Customer Support in the Digital Age

Customer support looks a lot different than it did even just five years ago. Phone, email and (gasp!) mail correspondence used to be the primary channels customers would use to resolve issues.

But today, consumers have different expectations and even more tools at their disposal. Some immediately turn to Twitter. Some want live chat. Others still like the phone. Then there's texting and Facebook and Yelp and on and on. 

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For the small and mid-sized businesses of the world, this onslaught from all angles is overwhelming. And rest assured, without the right tools in place, inbound requests will fall through the cracks. 

Here are four tools businesses can check out to effectively manage customer support in the age of information overload...

Kayako

You say "ky-ak-o," I say "kaya-ko." Either way, this customer support platform is super easy to use, reasonably priced and, perhaps most importantly, focused on personalization. With Kayako, you're able to stay on top of a customer conversation that's bouncing between different channels. Say a customer tweets a question at your company, and then sends in an email providing more detail. Then she follows up via live chat on your website. Instead of three things to worry about, Kayako pulls all that into one conversation so you (or whoever is on support duty) has complete context.

 Image source: Kayako.com

Image source: Kayako.com

Intercom

Intercom is a robust platform that addresses not just customer support but also marketing and sales. The ideas is that you're capturing leads, engaging with customers, and supporting those customers all in one place. Most of Intercom's customers are in the B2B/enterprise space, so if you're a small retailer just looking for a customer support solution, this might be too much for you. That said, it's an awesome product.

Zendesk

Zendesk is a favorite amongst the tech world, touting customers such as Shopify, Uber, Slack and Box. In the same universe as Intercom, Zendesk helps you track, prioritize and solve customer support tickets, or cases. You can create knowledge bases where customers can self-help, set up integrated customers support (sort of what Kayako is really good at), get live chat up and running on your website, set up shared inboxes and more. In terms of pricing, there are a lot of options. Your best bet is to head to the Zendesk pricing page where a live chat support agent will ask you if they can help you with anything. 

Salesforce

Already a Salesforce user? Check out their customer support offerings that play nice with your CRM. 

Bottom Line

In today's customer support world, there are lots of options. What matters, however, is meeting your customers' expectations.