Customers are the lifeblood that keeps the heart of a business running. They’re the fuel that gets the engine of any entrepreneurial endeavor burning. The list goes on, but the bottom line is customers allow your company to thrive. As such, customer support is essential—and that’s never a cliche.
With adequate customer support, you ensure repeat transactions, given how you satisfy the expectations of those who do business with you. According to Oberlo, 83% of consumers indicate that a favorable customer service interaction boosts the likelihood of them becoming repeat customers.
Conversely, inadequate support discourages customers from transacting with your business again. The worst-case scenario is they speak openly and negatively about your brand, affecting how others perceive your organization.
To prevent the latter scenario, ramp up customer support. Reliable tools exist at your disposal. They fall into four main categories:
- Live chat support tools
- Help desk ticketing tools
- Social media monitoring tools
- Knowledge base tools
16 Best Customer Support Tools for Small Business
In 2023, here are the top customer support tools for small businesses, encompassing live chat, help desk ticketing, social media monitoring, and knowledge base solutions.
Best Live Chat Support Tools in 2023
For a customer, it’s pretty frustrating to encounter a business entity that makes it virtually impossible for feedback to be processed in real-time. This is most true when you have a pressing concern, such as a delivery issue that cannot wait another hour. To avoid scenarios of customers growing increasingly irate with your inaccessibility, get a live chat support tool, such as one of the following.
This software is compatible with Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It boasts support-focused features, including a chatbot and help desk. The chat console looks sleek and modern. To incorporate the chatbot into your website, all you need is LiveChat’s WordPress plugin. The process is easy and won’t require tech support.
If you’re looking for a live chat support tool with comprehensive features, this might be right up your alley. It packs chat, social, talk, and help center functions. Compatible with Web, Android, and iOS, Zendesk has been around for more than 15 years. This longevity speaks of how the software has consistently delivered what users expect.
Related: Zendesk Alternatives and Competitors
This free live chat software offers noteworthy features such as unlimited users, chat whisper, automated triggers, and even a knowledge base. You’ll have to pay a reasonable amount for more advanced features. For example, it will cut you back $29/month for video + voice + screen-sharing functions. However, those features might not be essential if you need only a chat support system.
Compatible with Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, this chat support tool’s main advantage is the ease of tracking customer satisfaction. You get automated feedback via customizable surveys.
There’s also the AI-enabled sentiment analysis function, which allows you to track and gauge chat conversations in terms of whether they are negative or positive. The insights you gain from these features can help you recalibrate how to approach customer interactions.
Popular Help Desk Ticketing Tools in 2023
A help desk ticketing system allows you to consolidate all customer concerns. This tool enables your team to troubleshoot problems promptly while eliminating the risk of missed issues or tickets. As a result, you keep everyone happy. Here are help desk ticketing tools to choose from.
1. Help Scout
Do not get misled into thinking that Help Scout is merely a help desk ticketing tool because of its inclusion here. It’s more than that, with live chat, workflow, and even reporting functions, among other features.
However, its ticketing compatibility remains one of its core offers, thanks to a seamless and consolidated inbox where your team can collaborate in processing customer concerns.
2. Zoho Desk
If your team already uses other Zoho products, such as Zoho Books and CRM, this will be a clever inclusion into your business arsenal. Up to three agents can use this software for free at the same time. They can receive and send messages from and to multiple channels using a consolidated inbox. That makes it easy to track customer tickets and their progress.
Also Read: SaaS Customer Success Best Practices Guide
This tool is most suitable for teams focusing on customer support via email correspondence. Despite that limitation, Front proves a worthy ally for team collaboration on customer concerns and feedback. With Front, claimed tickets remain accessible to the rest of the team, making progress tracking transparent. Agents can also help each other out in troubleshooting complex issues.
This is the preferred help desk ticketing system by call-center-focused teams. Being AI-driven, Freshdesk enables customer support automation and streamlining. You can mine Freshdesk’s AI named Freddy to troubleshoot customer concerns not just in a speedy fashion but with utmost accuracy too. The tool also allows collaborative ticketing for complicated service requests that require more than one agent.
Best Social Media Monitoring Tools
Nowadays, social media engagement is integral to customer support. Depending on your target market, you should zero in on specific platforms that let you reach out to your target market or audience more conveniently. Crucial to that effort is the use of social media monitoring tools, such as the following.
This monitoring tool allows you to centralize insights you glean from your social media activities, from site data to sales journey. The widget-filled dashboards make Cyfe user-friendly, so data perusal is easy. You can also customize a dashboard based on brand priorities. Either way, you’re treated to a visually dynamic presentation without sacrificing accuracy.
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This monitoring tool is best for medium-sized brands and suits middleweight analysis of daily social media activities. With Brand24, you’re free to track mentions, which cue you into how much your target market engages with your business. You can also run keyword searches across channels to determine what your target audiences are thinking about in real-time.
If you want to eavesdrop on the thoughts of your target market, Mention can be your ally. This social media monitoring tool boasts a streamlined design and user-friendly features. Its Pulse Alerts feature will notify you when there’s a surge in brand mentions, which you can maximize to calibrate customer engagement.
4. Digimind Social
This is not meant for a holistic social media analysis per se. What it does is track brand reputation. So, if that’s on your list of top priorities, you might want to give Digimind Social a try. This tool will help you assess the real-time sentiment shared by your audience about your brand. That insight can then help you spot growth opportunities.
Best Knowledge Base Tools (Free Included)
Knowledge-based software allows you to consolidate information about your products and services and make them accessible to your agents and even your customers. This way, your target market gains agency on how they interact with your brand.
Furthermore, with the right knowledge base tool, you might just empower customers to find the answers to whatever queries they might have about your offers. That limits the need for human resources in customer support. Here are knowledge-based systems to explore.
1. Wix Answers
This knowledge base tool derives inspiration from Wix, designed to empower small brands to create websites. With Wix Answers, you can consolidate pertinent information about your brand for easy market dissemination. Subscriptions start at $19 per user/month.
This tool offers invaluable features, from AI-powered searches to crowd-sourced FAQs. With Bloomfire’s efficient consolidation of relevant brand data, your support agents will find it easy to troubleshoot whatever customer concerns they might encounter.
Moreover, this software draws inspiration from social media platforms. It allows users to interact with posts via sharing, liking, commenting, and following. Here, you’re shooting two birds with one stone: doing customer support and encouraging social media engagement at the same time.
A knowledge base tool that’s both employee and customer-facing, Document360 approaches customer support from all angles. The tool’s most noteworthy features include real-time search, file manager, version control, and top-notch categorization.
It also doesn’t hurt that the software’s interface is not intimidating, allowing a seamless user experience. Subscription is project-based, ranging between $99 and $299.
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This knowledge-based tool will consolidate your brand’s data storage points for improved accessibility. You can integrate Slab with other software such as Slack, GitHub, and Google Docs. While it’s more of an internal knowledge base tool, you can still employ Slab to reinforce your customer support efforts.
No matter the nature of your business, it requires reliable customer support. This necessity becomes even more necessary if yours is an e-commerce business where transactions are done entirely online.
Given the stiff competition among online businesses, one way to give your brand a competitive edge is to level up e-commerce customer service. Remember that it’s easier for a digital shopper to transact with another brand than to go through the trouble of doing business with someone who is not making the process easy for them. After all, their choices are aplenty.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of customer support tools you can try. As there’s an embarrassment of riches here, it’s crucial to narrow down your choices expertly. In that regard, rely on three barometers of success: ease of use, effectiveness, and return on investment. Consider the tools that click all these boxes for keeps.