Ana Khlystova
Jun 06, 2022 | 13 min read

No longer than ten years ago, customers had to call businesses and hang on the line for a palpably long period to get some assistance. That was the only way. Fast-forward to the present day, and people have messengers, social media, self-service hubs. They can call, write, send letters, complain all over social media, and whatnot. Businesses are getting as reachable as possible.

But if you’re a business owner, keeping your end of the bargain requires more and more resources and dedication. And at the very top of it all, you need a reliable customer service system to run all these communications effectively.

You may feel lost and light-headed at the vast choice of customer service management software right now. But believe me when I say it: by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear picture of a perfect customer service tool for your business.

What is customer service software?

Customer service software is a web solution that allows you to provide timely and effective assistance to customers whenever they need it, no matter the channel.

There are five most popular channels that customers use for getting help in times of crisis — live chat, email, social media, phone, and self-service centers. You’d think it will make five corresponding types of customer service tools, but there are actually six of them:

  • All-in-one support tools. This type of customer support tools covers all of the above-mentioned channels in one place. You won’t need a separate tool for live chat, emails, phone calls. Every customer request is going to land into a unified dashboard where you can manage them in a single browser tab.
  • Live chat tools encompass real-time messengers that you can install on your website or app. It will appear in the form of a small button so that customers can click them, open a live chat window, and connect with a support agent right away to help resolve your issues. The whole experience is much like using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
  • Email support tools (aka help desks or shared inboxes). Some customers still prefer to contact a business via email. But instead of answering from Gmail, support agents can use help desk software to track, tag, and manage huge loads of conversations more efficiently.
  • Social media and messenger support tools. Many users prefer chatting with businesses via familiar social platforms like Facebook Messenger, Instagram or Twitter. This allows them to resolve issues without interrupting their daily routine instead of being stuck on your website for hours. That’s why businesses should track their mentions and direct messages across all social media and respond to them as fast as possible. 
  • Call centers provide you with all the necessary features to manage incoming calls from customers more effectively and keep them all in one database. Even though people do like call centers for its immediacy, companies often fail to provide it on a decent level.
  • Self-service tools are made for creating portals with pre-made answers to customers’ common questions. To a certain degree, knowledge base software solutions are similar to classic content management systems like WordPress. They usually give you a text editor where you can create and publish articles plus a few useful enhancements.

How to choose the best customer service software?

The answer to this question depends on your goals and objectives.

Call centers are great for providing immediate assistance with crucial issues but require a lot of resources to sustain. You have to hire enough operators to answer calls immediately and avoid keeping people on hold for too long. Moreover, younger generations are less eager to make phone calls in general.

On the other hand, live chat service is way easier on your budget, since one agent can operate 5-6 chats simultaneously. Forbes reports that 51% of customers also prefer to live chat because it allows them to multitask. But live chat also implies real-time communication and, hence, requires an immediate reaction from your support team.

Knowledge base software for customer service allows you to save much time and resources. Customers also expect businesses to provide self-service portals of some kind. So it’s a win-win situation for all, except that knowledge bases can’t completely substitute human help when it comes to unique and complex issues.

Emails are easier to keep up with since customers don’t expect immediate reaction there. However, keep in mind that long response time can still be frustrating and lead to much lower customer satisfaction rates.

Users want to access a knowledge base and address issues on their own. They also want to contact you immediately if they can’t find a proper answer — preferably, via their favorite messenger. The answer to these requirements are all-in-one solutions.

All-in-one customer service software

So, let’s begin with the best all-in-one software for customer service and proceed to stand-alone solutions for each channel.

1. HelpCrunch

  • Features: live chat, chatbot, shared inbox, knowledge base, email marketing, popups, social media and messenger integrations
  • Pricing: from $15/mo/team member
HelpCrunch - best customer service software for omnichannel communication

HelpCrunch is your ultimate all-in-one customer support tool. Every single message from a customer (be it via email, chat or social accounts) lands into the HelpCrunch dashboard as a separate conversation. Support reps can manage, assign, add private notes, use canned responses and see detailed user profiles in a single window.

