In many businesses, customer service teams start out working in one shared email account, like Gmail or Outlook. It’s workable at first, but using one email address for more than one or two people gets messy and confusing quickly. Shared inboxes…
All of those drawbacks lead to worse customer service, which as you know is bad for business.
Switching to the right email management software means you can keep customer requests organized, facilitate better team collaboration, and improve customer satisfaction.
We started HelpSpot over 15 years ago and have spent the last 10+ years fine-tuning our software and its features to aid in email management.
We strive to keep things simple: Our help desk software works a lot like the email accounts most teams are already using.
If your team is busy enough to need a software upgrade, then they’re too busy to spend hours learning a new software when they could be responding to your customers. To meet that need, we designed our platform to need zero onboarding. Agents can pick it up in less than an hour.
But we’re not the only customer service email management software on the market, and we understand that we’re not a perfect solution for every customer service team. If you need really advanced out of the box social media integrations, for example, we may not be the best tool for you.
In this piece, we include six other email management software solutions on the market so that you can choose the best customer service software for your support agents.
Want to try our customer service email management software out yourself? Learn more about the ins and outs of HelpSpot and determine if it’s the right software solution for your customer service team by starting our 21-day free trial.
HelpSpot is designed to help support agents manage customer relationships in the simplest, most efficient way possible.
We want fewer dropped threads (hell hath no scorn like a customer ignored), less busy work (why write out every response when you can pull up a template in 5 seconds instead?), and more hours in the day actually fixing customer’s problems (that IS the goal, after all).
Here’s a closer look at how our tool approaches email support.
As we explained earlier, our help desk looks a lot like the email accounts most teams are already accustomed to using. However, we organize incoming emails a bit differently than a standard Gmail inbox.
All new emails are consolidated in your team’s Inbox, like how a generic email account would work. From there, though, agents can pick and choose emails to assign to themselves.
These emails disappear from the central inbox and are added to each agent’s “My Queue”.
Agents can then prioritize the conversations in their queue instead of wading through a crowded inbox. If a customer responds, that response returns to the same agent instead of going to the central inbox.
Assigning emails eliminates any confusion around who’s working on what. It also improves the customer experience: When multiple agents are popping in and responding to email threads, customers may feel like they’re just another email in the queue.
Making it so one agent can work through the entire resolution process allows customers to feel truly supported.
If you ever do lose track of a conversation, the inbox is also highly searchable. Between tags, request categories, and advanced filters, it’s easy to find the conversation you want.
Within every email ticket are a handful of collaborative features to keep agents on the same page.
Each ticket includes customer information and past customer communications, so your support team doesn’t have to jump back and forth between our help desk and a CRM.
Instead, they have all the info they need on one page so they can respond within the context of a customer’s history with your company.
Internal notes allow agents to communicate internally within every ticket, and our software stores those notes so they can be referenced by anyone at any time.
Conflict detection alerts agents in real-time when another team member is viewing or editing the ticket they have open. That way, no one wastes time responding to the same customer request.
Using HelpSpot, you can store email templates and knowledge base articles to speed up response times.
Instead of typing replies to each and every customer email, agents can pull templates to do the heavy lifting and fill in custom fields to personalize their reply.
Knowledge base articles make it easy for agents to send in-depth troubleshooting information so customers have all the resources they need to solve their problem, thereby reducing follow-up questions that take more time from the agent.
On that same note, you can also use our software to set up a self-service knowledge base for your customers to visit on your website. This reduces the need for customers to contact your team and lets them take the lead on resolving their issues.
Automation rules and triggers also make your agents’ lives easier and keep them accountable.
For example, you can set reminders when emails haven’t received a response after a certain length of time, or have the platform keep track of service-level agreements (SLAs).
You can also use triggers to automate repetitive tasks.
Say you have one agent who is always assigned to log-in issues. You can set up triggers to automatically assign emails containing specific words or phrases like “login” or “password” to that agent.
As a result, that agent will spend less time scanning the inbox for tickets and more time interfacing directly with customers.
Management and agents alike can track performance metrics and learn more about customers’ needs. With our built-in reporting tools, you can monitor numbers such as:
You can also customize reports to track activity over different time periods and use filters to refine your results.
We offer mobile apps for iOS and Android — for both our cloud-based and self-hosted email support software — so your team members can access their agent portal from any device.
The HelpSpot app has all of the same features found on desktop, so if your agents work from home or want to respond to an email while they’re on-the-go, they can log in right from their tablet or cell phone.
