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10 Best Customer Service Software for Small Businesses
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10,000+ teams use Hiver to delight customers!

10 Best Customer Service Software for Small Businesses

Mar 28, 2024
    |    
15 min read
    |    
Hiver HQ
Karishma Sehgal

Table of contents

For small businesses, every customer counts and personal connections drive growth. That’s precisely why choosing the right customer service software has to be a strategic one. 

With the right tool, small businesses can keep track of customer conversations, respond promptly to inquiries, and ensure issues are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. 

Moreover, small businesses often operate with lean teams. This is where a customer service software can help automate repetitive tasks, freeing up valuable time for these teams to focus on more strategic activities that drive business growth. 

In this blog, we delve into ten customer service software options that are well-suited for small businesses. These tools have been selected for their ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and features that can make a real difference in how small businesses interact with their customers.

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Table of Contents

What is customer service software?

Customer service software is a specialized tool designed to assist businesses in managing, organizing, and responding to customer interactions and inquiries. This software serves as a centralized platform where customer communications from various channels, such as email, social media, phone calls, and live chat, are aggregated and tracked. 

It enables businesses to efficiently address customer needs, track the status of customer queries, and maintain a history of customer interactions. The software often includes features like ticketing systems, which assign unique identifiers to each customer inquiry, ensuring that no request is overlooked and enabling a systematic approach to resolution.

Did You Know: According to Hiver’s research report, 72% of customers are likely to switch to a different brand following a negative customer service experience.

8 best customer service software for small businesses

Now let’s look at the top eight customer service software for SMBs:

ToolKey FeaturesPricing
HiverMulti-channel support (email, live chat, voice, WhatsApp),automation, analytics, SLAs, CSAT surveys, email management, knowledge base, 24×7 support.Lite: $15/user/month Pro: $49/user/month
Elite: $79/user/month
FreshdeskMultichannel support, parent-child ticketing, intelligent assignment, customizable features.Free plan;
Growth: $15/user/month
ZendeskEmail and social media support, AI-powered automation, integrations, community forums, knowledge base.Starts at $19/user/month
Help ScoutCustomizable plans, email and chat support, knowledge base, and integrations.Starts at $20/user/month
Zoho DeskMultichannel support, sentiment analysis, workflow automation, knowledge base.Free plan;
Standard: $12/user/month
IntercomLive chat, email support, chatbot customization, integration with tech stack, multichannel support.Starter from $67/month + $19/extra seat
WotNotChatbot automation, no-code bot builder, chatbot analytics, FAQ builder.Custom pricing
HappyFoxMultilingual support, third-party integrations, reporting and analytics.Starts at $29/user/month
ProProfs DeskShared inbox, chatbots, internal collaboration, knowledge base, CSAT surveys, mobile app.Free trial; Monthly: $30/month, Yearly: $20/month

1. Hiver

Hiver is the world’s first multi-channel customer service software built for Google Workspace users. If you are using Gmail for customer communication, there’s no other customer service software better suited for your business. It looks and feels exactly like Gmail, and it’s straightforward and easy to use.

With Hiver, you can provide support through multiple channels like email, live chat, voice, and Whatsapp. Along with this, it also provides you with powerful features like automation, analytics, SLAs, CSAT surveys, and more.

With Hiver, you can leave comments and tag your team members to have contextual conversations right next to the email threads. It’s super easy to collaborate with your team for any support query.

Hiver allows you to serve customers via multiple channels from within Gmail’s familiar interface.

Features you’ll love:

  • Hiver allows you to manage emails and assign them to appropriate team members with ease. Use Conversation ID to locate and identify email conversations effortlessly.
  • Features like live chat, voice call support, and WhatsApp messaging allow you to offer real-time support to your customers.
  • Hiver’s Knowledge Base feature allows you to create and maintain a repository of FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and other helpful articles that empower customers to resolve issues whenever they want without waiting for help.
  • The Hiver Notesfeature lets you add more context while delegating emails and collaborating with team members without using CCs and forwards.
  • CSAT surveyswill help you keep a close tab on customer satisfaction levels and even offer proactive support when needed.
  • You can use automations to simplify tasks and increase efficiency in email management.
  • Initiate and track Approvals for customers, vendors & employees right next to their email conversations. Have complete visibility and close approval requests with multiple stakeholders, all within Gmail.
  • Hiver allows you to track your team’s performance and identify areas of improvement with its robust Analytics.
  • Hiver integrates with some of your favorite apps, so you can manage all internal communication and collaboration efficiently right inside Gmail.

Apart from this rich feature set, you’ll also access priority support. Hiver’s 24×7 support team is always on standby to deliver prompt and effective resolutions to your queries.