HelpCrunch offers some extensive features for five-star customer service:

  • Shared inbox for managing chats, emails, social media, and messengers
  • Live chat with a built-in knowledge base for websites and apps
  • Knowledge base with a simple and intuitive editor and SEO-settings
  • Chatbot for engaging with your audience proactively and automating routine tasks
  • Email campaigns for one-off newsletters or automated trigger-based campaigns
  • Popups with the ability to engage with your website visitors and collect their contact info.

The pricing starts with $15/mo/team member and depends on the number of agents and email you want to add to your account. 

2. Help Scout

  • Features: live chat, shared inbox, knowledge base
  • Pricing: from $25/mo/user
Help Scout - best customer service software for email support

HelpScout is a nice and simple customer support tool. They offer live chat with a knowledge base integration so that your customers can easily switch between these two tabs and contact your customer service team only if they haven’t found the answer in your help center.

When you sign up for Help Scout, you actually get something they call a mailbox. It’s a place where you manage all incoming emails in the most efficient way. But you can also connect the live chat widget and social media to it and provide more wholesome support.

The Standard $25/mo plan gives you 3 mailboxes on top of live chat and knowledge base features. It simply means that you can connect 3 email addresses to your HelpScout account and receive emails from all of them in one dashboard.

3. Zendesk 

  • Features: help desk, live chat, chatbot, knowledge base, call center, social media and messenger integrations
  • Pricing: from $25/mo/agent
Zendesk - best and oldest customer service software with ticketing for enterprises

Zendesk is probably one of the most well-developed customer service software if we talk about the number of features it offers. The thing is, they are also one of the oldest tools on the market, which sometimes can show in their UX/UI or overall performance. 

The tool started off as a ticketing system and added the live chat feature later on by purchasing a third-party solution. That’s why their live chat may seem a little outdated and disconnected all the while other numerous tools aren’t that well integrated with each other.

The ticketing is great, though. They really invest in it, so I don’t think you will find a help desk solution as developed and feature-rich as Zendesk. If ticketing is the primary way you do customer support at your company, it can be a great choice for you.

In terms of prices, the company offers seven all-in-one plans for customer support and three additional packages for sales. Basic solution for help desk, live chat, social media, and knowledge base support costs from $59/mo per agent. A simpler plan for communication with customers via email, Facebook, and Twitter is more affordable at $25/mo per agent.

Live chat software 

Any list of customer service software would be incomplete without live chat tools. Customer service is becoming faster, and people aren’t eager to wait days or even hours. They expect an immediate answer whenever they need help, and live chat is the only way to rise to those expectations.

4. LiveChat

  • Features: live chat
  • Pricing: from $19/mo/seat
LiveChat - best customer service software for website live chat

LiveChat is the most robust customer service software for live chat powered by basic help desk features. This simply means that you can create tickets and respond to people via email as well. 

It can be a great choice if you’re looking for something simple with all the necessary live chat features like automated greetings, saved responses, and chat forms. One distinguishing feature from LiveChat is their message sneak peek, which allows your support agents to see what customers are typing before they send their message.

The basic subscription costs from $19/mo per agent. The more advanced features like unlimited chat history, detailed reports, SMS integration are available on the $50/mo plan.

5. Olark

  • Features: live chat, chatbot
  • Pricing: from $29/mo/seat
Olark - old-fashioned live chat software

Olark has one single feature and, correspondingly, they offer one subscription plan with the full functionality. The pricing starts from $29/mo/agent. 

In a nutshell, Olark’s live chat is simple, intuitive, and user-friendly, although it feels like it lacks some customization options. In terms of functionality, it has everything a modern online customer support tool should have: chatforms, file sharing, customer data as well as the ability to send automated and targeted chat messages.

However, there’s a downside, too. Such important customer service software features as chat unbranding or chat localizations are only available at additional cost.

