Ready to see what radically personal customer service looks like? Sign up for a free demo with Gladly today.
A great customer service experience must be a high priority on the list of any organization. But clunky, inefficient, or outdated methods and technologies employed for customer service can often frustrate, confuse, or inhibit customers. Oversights such as this prevent customers from getting the help they need and ultimately cost a company time, money, and customer loyalty. Luckily, contemporary customer service software provides a user-friendly and intuitive avenue for customers to get in touch with your support staff.
Quality customer service software will help your customer service agents provide organized and efficient care to every caller. This article will go over the basics of customer service software, must-have features, and how to find the right customer service software for your business.
- What Is Customer Service Software?
- Customer Service Software vs. Customer Relationship Management Software
- Common Customer Service Software Features
- Modern Customer Service Software Features You Must Have
- Types of Customer Service Software
- How to Choose Customer Service Software
- Some Things to Consider
- Final Thoughts: Customer Service Software
At their core, customer service software are tools and platforms used by customer service and support teams to manage customer requests, complaints, and more. They are systems designed to be as simplistic or complex as an organization requires, and should be able to connect customer inquiries across all modes of communication.
Customer service software prepped for the modern world, such as Gladly, offers a unified communications structure, assigning orders to customers and not just tickets. Because quality customer service is more than just solving a problem when it arises — it also seeks to build a relationship with the customer by personalizing service and support. Because quality customer service is more than just solving a problem when it arises — it also seeks to build a relationship with the customer by personalizing service and support. Through unified communications channels, your team can ensure the best customer support by understanding a customer’s full history with your company.
Before we go too deep, let’s briefly talk about the difference between customer service software and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
While good customer service will help fortify customer relationships, this is not the express purpose of CS software. Its job is to help agents deliver customer satisfaction and improve the customer’s experience, building and maintaining customer loyalty through excellent and efficient support.
On the other hand, CRM software tracks customer loyalty through purchase records and accrued customer lifetime value — or the initial journey of a buyer- before they become a customer. While working towards a common goal of happy repeat customers, each software category offers a distinct and essential aspect of the work. CRM lacks the critical human element of communication that customer service software, like Gladly, offers. Customer service software gives businesses a real connection to customers over time, from text and voice chats to continuous customer service conversations.
Customer service software will always have a bevy of features.
The most common features of customer service software include:
- Ticketing: Each time a customer submits an inquiry, even if it’s the same inquiry over multiple channels of communication, a ticket is created for that order and sent to multiple agents who may give different answers to the same question. This mode easily translates to a single-view, customer-associated method.
- Email features: This includes outgoing, as well as templates for longer emails and messaging.
- Lifetime customer history: Repeat customer profiles are actionable information sources from a compilation of data gleaned from their previous inquiries, customer analysis, and notes made by attending support agents.
- Call features: Including call monitoring, click-to-call, and transfers.
- Agent-specific features: Including shared agent inboxes, agent performance reporting, management dashboards, reminders, conversation transcripts, and assignment and customer routing.
However, not all customer service software is created equal. Depending on your provider, these features can be bundled together or separately.
Contemporary customer service strategies are efficient, personalized, and easy to use — for the customer and your company’s customer support agents.
- Omnichannel communication support: Give customers the freedom to reach you however they choose and switch across different channels during any conversation. This includes phone, live chat, app chat, email, and SMS text.
- Unified agent desktop: A unified agent desktop enables your team to continuously know a customer’s entire history with your brand and pick up conversations from the last point of contact, all to deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
- People instead of tickets: Usually, tickets are at the center of the customer service experience, and customer cases are routed to the next available agent without context. Customers now prefer to be matched with the right agent who understands their situation right off the bat and can help faster.
- Live chat support and in-app chat: These days, it’s not enough to be able to chat with customers via phone. Modern customers require live web chat, as well as chat options directly from your apps used on mobile devices.
