14 Best Customer Service Software For Every Kind of Business

Looking for a tool to improve your business's customer support? You're in the right place. Discover the best helpdesks, live chats, and CRMs for your unique needs below.

We interviewed 5 customer service agencies
To serve you expert-backed opinions
We analyzed +1,600 user reviews
Across sites like G2, Capterra, and the Shopify App Store
We listed who each app is "Best for..."
So you can easily find the best option for your unique needs

There are hundreds of customer support software tools available, each claiming to be the best. Rather than add to the noise with an arbitrary ranking, we built a list that helps you understand which customer service tool is best for each type of business.

Below, you’ll find a list of 14 tools organized based on who should use them and who should avoid them — with some context explaining why. That way, you can choose the right customer service platform based on your unique needs.

HTML Table Generator
Software Why should you choose this customer service software? Starting price Free trial
Gorgias Best for ecommerce companies $10/month Yes
Help Scout Best helpdesk for SaaS/startups $20/month per agent Yes
Zendesk Best for non-ecommerce enterprise companies $19/month per agent Yes
Zoho Desk, HubSpot, or Salesforce Best for teams already using one of these CRMs $14-45/month Yes
HappyFox Best for IT teams $29/month per agent Yes
Freshdesk Best helpdesk with a free plan $0 No (free plan available)
Intercom Best CRM-like tool $74/month Yes
tawk.to Best standalone live chat $0 No (free plan available)
Aircall Best standalone call center software $90/month for 3 agents Yes
Drift Best standalone chatbot $2,500/month No
Aircall UserPilot $249/month Yes
Buffer Best for social media support $0 No

Gorgias: Best customer service software for ecommerce businesses

Gorgias is the best customer service software for ecommerce companies.

Gorgias is the customer service software built for online stores. It connects with Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento, so daily ecommerce tasks (like order management) are easier in Gorgias than in other customer support software. 

Like most helpdesks, Gorgias’s omnichannel support software connects all of your customer communications channels into one shared inbox for faster responses and resolutions. The difference? All of Gorgias’s features, integrations, and automations are built exclusively to solve the needs of ecommerce merchants. 

A 2022 study by a customer support agency working with brands on a variety of helpdesks found that ecommerce support teams using Gorgias resolved issues 30% faster than any other tool.

“Gorgias is the best support platform for businesses running on Shopify. The deep Shopify integrations are an invaluable part of our support process and save us countless hours a month.”

— Italic

Key features of Gorgias

  • Superior social integrations: Manage ad replies on Facebook and Instagram on top of DMs and comments
  • Customer order portals: Let customers answer FAQs, request returns and order edits, and track orders in real-time through your chat widget or Help Center
  • Unmatched personalization: Pull customer data from Shopify and all your other apps to give customers their unique information — even in automated responses — for superior customer experience
  • Efficiency automations: Streamline all your repetitive tasks, from triaging tickets and responding to basic questions to updating orders in Shopify 
  • Sales-generating features: Reach out to shoppers, send personalized product recommendations, and generate unique discount codes to sell and upsell
  • Powerful reporting and analytics: Generate reports on support performance and revenue generated from support, and use ticket fields for custom reports
  • Powerful templates: Provide instant, personalized answers that also automatically trigger changes (like refunds or address changes) in Shopify

Gorgias pricing

Gorgias starts at $10 per month for up to three customer service agents. Larger pricing plans have unlimited users: You pay for tickets used, not user seats. Don’t worry: Spam tickets don’t count toward your price.

Gorgias has a 7-day free trial. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Gorgias?

Ecommerce companies of every size should consider Gorgias, thanks to its ecommerce focus and plans ranging from Starter to Enterprise. With Gorgias, you can offer efficient email, social media, SMS, Voice, WhatsApp, self-service portal, and live chat support. 

Companies in other industries shouldn’t use Gorgias. It’s an ecommerce-only tool.

Help Scout: Best helpdesk for SaaS/startup teams

Help Scout is the best customer service tool for SaaS and startups.

Help Scout is a customer support software built with small businesses in mind. It’s not specifically made for SaaS companies and startups, but it’s a stripped-down version of more robust helpdesks, so it’s great for companies who need a simple solution that gets the job done. 

We recommend Help Scout for SaaS and startup companies that don’t need many features beyond ticket management. 

Specialized features, like Shopify order management or field support management, are better left to industry-specific tools. Otherwise, you might end up trying to find workarounds to make Help Scout work. 