Pricing: Hiver offers a 7-day free trial. With three different plans, Hiver’s monthly pricing for a single user starts at $15 for Lite. This is followed by the Pro plan, priced at $49, and the Elite at $79.

See How Hiver Works

2. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is one of the most popular customer support software solutions in the market. It’s known for its simple interface and ease of use. Every member of your support team can keep track of incoming support tickets and their status, and stay in the know about who’s handling which ticket. Freshdesk offers multichannel customer support across communication channels like email, phone, chat, and social media in 26 distinct dialects. It also comes with self-service features like a knowledge base and support forums.

screengrab of freshdesk customer service software UI
Freshdesk’s parent-child ticketing feature lets you split complex customer issues into more minor tickets

Features you’ll love:

  • With its parent-child ticketing feature, you can resolve complex customer issues by splitting them into more minor tickets.
  • Its intelligent ticket assignment feature allows you to assign tickets to service agents based on their current workload or skill.
  • It allows you to curate reports to understand the performance of agents.
  • It comes with many customization features for workflows, customer portals, agent roles, and more.

Pricing: Freshdesk offers a free 21-day trial with all its features. It has a free starter pack for unlimited agents but with limited features. Its Growth plans start at $15 per agent per month.

Learn more: A Freshdesk Alternative that doesn’t force you to leave Gmail

3. Zendesk

Zendesk is a helpdesk that’s preferred and used by many enterprises and small businesses alike. Its basic plan lets you offer customer support via email and social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook. However, if you’re looking to provide support across other channels like phone and chat, you’ll have to opt for its higher-tier paid plans. 

The tool includes easy ticket assignment and tracking features, powerful automation, SLA management, community forums, and a knowledge base.

Zendesk is one of the pioneers in the helpdesk space, but it’s costlier and more complex to set up than other software in its category.

Screengrab of zendesk customer service software UI
Zendesk’s higher-tier plans let you serve customers by phone and chat, apart from email and social media

Features you’ll love:

  • Its AI-powered automation can help you improve your team’s efficiency and provide faster and better customer service.
  • Zendesk integrates well with your existing tech stack and thus enhances the performance of tools you’re already using.
  • The Zendesk for Startups plan provides its users a free 6-month credit. It also offers them access to a community of customer experience leaders and exclusive resources.

Pricing: Startups can get Zendesk for free for six months. For SMBs, the Foundational Support plan starts at $19 per agent per month.

Learn more: What makes Hiver the Best Zendesk Alternative

4. Help Scout

Help Scout is great for growing customer support teams looking to offer email and chat support from a centralized helpdesk platform. It comes with a rich feature set, including capabilities like ticket routing and prioritization, task automation, agent performance reports, collision detection, and response templates, amongst many others. Help Scout even lets you customize your helpdesk, confining it to features your team needs.

Screengrab of Help Scout customer service software UI
Help Scout lets you offer email and chat support from a centralized platform

Features you’ll love:

  • Its plans can be customized to your team’s individual needs.
  • Apart from email and chat support, Help Scout has a knowledge base.
  • Help Scout has several integrations that allow you to use the solution seamlessly with your existing support tools, management tools, and channels.

Pricing: Help Scout offers a free 15-day trial. It has plans starting at $20 per user per month.

Learn more: A better, cost-effective alternative to HelpScout

5. Zoho Desk

Another popular email customer support software for small businesses is Zoho Desk. It comes with basic helpdesk features that help streamline your team’s support processes, along with robust ticket tracking, task automation, and performance reporting functionalities.

Zoho Desk is a preferred customer support solution because it helps you offer your customers multichannel support via email, social media, live chat, web forms, and telephone in multiple languages.

Screengrab of Zoho Desk sentiment analysis UI
Zoho Desk helps you identify the sentiment behind every customer service interaction

Features you’ll love:

  • It gives you deep context into every incoming request based on your previous customer interactions.
  • It helps you identify the sentiment (positive or negative) behind every incoming customer request, so you ask your experienced agents to attend to critical customer cases on priority.
  • It helps you automate workflows, offer multichannel support, and track important support performance metrics. It even comes with a knowledge base feature to let your customers self-serve.

Pricing: Zoho Desk pricing offers a forever free plan with limited features. Its standard plan is priced at $12 per agent per month.

6. Intercom

Intercom is yet another trusted name in the customer service software category. It allows users to offer customer support through live chat, email, and self-service platforms.

The tool is super easy to use, and its guided, interactive product tours make it much simpler for new users to adapt to the software.

One of its most sought-after features according to its reviews is a chat widget that you can install on your website, mobile app, and product. This way, your customers can reach out to you wherever it’s convenient.

