Man working at computer wearing headphones - A Small Business' Guide to Choosing The Best Customer Service Solution

“Customer service is nothing less than the foundation on which today’s most prolific businesses will be realized.” -Than Merrill, CEO and Founder of FortuneBuilders

Like Than Merrill says, customer service is the heart of any successful business. Businesses that provide exceptional customer service are more likely to succeed. Whether you run a brick-and-mortar store, an online shop, or a service-based enterprise, you interact with customers daily, and the way you handle these interactions can make or break your business. 

This is why selecting the right customer service solution is crucial for the long-term growth and success of your business.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

  • what customer service software is
  • the three most important components of a customer service software
  • benefits of implementing customer service software
  • how to choose the right software for your business
  • five top customer service solution softwares
  • customer service software frequently asked questions

What is Customer Service Software?

Customer service software, often referred to as a customer service solution, is tools designed to help businesses manage and enhance their customer support and service operations. These customer software solutions are used to streamline and improve the way companies interact with their customers, handle questions, resolve issues, and provide information. Customer service software offers a range of features and capabilities that help businesses deliver a higher standard of service and support to their customers.

3 Most Important Components of Customer Service Solution Software

1. Ticketing System

A ticketing system is at the core of any customer service solution. It allows you to organize and prioritize customer questions or issues into tickets, making tracking and resolving them easier. Tickets help you make sure customer requests don’t fall through the cracks and lead to improved response times and customer satisfaction.

A good ticketing system assigns tickets to the appropriate support rep, ensuring that questions are addressed quickly. It also lets you categorize tickets, which streamlines the resolution process. This systematic approach helps small businesses efficiently manage a high volume of customer questions.

2. Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a collection of information that provides customers with self-service options. This is valuable for small businesses because it reduces the workload on your support team and enables customers to find solutions to common issues on their own.

Your knowledge base can be made up of articles, FAQs, how-to guides, and troubleshooting tips. As you gather more customer questions and feedback, update your resources to reflect them. Creating and maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base is key to deflecting support requests, which not only lightens the load on your customer support team but also provides quick solutions to customers, enhancing their satisfaction.

3. Multi-Channel Support

Customers expect to reach out through various channels, including email, text, live chat, and phone. Customer service software should have multi-channel support to help you manage all these interactions efficiently.

Multi-channel support is not just about being available on different platforms; it’s about unifying these channels into a seamless experience for your customers and support team. When customers can switch between channels without losing the context of their question, it results in a more cohesive and efficient support experience. Small businesses must adapt to these changing customer preferences and provide consistent service across various channels.

Benefits of Using a Customer Service Solution

Investing in a customer service solution can yield several benefits for your small business:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Efficiency and productivity
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Scalability
  • Cost Savings

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is not just about addressing customer questions promptly. It’s also about delivering a personalized experience. Customer service software often allows you to access a customer’s history and preferences, enabling your support team to tailor their responses and recommendations. Personalization goes a long way in creating a positive impression and strengthening customer loyalty.

With streamlined communication, faster response times, and consistent support from implementing customer support software, your customers will be happier and more likely to return.

Efficiency and Productivity

Efficiency in customer service is about making the most of your resources. Customer support solutions help you quickly resolve tickets and automate tasks like ticket assignment and routing. 

By automating certain processes, you make sure that your support reps can dedicate their time to more critical tasks, such as solving more pressing issues, improving customer relationships, and compiling content for your knowledge base.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Having access to data is invaluable. Customer service software typically collects and analyzes customer interactions, response times, common issues, and customer satisfaction data. These insights enable data-driven decision-making. 

With the data provided by a customer service software, you can identify trends, uncover areas where your customer service may be lacking, and make improvements based on real data rather than assumptions. It helps you more deeply understand customer behavior. Small businesses, in particular, can benefit from making strategic decisions that are backed by hard data.


Scalability is a crucial consideration for small businesses, which often experience rapid growth. The last thing you want is to outgrow your customer service software and face a disruptive migration to a new system. Your customer service software should be flexible enough to accommodate your growth. It should allow you to add more support reps to your plan, integrate with new channels, and handle a larger volume of tickets without significant disruption. 

Scalability ensures that your customer service solution remains an asset rather than a limitation as your business expands.

