Customer Success

Top 7 Free Customer Support software of 2023

Your product misses a key ingredient without proper customer support. Here are 7 free customer support software tools this year.

Introduction

Customer support is crucial for any business to succeed. Forty percent of companies lose their customers to poor customer service delivery.

When your customers are well attended to and taken care of, their needs for your product or service are met, and they might even recommend your products/service to other potential customers. You want this to achieve market relevancy longer than your competitors. 

However, ensuring customer satisfaction does not come cheap, and the cost of providing relevant customer support can be high. Luckily, so much free customer support software can help any business save money while still providing remarkable customer service. 

This article will explore some of the best free customer support software and discuss why they are an excellent business option.

Let's get to it. But first...

What is customer support?

Now because customer support can happen and the customer can still feel “unsupported” or even left off worse and confused than before they placed the call or reached out, we'll give the definition of customer support or at least what it should be in actual practice.

Customer support is a team of people carrying out a string of actions designed to help your customers find ease in using your product, answer their questions and provide clarity without burning through their time. 

Customer support must be all of these things in other to assist your customers:

  1. Responsive
  2. Relevant 
  3. Empathetic
  4. Timely
  5. Available where your customers are

All of these activities can be highly time-consuming and beyond average human capacity to execute daily, depending on the company's customer base and size, so there's a need for tools and software to help human efforts deliver exceptional customer service.

Customer support software is the tool you will use to collect, analyze, manage customer requests and communicate with your customers better.

Types of customer support

There are different types of customer support; each type's relevancy depends on your industry or niche. 

Here are some of the most common types of customer support

  1. Phone and email support.
  2. Walk-in support.
  3. Live Chat support
  4. Self-service support.
  5. Communities and forums.

From the options listed above, one can see how each type would apply in different case scenarios. For example, A product getting damaged during its warranty cover period can quickly be returned physically in-store if the customer bought it from a store. The approach, however, would be different when a customer is trying to learn how to use software,  email or phone call support or using communities and forums might be the best support style to help a customer in this scenario. 

However, Support types can be modified, as there can be different case scenarios. Hence, it’s not a one size fits all situation but more of using one's discretion which is why training your customer support agents is essential.

Features of customer support software

When looking to choose a customer support software, here are some features you should prioritize : 

  1. Ticketing system: Tickets help you assign and better manage customer complaints, questions, and conversations in one place.
  2. Self-service and live communication options: Not every problem requires talking to a customer support agent; surprisingly, most customers would love to solve it without needing to. 78% of customers preferred using self-service portals to solve their issues, compared to 44% who preferred using phones. So you want to ensure there’s a self-service portal option, as well as live chatbots, phone, and video features.
  3. Reports and analytics: This would help you measure customer satisfaction levels, see your customer history and track customer behaviors, so you know exactly how well you are doing.
  4. Integration with other tools: You want a tool that makes it easy to work with the other software you use for continuity purposes.
  5. Customization: Check that there are options to make changes and customizations that fit your processes and procedures. You should be able to assign roles, manage ticket statuses, and even set deadlines in a good customer support tool.

7 Free customer support tools for businesses that want to wow their customers.

  1. Scribe
  2. HelpScout
  3. Zendesk
  4. Livechat
  5. Fresh desk 
  6. Zoho Desk
  7. Hubspot Service Hub

We will discuss seven (7) different software that can help teams achieve better customer relationship management, highlighting their features, pricing, Pros, and Cons to help you find one that fits your business goals.

1. Scribe

G2 Rating: 4.9 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
Scribe Pricing: 

  • Free plan
  • Pro plan: $29 per month 
  • Enterprise & self-serve enterprise plan: Customizable

Scribe Overview:

While Scribe is a relatively new tool to the market, it’s exceptional for process documentation. It can help simplify customer service processes, improve team performance, and, consequently, your customer satisfaction levels.

To use Scribe, you need to install the chrome extension on your computer, and you will be able to screen record a process and instantly generate a text and picture-based guide or step-by-step tutorial for your team.

Scribe's core strength is in helping you create an infinite knowledge base using a variety of media types. Businesses can make a large amount of information available to both their customer support teams and customers 

Yes, think of how many customer tickets could be resolved by creating a knowledge base of solutions and how-to guides beforehand. Customer support agents can watch a scribe on your knowledge base hub and get started with a new tool.

