6 Types of Customer Support Tools: Which is Best for Your Business?

From all-in-one customer service tools to customer chat software and help desk customer support tools, there are various types of customer support tools. Which one is right for your business?

Zight | September 11, 2020 | 8 min read time

Article Last Updated: February 01, 2024

6 Types of Customer Support Tools: Which is Best for Your Business?

In today’s ever-changing, fast-paced digital world, there are tons of online customer support tools that will improve our customer service experience. The real issue is sorting through all the noise and honing in on the best customer support tools.

We all know products that are focused on the individual it is intended for result in more powerful designs. Similarly, using the right customer support tools can revolutionize the way your users perceive and interact with your service or product. The key to choosing the right customer service software is about finding customer support tools that streamline your customer experience and support, not complicate them.

Ensure your customers get the best experience. Check out our guide and list of best customer support tools for everything you need to know when it comes to online customer support tools. Because sometimes, you need a little support too.‍

Defining what makes good online customer support tools

Customer service has evolved exponentially in recent times. Customers expect premium and prompt service from almost anywhere in the world and at any time of the day.

With so much competition and online support tools readily available, having the right set of online customer service tools is paramount to your success. This means customers expect high-quality content that they can quickly access and understand if they run into a problem. Customers are not interested in detailed descriptions that are time-consuming and typically ineffective. When asking what makes good online customer support tools, ask yourself if it provides the following:

  • Is it interactive and user-friendly?
  • Does it provide effective communication and personalization?
  • Does it provide your user with value?

More specifically, you can measure these by asking if the software is simple to set up and easy to use, if it easily integrates into your support team’s daily workflow, how well it addresses and solves issues, and whether it benefits both the customer and your support team.

Types of customer service tools

So let’s get into the types of customer service tools available so you can make an informed decision about the best customer support tools for your specific needs. Keep in mind that a majority of online customer service tools will provide similar features. The key is knowing which channels your customers and support team depend on. The following are six popular types of online support tools commonly used.

1. All-in-one customer service tools

All-in-one customer service tools provide live chat, email, social media, phone, and self-help centers in one omnichannel software. This means that every single customer request can be managed and found within a central dashboard or single browser tab.

With an all-in-one customer service tool, customers can open a support ticket or start a conversation through email, live chat, social, over the phone, or on your website. Internally, the conversation or ticket is unified across multiple channels, and accessible to multiple departments. Organization and clear procedures are essential to all-in-one customer service tools, as it can cause feedback loops of “who replied to whom”.

Ensure your all-in-one support tool provides:

  • Integration and automation capabilities
  • Project, team, and task management
  • Delegate and assign specific tasks to individual team members
  • Internal notes to clarify information about previous discussions with a customer
  • Monitor support-ticket status
  • Updated conversations
  • Prevent duplicate replies
  • Seamlessly and quickly transfer conversations to non-support departments when necessary

2. Customer chat software: real-time calls, chat, and videos

Tons of websites provide customer chat software right on their website or app. Often, the live chat option appears in the bottom left. When a customer clicks on it, a live chat window will pop up on the current screen to connect them with a support agent in real-time. The expectation of real-time chat software is quick response time. Ensure your team has the tools to keep up with the demands.

Some built-in chat tools provide more options to customize your chatbox. Depending on your needs, you may want to choose a customer chat software, such as Olark, to customize your design, branding, and workflows.

Several help desk software include a chat feature. However, a dedicated customer chat software gives you the ability to enhance your customer experience by delivering immediate service and information in a live environment. Quickly resolving issues as customers encounter them with a quick call or screen-share saves time, and can diffuse frustrations. Plus, with live customer chat software, you can also conduct online training and host webinars.

The following are core functionalities to look for when choosing the best customer chat software:

  • Integrates with your help desk software chat feature
  • Analytics about performance and usage
  • Access to chat transcripts
  • Reliability
  • A place to create and access internal notes
  • Track phone call and chat records.

3. Help desk customer service tools

Choosing the right help desk customer service tool is paramount as it is the hub for all your customer support. Your help desk customer service tool needs to be a seamless centerpiece of your software and workflow.

Just as we talked about in the customer chat software, customers will use several channels to post concerns, and complaints including phone calls, text messages, websites, email, social media platforms, and so forth. With so many channels, ensuring excellent customer service means carefully tracking every single ticket and conversation.

Internally your support department can easily communicate with customers, as well as other support team members for seamless and effective help.

A good help desk customer service tool should include the following features and functionalities:

  • Shared inbox and internal chat
  • Categorize and organize requests and ticket
  • Track conversation history
  • Delegate and assign tasks to team members
  • Automation
  • Reporting.

