Consumers often praise small businesses because of the customer service they receive. You might hear something like “they actually treat me like a person, as opposed to [insert large corporation here].” While that does tend to be true, it doesn’t mean it’s easy for small businesses to provide quality customer service.
Small businesses, by nature, tend to have too few people for too many jobs. Your marketing person might be spending some of their day doing tasks meant for an ops person, but you only have so many resources—so many hats must your employees wear.
Given the hectic nature of a small business, providing top notch customer service is no easy task. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one person handling it, it can still be taxing.
Without help from software, a small business wouldn’t stand a chance at providing the type of customer service that consumers have come to expect. The good news is there’s plenty of software out there, and much of it is well within reach of the average small business.
Let’s dive in and take a look at 11 customer service tools that every small business should consider investing in.
Freshdesk is a help desk and live chat software that helps businesses solve user problems in a variety of ways. It’s a feature-rich tool with everything from a team inbox and canned responses for ticketing to a knowledge base and and automatically suggested solutions for customer self-service.
Freshdesk offers a variety of pricing tiers, one of which is free. The free option likely won’t be a sufficient long-term solution for you, but it’s a great way to start out and learn if the tool will work for your business. Once you join a paid tier, the different tiers are determined by number of features offered and the pricing depends on the number of agents with a license.
Zendesk may be the most well-known solution in the help desk space and for good reason. Like Freshdesk, Zendesk is feature-rich and has most of the functionality your customer service team would need. They have a knowledge base, live chat, call center software, and much more.
Their pricing is structured the same as Freshdesk, with multiple tiers that are determined by the amount of features and pricing that’s on a per agent basis.They don’t offer a free tier, but they have free trials, so you can still test out the tool.
LiveChat is, you guessed it, a live chat tool. It is not like Freshdesk or Zendesk in that it doesn’t cover every functionality in the customer service universe, but with that comes more simplicity. It enables agents to create tickets based on the chats they have with customers. If you want a tool that helps you connect and help customers immediately, this is just the type of tool you’re looking for.
Like many customer-service applications, LiveChat has multiple pricing tiers and the pricing is on a per agent basis.
HappyFox is another tool focused on live chat rather than being a robust all-in-one customer-service tool. HappyFox is able to boast both simplicity with versatility—which is a great combination for a growing business. They offer a multitude of integrations, so it’s relatively easy to fit this tool into your broader software landscape.
HappyFox Chat’s pricing is based on tiers, but rather than being determined by the number of features offered, the tiers are mostly determined by the power of the features. For example the Mighty plan offers 3 year chat history and 3 widget profiles while the Fantastic plan offers unlimited chat history and 10 widget profiles.
KnowledgeOwl is a great resource for customer-service teams that want to help their customers help themselves. Users of KnowledgeOwl can easily create and organize content that may prove helpful to customers. You can also create docs for internal use that customers don’t have access too.
KnowledgeOwl’s pricing is customized and depends on the number of users you have and the number of knowledge bases you need.
Many of Whatfix’s customers use the tool for internal purposes rather than customer support, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be a perfectly useful knowledge base for customers. A knowledge base like Whatfix, which makes it easy to create guides and support docs, is a great way to help customers adopt a tool that can be difficult to use.
Whatfix’s pricing is completely customized based on users’ needs, so if you want to know what it’d cost to use the tool, you’ll need to talk to someone there and discuss your needs.
If you’re a small business offering phone support, you need some sort of call center to make managing interactions easier. Aircall is a virtual call center, so you don’t need to deal with landlines. It offers features like shared voicemail, call routing and enabled international numbers, so you can help customers no matter where they are.
Aircall offers two pricing options. The Premium Plan for $30 per user per month and the Enterprise Plan for $50 per sure per month.
ClientSuccess is built for business on the SaaS model, and its functionality helps users develop and build long-lasting relationships with customers. SaaS businesses often deal with various contracts and customer success cycles—ClientSuccess keeps all that information in one place and makes it easy to manage customers.
ClientSuccess doesn’t provide pricing information, so like many SaaS companies, they likely tailor a pricing plan to your needs.
ChurnZero is another customer success tool for companies that use the SaaS model. It’s an analytics-driven tool that tracks interactions with customers and provides reports on the health of customers. If you’re not a SaaS business, you likely won’t have much use for a tool like this, but if you are, it can be quite beneficial.
Similar to ClientSuccess, ChurnZero doesn’t provide public pricing information. So if you want to know what it’s going to cost you, you’re going to have to talk to them.
If you have field service representatives as a part of your business, it’s probably a good idea to get a tool that helps you manage them. That’s exactly what ServiceTrade does. This product comes with a ton of useful features for field service reps—like e-signature verification, post-appointment reports, and an online portal for customers to manage appointments.
ServiceTrade’s pricing is determined by the breadth of features you want. There are four tiers starting at free and going up to enterprise, which is $139 per technician per month.
It’s good to be able to get in touch with customers with the press of a button rather than having to rely on a litany of customer service reps. Call-Em-All is a proactive notification tool which makes mass calls and texts easy. Anytime you need to relay information to your customer base, all you need to do is write one text message and send it on it’s way. It’s a great way to get ahead of potential customer-service headaches.
They have two pricing models. You can either pay for credits up front (1 credit equals a 30-second phone call or a 160 character text message) or for unlimited messaging you can pay for an unlimited plan—which requires a monthly payment that depends on the number of contacts you have.