How to Choose Customer Service Software

How to Choose Customer Service Software

There are hundreds of customer support tools to choose from. What's the right tool for your company?
Director of Customer Success

In a Nutshell

Customer service software has become highly specialized and choosing the right software can be challenging. Start with what's missing from your current workflow and find a tool that fills those gaps. You may not need all the complexity and cost of a tool like Zendesk.

All customer support tools are not created equal, which is why it’s so important to know how to choose customer service software that meets your team’s needs.

We’ve tried hard to be unbiased with our advice here, but first you should know that we think Keeping is the best option if you’re ready to upgrade from regular old email to a more organized system. Keeping is the only tool that converts your team’s Gmail support account into a help desk. The best part? It works directly within your Gmail account.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s jump in and figure out how to choose the best customer service software for your business.

Table of Contents

The Best Customer Service Software?

First, we have to break it to you.  There’s no such thing as the best customer service software.

Anyone who has ever started a business knows just how hard it can be, and one of the most difficult parts is determining when to implement new systems and software. It’s not easy finding the perfect balance between costly purchases and overworked employees.

Efficiency, productivity, and your reputation should be some of your top priorities when growing your business. Customer support software can have a direct impact on how well your team works and how you are perceived by customers. That’s why knowing how to choose the right customer support software is so important.

The right customer support software can improve your team’s efficiency and productivity. It can also help your team provide exceptional service that exceeds your customers’ expectations.

Once you’ve implemented the right software for your business, not only will you see a quick return on your investment, but both your employees and customers will thank you.

Key Features: Assignment and Status

Whatever customer support tool you choose must have functionality to assign customer support tickets and set their status.  Even if you don’t have a dedicated customer service team, it’s important to assign ownership to your customer’s issues so that they don’t fall through the cracks.

Being able to set the status of a support ticket means you (and your team) knows if it’s still active or resolved.  Better help desk software will also let you set a “pending” status so you can set it aside while you wait for more information.

Must Have Collaboration Tools

If you work with a team, it’s essential that your team can collaborate on customer support.  Real-time messaging and a shared knowledge base (or a faq) are incredibly helpful in any ticketing system. Any customer service solution should offer these features if you work together on a shared inbox.  Your support agents need to be able to work together inside whatever tool you choose.

More than anything, you should choose a tool that streamlines your customer support workflow.

Small Business Features for Customer Support

If you consider yourself a small business, then you may want to consider help desk software that allows you to automate customer requests.  The right customer service software for a small business should have workflows or automations that offer custom routing of support tickets. This is especially important if you don’t have dedicated support agents.

Chatbots & Self-Service

If you have a highly trafficked website and most of your customer’s issues could be solved with documentation, then you may want to consider a tool with a chatbot and self-service knowledge base.  Smart “bots” can automatically reply to your customers and offer suggestions to support articles.

Be careful here! Oftentimes customers get frustrated with chatbots and self-service solutions.  You should only turn to these solutions if you are truly overwhelmed with repetitive support requests.

Do You Need Omnichannel Support?

Do you get more than 50% of your support requests from Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, or other social media platforms? If so, you may want to consider a tool that allows you to resolve issues via these communication channels.

Some tools like Zendesk and Freshdesk also allow your customers to contact you via sms or via phone support.  Consider these tools.  But most small businesses don’t need to pay for omnichannel support.

Advanced Integrations to Consider

Do you use a CRM like Salesforce or Hubspot? If so, you may want a tool that offers an api that your developer can use to integrate your customer data with your service desk.  If you deal with a high volume of phone calls, you should choose a customer service platform that provides an integration into your PBX or phone system.

A mobile app may be another advanced feature to consider depending on the specific business needs of your reps. Finally, if you use a project management tool like Jira, you may want software where you can connect your ticket management with your project management. Again, you’ll pay for this, so make sure you need it!

