For more insights, strategies, and tips and tricks, check out our Complete Guide to Project Management for Customer Service Teams.
In 2019, an effective customer service strategy requires effective customer service software. As client expectations skyrocket and the number of available channels continues to grow — from email, to social media, website forms, phone calls, and beyond — the need for a powerful, malleable software solution has never been more clear.
The question is no longer about whether or not you need customer service software, it’s about how you pick the right tool for you and your team among the multitude of options on the market.
Picking between customer service tools
The truth is, most customer service software options provide the same core set of features and functionality. In today’s environment, any tool that doesn’t offer multiple channel integration, basic analytics, and at least a little bit of customizability isn’t worth your time.
Still, there are probably dozens of tools that meet these standards. When it comes to finding the right tool for your team, the key is in asking the right questions in advance:
What’s my price point?
There’s probably no easier way to immediately cut down on the number of options you have for consideration. Certain tools target large enterprises and have higher price points. Others are great for small businesses but adapt well as you scale. Establish your budget and if a tool doesn’t offer what you need within it, move onto the next one.
What very specific needs does my customer service team have?
Do you need to frequently collaborate with developers or other teams on tickets? Does your executive demand very specific customer service analytics? Will you be providing support in a number of different languages? Do you have a suite of other business tools you’d like to integrate with your support software?
Determining in advance what sets your customer service team apart is an easy way to also set certain software options apart.
What are users saying about this tool?
While your team and business are unique, checking out user reviews is one of the best ways to get a feel for the tool and its issues. Don’t just look at the most recent or top-rated reviews either. Look at the one-star reviews to understand where the tool fell short. See if there’s a pattern in both the positive and negative reviews that paint a picture of how it stacks up. And don’t just stick to one channel, especially not their website. Jump onto social media and see what people are saying. Varying your channels means varying your perspective.
Once you’ve asked those key questions and have narrowed your field, don’t just buy one of the remaining options and call it a day.
See if there’s an opportunity to try the product out for a few weeks or a month for free. Get multiple members of your team to trial the software so you get a more well-rounded view of whether or not it’s a fit.
And get a demo if there’s an opportunity to get a demo. Representatives from these software companies can usually ask you a few questions and customize the demo, showing you features you may not have otherwise considered.
Once you’ve done all of this, you’re probably ready to make a choice. Don’t worry: this decision is reversible. It may be a pain, but at the end of the day, if a tool isn’t working for you, you can switch to another tool.
Three customer service software options we love
To get you started in the right direction, here are three of the most popular and most comprehensive customer service software options on the market.
With over 125,000 clients around the world, Zendesk is the clear leader in the customer service industry. That’s in large part due to their beautiful, simple-to-use but comprehensive platform that’s surprisingly easy to scale alongside your business.
Whether your main source of customer tickets is phone, chat, email, social media, or just about anything else, Zendesk has you covered. They also provide the ability to create “ticket forms,” essentially preset support request forms with a unique set of fields based on the need — a great feature for helping you project manage difficult issues. And with Zendesk you can set up business rules that can, for example, send tickets to certain agents based on skillset, or change up the ticket workflow based on specific triggers.
Where Zendesk stands out:
- Lots of opportunities to adjust workflow and processes through automation
- Accessible plans for all team sizes
- Great analytics and a benchmarking tool for comparing your team and company’s performance
Zendesk is one of Unito’s newest integrations! Unito allows you to sync Zendesk to other work management tools, simplifying cross-team collaboration and speeding up your workflow. Try Unito with Zendesk for free today!
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Hubspot is on a mission to provides its users with solutions for everything (and we mean everything) they could possibly need to manage their business. From CRM, to sales, to marketing, Hubspot’s offering can help your teams become tool-aligned very, very quickly. That’s the real strength of Hubspot’s customer service offering, Service Hub: it allows you to integrate all customer data across service, sales, marketing, and success, and keep it in one place.
The tool provides a central inbox called “Conversations” which all issues from all channels flow into. This is meant to improve team collaboration on tickets (and if you do use Hubspot CRM, historical context on the customer is automatically added to the ticket at this stage). There’s also functionality for automating processes and escalating tickets, as well as survey and reporting tools. Service Hub checks a lot of important boxes and is a great option for most teams.
Where Hubspot Service Hub stands out:
- Built with organizational collaboration in mind
- Provides in-person or live online training for large enterprises
- Great at linking customer service performance to overall business performance
Don’t be scared off by the word Jira. Yes, the original platform can be intimidating for non-developers (though it doesn’t have to be), but Jira Service Management is great for both IT and customer service teams.
Not unlike Jira, Service Desk is very customizable, with over 800 compatible apps on the Atlassian marketplace. That said, it’s actually pretty easy to get set up on the platform using their customer service templates. They also suggest automation rules and business processes if you need an extra hand getting started.
Atlassian suggests hosting your knowledge base on Confluence. That way, you can be sure it will integrate smoothly with Service Desk and you won’t have to jump back and forth between different tools.
Where Jira Service Management stands out:
- Naturally, it fits seamlessly with Jira for any dev tickets or issues
- Really customizable
- Best tool for IT-focused customer service
- Can be run on cloud or on-premise
Jira is another one of Unito’s integrations. Start syncing Jira issues to other popular work management tools for free today.
For more customer service tips and insights, check out our