Consistent Brand Messaging

Small businesses often have multiple employees handling customer inquiries. A customer service solution ensures that all team members maintain a consistent brand message and deliver a uniform level of service, regardless of who the customer interacts with.

Cost Savings

While the upfront cost of implementing a customer service solution can seem significant, it’s essential to consider the long-term savings. As your customer service becomes more efficient and automated, you’ll likely require fewer support staff to manage the same or even larger customer volumes. This reduction in operational costs can offset the initial investment and lead to cost savings over time.

How to Choose the Best Customer Service Solution for Your Business

Given the ever-growing number of customer service solutions available, selecting the right one can be a daunting task. The key is to find a solution that seamlessly fits your business needs and provides the best support for your customers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the right choice:

1. Define Your Needs

Every small business has unique requirements and goals. It’s important to assess your specific needs before choosing a software. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What channels do you want to offer support through (email, chat, phone, text, social media, etc.)?
  • How many customer support reps will be using the software?
  • Do you need a knowledge base or self-service portal for customers?
  • What are your short-term and long-term customer service goals?

Also, think about the main needs of customer questions. Are they primarily related to product support, service requests, or general inquiries? Knowing the types of issues you need to address helps you determine which customer service solution can best meet your requirements.

These questions will help you create a checklist of features and capabilities that your ideal customer service solution software should have.

2. Consider Your Budget

Setting a budget is an important step in the decision-making process. Determine how much you’re willing to invest in your customer service solution and consider both the initial costs and potential ongoing expenses. Be mindful of any additional costs related to customization, integration with other tools, or training for your support team.

3. Check for Integrations

Check if the customer service solution can integrate seamlessly with your existing tools and systems, such as your CRM, e-commerce platform, and website.

Integration capabilities are essential, especially if your small business relies on various tools and systems to operate. A customer service solution that can integrate with your existing CRM, e-commerce platform, and website will streamline your operations and ensure a unified customer experience.

4. Start a Trial Period

Opt for a trial period to test the software with real customer interactions whenever possible. 

A trial period gives you the opportunity to assess how well the software performs in a real-world environment. You can gain insights into its user-friendliness, efficiency, and ability to meet your requirements. This firsthand experience will help you gauge if it’s the right solution for your business. 

During this process, research various customer service software options and compare their features, pricing, and user reviews. 

5. Keep User Training in Mind

Consider the training and onboarding process for your team. Make sure that the software provider offers comprehensive training resources and support to help your team get up to speed. A user-friendly interface is also essential to minimize the learning curve.

6. Review Customization Features

The ability to customize the software to match your unique requirements can be a game-changer for small businesses. Consider whether the software allows for custom fields, workflows, and the creation of personalized reports. This flexibility ensures that the customer service solution adapts to your business rather than the other way around.

7. Consider Customer Support and Software Updates

As you know, customer support is essential. Evaluate the software company’s customer support availability and responsiveness. It’s important to have a reliable support team that can assist you when issues arise. Additionally, ask about the frequency of software updates and how improvements are implemented.

8. Make Sure it is Scalable

Think long-term. Choose a customer service solution that can adapt to your business as it grows, accommodating more customers and support channels. Scalability directly impacts your future growth. Make sure the chosen customer service solution can scale with your business. Consider how it handles an increase in customer inquiries, additional support channels, and the expansion of your support team.

9. Read Feedback and Reviews

One of the most reliable ways to evaluate a customer service solution is to read customer reviews and feedback. Online review platforms and forums can provide insights into the real-world experiences of other businesses using the same software.

When reading reviews, pay attention to the following:

  • the overall satisfaction of customers
  • any common pain points or issues mentioned
  • how well the software met their specific needs
  • the level of customer support provided by the vendor

Keep in mind that no software is perfect, and individual experiences can vary. However, consistent themes in reviews can provide valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular solution.

Top Customer Service Software


Zendesk is a widely used customer service platform that offers a comprehensive set of features, including ticketing, a knowledge base, and multi-channel support. It has a user-friendly interface and integrates seamlessly with various other business tools.

Key features:

  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Alerts/Escalation
  • Automated Routing
  • Call Center Management
  • Email Management
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Real Time Notifications
  • Remote Access/Control
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Self Service Portal
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
  • Support Ticket Management

Price: Professional Suite – $115 per user/month


Freshdesk is known for its intuitive and scalable customer support solutions. It has multi-channel support, a robust knowledge base, and automation features to streamline your customer service operations.