Help Scout product image.

Here’s what one user said after outgrowing Help Scout and switching to Gorgias, a more industry-specific tool:

I just wish [Help Scout] did all the things… instead of having to run multiple programs to handle our customer service needs.

— Angie B., G2 user review

Key features of Help Scout

Help Scout’s feature set is pretty standard for the helpdesk market. Since they aren’t built for a specific industry, they don’t offer many unique features. However, their claim to fame is its user-friendly interface. They score 9.2 on G2 for Ease of Use, compared to an average of 8.7. 

If your brand is looking for standard helpdesk features like ticket management and email templates in a shared inbox and basic automation, Help Scout will be an easy option to pick up and start using right away. That’s why it’s a great tool for small ecommerce customer service teams offering standard support mostly via Gmail — like SaaS and startups. 

But if you need advanced social features, deep integrations with an ecommerce platform, advanced team collaboration functionality, or other special features, Help Scout is not the right tool for you. 

Help Scout pricing

Help Scout pricing starts at $20 per agent per month. This puts Help Scout on the slightly more expensive end of the average for the helpdesk category.

Help Scout has a 15-day free trial.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Help Scout?

SaaS companies, startups, and other businesses that need a simple tool to respond to email and live chat messages should use Help Scout. 

If your business needs enterprise-level features or industry-specific features (like IT or ecommerce) you should use a more specialized customer service solution than Help Scout.

🆚 Compare Help Scout and Gorgias to make the right choice for your online store. 

H2: Zendesk: Best helpdesk for non-ecommerce enterprise teams

Zendesk is the best customer service software for enterprise companies.

Zendesk is one of the oldest cloud-based helpdesks and has some of the best name recognition in the customer support software market. It has some of the most features, customizations, and API integrations of any helpdesk, with plenty of additional add-ons and products available. 

All of these features make Zendesk a bit harder to set up and use than most helpdesks, however. Its Ease of Setup and Ease of Use are both multiple points below the industry average on G2. Plus, the additional costs of add-ons can add up quickly. If you’re a small business or have industry-specific needs, you’re better off with a simpler tool that’s catered to your industry. 

But if you’re an enterprise company with multiple departments that each need unique features, have enough resources to set up and customize the tool, and have the budget to pay for it all, you might find the most success with Zendesk.

Zendesk product image.

Key features of Zendesk

Zendesk is a classic helpdesk, with features like ticket management, chatbot automation, and a self-service knowledge base. 

Zendesk includes unique features for a variety of industries, like education, airlines, hospitality, and telecommunications.

Zendesk’s support for enterprise customizability is unmatched, however. Zendesk is making a concerted effort to bring on more enterprise-level customers with tens of thousands of employees. For these kinds of clients, Zendesk will basically create a well-supported, custom app. 

For customers on small apps, Zendesk’s features are average and the UX is poorly rated. 

Zendesk pricing

Zendesk’s pricing starts at $19 per agent per month for basic Support features, or $49 per agent per month for the more robust Suite. The pricing is a bit complicated and reviews warn potential customers of hidden fees for onboarding and add-ons, so be sure to inquire about your final cost before signing a contract. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Zendesk

You should use Zendesk if you can afford the enterprise pricing ($215 per agent per month). Zendesk’s reputation among these companies is far better than its low reviews from smaller clients. 

If you can’t afford Zendesk’s enterprise pricing, you’ll be working with an overcrowded app and have inadequate help from the Zendesk customer service team. Here’s what one mid-sized company (50-1,000 employees) said about Zendesk’s customer experience: 

Our account manager doesn't seem to care about our needs and concerns. Neither did our previous one, so it seems like a recurring theme since a few years. Multiple week-long delays in replies are common.

The platform itself is a dinosaur, in terms of the core product (Zendesk Support), nothing worthwhile has changed since we joined in 2016. Aside from their "Answer Bot" which is arguably useless.

— Zendesk user

🆚 Compare Zendesk and Gorgias to make the right choice for your online store

Zoho Desk, HubSpot Support Hub, and Salesforce Service Cloud: Best support tools if you’re already using a CRM from those brands

Zoho Desk, Salesforce, and HubSpot are the best customer service software for teams that already use tools from these companies.

If your team already relies on products from Zoho, Hubspot, or Salesforce, you might want to expand your current contract to include that company’s helpdesk. 

