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An Overview of Customer Support and Service Software

Grace Pinegar
Grace Pinegar  |  April 30, 2018

If you’ve read our guide to customer service, you know the heavy emphasis placed on having the right software for your customer service team. Not only the right vendors or features, but the right software match for your industry.

The terms used to label these solutions can come across as vague or confusing, depending on your familiarity with the software sphere. In order to further clarify the distinction between the types of software that fortify customer services strategies, let’s walk through a few examples and observe consumer data.

Contact Center Software:

Contact center infrastructure software provides the functions necessary for running call and contact centers.

Popular features for CCI tools are Contact Database Management, Interactive Voice Response and Automatic Call Distribution. Genesys PureCloud is an “omnichannel customer engagement solution” that functions as a contact center solution for outbound and inbound communications. This cloud solution helps connect phone, email, chat and social. CCI tools are good for call centers that wish to streamline their processes and services.

Contact Center Workforce: Contact center workforce software enables companies to manage their call center employees’ schedules, activities, and performance.

Popular features for CCW tools are Automatic Call Distribution, Call Summary Notes, and Call Routing. Aspect Workforce Management software tries to forecast channel interactions, helping you determine the number of employees needed to manage communications that day. It makes users self-sufficient and helps managers ensure that day’s load is covered. CCW tools are useful for organizations that want help with employee logistics.

Telecom Services for Call Centers Software: Telecom services for call centers include a variety of solutions for optimizing and simplifying call centers, involving cloud technology, intelligent response, and human-assisted components.

Telecom services for call centers, when used correctly, should help increase the number of calls and customer interactions you can handle, and improve the effectiveness of contact center processes, among other things. Verizon Contact Center Solutions, “uses cloud functionality to provide a flexible solution for efficient customer service.”

These contact solutions are useful for call center organizations who want the foundations of a call center solution.

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Customer Self-Service Software:

Customer self-service software provides a platform for end users, prospects, or customers to access information and perform tasks without the need for live chat or customer support representatives.

Customer self-service software is often found in the form of FAQ’s, knowledge bases, or forums. Some can utilize chatbots as a form of customer self-service, having the chatbots walk users through a solution without the need for human interaction. Customer self-service is useful in organizations that often receive the same types of questions. Zendesk Support is an example of a customer service tool that has a module for CSS. Administrators can create a user guide that includes a customizable help center, an online community and a customer portal.

CSS software is useful for organizations that want the burden of answering top-of-funnel taken off of their top-performing employees.

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Customer Success Software:

Customer success software is used by businesses to ensure, through interactions with the company, customers achieve the outcome that enterprises anticipate them to reach as they use the product.

Customer success platforms help with customer retention by prioritizing each customers’ individual satisfaction. CS software is good for organizations with higher-paying clients. If a customer is giving your company $30,000 a year, you’ll want to be sure they’re well taken care of with individualized service. This means assigning them a unique relationship manager who is then in charge of nurturing that dynamic. ClientSuccess is an example of customer success software. They track customers from onboarding, to renewal, gauging happiness with what they call a “pulse.”

Customer success software is only necessary if you have or plan to have a customer success team.

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Employee Monitoring Software:

Employee monitoring software provides businesses with the ability to record employees interactions with customers to ensure the quality of service is up to par and ensure employees are using time productively.

Employee monitoring solutions can help your customer service director determine which employees are performing well on their own, and which employees may need extra attention or training. By recording customer interactions, you’re able to keep a close watch on interactions and even search for keywords or phrases. This software can also help you determine employee performance scores, much like customer success determines consumer health scores. Aspect Quality Management is one such tool that offers analytics on performance and allows you to playback calls and other interactions.

Employee monitoring tools benefit organizations that don’t wish to assume their customer service employees are doing a good job, but want to be completely certain.

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Enterprise Feedback Management Software:

Enterprise feedback management software (EFM) allows companies to solicit and centrally manage feedback and data from their customers.

EFM tools are another great way to figure out how your customer service employees are doing. These solutions can be deployed after a customer interaction so users can rank their satisfaction with the experience almost immediately. These tools can be deployed in survey format, or can allow for open-ended questions. You can customize EFM tools to alert you of negative feedback for quick and efficient resolution. GetFeedback is an example of an EFM tool. This solution deploys surveys that help you measure key metrics such as buyer net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT).