This is not to say Scribe replaces a customer support tool. Still, it provides an option for the proper education of your employees, say you introduce a new customer support tool or even need to create a resource on existing tools. 

Some of these tools can be difficult to set up on the first try and require so much money to be spent on training sessions; rather than that, you can use a scribe for free to show your employees how to utilize a tool and customize it for your business. Now, this Scribe would exist for as long as you never click on the delete button, and you can share it with as many people as many times as you like.

See how a Scribe works in action:

You can also link Scribes together to create a series of tutorials with Scribe Pages.

Pages are larger process documents that let you combine Scribes with videos and images, so you can build stronger SOPs, work instructions, training manuals and so much more.

Some other great features of Scribe include:

2. Helpscout 

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
HelpScout Pricing: 

  • Free trial
  • Standard: $20 per user per month
  • Plus plan: $40 per user per month
  • Pro plan: $65 per user per month

HelpScout Overview:

Helpscout is an all-in-one multichannel platform designed to be like a simple messaging app between businesses and their customers. It's intuitive to use, and agents can easily set up and get to work without needing additional training manuals.

Help Scout aids teamwork and communication. You can assign a ticket to various team members while keeping track of the pace of things and how fast they get resolved. You'll also be able to determine your customer satisfaction levels better.

Another highlight feature is its chat box feature. Once you’ve installed it on your website, customers can easily log an issue or even explore self-service options.  It is also compliant with industry regulations, so you can use it across a range of industries plus seamlessly integrate with over 40+ tools like Hubspot, Slack, Salesforce, Zendesk, etc. 

Other features to know about include:

  • Email and CRM integration.
  • Knowledge base.
  • Reports and Analytics.
  • Available on mobile (Android and IOS devices.
  • SSL certification.
  • Alerts and escalation.

While Help Scout is an excellent choice for startups and small to mid-scale businesses, it's not ideal for enterprises as needed, so if you want more features and better integrations, you may need to check out other solutions.

3. Zendesk

G2 Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Zendesk Pricing:

  • Free trial
  • $19 per month for support only 
  • $49 per month for suite team
  • $79 per month for suite growth
  • $99 per month for suite pro

Zendesk Overview:

Zendesk is a robust cloud-based omnichannel customer support management tool. Its multichannel feature provides agent support by email, social media, voice, and mobile phone so that you can cover customer issues on any platform. 

Zendesk offers robust collaboration features for team members to quickly resolve issues and customer requests, organize tickets to be viewed by others of importance, track their progress, receive notifications when their tickets are updated, and monitor customer satisfaction.

To improve communication and give customers personalized support, Zendesk offers its users a live chat tool plus multilingual options, allowing customers to quickly find answers to their questions without contacting customer service.

Other features available on Zendesk include: 

  • Advanced analytics and reporting.
  • Customer feedback surveys.
  • Community-based forum and a knowledge base portal of frequently. asked questions plus resources. 
  • Integration with over 100+ 3rd party apps, such as Salesforce and Help Scout.

Zendesk might be expensive for a small-scale business to choose from as some of the advanced features come in the paid version, but an excellent choice for enterprises.

4. LiveAgent

G2 Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
LiveAgent Pricing:

  • 14-day free trial
  • LiveAgent’s pricing is based on how many agents and features you get so contact the team

LiveAgent Overview:

LiveAgent is another customer support desk tool that is helping businesses build better relationships with their customers. This tool was made for modern teams across different departments. With LiveAgent, you can manage all customer complaints and tickets in one place and allow customers to chat with customer service representatives in real-time.

The software’s design interface is simple and easy to learn. LiveAgent also offers built-in CRMs, voice and video calls, and a live chat widget that can answer customer questions automatically and help your team manage many requests faster.

LiveAgent pricing system is ideal for small and large organizations but could use more integrations to enhance its usability. Some users have also complained of difficulties setting the tool up, but their customer support is responsive, and you should be fine.

Other Features of LiveAgent are:

  • Workflow automation and customization.
  • Knowledge base.
  • Third-party integration. 
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Activity tracking and analysis.
  • Self-service.