6. Tidio

  • Features: live chat, chatbot, shared inbox, social media and messenger integrations
  • Pricing: from $0/mo
Tidio - best customer service software for live chat and knowledge base

Tidio offers a stylish and minimalistic live chat enhanced by chatbot automations. By installing the tool on your website, you can check who’s currently browsing your website and start a conversation with them. At the same time, the chatbot will help you put some of the lead generation tasks on autopilot.

The pricing varies from $19/mo/operator to $49/mo (3 operators included). There’s also a free version of software for 2 seats with a cut-down version of the tool’s functionality and 100 people you can reach with your chatbot in a month.

Help desk software 

Help desk tools for support have been around since the dawn of customer service. They’re perfect for huge corporations with such a load of email tickets from customers that it’s nearly impossible to manage them effectively. So enterprises are forced to put more complicated processes in action to tackle this overload.

7. Freshdesk

  • Features: ticketing, knowledge base, social media and messenger integrations, live chat, chatbot, call center
  • Pricing: from $0/mo
Freshdesk - best customer service software for ticketing and omnichannel support

Freshdesk has long been considered the main Zendesk competitor in the help desk area. They offer a powerful toolset for email and social media management with a plethora of useful features. This includes robust reports, collision detection, advanced routing system, and the ability to customize virtually anything in your account.

Freshdesk offers ticketing and knowledge base features for $18/mo/agent. There’s also a free stripped-down subscription plan available. It must be noted that Freshdesk is also available as an all-in-one solution for at least $35/mo/agent. The package includes all possible communication channels.

8. Groove

  • Features: shared inbox, knowledge base, live chat, social media and messenger integrations
  • Pricing: from $22/mo/user
Groove - modern shared inbox tool with live chat integration

Groove is an elegant customer service tool crafted for email and live chat communication. The knowledge base feature is also included in the one subscription plan that the company offers and can be integrated into the simplistic and modern chat widget. 

After setting up all the necessary integrations, the Groove inbox will receive all inquiries from social media and messengers as well. Such core help desk features as tags, automation rules, and custom inboxes are at your disposal.

There’s only one subscription plan available, so you can get the entire toolset for $22/mo/user. 

9. Hiver

  • Features: shared inbox, live chat
  • Pricing: from $19/mo/user
Hiver - best customer service software for Gmail inbox

If you only want to provide email support without overcomplicating things with live chat and social media, Hiver may be a perfect customer service tool for organizing it. (Although, Hiver does offer the live chat feature as of recently.)

The most distinctive feature of Hiver as compared to other customer service tools is that it’s Gmail-oriented. Basically, you integrate it with Gmail and run your support from there but using the enhancements the tool offers.

The pricing starts from $19/mo/user for the unlimited number of inboxes and a live chat. More advanced enterprise features like Answer Bot, SLA, and advanced access control cost from $49/mo/user.

Knowledge base tools

If you don’t have time or resources for a full-fledged customer service team, a self-help center or even a short FAQ section can still do wonders. For the most basic version, you wouldn’t even need anything other than WordPress and its knowledge base plugins.

But if you want to take your help center game to the next level, you better choose the best customer support tool for it.

10. Document360

  • Features: knowledge base
  • Pricing: from $0/mo/project
Document360 - best customer service software for enterprise knowledge base

Document360 is the best customer service software for advanced knowledge base management. Name any self-service use case, and the company has got it covered: from a simple knowledge base site to internal portals for employees to in-product assistants for SaaS products.

The vast editing features will help you organize information in the most efficient and neat way. Article templates, backups, and numerous integrations are just the tip of it. And customers will enjoy the sleek design and structure.

The pricing can get messy, though. The most basic ‘Startup’ plan allows only 5 team accounts and 1 knowledge base version at the price of $119/mo/project. And more advanced subscriptions may reach at least $499/mo/project, to say nothing of the additional charges for seats and projects. There’s a free version, though, for 50 articles.

