. That kind of defeats the purpose. I selected systems with high uptime, easy troubleshooting, straightforward onboarding for your team, a responsive help desk function, and maybe even a self-serve knowledge base.
- Software Integrations: Customer service software should connect with any other management tools you're using to reach and serve your customers. This might be messaging tools like Slack, relationship management databases, ecommerce apps, or social media platforms. Flexible connectivity is a must.
- Pricing: Obviously, it won’t do you well to skimp on your customer support software budget. However, I do take into consideration how competitive a price is compared to other tools on the list and what advanced features they offer at what price point.
What's the difference between customer support and customer service?
Even though customer support and customer service both service your customer base, they do so in different capacities. Customer service is the traditional interface between your organization and the public that handles basic service requests. In contrast, customer support is often segmented into specific products, departments, or lines of services in order to handle more specialized support requests.
Common issues handled by customer service teams:
- Trouble logging into an account
- Editing account details
- Modifying an order
- Requesting a refund
- Registering a complaint or submitting feedback
- Requesting basic company information
None of these requests require detailed knowledge to resolve.
Common issues handled by customer support teams:
- Notifying the company of a defective product
- Requesting technical support for a specific product
- Requesting specific product details
All of these request require detailed knowledge of the product at hand, so they would be best answered by a product specialist.
To help you grasp other nuances between these essential support teams, read: Customer Service vs. Customer Support: Why Your Business Needs Both.
Is customer support software the same as help desk software?
Many people view customer support software and help desk software as interchangeable terms. However, they actually cater to different aspects of the customer experience.
Customer support software is a frontline tool that handles direct interactions with customers, addressing their immediate needs and queries, across multiple channels.
Help desk software, in general, is more internally-focused. You can use it to manage and track the resolution of internal issues or service requests, such as IT requests.
However, there are some systems that offer features for both use cases if you need to track internal and external issues simultaneously.
To help you figure out the best system for your needs, consider reading: What is a Help Desk and Does Your Business Need One?
How can I choose the best customer support software for my organization?
Here is a four-step process you can use to narrow down your options for the best customer support software that satisfies your needs:
- Make a list of all the customer support channels you have now and expect to offer in the future.
- Use this article, and others on the CX Lead, to verify which software systems work serve those communication channels.
- Make a shortlist and compare the features of your top five favorites side-by-side to highlight any gaps or standout inclusions.
- Review the pricing details of each option against your budget.
By following these steps, you should be able to uncover a clear winner in the pack. If you’d like more details to guide you through this process we also have a more thorough breakdown of how to choose the right customer support software for you too.
Are there any free customer support software?
Yes, some customer support software providers do offer free plans, also known as freemium plans. However, these plans are generally considered stepping stones to give you a taste of what their software has to offer, with the hope that you’ll sign up for a paid plan to access more robust features.
If free software is really what you’re after, hop over to our article on free customer support software for a list of the best free options on the market today. I’ve also noted which of the options in this list offer a free plan in the pricing information section.
Other Types of Support Software
This article features general, all-purpose customer support software options, each with its different strengths and weaknesses. However, we also have articles across the site that deep-dive into a particular type of customer service software. If you’re looking for something more specific, these might help.
- Customer experience management software
- Customer service automation
- Customer service chat software for small businesses
- Customer service email management software
- Customer service ticketing software
- Customer database software
What Do You Think About These Customer Service Tools?
Microsoft reports that 90% of customers decide whether or not to do business with a company based on that company’s customer service reputation. When it comes to custom churn, 93% of customers confirm that excellent customer service will compel them to give a company repeat business. It's easy to see how customer service can have a huge impact on sales.
I hope that my review has made you more aware of the exciting and wide array of customer support platforms out there. There’s no single best tool as it really depends on your customer support team members and your business model. But I hope I’ve shed light on the different software support software you can choose from to make the most informed decision for your business.
To keep up with the latest insights from top thinkers in the customer experience niche, sign up for our newsletter.