Screengrab of intercom custom chat bot UI
Intercom lets you customize your chatbot as per your needs

Features you’ll love:

  • Intercom lets you manage all your customer support interactions from one place.
  • It helps you integrate customer data from your entire tech stack, so you can access up-to-date customer information and personalize every interaction with them.
  • It offers easy ticket management, multichannel support, response templates, automation, performance metrics, a self-service portal, and more.

Pricing: Intercom offers a free 14-day trial. Its Starter plan is priced from $67 per month for one seat and an additional $19 for every extra seat.

7. WotNot

WotNot automates your customer interactions at scale with chatbots. With Wotnot, you solve business challenges such as getting more leads, booking more appointments, and scaling your customer support with cutting-edge chatbots.

Companies use WotNot to provide a personalized support experience to their present as well as prospective customers. Wotnot is available 24/7, and can work effectively in multiple verticals – Real Estate, Insurance, Finance, Healthcare, Automotive, SaaS, and Banking amongst others.

WotNot’s No-code Bot Builder allows you to easily build bots with an intuitive visual builder. You can also manage multiple chatbots for different activities based on the triggers and conditions defined by you. Moreover, WotNot offers a done-for-you service wherein their team of experienced conversation design experts create a conversation flow that matches the needs of your business and regularly optimize this flow.

Screengrab for WotNot chatbot application
WotNot allows you to automate customer interactions with chatbots

Features you’ll love:

  • No-code bot builder enables you to build bots instantly with a simple drag-and-drop interface.
  • Chatbot Analytics for a bird’s eye view of the bot’s performance through KPIs such as top countries, top intents, average conversation time, and more.
  • Ability to proactively reach out to prospects with Outbound Bots.
  • Turn to answer repetitive Q&As into a conversational experience with the FAQ builder.

Pricing: WotNot offers a custom pricing plan for enterprises. The plan involves two primary costs — the license fee and the setup fee. The cost of these varies based on the scope of the project.

8. HappyFox

HappyFox helpdesk has many features like live chat, a customer self-service knowledge base, a ticketing system, and much more. It offers multichannel support and helps you respond to customer queries via email, chat, social media, phone calls, etc.

happyfox customer service software
HappyFox lets you quickly sort customer service tickets by their statuses

Features you’ll love:

  • It supports over 35 languages.
  • It has a multitude of third-party integrations.
  • Its robust reporting and analytics capabilities allow teams to track and measure support performance.

Pricing:Happy Fox encourages users to request a demo before offering access to a trial account. It offers an agent-based pricing plan starting at $29 per agent per month.

9. ProProfs Help Desk

ProProfs Help Desk is indeed a suitable customer service software for small businesses. It provides a range of features to efficiently manage customer inquiries and deliver excellent support. Here’s how ProProfs Help Desk can benefit small businesses:

ProProfs Help Desk
ProProfs Help Desk

Features you’ll love:

  • Shared Inbox: Manage multiple team inboxes, such as support@, info@, returns@, etc., in one place.
  • Chatbots: Leverage ready-to-use chatbot templates to create your own in minutes. Deploy bots for lead generation, appointment bookings, and customer service.
  • Internal Collaboration: Allow agents to join hands to resolve tickets faster. Collaborate using internal notes and see who is working on what to avoid task collisions.
  • Knowledge Base: Create an online knowledge base that holds key answers in the form of FAQs, video tutorials, help articles, and more.
  • CSAT Surveys: Share automated CSAT or NPS surveys with end-users to capture their valuable feedback.
  • Mobile App: Track help desk tickets and offer reliable support on the move with a dedicated mobile app.

Pricing:

Free Trial – 15 Days Free Trial
Monthly Plan – $30 per month
Yearly Plan – $20 per month

10. Customerly

Customerly revolutionizes small business customer service with its AI-driven software, setting new standards in automated support. Leveraging advanced GPT technology, Customerly’s AI chatbots handle customer interactions end-to-end, avoiding the repetitive loops of traditional systems.

Customerly
Customerly

Features you’ll love:

  • GPT-powered chatbots for seamless and intelligent customer interactions, avoiding repetitive loops.
  • An intuitive AI article editor for easy knowledge base management.
  • Quick, AI-enhanced responses boost efficiency and satisfaction.
  • Simple conversion of support interactions into helpful articles.
  • Summarization tools for effective internal communication and issue resolution

Pricing:

Free Trial – 14-day free trial
Essential plan – $7 per month
Startup plan – $39 per month
Pro plan – $82 per month
Enterprise plan – begins at $249 per month

Key Benefits of Customer Service Software

Customer service software offers a range of benefits that can significantly enhance the way businesses interact with and support their customers. Here are some key benefits:

