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These companies don’t provide the actual help desk support, they provide the software that lets your own employees provide the support. For companies who provide you staff to do actual customer support, see the section at the bottom of this page.
Help Desk software is also called business messenger software. These companies do things like chat windows on your website, chat-bots to automatically answer questions, email ticketing to open help desk requests for people needing technical support and for answering questions, and virtual call centers. Basically, they keep your customers happy. They have also expanded into CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and sales, letting you keep track of customer’s contacts and follow up on leads, and of course, CRM companies have expanded into help desk software, making it a muddle for a business person to untangle. You can check out the software below and then check out our CRM section.
Companies and start-ups with a lot of customer-facing products like tech companies, app developers, retail software or anyone with a large volume of customer calls or emails could benefit from using this. If you already have support staff and are just using email/phone and Excel to keep track of issues, you can probably benefit (here is a good primer on what they can do from Happy Fox). It can also be used for internal support, for example with a company that has a lot of service technicians that need support in the field or a company with many employees using complex software. Companies that hire external support staff (freelancers) or have support staff in remote locations can use it to bring everyone into the same set of rules, give privileges to certain people and have customers provide reviews of the chats or call. You could, for example, start hiring remote staff who can answer customer questions at the times your current staff are home sleeping
Most companies on this list also include the various bits and pieces that go along with customer support, like creating knowledge bases (why pay someone to answer a phone when a customer can find the answer by themselves?), integration with social media platforms (integrating chat on your company Facebook page), product tours, and other features.
- ZenDesk: Based in San Francisco, this is widely used across the tech industry, but can be used by any company. If you are a Series A-funded start-up, you can apply for a 6-month credit. A little expensive for a small team.
- Freshdesk: A competitor to ZenDesk, they have a free plan that might be a good fit for a smaller company looking to try this whole support software thing out.
- Zoho Desk: Yes, we’re aware everything so far has the word desk in the name. We like Zoho and have used their other products. They have free versions of everything (including this), so they are a good choice for tiny companies that want a lot of software that all works together. You’ll see them listed in other categories too.
- Intercom: No free plan, but early-stage start-ups can get a discount. Focused on customer messaging & support. The people that love Intercom really seem to love Intercom. How it works.
- Live Agent: They have a free plan or you can choose a 14-day trial to demo the more advanced features.
- HappyFox: Focused on help-desk software. No free plan, but can get a demo.
- Kayako: free trial, but no free plan. It can integrate with some common e-commerce platforms.
- TypeDesk: not a full-fledged help desk app, it helps you keep track of common answers and canned responses on a clipboard that allows a solo entrepreneur or a team to work faster at answering questions over and over.
Help Desk & Customer Support Outsourcing
These companies do provide the actual support. Like staffing agencies for your business, they enable small companies to have a phone number, chat or email address that gets answered when customers come for help, without having the expense of hiring full-time support staff. Usually you work with them to train the support staff on how to actually provide support. Of course, you could also go with a local staffing agency in your area, which will probably be, if not cheaper, then easier to get the temps on board. . Another option is to hire freelancers to do the work through a freelancing site (see our list here). The companies below are not cheap, but might be cheaper than hiring more staff if your support demands peak at certain times of the year and are low at others.
- Support Ninja: they offer customer support, tech support, back office support and some sales support.
- Peak support.io: Same as the above, they also offer fulfillment services (they warehouse your goods and ship them out when an order comes in).
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