Key features:

  • Team inbox
  • Agent collision detection
  • SLA management
  • Scenario automation
  • Canned responses
  • Collaborators
  • Shared ownership
  • Linked tickets
  • Ticket dispatch
  • Intelligent ticket assignment
  • Time-triggered and event-triggered automations
  • Automatic email notification
  • Chatbot powered by Freddy AI
  • Help widget
  • Feedback mechanism
  • Solution article analytics
  • Forum moderation
  • Curated reports
  • Dashboards

Price: Pro – $69 per user/month


Intercom specializes in customer messaging, live chat, and communication tools. It’s great for businesses focused on real-time customer interactions and personalized support.

Key features:

  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Alerts/Escalation
  • Automated Routing
  • Email Management
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Real-Time Notifications
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Self Service Portal
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
  • Support Ticket Management

Price: Contact sales for pricing

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based customer service software that offers a range of features, including a ticketing system, knowledge base, and multi-channel support. It’s known for its affordability and flexibility.

Key features:

  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Alerts/Escalation
  • Automated Routing
  • Call Center Management
  • Email Management
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Real-Time Notifications
  • Remote Access/Control
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Self Service Portal
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
  • Support Ticket Management

Price: Contact sales for pricing


HelpScout is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It has features like shared email inboxes, a knowledge base, and reporting tools for businesses that prioritize email-based customer support.

Key features:

  • Reporting
  • Live chat
  • Shared inbox
  • Digital customer service platforms
  • Help desk
  • Integrations
  • Autoresponder
  • Browser notifications
  • Canned responses
  • Collaboration features
  • Customer communications management
  • Proactively engage with messages

Price: Plus – $40 per user/month


Kayako is primarily a help desk ticketing system. The software makes customer service and support easy and personal across live chat, email, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s best for small businesses that want a unified platform to manage customer interactions across various channels.

Key features: 

  • Omnichannel support
  • Reporting & analytics
  • Self-help knowledge base
  • Live chat
  • Customer journey single view
  • Automated workflows
  • CSAT scores
  • Collaboration features 
  • Easy integrations
  • Self-service ticket status
  • Smart routing

Price: $125 per user/month

The Best Companion App for Customer Service

Skipio is the best companion app for your customer service efforts. Although its primary function isn’t for customer service, its automated text message functionality helps your support team easily provide personal customer service. 

Connect faster and in the most convenient way by adding Skipio’s webchat, Web2Txt, to your site. You’ll close more support tickets because you’ll be able to immediately send personalized text messages to every customer. 

Skipio also helps you keep track of all customer conversations and history with contact notes. You’ll never forget the context of a conversation and can personalize support quicker and better. 

With many integrations available, connect Skipio to your favorite CRM and start providing better customer service. Schedule a demo today to learn more about Skipio’s features and how to use text messaging to improve your customer support. 

Related: 11 Ways to Use Text Messaging to Improve Your Customer Service

Customer Service Software FAQs

Do I really need a customer service solution for my small business?

Not necessarily, but the benefits of implementing a customer service solution outweigh not having one. They streamline customer interactions, improve response times, and enhance customer experience. Exception customer service is a valuable differentiator that can set your business apart from competitors. 

Are customer service solutions expensive for small businesses?

The cost of customer service solutions varies depending on factors like the features, scalability, and the provider. However, there are options available to fit a range of budgets. 

It’s important to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) when considering the cost. The long-term benefits, including improved customer satisfaction and operational efficiency, often justify the initial investment.

Can I use customer service software if I have a physical store?

Absolutely. Customer service software is not limited to online businesses. If you have a physical store, it can still be a valuable asset. It helps you manage inquiries from various sources, including in-store customers, website visitors, phone questions, and social media interactions. 

Is it necessary to have a knowledge base as part of my customer service solution?

A knowledge base isn’t a mandatory component of a customer service solution, but it’s a valuable one. It offers customers self-service options, allowing them to find answers to common questions and issues independently.

Set Your Business Up for Success

Customer service is an ongoing process, and investing in the right software is an investment in your business’s future. The right customer service solution empowers your team to deliver efficient, reliable support that builds a solid foundation for your business. 

Understanding your unique requirements and selecting the best software helps your small business provide remarkable customer experiences, driving customer loyalty and sustained growth.