11. Helpjuice

  • Features: knowledge base
  • Pricing: from $120/mo
Helpjuice - expensive customer service software for knowledge base

Helpjuice is probably the most known stand-alone knowledge base tool. They have four subscription plans that range from $120/mo to $499/mo. So, what does Helpjuice offer for such a price? 

Their text editor has all the customization and collaboration features your support team may need. Multiple people can work on the same article, and all changes will be saved. 

The knowledge base reports are very detailed and informative: you can see how many people read your self-help center, which articles perform better, which authors write more helpful content and what your visitors search for in general.

At last, you can choose whether you want your knowledge base to be public and accessible to everybody or private.

12. HelpSite

  • Features: knowledge base
  • Pricing: from $0/mo/team member
Helpsite - free knowledge base software

Don’t get discouraged, though, Knowledge base customer service software doesn’t have to cost a fortune. For instance, HelpSite’s prices start at $14,99/mo, and there’s also a free plan for 25 articles available.

HelpSite’s text editor has all basic customization editing options, but the tool is limited in terms of customization. Your knowledge base will look like a list of clickable FAQs, that’s it. However, you can apply custom CSS and HTML if you subscribe to the $49.99/mo plan. 

All in all, it’s nothing extra, but enough to create a simple self-help site at a low cost.

Call centers

A quick disclaimer first. In the following section, I’m going to list only cloud call center tools. I’m aware that there are also on-premise hardware solutions, but honestly, I don’t have enough expertise in them. And why on earth would you want to choose something so outdated and difficult to maintain?

13. Aircall

  • Features: call center
  • Pricing: from $30/mo/user
Aircall - best customer service software for cloud call center

Aircall helps your team consolidate phone support activities under one elegant dashboard. You can easily monitor how many calls are being made, how many of them are answered (or dropped), and how each member of the team performs. 

Aircall users get access to advanced features like call routing, conferencing and automatic responses that guide callers to the correct member of the team. But the real advantage of Aircall is how easy it is to integrate it with other tools on your stack, from a CRM like HubSpot to Slack.

The basic pricing plan costs $30/mo/user, but be aware that they only specify prices for annual subscriptions on their website. In other news, it seems like Aircall is the only call center tool that reveals its prices without the need to go through a demo with their sales team.

14. Talkdesk

  • Features: call center, knowledge base, omnichannel integrations (chat, email, SMS)
  • Pricing: from $75/mo/user
Talkdesk - best customer service software for call center with omnichannel integrations

TalkDesk is an online customer service tool for a contact center. It helps your team make customer support experience smoother by automatically setting up and recording calls, storing your notes and integrating with your existing ticketing system. 

It also features a set of robust reporting tools that enables you to detect agent statuses in real-time and access historical metrics like wait time, call duration or percentage of inbound calls answered below your target threshold.

15. Five9

  • Features: call center, omnichannel integrations (email, SMS, video, social media, messengers)
  • Pricing: from $149/mo/user
Five9 - call center software with omnichannel integrations

Five9 is another cloud contact center provider that helps your support team optimize their performance. The platform automatically routes customers to agents and predicts demand to help your team operate efficiently.

Customer support agents can take advantage of Five9’s various predictive dialer modes. Users can set up the platform to intelligently fetch customer information for review before the call, automatically dial the next contact when an agent becomes available, and more.

Social media support tools

Social media tools traditionally belong to marketing rather than customer service. But if you don’t have any other channel for customers to get in touch with you, then you should pay particular attention to social media requests and mentions.

Here are some of best customer support software solutions for social media management:

16. Mention

  • Features: social media monitoring
  • Pricing: from $0/mo
Mention - best customer service tool for social media monitoring

Mention is great not only for monitoring and managing your social media accounts, but also for tracking all your brand’s mentions across the web.

