Customer support plays a huge role in scaling your business especially if you have a digital product. As we all know, things can easily go south with the functionality of digital products which often leads to unsatisfied customers. That’s exactly where customer support steps in.
If you’re thinking about launching a customer support section within your company or you already have one and looking to improve it, then we’re certain you will find these tools and resources extremely useful!
Customer Support Operations
There’s a lot going on in customer support so it’s essential to have proper tools that will handle and manage operations, optimize processes and make sure everything goes smooth but also ensure that your customers are not on the stand-by.
Yep, we’re putting ourselves first, but hear us out — Atarim is the ultimate tool for managing clients and your organization all in one place!
Essentially, web designers and web developers will find the most use out of Atarim, but in general, any type of agency or freelancer can scale their business with Atarim.
With Atarim you will be able to communicate with clients, have email support for your customers, have a super-advanced time tracking and branded reports, incredible in-house management, and a ticketing system, pretty much everything one agency would need to optimize their time for the biggest efficiency.
Get the most out of your organization and start with Atarim now!
Even though it’s not popular as some other software of this sort on the list, Missive is definitely one of the best email clients out there!
If you have a small agency or small team of people working with you, then Missive might be just what you’re looking for when it comes to email clients:
- It’s super simple
- Can be used as a personal email client
- Can be used as team/shared inbox
- You can share your personal email with the rest of the team
- Chat with the team in the email threads
…and many other things!
The Missive is super simple to use, it has some incredible features, it’s reliable and we’re confident you and your team will love it!
Desk by Teamwork is an amazing ticketing system that allows you to easily manage customer queries.
Desk is pretty good when it comes to customization of the ticketing system but also they have an amazing feature of automated responses. Being able to respond to your customer query instantly is definitely something your customers will appreciate very much.
Other features include:
- Time tracking
- Setting priority levels to tickets
- Custom tagging
- Ability to integrate Desk to Teamwork CRM
Their pricing starts at $7 per user per month for the most basic plans.
HubSpot is a very well-known platform in the world of CRM software, and it’s no wonder — they have been on the market for a long time and millions of users use their products.
Their solution for customer support is Service Hub which is one of the multiple solutions they have for various purposes.
Service Hub allows you to:
- Create tickets
- Create knowledge base
- Live chat
- VoIP calling
- Create automated responses
Altogether, Service Hub by HubSpot is a really good software solution if you are looking to launch customer support. Unfortunately, if you want to merge your agency management with customer support, you will have to subscribe to another solution they have in their offer.
The most basic plan starts at $45 per month and the minimal user count is 2.
Similar to HubSpot, Zendesk has multiple solutions including customer support software where they offer various features if you’re looking to open a customer support department in your company.
Zendesk for Service is a very good CRM that offers a variety of features like:
- Building an integrated help center and community forum
- AI charged bots for better customer experience
- Simplified agent workspace
- Create a unified view of the customer
- Multiple integration options
Zendesk for Service has a free trial and their most basic plan starts at $19 per agent per month.
Chat support is something many customers love the most — many feel uncomfortable talking on the phone + that costs money, email is too slow, so chat support is the primary choice of many.
LiveChat is the customer service platform that focuses solely on providing chat support for the customers.
You can integrate it with over 200 different tools and there’s a lot of features like:
- Message sneak-peak where you can see what your customers are typing before they send you the message
- Chat tags
- Routing rules
- Ability to manually or automatically assign a chat to the agent
- Chat and support customer feedback
And many others.
LiveChat is definitely a great option if you’re looking to start much faster customer service. Their pricing starts at $19 per agent per month.
Just like LiveChat, Olark is a chat-based customer support software, where you can provide your customers with ultra-fast support.
Olark has been on the market for over a decade and they have thousands of satisfied customers as their pricing plans are pretty generous.
Also, they have a lot of features that will power the quality of your customer support. Some of them are:
- Design custom chat boxes to match your brand design
- Automate messages
- Chat reports in real-time to monitor chat volume, customer satisfaction, and agent activity
- Improve the quality of customer support by having an insight into transcripts
- Manage a larger chat team
In difference to LiveChat, Olark offers a lot more for the money you’re paying like unlimited chat history without a time limit, full chat widget customization, pre-chat survey, and many other things, while LiveChat offers 60-day chat history, basic chat widget customization, and limited pre-chat surveys.
Olark’s most basic plan starts at $29 per month per agent and you get access to all their features. They also offer a free trial.
The most simple chat support out there is definitely Live Agent and since 2006 they successfully managed to remain on the top of chat support softwares.
Even though it’s a very simple software to use, Live Agent offers a variety of features just like its competitors and the ones worth mentioning are:
- Built-in CRM
- Automatic chat routing
- Cloud phone support with unlimited call recordings
- Create custom rules and automations
- Create Business Hours and SLA
Live Agent pricing plans are simple and for the Ticket+Chat plan, you will have to pay $29 per agent per month.
