Top 10 Customer Service Software: A Vendor Selection Guide in '24
Purchasers of complex products demand exceptional customer service. This trend is evident from the fact that quality customer service is mostly demanded by tech buyers, whose buying journey gets complex each day due to the increasing complexity of the products (see Figure 1).
However, managing customer support across multiple channels and keeping up with growing expectations can be a challenge for businesses. To tackle this issue, businesses can turn to customer service management software, which streamlines support operations, improves response times, and enhances customer satisfaction. However, choosing the right solution is challenging since there are:
- Tens of customer service software with different capabilities
- Numerous criteria to be evaluated such as the integrations offered by the solutions or the ease of migration from a business’ existing customer success software
Therefore, we recommend buyers to focus their shortlist on a few solutions and evaluate them in detail. We selected the top 10 customer service software tools based on verifiable and market data to empower businesses with the necessary information to choose the right solution that caters to their specific needs and fosters a positive customer experience.
Figure 1. Product categories where customers expect quality customer service the most
Top 10 customer service software
|Salesforce Service Cloud
|HubSpot Service Hub
*Based on the total number of reviews and average ratings on Capterra, G2, and TrustRadius software review sites as of 10/18/2023.
With Salesforce Service Cloud (sponsored) on the top, the list is sorted by total number of reviews in descending order.
Vendor selection criteria: As there are numerous vendors offering customer service software, we narrowed down our selection of vendors based on the following trusted market data:
- Number of B2B reviews: 1,500+ total reviews on Capterra, G2 and TrustRadius.
- Average rating: Above 4.0/5 on Capterra, G2 and TrustRadius.
5 main components / channels of customer service
Salesforce is the CRM market leader and Salesforce Service Cloud platform designed specifically for customer service and support with AI-driven assistants. Service Cloud enables workflow automation for many branches of customer service by streamlining customer support processes, managing cases, and providing an exceptional customer experience by centralizing customer interactions and data in one unified platform.
Email is one of the most common customer communication channels used by businesses. Email support is an essential aspect of customer service, as it allows customers to reach out with questions, concerns, or feedback at their convenience, and it gives support agents the opportunity to provide detailed and well-structured responses.
Despite the increasing popularization of other communication channels, email is still the number one preference for customers to communicate with their service providers and businesses.
Figure 2. Top 10 preferred channels
Source: Salesforce Research (State of the Connected Customer Report)
2- Call center
Call centers play a critical role in providing customer service, as they offer a direct and personal communication channel between customers and businesses. Some customers prefer phone support for:
- Its immediacy
- The ability to explain complex issues more easily
- The opportunity to interact with a human representative who can empathize with their concerns
While call centers have traditionally focused on phone support, many modern call centers have evolved into contact center software with artificial intelligence (AI) applications, which manage customer interactions across multiple channels, including phone, email, live chat, and social media.
3- Live chat
Live chat is an online communication channel that allows customers to interact with support agents in real-time through a chat interface on a company’s website or mobile app.
However, customers expect to get a response from the customer service agents within minutes. In fact, according to a survey, 66% of customers expect a response within 5 minutes, which is compelling for customer service agents in the context of live chat (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Consumer expectations from the customer service speed
To increase speed while taking the string out of customer service agents, chatbot automation is one of the main trends in the customer service operations. Today, most of the top customer service software tools integrate chatbot support to their clients.
4- Messaging channels
Messaging channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other instant messaging platforms, are important components of customer service. As more people adopt messaging apps for everyday communication, businesses are increasingly using these channels to interact with customers and provide support.
Some advantages of using messaging channels for customer service include:
- Accessibility and convenience
- Real-time communication
- Personalized support
Therefore, customers expect to reach out to companies via these channels.
5- Social media channels
Today, more and more customers are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to:
As a result, social customer service software has become an essential customer service channel for many businesses in enhancing customer relationships. According to a Harvard Business Review article, customers who engaged with customer service through Twitter were significantly more inclined to spend more on a company’s offerings and choose that company over its competitors.1
The advantages of leveraging a customer service software
Leveraging a customer service software offers several advantages that help businesses streamline their support operations and enhance the customer experience. Customer service software enables:
- Centralized management: Customer service software allows businesses to manage all customer interactions across various channels in a single platform, simplifying the support process and ensuring a consistent customer experience.
- Improved efficiency: Features like ticketing systems, automated intelligent routing, and CRM integration enable support agents to work more efficiently, reducing response times and increasing the accuracy of provided solutions.
- Enhanced collaboration: Collaboration tools within the software enable customer service team agents to work together more effectively, sharing information, assigning tasks, and providing internal assistance.
- Personalized support: Customer service software helps support agents access relevant customer data and customer interaction history, allowing them to deliver more personalized and targeted assistance.
- Scalability and customization: Customer service platforms can be customized and scaled to suit the specific needs of businesses of different sizes and industries, ensuring an adaptable and flexible solution.