You’ll be able to sync up your helpdesk to your existing customer relationship management (CRM) software, allowing you to provide more personalized service to your customers based on the information you already have about them.

However, if you don’t use a tool from one of these companies, they probably aren’t the best choice for a standalone helpdesk since they are more expensive and geared toward enterprise companies. 

Key features of these tools

All three of these tools have a large feature set. Plus, since they are connected to CRMs and other tools built by Zoho, Hubspot, and Salesforce, you can easily expand beyond the helpdesk to get additional products:

  • Zoho has tools for recruiting, legal contracts, developer operations, webinar hosting, and much more
  • Hubspot offers a content management system (CMS) to publish content on your website, email marketing software, and much more
  • Salesforce is similar, with over a dozen tools including Slack (for team collaboration), Data Cloud (for data management), Net Zero (for sustainability management), and much more

The helpdesks associated with each of these companies are robust but are built to work best as extensions of one of these companies’ CRMs. 

Zoho Desk, HubSpot Support Hub, and Salesforce Service Cloud pricing

Zoho Desk starts at $14 per user per month and has a 15-day free trial. 

HubSpot Service Hub starts at $45 per month for 2 users (and $23 each for additional users) and has a 14-day free trial. 

Salesforce Service Cloud starts at $25 per user per month and has a 30-day free trial. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Zoho Desk, HubSpot Support Hub, and Salesforce Service Cloud

Companies that already use tools from one of these companies should consider using that company’s helpdesk.

If you don’t already use a tool by one of these companies (and don’t plan to anytime soon), then go for a tool that’s built and priced for a standalone helpdesk. 

HappyFox: Best customer service platform for IT and field services

HappyFox is the best customer support tool for IT support.

HappyFox is a helpdesk that has features for many industries but really shines in one unique area: IT support. 

It’s on the more expensive side of helpdesks, so unless one of HappyFox’s unique features appeals to you, you’re likely better off with a less-expensive helpdesk. 

HubSpot product image.

Key features of HappyFox

HappyFox has a variety of features for many industries, but its industry-best features are for IT management. With HappyFox, you can:

  • Integrate with LogMeIn to take over computers and files remotely
  • Track the movement of field service workers to gauge progress and arrival times for in-person support
  • Communicate with field technicians in real-time

If these features sound relevant to your business, HappyFox is worth the extra price.

HappyFox pricing

HappyFox’s pricing starts at $29 per agent per month. They also offer plans with unlimited support agents starting at $1,149 per month. 

HappyFox has a 14-day free trial.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use HappyFox

If you need a helpdesk to manage IT or field services support, then HappyFox is for you.

If you’re looking for a more standard multi-channel helpdesk to manage support tickets and respond to messages across all your channels, you’re better off with a cheaper customer service tool.

Freshdesk: Best helpdesk with a free plan

Freshdesk is the best helpdesk with a free tier

Freshdesk is an industry-agnostic helpdesk with all of the standard features: ticket management across your communication channels, a knowledge base, and support performance reporting. 

The twist? Freshdesk offers a free tieplanr, which is quite unusual for helpdesks. 

Freshdesk product image

Key features of Freshdesk

While the standout aspect of Freshdesk is the free tier, ticketing system also has some great features. One of Freshdesk’s best features is the automatic ticket assignment. You can assign customer queries to users based on skillet or workload, to cut out manual ticket triage (ticket assignment and prioritization). 

Another great feature of Freshdesk is the ability to turn one of your agent’s responses into a knowledge base article in just a few clicks. 

Freshdesk pricing

Freshdesk is the only tool on this list that starts with a free tier. Be careful, though. Many of Freshdesk's features (like its chatbot, Freddy) are hidden behind much more expensive plans and add-ons. 

Only choose Freshdesk if you plan to stay small or can afford these higher price tags since it will be much more expensive to switch down the line. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a great option for solopreneurs and other very small teams that need a free tool. It also has some great ticket management features for much larger teams that need to coordinate work across a large group of support reps. 

However, if you’re anywhere in the middle — or need industry-specific features — you might have better luck with another helpdesk. 

🆚 Compare Freshdesk and Gorgias to make the right choice for your online store

Intercom: Best support software for teams that want a CRM software tool

Intercom is the best CRM-like tool for customer service

Intercom is a very powerful suite of customer communication tools that range from customer support to marketing and sales. Altogether, these tools function as CRM-like software to help you manage customer relationships, all the way from finding and converting customers to onboarding and supporting them. 

