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Customer service is often the number one competitive advantage that small businesses have over their corporate counterparts. The smaller customer volume and fewer team members mean that they can treat customers as people and provide more customized service than high-volume businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees. But it can be hard to maintain customer satisfaction and manage customers’ experiences with a small customer service team and limited resources. Large companies can throw money at the problem by hiring a larger support team. Small businesses do not have that option, but they can equip their team members with the best tools available to engage their team, make the most of their limited resources, and provide their customers with multi-channel support. There is a wide range of support software options, so we broke down the best in each category.

 

Help Desk Tools

Help desks are your command center for customer service. They are the one-stop-shop for customers to access expert advice and resolve issues that they might have with your products or services. Your help desk should allow customers to file tickets in which your customer support team members can manage, address, and resolve on the same platform. Help desk platforms boast a wide range of features, including live chatting, handling calls and texts, and managing educational resources. They can also integrate with other specialized customer service tools. Some can even help you manage online customer complaints on review sites and social media that can be so damaging to small businesses.

 

Freshdesk

If you’re looking for easy, do-it-all dedicated customer service help desk software, Freshdesk is the one for you. It has powerful reporting and its ticket tracking and management are the best in the business. What makes Freshdesk stand out, though, is its ability to engage your support team. It has a unique gamification system Freshdesk Arcade, which features ticket resolution leaderboards and fully customizable awards systems that let you set goals and rewards for your customer service team. Freshdesk not only makes it easy for customers to get help and for your team members to deliver that help, but it also encourages your support team to go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.

 

Zendesk

Zendesk is the best choice for small businesses looking to not only address customer complaints but manage the entire customer experience. Its help desk platform makes up a quarter of the Zendesk Suite that handles every aspect of the customer experience including campaign marketing, analytics, customer self-service management, and finally the customer service help desk. The help desk is comprehensive enough for any SMB with excellent ticket tracking and integration with live chat, email, social media, telephone, and in-app support. The reporting features are also quite powerful if you are willing to invest in upgrades.

 

Tools to Manage Email Tickets

 

Groove

Groove is a help desk-lite platform that focuses on helping your customer service team manage email tickets and respond to email tickets efficiently. Team members can track and prioritize email tickets and record follow-up. But what makes Groove stand out is its response management system. Your support team can see customers’ communication histories, access a knowledge base of responses to common issues so they don’t have to create new emails for each ticket, and even communicate with the rest of the customer service team to share tasks.

 

TeamSupport

TeamSupport is a great tool to not only manage customers’ email tickets but also create email responses. It allows your customer service team members to create custom web forms that generate email tickets containing the necessary customer information. They can create these forms by simply dragging and dropping the relevant information from a library of common content. It also lets your customer support professionals record troubleshooting videos or screenshots and embed them directly into their emails.

 

Live Chat Tools

 

LiveChat

Communicating with customers in real-time, without the hassle of a phone call, is the future of customer support. And customer satisfaction with live chat is higher than ever before. LiveChat is a great way to add live chat to your multi-channel support without buying whole new help desk software. It keeps the customer support process as simple as possible, allowing your support team to chat with customers and generate tickets based on the chats in one easy-to-use platform. LiveChat also easily integrates with almost 200 leading customer service software platforms, so it will probably play well with your other support software.

 

HappyFox Chat

HappyFox Chat is another simple, dedicated chat management system. However, HappyFox also offers a powerful help desk software platform that seamlessly integrates with their chat support software. So if you are in the market for both help desk and live chat, the HappyFox suite is a serious contender. But if you want to add live chat functionality to your existing help desk software, LiveChat may be a better bet.

 

Internal Resource Management Systems

 

KnowledgeOwl

Creating a common knowledge base for your support team can be just as important to customer satisfaction as a ticket management system or help desk software platform. A knowledgebase allows your team members to easily access the resources they need to answer customer questions and resolve any issues your clients might have. KnowledgeOwl lets your customer service team create internal resources and generate guides and other documents to send to customers to resolve common issues.

 

Whatfix

Just like KnowledgeOwl, Whatfix is a service software platform designed to create a common knowledge base. However, it places even more emphasis on creating internal resources so that you can onboard new team members and make it as easy as possible for your customer service team to resolve tickets: a lifesaver for small businesses with limited resources. It can also be used to create documents for customers to use to fix their issues but is less strong in this area than KnowledgeOwl in exchange for its more comprehensive internal information management system.

 

Call Management System

 

Aircall

Even in the digital age, many customers want to resolve their issues with a phone call. Aircall is a virtual call center that helps connect your customer service team with your clients in real-time, even if they work in different locations. Its features include call routing, a shared voicemail, and international phone call support.

 

Call-Em-All

As you might guess from the name, Call-Em-All isn’t a traditional phone call management system. Instead, it allows your customer service team to generate mass calls and texts which allow you to reach your customers quickly and efficiently to head off any customer support issues. Proactive communication is vital to true customer satisfaction, and Call-Em-All makes it easier than ever.

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Jeremy Pearlman | Jeremy is a New York native enjoying the good life in the Big Easy. In his writing, Jeremy covers a wide-range of topics, but his specialties are personal finance and business leadership.