5. Freshdesk

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating:4.5 out of 5.0
FreshDesk Pricing:

  • Free: $0 with unlimited agents
  • Growth: $18 per agent per month 
  • Enterprise: $83 per agent per month 
  • Advanced pricing based on team needs and size 

FreshDesk Overview:

Freshdesk is a simple yet comprehensive customer service tool that caters to over 50,000 businesses to help them increase customer engagement retention and manage customers as they grow. 

This tool also has a fully optimized ticketing system, submitted tickets can be tracked, and customers receive notifications when their tickets are updated. You can stay organized and ensure those customer inquiries are responded to promptly.

Freshdesk also comes with most of the features necessary for a customer support platform, such as multi-channel support, customizable dashboards to manage client tickets and track team performance, customer feedback surveys, and a chatbot to answer customer questions and provide self-service choices. Asides from its Integration with other tools like Freshsales, Slack, and Hubspot, amongst others, Freshdesk is better designed for team collaborations.

 A downside to Freshdesk might be that the onboarding process can be overwhelming and tiring, especially if you need to use the product instantly. It’s also more expensive compared to another alternative with similar features.

Other features available on Freshdesk are:

  • Productivity hacks (tags, Canned responses, automatic email responses).
  • Support Channels.
  • You can set deadlines to track employee performance and increase team productivity.
  • Multilingual option with Over 40 languages available.
  • Data security and supports Service Level agreements (SLAs).
  • Reports and Analytics (View ticket trends, recent activities, gamification, community forums, customer satisfaction, and other metrics).

6. Zoho Desk

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
Zoho Desk Pricing: 

  • Free Plan
  • Standard starts at $12 per user per month
  • Professional starts at $20 
  • Enterprise starts at $35

ZohoDesk Overview:

Zoho Desk is another great customer support software perfect for businesses on a budget. It is easy to use and provides users with the functionality needed to manage customer interactions and requests better. Its intuitive build allows for seamless customizations to match your brand aesthetic while you continue conversations with customers across different platforms, from email, and phone, to chat and social media.

One of Zoho’s most impressive features is its self-service choice; you can see a customer's history, making follow-ups and personalized responses easier to achieve even if a new agent handles the issue. Tickets can be arranged based on priority, due time, and activity status.

ZohoDesk is also a great choice if you already use other Zoho Products.

Other features on ZohoDesk include: 

  • Third-party integration with standard CRM tools and social media, amongst others.
  • Report and analytics.
  • Powerful automation capabilities 
  • Easy migration from previous software to Zoho.
  • Ticket alerts system.
  • SLA management.

7. Hubspot Service Hub 

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating:4.4 out of 5.0
Hubspot Pricing: 

  • Free plan 
  • Starter: $45 per month
  • Professional: $360 per agent, per month
  • Enterprise: $1,200 per month

Hubspot Service Hub Overview

Hubspot is one of the most popular CRM tools and prides itself on being customer-focused. 

Hubspot helps you support your customers with anything marketing, sales, and customer support, all in one place. Suppose you are a business that loves to use one tool to manage most business activities; Hubspot might be a great fit, mainly because it is directly integrated with the rest of your marketing and sales data, giving you a complete view of everything.

The ticketing style in HubSpot is also very visual. You can use columns, Kanban Boards, Drag and drop tickets, and table view.

Now because of all the extra features that come with it being a 3-in-1 tool, HubSpot might be expensive for small to mid-level businesses plus, you might not need all its features just starting, and it might be wiser to consider another alternative 

Features of Hubspot Service Hub:

  • Supports multiple requests in record time.
  • Knowledge base access so your customers can find answers to their questions quickly.
  • One-on-one video messaging with customers.
  • Shared inbox to better enhance team collaboration. 
  • Live chat and customer feedback surveys.
  • Advanced automation and workflows.
  • Ticket library.

And here we are! 

There are numerous customer service apps or ticketing system solutions available but every tool cannot work for you which is why you need to understand exactly what you are looking for as it will make it easier for you to choose the one that works best for your company’s needs. 

We hope this helps you make a choice and If you try out any one of the tools recommended here, do let us know.

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