Email support is one of the oldest types of customer support and it’s used to this day. However, thousands of different email clients, email service providers and various platforms made the email support unnecessarily complicated.
That’s where the Hiver comes in — the world’s first Gmail-based email helpdesk.
Built specifically for Google Workspace, Hiver allows you to access, assign and track emails coming to your shared customer service account.
Some of the features include:
- Email delegations, tags, and notes
- Collision alerts
- Various email templates
- SLA and business hours setup
…and many more!
Hiver is a great choice if you want to stick to Google Workspace, and their most basic plan starts at $12 per user per month.
HelpScout is a very popular CRM that offers a variety of customer support-related features, and in difference to other solutions like Zendesk and HubSpot, HelpScout is the all-in-one platform.
Their systems are not stacked with unnecessary features, and they are focused solely on providing you with simple-to-use tools so you can focus on your customers right away.
Some of the features include:
- Shared inbox
- Knowledge base
- Messages and live chat
- Real-time reporting
- Hundreds of integration options
Unfortunately, HelpScout doesn’t have the system that you can use along with a customer support platform to manage your agency internally, which is something our customers love when using Atarim.
HelpScout most basic pricing starts at $20 per user per month and they have a free trial.
Front is a very versatile CRM with a lot of different solutions, but they are primarily focused on scaling your customer support with their core product.
Front fits small teams but also enterprise-size businesses, so regardless of where is your company with customer support service, Front will likely have a solution for you.
Various features will allow you to optimize your workflow, but in general, Front has slightly more limited features compared to the others on the list:
- Assigning and handling emails
- Various integrations including CRM and voice support
- Build custom rules
- Automation and reporting
- Streamlining administration with centralized controls
Front pricing plan starts at $19 per month per user, but you need to have a minimum of 3 users and the features you’re getting for that plan are very limited.
What kind of support you’d be if you weren’t able to provide support live and directly to the customer? Or to be more precise, on the customer’s computer?
TeamViewer is definitely one of the most famous solutions for remote access and remote control companies in the world, and their impact on the customer support industry was huge.
Of course, TeamViewer can be used for various things, but when it comes to customer support, being able to control customer’s computer and resolve the issue while on the call, without customer doing steps you’re telling them… Now that’s support!
However, the downside of TeamViewer is that their solution is not the easiest to understand which is understandable as TeamViewer is involved in dozens of different industries and they’re doing their best to keep the products lean.
Another potential downside of having a TeamViewer is that calls will probably last longer than they should, the efficiency of the agent may decrease as they won’t be just focused on solving the problem but also keeping a customer engaged.
That’s the reason why here at Atarim we have a feedback tool that automatically captures screenshots and shares screen resolution information so it essentially replaces the need for staying on long calls and spending extra hours taking care of something that was supposed to be taken care of in a much shorter period of time.
If you decide you want to offer TeamViewer to your customers, bear in mind that you just might need to hire more people, as there are many things that can go south in the IT world, and many of them cannot be solved live.
Windows Quick Assist
Alternative to TeamViewer is Windows Quick Assist.
If your customers are using Windows 10, you can enable Windows Quick Assist and control their computers remotely.
Back in the day of Windows XP and Windows 7, remote desktops gained huge popularity, but third-party apps had to be installed.
Now, Microsoft took care of that, so all it takes for you and your customers to install Windows Quick Assist in Windows 10 App Store and use the code customer gives you.
Internal Communication and Project Management
Customer support is all about providing top-quality service to your customers, and in order to do that, your internal project management system and communication need to be right on spot. In order to make things as smooth as possible and get the most out of your team, consider getting some of these tools
It’s not that we’re putting ourselves first on every segment but this is exactly what we’re all about — internal communication and project management.
We firmly believe that by optimizing your processes and having better communication with your team, your efficiency (and the results in the end) will drastically improve.
What makes Atarim so special among others is that it’s ultimately an all-in-one tool where you don’t need to use multiple tools for task tracking, project management, communication internally, communication with the team, time tracking, and many other things — Atarim has it all.
We have numerous customers who found Atarim to be a key solution for executing and completing projects way before deadlines as Atarim helped them with optimizing their entire workflow in one single software.
We’re confident that we can optimize your agency to reach its maximum potential, so get started with Atarim now!
One of the most popular software remote companies today use for internal communication is definitely Slack.
In 2021 Slack was sold to Salesforce for a whopping $27.7 billion dollars, but its functionality nor pretty much anything else hasn’t changed — it’s still a very cool internal communication software, it’s good for developers as codes and files can be sent with separate formatting, it integrates with hundreds of different software and you can install a ton of apps to optimize your communication.
Using Slack for project management isn’t something we’d recommend, but if you are looking for a separate tool for internal communication, rest assured that Slack’s Giphy integration will bring lots of laugh to your team!