  • Improved Efficiency and Productivity: By automating routine tasks and streamlining customer interactions, customer service software allows support teams to handle inquiries more quickly and effectively. This leads to increased productivity and allows staff to focus on more complex tasks that require a human touch.
  • Deliver Memorable Customer Experiences: These systems often empower teams to provide faster, more consistent responses to customer inquiries. Features like self-service portals and FAQs empower customers to find answers to their questions quickly, improving overall satisfaction.
  • Centralized Communication: Customer service software consolidates communications from various channels (email, social media, phone, etc.) into a single interface. This centralization ensures that nothing gets overlooked and that the customer service team has a unified view of all customer interactions.
  • Data Tracking and Analytics: These tools can track customer interactions and provide valuable analytics, helping businesses understand common issues, customer needs, and areas for improvement. This data can inform business strategies and help in making data-driven decisions.
  • Consistent Service Quality: With predefined templates and automated responses, customer service software helps maintain consistency in the quality of responses provided to customers.

Things to consider while choosing customer service software for your small business

With multiple options available in the market, it’s hard to come to a consensus on how to choose the best customer service software.

Here are few essential factors that small businesses should consider before investing in customer service software:

1. Price of the software

Investing in customer service software is a long-term decision, one that you’d want to get right. But, as a small business, your resources are usually limited, so you must evaluate all your options carefully, including the cost of software development. Given that almost every software offers a free trial, you can try them out and decide what works best and caters to all your business needs, including your budget.

2. Ease of use

Software is meant to make your support team’s job easier, but if it has a complex interface and is difficult to use, it defeats your entire purpose of investing in one. You need a solution that’s agile and easy to navigate. Your team should be able to implement the solution and carry out all essential functions of the helpdesk, efficiently.

Easy-to-use software will help you cut down training costs and save time and energy on onboarding.

3. Scalability / Flexibility

As your business grows, your requirements from your customer support tool are bound to grow too. Good software should be able to scale along with your business in the long run. It should help you keep up with the growing needs of your customers.

If the software is unable to handle the increase in the volume of customer inquiries or is unable to serve your customers where they want, it will not just affect your business but also have a deteriorating effect on your reputation. This is why before you choose a solution, you need to be sure of how well it will be able to serve your requirements over time.

The software should also be flexible enough to be used across various teams (sales, marketing, and customer support, for instance).

4. Your business goals

Every software comes with its own set of features – not all of which might be necessary for your team. You need to pick a solution that caters to your team’s needs and long-term business goals. For instance, if you have a lean support team, you’ll need a solution that can automate repeatable tasks — so that the team can spend less time on manual work and more time on delivering memorable service experiences. 

Ensure your helpdesk software includes all essential features, such as a comprehensive dashboard, an inbuilt ticketing system, live chat support, and efficient reporting. Here are some mistakes to avoid while purchasing customer support software. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about customer service software for small businesses. 

1. Why Do Small Businesses Need Customer Service Software?
Small businesses need a customer service software to efficiently handle customer inquiries, improve response times, and enhance customer satisfaction. It helps in maintaining a high level of service quality with limited resources, contributing to retention and business growth.

2. Can Customer Service Software Integrate with Other Business Tools?
Yes, most customer service software can integrate with other business tools like CRM systems, marketing software, and sales platforms. This integration allows for a more unified approach to customer management and a comprehensive view of customer interactions.

3. Is Customer Service Software Cost-Effective for Small Businesses?
A5: Yes, customer service software is a cost-effective solution for small businesses. It automates many routine tasks, reducing the need for a large customer service team, and improves efficiency, leading to cost savings and better resource allocation.

4. Can Small Businesses Customize Customer Service Software to Fit Their Needs?
Many customer service software solutions offer customization options to fit the specific needs of small businesses. This includes custom workflows, personalized communication templates, and configurable settings to align with the business’s unique processes.

5. How Easy is It to Implement Customer Service Software in a Small Business?

Modern customer service software is designed for easy implementation, with user-friendly interfaces and step-by-step guides. Many providers also offer onboarding assistance to ensure smooth integration into your business processes.

6. How Does Customer Service Software Help Small Businesses Understand Their Customers Better?

By collecting and analyzing customer interaction data, customer service software provides insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and patterns, helping small businesses tailor their services and products more effectively.

Wrapping it up

By now, you know that your choice of customer service software can make or break your company. Choosing the right software, and learning how to integrate it into your business’s customer service strategy, can make all the difference in your organization’s growth and success. 

Remember to take all the necessary factors into account, like your business goals, team size, and expansion plans, before making your decision.

And if you’re on the lookout for a Gmail-based helpdesk, Hiver is the right choice for you. You can schedule a demo with us today!

Karishma is a Content Marketing Specialist at Hiver. With a background in advertising and PR, she's fascinated by stories of how brands are built. In her free time, you'll find her holed up in a quiet corner, making art.

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