Intercom is not primarily focused on support features and is too expensive to be used solely as a support tool. However, if you need a powerful CRM-like tool rather than just support, Intercom might be your best choice.

Intercom product image

Key features of Intercom

Intercom’s feature set is more powerful than any standalone helpdesk. With Intercom, you can:

  • Get insights into user behavior on your website, such as recent pages viewed
  • Collect and store detailed contact information
  • Tag contacts to identify leads, current customers, and potential churn risks

However, Intercom is not a fully-featured CRM. It lacks capabilities for lead management, contact lists, customer engagement, and CRM reporting. If you're an enterprise looking for a comprehensive CRM, consider Salesforce or HubSpot.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you're a standalone customer support team, Intercom's features might be too advanced and not tailored to your industry.

Also, some key features in Intercom, like the AI chatbot named Fin, have limitations on the Support plan and are not available on the starter plan. To fully utilize the chatbot automation, you would need to invest in larger plans like Intercom Support, Engage, and Convert, which can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month.

Intercom pricing

Intercom Support’s pricing starts at $74 per month for a limited shared inbox. 

Engage and Convert also both start at $74 per month. Larger plans are mysteriously priced: You have to book a demo with Intercom to get a quote.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Intercom

Brands who want to go all in on customer communication — from on-site conversion to in-app onboarding and support — should use Intercom. No other company offers such a great suite of customer communication tools.

If you’re looking for a standalone helpdesk, however, you can find more affordable alternatives that won’t lock essential features behind larger plan paywalls. 

tawk.to: Best standalone live chat tool

tawk.to is the best standalone live chat tool for customer service

tawk.to isn’t a helpdesk, it’s a live chat software. That said, it’s a very reliable live chat tool that’s available completely free. 

If you’re looking for an affordable, powerful live chat solution and don’t need to communicate with customers on other channels (like SMS, email, and social media), then consider tawk.to.

tawk.to product image

Key features of tawk.to

Live chat is one of the most feature-rich live chat tools on the market. On tawk.to, you have access to a wide range of features, including (but not limited to):

  • Language detection for over 45 languages
  • Sentiment tracking
  • Video messages and screensharing
  • Message scheduling
  • In-chat payments

tawk.to pricing

tawk.to is free forever. The only thing they charge for is removing the “powered by tawk.to” at the bottom of your live chat widget. 

tawk.to also offers a customer support outsourcing service, where you can staff your live chat with agents provided by tawk.to.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use tawk.to

If you want live chat (and only live chat), tawk.to is a great tool.

If you want a shared inbox to communicate with customers on other channels like email or social media, then tawk.to is not the right tool for you. 

Aircall: Best standalone call center software

Aircall is the best standalone call center software for customer support.

If you’re looking for call center software, consider Aircall. With Aircall, you can provide phone support to shoppers and hold sales calls — whatever is most relevant to your business.

Aircall is a standalone phone provider, so don’t expect live chat, ticket management, or most of the capabilities of other tools on this list. However, Aircall does integrate with almost all of the tools on this list (including Zendesk, Gorgias, Intercom, and Front) to add additional voice functionality to those tools. 

Note: Gorgias offers native Voice support, but also integrates with Aircall for those who prefer. Learn more about our Aircall integration

Key features of Aircall

Since Aircall is a software to make and receive phone calls, it offers more phone features than just about any other product on the market. With Aircall, you can:

  • Make and receive calls directly from web browsers or mobile apps
  • Route incoming calls based on criteria like time or location
  • Record and analyze calls for quality control and customer feedback
  • Access call history and voicemails from anywhere
  • Collaborate with teammates using shared call notes
  • Monitor team performance with real-time analytics
  • Integrate with your CRM or helpdesk software

Aircall pricing

Aircall starts at $90 per month: $30 per user but with a minimum of 3 users. You can also upgrade to the more feature-rich plan at $50 per user, or create a custom plan for their full suite of features. 

Aircall has a 7-day free trial.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Aircall

Businesses that experience a very high volume of phone support, like airlines or telecommunications companies, should use Aircall. If you run a full-blown contact center, Aircall could be a great tool. 