Slack has a free plan with limited chat history and limited integrations, but the most basic plan starts at $7 per person per month.
Teamwork is a huge CRM that has multiple solutions that you can choose from depending on your needs.
In general, they provide you with the ability to support your customers, but also to manage your team.
Some of the features include:
- Basic and advanced project management plans
- 16 different integrations
- Custom domain with SSL for improved security and support
- Phone, live chat & email support
- Account management
Most of the features are in the bigger pricing plans, but the most basic pricing plan starts at $12.5 per month per user. Teamwork also has a free version.
If you didn’t know about Zoom before 2020, it doesn’t really matter, because you most certainly know what Zoom is thanks to pandemics.
Zoom is the ultimate cloud-based video communication app that allows you to set up online video calls, conferences, meetings, and even lecture students.
During a pandemic, most businesses were forced to switch to video meetings, and schools were forced to hold classes online. Since Skype never actually lived the glory as the best video communication software, in the sea of unreliable video communication apps, Zoom proved to be up to the task, becoming the leading video communication app in the world.
Zoom allows you to integrate with multiple apps, and their free plan is more than enough for most people.
However, if you’re running a bigger size organization and plan to use Zoom in your customer support department, the most basic plan starts at $13.99 per month per user.
Community Groups & Support Forum Solutions
Building a forum or community group around your product may be the best customer support you will ever have because many customers will try to troubleshoot the problem themselves before reaching out to you. Here are some really good support forum solutions.
bbPress is a forum plugin for WordPress websites.
Among all support forum softwares out there, it’s fair to say that bbPress is the simplest one.
Sure it doesn’t have the features like the others on the market but in general, it has everything you need to start the forum.
The best thing about it? It’s completely free!
Discourse is a great open-source solution you can integrate with your existing website or CMS platform.
Traditional forum style is something everyone can easily understand and that’s what Discourse looks like. Every forum should have proper moderators but when it comes to Discourse there’s a special user ranking system that provides experienced members with some moderation capabilities.
So basically, there’s an option for your forum to be self-moderated which is not a bad idea at all, especially if you have very engaging customers.
Discourse has a free trial, and the most basic plan starts at $100 per month.
If you’re looking to grow your support forum sky high and have thousands of active users, Vanilla Forums might be what you’re looking for as it doesn’t only support open-source self-hosted solutions but also a cloud-based premium version.
With it, you can create forums, multi-forums, knowledge bases, Q&A sections, and much more
Besides various forum and community solutions, Vanilla Forums offers help-desk solutions if you want to have a unified customer support tool, which is really a great option.
For pricing plans, you will have to reach out to their sales team.
Customer Support Resources & Further Reading
Besides the tools mentioned above, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you launch your customer support department and get the most out of it, so in this section, we’re going to mention a few we found to be extremely useful.
Full Customer Support Guide
Zapier is a well know automation tool and frankly, if anyone knows automation then it’s Zapier.
They made a completely free guide to customer support and how to get the most out of it. It consists of 12 sections, where they cover the in-depth entire process from launching customer support to managing a successful one.
You can check it out here.
Customer Support Handbook
Sarah Hatter and her “CoSupport” team made an incredible handbook with a mission to help you create the ultimate customer experience for your brand.
Book is completely free on Kindle, and you can learn a lot from it, as it describes multiple successful businesses and how they failed or succeeded in customer support.
Check out Sarah’s book here.
Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless
A book by Jeffrey Gitomer, a nationally syndicated columnist, and sales trainer shows you how to convert satisfied customers into loyal customers.
It’s true — good customer support is more than capable of getting you a ton of upsales and leveraging your business to a whole new level, and that’s exactly what this book will help you with.
Book is $9,99 on Kindle and $13 paperback.
You can check it out here.
Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It
Jill Griffin is Vice Chair for Luby’s/Fuddruckers Restaurants and an internationally-published Harvard “Working Knowledge” author.
The book speaks a lot about customer loyalty and how you can transform your customers to become loyal and keep them for a very long time.
You can check out the book here.
Strategic Customer Service
John A. Goodman managed more than 1000 separate customer service studies including TARP’s White House sponsored evaluation of complaint handling practices, which makes him one of the most competent people in the world when it comes to customer support.
In his book Strategic Customer Service, he will teach you how to manage customer experience to increase positive word of mouth, build loyalty and maximize your profits.
Overall, if you’re launching customer support, this is a must-read!
You can check out the book here.
If books and long guides are not your thing, here are a couple of very good reads:
- How to Build Customer Support Team by Geckoboard
- How To Set Up A Stellar Customer Service Strategy Before A New Product Launch by FreshDesk
- Customer Service 101: The Ultimate Guide by HubSpot
- How To Plan Customer Support Needs For Product Launches by ModSquad
- How to Build a Winning Customer Support Team: 7 Tried-and-Tested Ways