You can publish posts on social media and track web mentions on all subscription plans including the free one. The only peculiar thing is that Facebook tracking is only available on the $450/mo ‘Enterprise’ plan. Other than that, the differences between Mention’s subscriptions are mainly about the number of social accounts, mentions and alerts.

17. Buffer

  • Features: social media management
  • Pricing: from $0/mo
Buffer - best customer service software for social media scheduling

Buffer offers at least six subscription plans divided by the number of social channels and scheduled posts. The basic packages are most suitable for social media customer service as it allows you to respond to social conversations across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. However, they only allow a single user to access the dashboard and publish from it. 

The cheapest Essential subscription costs $6/mo/social channel. The free subscription allows you to manage up to 3 channels at no cost.

Customer service software comparison

I suppose reading about 17 customer care tools may feel overwhelming. One may get lost in all the terminology and intricacies.

So we’ve also compiled this short customer support software comparison so that you can make a decision faster. After all, it always comes down to the quality/price ratio, doesn’t it?

Features Pricing starts from G2 rating Best suited for
HelpCrunch Live chat
Chatbot
Knowledge base
Shared inbox
Email marketing
Popups
$15/mo/team member 4.7 / 5.0
(165 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses
Help Scout Live chat
Shared inbox
Knowledge base
$25/mo/user 4.4 / 5.0
(355 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses
Zendesk Ticketing
Live chat
Chatbot
Knowledge base
Call center
Social media & messengers
$25/mo/agent 4.3 / 5.0
(‎4,090 reviews)
Enterprises
LiveChat Live chat $19/mo/seat 4.5 / 5.0
(734 reviews)
Small businesses
Olark Live chat
Chatbot
$29/mo/seat 4.3 / 5.0
(220 reviews)
Small businesses
Tidio Live chat
Chatbot
Shared inbox
Social media & messengers
 $0/mo 4.7 / 5.0
(1,080 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses
Freshdesk Ticketing
Knowledge base
Social media & messengers
Live chat
Chatbot
Call center
$0/mo 4.4 / 5.0
(2,641 reviews)
Enterprises
Groove Shared inbox
Knowledge base
Live chat
Social media & messengers
$22/mo/user 4.7 / 5.0
(2,265 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses
Hiver Shared inbox
Live chat
$19/mo/user 4.6 / 5.0
(712 reviews)
Small businesses
Document360 Knowledge base $0/mo 4.7 / 5.0
(237 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises
Helpjuice Knowledge base from $120/mo 4.1 / 5.0
(7 reviews)
Enterprises
HelpSite Knowledge base $0/mo 5.0 / 5.0
(4 reviews)
Small businesses
Aircall Call center $30/mo/user 4.3 / 5.0
(640 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises
Talkdesk Call center
Knowledge base
Omnichannel integrations
$75/mo/user 4.4 / 5.0
(1,804 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises
Five9 Call center
Omnichannel integrations
$149/mo/user 4.0 / 5.0
(330 reviews)
Enterprises
Mention Social media monitoring $0/mo 4.3 / 5.0
(‎431 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises
Buffer Social media management $0/mo 4.3 / 5.0
(932 reviews)
Small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises, enterprises

What is the top customer service software?

To be completely honest, it’s not really your choice which customer service channel you want to cover. Customers want them all. They will message you via chat, send emails, mention you on their social media profiles, and call you if nothing else works.

That’s why the best customer service platform is the one that covers all these channels and even more. Once you try an all-in-one solution like HelpCrunch, you would never want to turn to numerous disconnected customer care tools again. So, try it!

Read Also

Tools

7 Zendesk Alternatives to Give Your Support a Boost

Sep 26, 2022 13 min read

Zendesk is one of the most widely known help desk tools out there. But it has its flaws, too. Check these 7 Zendesk alternatives that will help you improve your customer support, sales, and marketing.

Ana Khlystova

One comment

  1. Amazing article!! Thanks for sharing the list of the best customer service software. I want to suggest one more software for adding to this list named CXInfinity. Please review it and add it to your list.

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