- Customer service knowledge base: Modern customer service software uses a customer service knowledge base that can plug directly into your website and offer answers based on location and language preferences.
- Social media customer support: Leverage social listening tools and respond to social messages directly from your customer service system.
- SMS customer support: Modern customers use and shop from mobile devices more than ever. It’s essential that your customer service technology leverages SMS text support.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): PCI and GDPR compliant call handling, routing, and customer insights are a necessity for any business. Add in programmable IVR and integrated customer history and you have all the functionality you could ever need for your call centers.
Many customer service software types exist, each with a unique purpose designed to solve a specific problem in customer service. These types range from general (an all-encompassing program, such as Gladly) to ultra-specific (such as ticketing and call center tools.) Each can be used individually or in tandem for a customizable customer service strategy.
These tools include:
- Complete customer service systems: These customer service platforms typically have all of the features you need in a single platform. (This is what Gladly offers.)
- Help desk software: Help desk software focuses on using tickets to manage different customer requests. These are typically a step down in terms of functionality and flexibility compared to complete customer service systems.
- Live chat software: Live chat software is limited to a solution built specifically for live web chat with customers. These are used to interact with customers who may have questions but do not want to call the support line.
- Ticketing software: Think of customer service ticketing software as “Help desk software lite.” These tools lack much of the functionality that you would want for any team of agents; however, they solve the basic need of being able to manage customer tickets, requests, and complaints.
- IVR and call center tools: You’ll typically find IVR and call center software included in help desk or complete customer service solutions. However, there are vendors that specialize in call center solutions for customer service teams.
[Read More: Zendesk Alternative]
Your customer service software needs will depend uniquely on the industry and size of your company. And the best customer service software vendors offer a variety of options to meet the requirements of businesses of all sizes. What your business needs:
- As an >enterprise, finding the best customer service software for you means looking for a vendor that offers reliability and flexibility. You’ll want to ensure that you have maximum uptime with your system and can customize and integrate the platform with all your other enterprise systems and machine learning / AI tools.
- Small and mid-sized businesses are typically in a period of high growth and need to be able to support customers across different channels. Omnichannel customer service software is a must for companies in this stage of growth, as is the ability scale with your growing demands.
- Startups will be in the process of building their customer base and gaining market share. As a startup, you will look to find something that is cost-effective and offers simple customer management, as well as the ability to communicate with customers through one or two different channels (normally email and/or live chat).
When selecting customer service software for your company, you’ll want to evaluate each platform by a set list of criteria. Below are the seven things you need to look for when choosing customer service software.
- Features: Make sure to create a list of all the functionality you need for your support team. In most cases, you’ll find that you will need a complete customer service system that encompasses all features from in-app chat to IVR and call handling tools.
- Seamless experience: Conversations with customers should be natural with your agents able to see the entire conversation history and communicate with customers across all channels without ever missing a beat.
- Ease of Implementation: Find a customer service system that your team can use right away and fits within your overall technical infrastructure
- Ease of use: Whatever system you choose, you’ll want to ensure your agents and customers can use the system easily. The software you choose should not make it more challenging for customers to request or find support.
- Scalability: The last thing you want is your team and company to grow and find that your customer service software cannot meet your new demands.
- Customization: Every company and support team is built differently. The customer service software you choose must be able to personalize your business’ unique needs.
- Reporting: Reports and analytics allow you to spot areas of improvement and more.
- Partnership: When evaluating and selecting a customer service platform, you need a partner that will provide industry-leading customer success, service, and support to enable your team to be successful.
- Cost and time efficiency: Time is money — how much time your team spends reviewing multiple tickets? If you could reduce this time, how much money could you save? How much more productive and happy would your team be?
There are infinite points to consider when searching for your company’s ideal customer service software. From usability by customers and agents alike to compatibility with the size and shape of your business, how will you know which one to choose? But a little effort applied to sourcing high-quality support software means time and money saved in the future and is well worth the search.
See why brands are switching from Zendesk to Gladly
Request a demo