Every job has its own tools of the trade. Just like a carpenter has a hammer and nails, customer service teams have their own tools that make them more productive.
Customer service technology has come a long way in the past decade. If you’ve not re-evaluated your own tool stack in the last few years, you might be missing out on an opportunity to improve.
An effective customer support tool stack helps you deliver better customer service because it keeps things organized, helps analyze service quality, and automates manual tasks.
There are six different categories of tools you’ll want to look into:
- Help desk software
- Survey tools
- Knowledge management systems
- Productivity tools
- Quality assurance tools
- Workforce management systems
19 Helpful Tools for Delivering Great Customer Support
Help Desk Software
Help desk software is probably the first piece of software most customer support teams invest in when they need to move beyond using a shared email inbox. It’s the primary place where customer interactions happen, so it ends up being where agents spend most of their time.
This helpful software takes your customer’s messages (whether through email, contact form, chat, or social media) and converts them into “tickets” or “cases” and stores them in a queue. Employees can reply to the customer’s ticket and the history lives in the help desk. Tickets can be prioritized or organized as needed so that nothing falls through the cracks like they might in a shared email inbox.
Along with housing those customer interactions, help desk software can allow you to uncover other insights. For example, you can set up dashboards and reports to understand important customer support metrics such as first reply time, average handle time or even the average number of touches before an issue is solved.
Helpdesk Software to Consider
- Zendesk: A robust helpdesk system that can do almost anything you need it to. It integrates with a number of apps and offers omnichannel customer service ticketing.
- Help Scout: A friendly software that is almost invisible to your customers; it just feels as if you’re emailing them directly! Help Scout’s team offers excellent customer support to help you be successful with their intuitive email and chat support platform.
- Front: A lightweight inbox solution that helps you collaborate with your team on incoming messages. A great step up for companies that need something more than their email inbox.
Surveys such as customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score®️ (NPS®️) are a great way to understand what makes your customers happy. Your help desk software may have a built-in survey feature that can help send out surveys after every resolved customer conversation.
However, if you want to send surveys at other times, or if you want to customize your surveys further, survey software can be a good addition to your tool stack.
Survey Software to Consider:
- SurveyMonkey: If there’s a question that you want to ask your customers, SurveyMonkey can handle it. It’s super customizable for your needs and you can get started for free.
- Nicereply: Created specifically for customer support teams, Nicereply integrates with most help desk software. Start surveying your customers using CSAT, NPS, or Customer Effort Score so you can understand exactly what your customers think of your service.
- Typeform: If design is important to you, Typeform might be the tool you need. Create beautiful interactive surveys that look great across any device. (Get started with their free plan!)
Customer support teams know a lot about the products and services you sell. Keeping all that information in their brains isn’t very helpful. Instead, you should use knowledge management tools to document all the information and then share it with other team members and your customers.
Knowledge management tools include help centers, documentation tools and interactive guides. These tools help you distribute information in a more helpful way.
Knowledge Management Tools to Consider:
- Guru: Guru helps pull together information from across the organization and distribute it to where you need it. It integrates seamlessly with Slack and your help desks so that everyone can access the information they need.
- Stonly: Find new ways to display your information, such as these interactive guides from Stonly. Use them to create scripts and playbooks for your customer-facing teams or documentation for your customers.
- Confluence: Part of the Atlassian family of software, Confluence is a tool where your team can collaborate on documentation. With versioning control and advanced integrations, Confluence is a great tool for more technical teams.
Productivity Tools for Customer Support
Who doesn’t want an extra hour in their day? Customer support teams are always looking for ways to work more efficiently so that customers get helpful replies faster. Productivity tools for customer service can help by automating manual workflows, keeping your team organized and making frequent tasks easier.
In fact, Forbes reports that the average employee could free up to three hours per day by automating processes!
Productivity tools to consider:
- TextExpander: That’s right! TextExpander should be a part of every customer support team’s toolbox. Create snippets and share them across your team to provide faster, more consistent customer support.
- Trello: There are a million different ways to use Trello to keep your team running smoothly. From tracking bug reports to managing projects, Trello is a lightweight (but extremely effective) organizational tool.
- Jing by TechSmith: Customer support agents send screenshots all the time. Jing makes it easy to capture images and videos, annotate them and then save or copy/paste them into customer support tickets.
Quality Assurance Software
Though most of us may think of QA as simply something done for a product, it can also be employed for any other aspect of your business. For example, you can QA customer conversations to make sure you’re delivering consistently excellent customer support.
If you’re small, a spreadsheet might be enough for you to document your QA results. However,
QA tools help manage the conversation review process by automating manual tasks, pulling in conversations to review, analyzing the data and assisting in performance management based on the data.
QA Software to Consider
- Klaus – Klaus integrates with most help desks and eliminates the manual part of your QA process. With automatic notifications to both reviewers and agents, using Klaus will make conversation reviews part of your daily routine.
- MaestroQA – MaestroQA offers robust functionality, customization and reporting for all of your QA needs.
- PlayVox – PlayVox offers QA software as part of a full suite of performance management tools. Managers can use PlayVox to document ongoing training and reviews to level up their customer support team.
Workforce Management Technology
As your team grows, you’ll need tools to help you manage them. From scheduling shifts to keeping detailed HR records, technology can help you keep your employees happy…which keeps your customers happy too!
Workforce Management Tools to Consider:
- 15Five – Designed with remote teams in mind, 15Five is an ongoing performance management tool that helps improve employee engagement through 1:1 templates, surveys and performance recognition tools.
- Lighthouse – One-on-Ones are a crucial part of managing a team. Lighthouse provides an effective tool for managing one-on-ones
- When I Work – If you manage part-time employees or shift work, a good scheduling tool will help make sure you have the coverage you need. When I Work offers easy to use (for both agents and managers) scheduling software that includes time tracking and other helpful back-office tools.
- Toggl – if you don’t need a full scheduling tool but still want to track your team’s hours, Toggl is a light-weight time tracking tool. Turn it on in the background and document where your team’s time is going. It also integrates with other customer support tools (such as Zendesk) so that you can track your time spent in each app or on each customer’s question.
Choose the best customer service technology for your team’s needs
Whether it’s building a house, or delivering customer support, having the right tools for the job is critical. With the right customer service technology, you can provide better support and keep your customers happy.