While we do value simplicity, we think strategic feature additions and integrations are absolutely worth it. Being able to take an inherently simple, user-friendly platform and add the handful of features you need to make it just right for your team is absolutely worthwhile.
You can use built-in integrations and open APIs to sync HelpSpot with live chat tools, messaging platforms, phone systems, external reporting software, and other customer service software and enable multi-channel support.
We also offer both cloud-based and self-hosted software solutions — so you can choose the type of software that best suits your needs.
We seek to make our software accessible to all teams by offering simple and fair pricing.
Instead of charging per feature and seat, we base our prices only by number of seats and offer all of our customers the same set of features.
When we look at the variety of help desk tools available in today’s market, we notice two key things to keep in mind as you shop:
One, most help desk tools contain dozens of bells and whistles or are built for omnichannel support. If you need features like chatbots and social media widgets or want to consolidate queries from multiple channels, this is great; but if not, the extra bells and whistles can prolong training and adoption times… not to mention rack up a hefty monthly bill.
Two, there are very few SaaS help desk brands who offer both cloud-based and self-hosted software; those who need a self-hosted solution don’t have a lot of options to choose from (and many of the existing options are outdated).
If you need a self-hosted solution, read our post about your options.
Now, let’s review some of the other leading customer service email management software that’s available.
Zendesk is a popular customer service email management software because it’s built with dozens of features to aid customer success teams who field requests via phone, live chat, messenger apps, email, and social media.
The software also comes with several built-in integrations, such as Salesforce and Google Analytics, and is highly customizable.
On their “About Us” page, Zendesk describes themselves as, “a service-first CRM company that builds software designed to improve customer relationships.”
If you’re looking for a ticketing system that unifies and organizes customer interactions from a variety of channels, Zendesk is a solid option.
However, if you aren’t using live chat or receiving requests via social media and messenger platforms, then this software will have some extra features you don’t need.
Freshdesk is another cloud-based omnichannel support platform for customer service teams of all sizes and verticals. Their software is highly customizable and they offer tiered pricing to suit different use cases and budgets.
Although Freshdesk is pretty versatile, we recommend this help desk software for field service businesses — electricians, plumbers, HVAC businesses — because it’s built with a number of features to streamline field operations and keep technicians in the loop (without a dozen phone calls back and forth with office staff).
For example, field technicians can clock in without having to make a stop at the office using Freshdesk’s mobile app. They can then use the app to create service tasks, schedule appointments, collect payment from customers, and more.
Zoho Desk is another great option for managing customer requests across a variety of channels. However, unlike Zendesk and Freshdesk, Zoho Desk offers both cloud-based and on-premise ticketing software.
In addition to consolidating queries across multiple channels, Zoho Desk is built with a number of features to improve agent productivity (and allow management to track agent performance) while effectively resolving customer issues.
Zoho Desk is a good option for teams who need to field requests from different channels and prefer a self-hosted solution.
HubSpot is a well-known CRM software that now offers customer service software, too.
If you’re already familiar with HubSpot, this may be a good choice for you. However, they only offer three customer service software packages, and their options may not suit all teams.
For example, their Starter package is chock full of features to improve multi-channel support and email management, but it only allows for 2 users. If you have more than two agents who need to access the software, you’re forced to upgrade, and when you upgrade, you have even more advanced features and functionality at your fingertips, which can be both a pro and a con.
If you have the budget and time to learn advanced software like HubSpot’s Service Software, then this can work for you. However, if you want something more customizable, then we suggest skipping over this option.
Spiceworks is a help desk and asset management software designed for IT professionals; so it tracks IT support requests and monitors your device inventory.
In addition to keeping track of customer requests, Spiceworks is also popular because it can track IT support requests from other employees.
Spiceworks offers both cloud-based and self-hosted software and is a better solution for IT teams who field support requests from customers and co-workers.
ManageEngine is another IT help desk software with cloud-based and on-premise options. A subset of Zoho Desk, ManageEngine is ITIL-ready and has robust ITSM capabilities.
With that, we recommend ManageEngine for IT teams who need an on-premise solution.
ManageEngine’s Service Desk integrates with a variety of other software and is customizable to assist with omnichannel support. If your IT team fields requests from multiple channels, ManageEngine can be a good fit.
As HelpSpot has evolved, we’ve used feedback and insights from our clients to improve our software and make it versatile enough to work for customer service teams small and large who need help with managing emails and providing timely support.
To learn more about HelpSpot and see if it’s a good fit for your customer service agents, sign up for our risk-free 21-day trial.