Ecommerce Specific Features

If you run an ecommerce store, it’s important that your customer support tool integrate directly with your ecommerce platform.  For many ecommerce businesses, that means a direct connection to Shopify or Big Commerce.  That way, you can see your customer’s order information right next to their support ticket.

Ecommerce companies often deal heavily with the same questions over and over again, so a shared knowledge base is a critical feature.  You may also want a way to measure your customer satisfaction to ensure customer retention.

Cost & Pricing

Pricing for customer service software can vary greatly.  It’s usually priced per agent (or user) on a monthly basis.  Some software solutions offer a free plan with basic features, but remember the old adage, you get what you pay for.  Some features, like omnichannel support and a call center, can greatly increase the cost.

It’s important to be smart and choose a tool with just the features you need. Don’t assume that you will need something in the future, because you might be paying for it now.

What is Your Current Customer Experience Like?

If you’re a business owner, you may be wondering how you will know when it’s time to invest in customer service agents software for your support team. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you finding it difficult to keep track of customer support requests? If requests are falling through the cracks, customers are following up with you instead of the other way around, or your support inbox is getting cluttered, it’s time to invest in software that can help you organize your efforts.
  • Is your team stressed? If your team is struggling to juggle customer support requests with the rest of their workload, customer service agents software can help.
  • Are your customers unhappy? If customers are complaining about how long it takes to get a response or unsatisfied with how their issue has been resolved, now is the time to upgrade to customer service software.

Are you receiving more support requests than usual? If the volume of your requests is growing, you may want to invest in software now. The larger the volume of requests, the more difficult it will be to manage with email alone.

Consider Keeping for Email Customer Support

Some customer service agent software is designed with dozens of features that you don’t need to manage your customer support efforts. Adding these unnecessary features can complicate things and make it harder for your team to use the tool.

Keeping is a simple and straightforward customer service agent software that is only designed with the features you need to effectively manage your customer support efforts, including:

  • Task Assignment: Every email is automatically converted into an assignable help desk ticket so you can share the workload with your team members.
  • Shared Notes: Write notes to your team to communicate and collaborate on specific tasks.
  • Status Updates: Change the status on tasks to Open, Closed, or Pending, to keep track of everything in your inbox.
  • Collision Detection: See when someone else is working on a request so you don’t waste your time duplicating their efforts.
  • Automation: Get rid of manual, time-consuming tasks such as assigning new tickets, prioritizing requests, and removing spam from your inbox,
  • Reporting: Evaluate your team’s performance by reviewing Keeping’s reporting, which includes metrics such as volume of incoming requests and average first response time.
  • Response Templates: Save your team time by creating templates that include the responses to frequently asked questions.
  • Third Party Integrations: Connect to all of the tools you need to respond to customer support requests, including Shopify, Google Sheets, and Slack.

Why Keeping may be the Best Customer Email Software

Ok, ok – we know we just said there’s no such thing as the “Best Customer Service Software.”  But if you use Gmail and primarily deal with email for your customer support, we think you should consider Keeping.  Here’s why:

  • Your customers won’t even know we’re here. Your customers won’t see any weird help desk jargon such as “case ID” or “reply above this line” when they communicate with your team via email. Keeping is completely invisible to your customers, so they won’t know you are using a customer service tool to respond to their requests.
  • Manage your support efforts and the rest of your work within one inbox. You won’t need to switch back and forth between accounts or programs to juggle your support efforts with the rest of your workload. Everything will be all in one place–your Gmail inbox.
  • Hold onto your data. Some help desks keep your data–in other words, hold it hostage–if you decide to stop using their services. However, if you choose to sign up with Keeping, your emails will always remain in your accounts. Your data belongs to you regardless of whether you continue using our services or not.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Try Our Customer Email Software for Free

We’re confident that Keeping is the best customer email software out there. You don’t have to take our word for it – see for yourself by starting your free trial today. No credit card is required to sign up.

Andrew Rivers
Andrew Rivers
Andrew leads customer success at Keeping.