4. Customer feedback

Customer feedback is one of the best ways to smooth out kinks and provide the ultimate customer experience that makes for loyal and long-lasting customers. If customers receive satisfaction surveys much after an interaction, they’re more likely to have forgotten details and either provide vague feedback, or none at all.

Customer satisfaction surveys provide invaluable insight into your customers’ wants, needs, and any pain points they may have. These scores provide a benchmark for where your support team and tools excel, and what requires improvement.

Obtain customer feedback with your help desk software so all emails are collected, tracked, tagged, and managed within one place. Consider customer feedback software that offers the following:

  • Access to in-depth analytics
  • branding options
  • customizable questions
  • automatic survey delivery time
  • easily integrates with your customer service toolbox

5. Social media customer service tools

If your customers use social media, it is important to have a way to track tags and mentions across all social media accounts in order to respond to them quickly. In today’s world, people expect immediate responses on social media. Although most help desk customer support tools can monitor social media channels, it may be wise to invest in a tool dedicated solely to social media accounts.

Not only do social media customer service tools monitor, track, respond to, and help gather useful information, it is also useful for identifying trends, tracking your competition, and giving you insight into your target market.

Ensure your social media customer service tool provides the following features and functionalities:

  • Gain insight into brand awareness and reputation
  • Monitor, track, and respond to brand and product mentions or tags quickly
  • Identify relevant trending product, service, or industry topics
  • Integrates well with existing online customer support tools
  • Capability to create support tickets from social mentions.

6. Knowledge-base customer service tools

Since most of us rely heavily on technology in our day-to-day lives, it is likely that your customer base will prefer the convenience of self-service options. Knowledge-base customer service tools are designed for building sites with pre-made answers to common questions. This online self-serve library is carefully curated to provide the most helpful answers and solutions.

With this in mind, it is crucial to have a comprehensive knowledge base for your customers to find answers on their own, so empower them to solve their own issues easily with the right knowledge-base tool. Depending on your needs, this can offer customers articles, how-to guides, explainer videos, illustrations, and more.

Some knowledge-base online support tools will provide a user-friendly interface so customers can easily navigate answers to commonly asked questions. As with many of the best customer support tools mentioned, it provides a variety of customization tools to keep your knowledge-base on-brand. Collaborated with multiple authors and manage permission levels for different users to ensure a smooth workflow. Carefully creating content that covers everything, will help cut down on the follow-up questions, prevent confusion or miscommunication, and reduce time spent solving the same issues.

Creating a knowledge base is a straight-forward process with software that includes the following:

  • Search functionality and user-friendly navigation
  • Recommendations for related content
  • Identify issues and successes with data and reporting
  • Site-wide widgets for easy access
  • Access to your support team for further information or help

Zight (formerly CloudApp): a revolutionary online support tool

Zight (formerly CloudApp) can be revolutionary in assisting your customer support team and customers. Improve response time with visual explanations and communication. Transform the way you answer customer questions and provide them with help by directing your customers to what you need to show them, all while keeping information private.

Use a GIF as a follow-along tutorial, an annotated screen capture with arrows and circles to point out details, a webcam recording that walks the customer through the solution to their problem, or direct customers to the appropriate knowledge-base section, complete with screen captures. Zight (formerly CloudApp) automatically copies a link to your clipboard, sharing content is made easy. You can also embed content into emails to make it even easier for customers to view. Quick creation and easy sharing means you can close tickets faster and improve customer satisfaction.

No matter what kind of content you need to create to support your customers, Zight (formerly CloudApp) has got you covered. We recognize how important clarity and speed are to your customers in need of assistance.

There are endless ways where Zight (formerly CloudApp) can enhance your customer service experience. Keep everyone on the same page and keep customers happy by utilizing the most effective collaboration tools. It can also be used in conjunction with your favorite apps and software to transform the way you work. We offer integrations with Zendesk, Help Scout, Jira, Freshdesk, Slack, and more to increase productivity, and collaboration. All of Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s innovative tools are stored in our native app, and securely in the Cloud so that it can be easily shared with your team.

At Zight (formerly CloudApp), we believe in listening to our users and doing our best to release features that our users really care about. Since the initial launch of Zight (formerly CloudApp), we have received tons of feedback that has allowed us to provide exceptional online customer service tools. As a result, Zight (formerly CloudApp) has evolved into an incredible platform that has truly revolutionized the way we communicate. As the way we learn, and interact within organizations become more geographically dispersed and technologically savvy, Zight (formerly CloudApp) continues to become an even more integral part of communication.

Zight (formerly CloudApp) is compatible with Mac and PC. Install the Zight (formerly CloudApp) Mac App, Windows App, iOS app, or our Chrome Plugin.

Create & share screenshots, screen recordings, and GIFs with Zight