If your business relies on email for support and video calling software (like Zoom or Google Meet) for sales, you’re best using a helpdesk over Aircall. If you want to add some phone support, most helpdesks offer a basic version of Aircall for less. SaaS companies, ecommerce companies, and most startups fall into this category. 

Drift: Best standalone chatbot

Drift is the best standalone chatbot for support and sales.

Unlike most tools on this list, Drift’s bread and butter isn’t just customer support. The chat tool’s main purpose is customer communication throughout the entire customer journey. Drift can help you greet your customer base with personalized experiences, generate leads, and resolve customer support requests.  

Drift is geared toward companies with longer sales cycles: Think software companies, agencies, and other professional services. 

Drift product image

Key features of Drift

Drift includes products for Marketing, Sales, and Support, so the list of features is long:

  • Chatbots that answer questions with links to help documents
  • Automated lead qualification to identify potential customers
  • Real-time messaging to connect with visitors while they are on the website
  • Personalized messaging based on visitor behavior and preferences
  • Integration with CRM systems for seamless lead management

Drift pricing

Drift starts at $2,500 per month for live chat, custom chatbots, and many more sales features. Larger plans are available for custom pricing. 

Drift doesn’t have a free trial, but you can get a free preview of what Drift looks like on your website. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Drift

Drift is great for professional services and software companies that need to personalize web experiences, target key accounts, and provide support on how to use a product. Drift is built for companies with longer sales cycles: If lead generation and nurturing are a part of your business, Drift could be a fit. 

If your main concern is offering quick customer support and getting visitors to buy a product on their first visit, other customer service tools are a better bet. 

UserPilot: Best for in-app product support

UserPilot is the best tool for in-app customer support

Most of the customer support tools on this list help you respond to customer issues via email and live chat on your website. UserPilot lets you provide customer support directly in a mobile, desktop, or browser-based app. 

Rather than just resolving customer requests, UserPilot helps you create personalized in-app experiences, like product tours, user onboarding, feature adoption, and more. 

UserPilot product image

Key features of UserPilot

UserPilot doesn’t feature any sort of ticket management; instead, it helps you proactively educate and support people while they’re using your app:

  • Product tours that guide users through the product's features and functionality
  • In-app surveys and feedback collection to gather valuable insights
  • User segmentation for personalized onboarding experiences
  • User analytics and behavior tracking to understand customer conversations
  • A visual editor to easily create and customize onboarding flows
  • Feature adoption tracking to identify which features are being used
  • A/B testing and experimentation to optimize user onboarding

UserPilot pricing

UserPilot starts at $249 per month for apps with up to 2,500 users. If your app has more users than that, your price will scale up based on the number of users and features you’d like.

UserPilot has a 14-day free trial. 

Who should (and shouldn’t) use UserPilot

Companies that sell a complex piece of software should consider UserPilot to help users succeed in the software. 

If you’re looking for a support software solution for email, social media, or live chat on your website, look elsewhere.

Buffer: Best tool for social media management

Buffer is the best tool for social media support

Buffer is not marketed as a customer support tool, but you can use it to see and answer social media DMs and comments. 

If your team just wants to stay on top of social messages — and also wants the ability to schedule and post social content, the main use of Buffer — you might actually want a tool like Buffer more than a traditional helpdesk. 

However, if you’re looking for a customer support tool with everything you need to answer customer questions on email and live chat, host a self-service knowledge base, and other support features, then Buffer’s not for you. 

Buffer product image

Key features of Buffer

Most of Buffer’s features are for social media marketing, including:

  • Social media scheduling to plan and publish posts across Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms
  • Social media content calendar for efficient planning
  • Link shortening and tracking to monitor click-through rates
  • RSS feed integration to automate content sharing
  • Analytics and reporting to track performance and engagement

For customer support, Buffer lets you:

  • Receive notifications for new social media DMs and comments
  • Respond to DMs and comments within the Buffer platform
  • Track response times to ensure a prompt service experience on social media channels

Buffer pricing

Buffer is free to start, including basic features for up to three social media channels. From there, pricing is based on the number of connected social media channels, plus additional features you’d like to unlock. 

Since Buffer is free, there’s no free trial — you can just start using the tool.

Who should (and shouldn’t) use Buffer

Buffer is great for businesses of all kinds looking to boost social media followers and engagement, or handle basic support on social media channels. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive customer support tool for email, phone, live chat, SMS, and so on, then Buffer isn’t the right tool for you.

Frequently asked questions

Most frequently asked questions

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