Quick, almost instant responses from customer support teams are critical to engaging today’s busy customers. No one wants to wait for hours to get their issues fixed through emails or wait on hold waiting to talk to customer service for what seems to be an eternity.
Thanks to the internet, though, there are tons of tools that can make answers to customers' inquiries in real time a breeze. Even small businesses with a shoestring budget can invest in those tools without breaking the bank.
We’ll dive into some robust, low-cost (also free) customer support tools that small businesses should consider using in 2023.
You can use these tools to take your customer service to the next level through better website performance, a responsive TikTok marketing campaign, and even a more interactive Instagram profile.
Why is excellent customer support so important?
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, no matter its size. Striving for a quick way to build rapport with them and keep them coming back for more is the most important function a small business should work diligently to master.
Satisfied customers often result in repeat business and can even turn into brand evangelists, promoting your products or services to their own social circles. These are good examples of a brand's sales promotions that focus on bringing customers value.
On the other hand, unhappy customers can quickly spread the word about their terrible post-purchase experiences with your company, doing irreparable damage to your reputation—and your bottom line.
Customer service software helps in team collaboration; it can save time by reducing duplicated work, improving workflows, and keeping track of customer requests so anyone on your team member can step in and handle customer questions.
That’s why it’s essential to do everything in your power to keep your customers happy and engaged.
However, it's almost impossible for your customer support teams to cater to customer needs and demands 24/7 without burning themselves out. That's why SMBs should equip themselves with the right customer service support tools.
The 7 Best Customer Service Support Tools for Small Businesses
Now that we’ve established why customer support is essential for small businesses let's look at some of the best tools to help you deliver an excellent customer experience and inspire customer loyalty. These customer service support tools are robust yet don't make a hole in your pocket.
Zendesk is one of the market's most popular all-in-one customer service support tools. It consolidates all your customer interactions from various channels into a single interface. This makes it easier for you to provide quick and efficient customer support.
It also has a built-in knowledge base to store all your company’s information and documentation. This way, your customer support team can quickly find answers to common questions and problems without having to start from scratch every time. Plans start from just $19 per agent after a free trial.
Freshworks is another great all-in-one customer service tool that consolidates all your customer support channels into a single interface. It also comes with a knowledge base feature– similar to Zendesk.
One of the best things about Freshworks is that it offers a free plan for small businesses with up to 10 agents. This makes it an excellent choice for small businesses on a tight budget.
3. HubSpot Service Hub
HubSpot Service Hub is a customer service toolkit designed to help small businesses deliver an excellent customer experience. It consolidates all your customer interactions from various channels into a single interface and has a built-in knowledge base.
It also has robust ticketing, customer service automation, performance tracking, and reporting features. The best thing about HubSpot Service Hub is that it's a part of the HubSpot CRM, which is free for small businesses.
Intercom is a customer service tool that helps you proactively reach out to your customers through various channels, such as in-app messages, emails, and push notifications. What makes small businesses love Intercom is its ability to segment customers and target them with specific messages.
It also offers a live chat feature to provide assistance in real-time. The best thing about Intercom is that it offers a 14-day free plan for small businesses.
Small businesses often find it difficult to provide excellent customer support when they’re constantly bombarded with questions through various channels. Drift is a customer service tool that helps you proactively reach out to your customers through chatbots.
It also has a built-in live chat feature so you can quickly resolve customer issues across different in real-time. Drift works for various channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and social media.
The Premium Plan is best for small businesses. It provides everything free, including custom chatbots, Drift Intel, encryption, and Drift for Salesforce App.
Groove is a customer service tool that helps you manage all your customer support channels in one place. It also has a knowledge base feature to help you store all your company’s information and documentation.
What makes Groove stand out is its robust reporting and performance tracking features. So, small businesses can easily see which areas need improvement. You can try Groove for free for 30 days. The pricing starts at 12 per user per month.
Customerly is a complete customer service tool that empowers small businesses to always send the right message at the right time.
Awarded as a Noteworthy product by Capterra as the top live chat software in the world.
With Video live chat, help center, proactive chat messages, call center software, and customer satisfaction tools like surveys and NPS, making your customer base satisfied and happy will be easy and affordable with Customerly.
From startups to enterprises, Customerly has plans to help small businesses grow without breaking the bank. Get your free-forever account today, or start a 14-day free trial.
For your recommendation, Francesca, Head of Customer Success at Fatture in Cloud, says “Thanks to the effectiveness of Customerly and our customer success, we increased our ARPU by 39%. Live chat is fantastic because we can immediately answer every visitor interested in our services. To nurture our incoming leads, we use Customerly workflows to deliver automated emails once a week.”
Do’s and Don’ts: Customer Service Support Tools
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best customer service support tools for small businesses, let's review some dos and don’ts to help you make the most out of these tools.
- Use a customer service support tool that consolidates all your customer interactions from various channels into a single interface. This will make it easier for you to provide quick and efficient customer support.
- Use a customer service support tool that comes with a built-in knowledge base. This way, your customer support team can quickly find answers to common questions and problems without having to start from scratch every time.
- Use a customer service support tool that offers a free plan or free trial. Free trials are a great way to test a tool to see if it’s a good fit for your business. This will help you save on costs while still providing excellent customer service.
- Invest in a customer service tool because the hype says so. Not all customer service tools are created equal. Take the time to evaluate your needs and see if the tool you’re considering fits your business.
- Use a customer service support tool without first training your team on how to use it. This will only lead to frustration and wasted time. Make sure everyone on your team is comfortable using the tool before you start using it for customer support.
- Rely too heavily on the tools. Remember that the tools should only be used to supplement your customer service efforts, not replace them.
The Bottom Line
Customer service is essential for any business, but it can be challenging for small businesses to provide excellent customer service on a tight budget.
Luckily, many customer service support tools can help small businesses provide the best possible customer service without breaking the bank.
With the quick guide mentioned above, you now get an insight into some tools that can best serve your needs and how to use them to their fullest potential.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video service. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).