- Better insights and decision-making: Reporting and analytics features provide valuable insights into customer satisfaction, support agent performance, and emerging trends, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions to improve their customer service operations.
6 capabilities of best customer service software solutions
There are many capabilities of contemporary customer service tools. Most of them share the basic capabilities such as:
- Omnichannel support
- Ticketing system
- Automated intelligent routing
- CRM integration
- Live chat and chatbots
- Reporting and analytics
However, for selecting the best customer service software solution, there are more advanced features deployed by top software providers.
More advanced features include:
1- Conversational AI/Intelligent chatbots
Intelligent chatbots that deploy conversational AI technology are especially promising for customer service as most customers prefer human interactions over bot interactions that can only handle conversations in an automated manner.2
Many leading customer service platforms incorporate advanced AI-powered chatbots that leverage natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to understand and process user inputs more effectively.
These intelligent chatbots can:
- Engage in more natural, human-like interactions with customers, providing accurate and relevant responses.
- Handle a broad range of customer requests, reducing the workload on human support agents and allowing them to focus on more complex or high-priority issues.
- Continuously learn from customer interactions, enhancing their performance and adaptability over time, which contributes to a more efficient and personalized customer service experience.
- Provide instant support, improving response times and customer satisfaction.
- Be integrated with other customer service channels and tools, such as CRM systems and knowledge bases, for a seamless and consistent support experience.
2- Customer feedback & survey tools
Many leading customer service platforms include built-in tools for collecting and managing customer feedback, as well as for creating and distributing surveys to gather valuable insights into customer satisfaction, preferences, and needs.
These customer feedback and survey tools can help businesses:
- Measure customer satisfaction
- Identify trends and patterns
- Improve customer retention
- Enhance the customer experience
- Drive product development
- Benchmark performance
3- Integration capabilities with other apps and software
Integration capabilities with other applications, software, and tools are crucial capabilities of top customer service software. Leading customer service platforms are designed to integrate seamlessly with various business tools and applications to ensure a more streamlined and efficient customer support experience.
Integration capabilities can include:
- CRM systems
- Customer support software
- Knowledge base
- Helpdesk software and ticketing systems
- Marketing and sales tools
- Collaboration tools
- Analytics and reporting tools
- Messaging platforms
4- Multilingual support
Many leading customer service platforms offer support for multiple languages to cater to a diverse global customer base and ensure effective communication across different regions and cultures.
Multilingual support in customer service software can include:
- Interface localization
- Automated translations
- Language-specific knowledge bases
- Language-based routing
- Multilingual chatbots
5- Self-service options
Many leading customer service platforms provide self-service features that enable customers to find answers and resolve issues on their own, reducing the need for direct support from agents.
Self-service options in customer service software can include:
- Knowledge base
- Community forums
- Interactive guides and tutorials
- Personalized customer portals
6- Social media integration
Leading customer service platforms often include features that enable businesses to manage customer interactions across social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, alongside other communication channels like email, live chat, and phone.
Social media integration in customer service software allows businesses to:
- Monitor and respond to customer inquiries, comments, and mentions on social media platforms, ensuring a consistent and timely customer support experience across channels.
- Track and analyze social media engagement metrics, such as likes, shares, and comments, to better understand customer sentiment and preferences.
- Route social media interactions to the appropriate support agents or departments based on factors like inquiry type, agent expertise, and workload.
- Leverage social media as a platform for proactive customer service by sharing updates, announcements, and helpful content.
Other criteria in selecting the best customer service software
7- Free trial
A free trial option can be an important criterion when selecting a customer service software. Offering a free trial allows potential customers to evaluate the software’s features, usability, and compatibility with their business needs before making a financial commitment.
Pricing is, of course, another important criterion while selecting customer service software, as it directly impacts a business’s budget and return on investment (ROI). Businesses should identify their needs and budget while selecting the right customer service software solution.
Top 10 customer service software solutions
According to these criteria, below, we list and compare top 10 customer service software platforms. While selecting these platforms, we focused on their company size, popularity, and ratings on software review platforms. The table below alphabetically lists these software solutions in terms of the features and criteria we explained.
|Customer feedback & survey tools
|App & software integrations
|Self service options
|Social media integration
|Salesforce Service Cloud
|In premium plans
|In premium plans
|€25 per seat/month
|HubSpot Service Hub
|In premium plans
|Free version available
|$150/month (up to 5 seats)
|14 days for 2 seats
|In premium plans
|In premium plans
|In premium plans
For more on customer service software
- Top 4 Zoho Desk Alternatives for Customer Service
- Top 10 Help Desk Software: Reviews, Ratings and Pricing
- Top 5 Intercom Alternatives for Customer Service
- Top 10 Help Desk Software in 2023: A Vendor Selection Guide
To learn more about our vendors:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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