These solutions can also generate analytics that present clean and understandable results. Enterprise feedback management software is useful in any industry that values and depends on customer opinion to improve practices and overall experience.

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Field Service Management Software:

Field service management (FSM) software helps companies manage the business activities performed by field workers.

FSM tools help companies schedule and dispatch field service workers to complete projects. Field service management caters more to the organizational side of business. In other words, it’s not directly a customer service tool. However, many features of FSM tools improve the customer experience. For example, repair people who are running late could use an FSM tool to inform a client of their tardiness. Customers can login to the client-facing portal and review service or project completion. ServiceTitan is one such FSM tool that has customer-centric features such as presentation mode. This helps professional technicians sell to customers with a visual representation of what they’re getting.

Field service management software is only a necessary customer service tool if your organization is one that dispatches professionals to go and manually complete work.

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Help Desk Software:

Help desk refers to software platforms designed to provide a customer with information and support regarding a company’s products or services.

Help desk software takes consumer concerns and creates tickets that can then be assigned to the most knowledgeable or appropriate employee. Customers submit their concerns through that company’s available channels. One simple example is a customer emailing their issue through a website’s contact page. Help desk staff then sort through those emails and create tickets that send the concerns to support, sales, marketing, or development, depending on the ticket’s content. Freshdesk is a type of help desk software that helps you convert customer conversations that come in via email into tickets. Help desk software is useful for organizations that wish to make support from their organization more efficient and accessible to anyone.

It ensures no conflict or concern is left behind, and helps organizations keep satisfaction up.

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Live Chat Software:

Live chat software allows companies to communicate with their website visitors in real time via chat windows.

Live chat software is exactly as it sounds. They’re pop-up chats on webpages that open up real-time conversations between customer service representatives and their users in need of answers or assistance. Live chat makes a company more accessible and allows users to communicate in a setting or timeline that might be more convenient for them. LiveAgent is one live chat software tool that does just that. It’s multi-channel customer support that puts you in direct contact with your clientele.

It has real-time chatting capabilities that it claims increases conversion and the likelihood of customers returning to site.

Find the best Live Chat Software on the market. Explore Now, Free →

Proactive Notification:

Proactive notification software, also known as proactive multi-channel communication or proactive engagement, helps raise awareness for customers and companies by providing useful information or alerting individuals to some upcoming activity or action.

Proactive notification is used as a method of one-way communication with your contacts. It helps you alert customers of important information, whether that be a change in your hours, a price drop, a need for updated credit card information, or an alert that their password changed. Proactive notification is a form of customer service in that you’re keeping customers updated, whether through text messages, phone calls, emails, etc. PushCrew is a proactive notification solution that helps companies reach their customers and drive traffic to sites. Proactive notification tools could also be considered a marketing tactic. This solution is good for organizations that wish to mass notify customers of events or changes with the hopes that it will increase consumer interest.

See the Easiest-to-Use Proactive Notification Software →

Social Customer Service Software:

Social customer service software allows companies to reach out to customers and users via social media outlets.

Social customer service is about meeting your customers where they’re at: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This customer service solution helps you discover what others are saying about you or your business so you can become a part of that conversations. Sometimes that means de-escalating a negative experience and reaching out with a discount for their next in-store experience. Other times, it’s just jumping into a fun anecdote and getting to thank someone for shopping with you. SproutSocial has a social customer service and support offering that seeks to help your organization increase brand satisfaction through positive interactions. Consider investing in a social customer service tool if you find much of your target audience is already using social media platforms. It’s always best to invest in a social customer service solution before a nasty tweet goes viral.

See the Easiest-to-Use Social Customer Service Software →

There you have it, folks. A fairly definitive list of everything that’s hot right now in customer service. Could it evolve and change again in three to six months? Absolutely, and all for the better. Customer service strategies evolve because communication has evolved and improved, rendering us more connected to the world around us.

And when it does evolve, we’ll still be here, eager to re-investigate and help you understand all over again.

Grace Pinegar

Grace Pinegar

Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and now content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, and has come to tolerate, if not enjoy, the opposition of Chicago's seasons. (she/her/hers)