The 12 Best Help Desk and Service Desk Software Platforms In 2023 [Features, Pricing, and More]

Written by Dylan Max  on   Jun 29, 2022

The support tech stack has undergone a significant shift since the early 2000s. The backbone of a support organization today is having one of the best help desk software solutions. In today’s business environment, a help desk is a powerful platform that streamlines the entire support process. 

In this post, we’re going to dive deep into these solutions. We’ll explore why companies of all sizes need a help desk, what to look for in a help desk platform, how much it costs and much more, including:

What is a help desk?

A help desk (or service desk) is case management software that helps companies receive, assign, resolve and analyze customer service tickets or queries from internal audiences (IT or HR). As a kind of mission control system, help desk software pulls in conversations from various communication channels, including: incident management, ticket management, customer interaction, live chat, email, social platforms, voice, etc. into a single platform.

Help desk software has a wide range of tools for agents to quickly and accurately access profile data, capture context, analyze sentiment, and provide shortcuts and templates to help customer service reps reply easily.

Help desk platforms often combine customer self service tools like Knowledge Bases as well as AI and human agents working together in real-time to provide efficient support.

Why should companies use a help desk?

Help desk solutions and ticketing systems are instrumental in providing top-notch support and can directly impact customer satisfaction. Help desk software also helps to maintain agent happiness by empowering them with everything they need at their fingertips and even automating many processes.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from a help desk system: whether offering support to external customers or internal audiences (i.e. IT or HR support). There are platforms designed for small teams (less than 20 agents), average size teams (~50 agents), and large enterprise and distributed teams (10,000+ agents).

While the benefits of leveraging help desk software are vast, we’ve rounded up the 7 core benefits in 2023.

Top 7 Benefits of Help Desks

  • Improved customer satisfaction

Customers today demand quick, effortless resolutions to their issues and hate having to repeat themselves. Help desk software streamlines the support journey, providing the ability for agents to easily review previous interactions, access customer profile data to personalize the interaction and close help desk tickets faster. 

  • A single source of truth

Help desks provide one centralized record of cross-channel support tickets which can be tracked, reviewed and analyzed at any time. This also opens the door for advanced analytics on the issues customers are facing. Help desks can also flag emerging issues that the company can get in front of.

  • Automation

Help desk software has a lot of AI at work behind the scenes. Service desk chatbot tools act as the first line of defense interacting with customers to automatically resolve highly repeatable tickets. They can recommend responses to agents or even coach agents in real-time. The most advanced help desk platforms use a combination of human and machine intelligence.

  • Improved agent experience

Attrition for customer support agents is one of the highest (with turnover rates between 30-40%), which leads to significant hiring, training and onboarding costs. Tools like help desk AI platforms make an agent’s job easier. Automation tools that eliminate the mundane work and make jobs more fulfilling.

  • Intelligent routing

Help desk platforms can route tickets to specific agents based on availability, expertise or seniority. Routing can also be based on profile attributes. This provides a better end-user experience by reducing the passing off of a customer from one agent to another. 

  • Heightened scalability

When you’re up and running on a modern help desk platform, you can easily scale to new channels and manage spikes in tickets during times of hyper-growth. Help desk platforms eliminate teams sharing a single inbox which can lead to delays, duplicate agent work and reduced productivity.

  • Sophisticated analytics

Modern help desk platforms have rich data and reporting so you can track response time, average handle time, first response rate and other key customer service KPIs.

Do small businesses need to use a help desk?

Every company that prioritizes their customer experience should consider a help desk, even small businesses. Even for small teams with 5 agents or less, there are tons of benefits.

Regardless of the size of your company, customer service is important to attract and build customer relationships. Consider these customer service statistics:

  • 95% of consumers cite customer service as important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand
  • Customers expect to receive service through any channel and on any device, with 59% of respondents having used multiple channels to get questions answered
  • 66% of US online adults said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience

Arming your agents with the tools to drive efficiency can ensure no duplicate work is done, tickets are prioritized and addressed in the most pressing order, and customer satisfaction is not compromised.

How much does help desk software cost?

You can find both free and paid subscriptions for most help desk software. Features and the number of agents in the free models are typically limited. Once you’re in a paid model, more agent seats are allotted and advanced tools and functionality are available. There are often plans aimed at small businesses to enterprise users.

Zendesk, for instance, starts at $49 per month per agent and goes up to $215 per month per agent with the most functionality (published costs at the time of publication).

There is a growing number of options when it comes to help desk software – from both established players like Salesforce and Zendesk and newer Zendesk alternatives like Gladly. A quick look on GetApp, an online review platform for software, shows over 70 companies in the category. Here’s our list of the best help desk software in 2023.

The 12 best help desk platforms

 

RankHelp DeskRating (Out of 5 Stars)
1.Zendesk5
2.Salesforce Service Cloud5
3.Gladly5
4.Freshdesk4.7
5.Zoho4.6
6.Hiver4.5
7.InvGate Service Desk4.5
8.Sprinklr4.4
9.PeopleSoft Enterprise Helpdesk4.4
10.ServiceNow4.4
11.Hubspot Service Hub4.3
12.Happyfox4.3

  1. Best help desk software for omnichannel: Zendesk
  2.  

    What makes Zendesk one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Zendesk is perhaps the most robust and flexible help desk platform. It’s used by over 160,000 companies including large enterprises like Expedia, Tesco and Vodafone. While it works on any channel (email, chat, voice, and even social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more), all the interactions and relevant context are kept in a single, dynamic dashboard. Integrating a top-performing Zendesk chatbot can make your help desk even more powerful. The platform is completely customizable and is designed to help companies quickly close tickets. The company reports that it increases customer satisfaction by 25% and agent productivity by 30% at any scale.

    Real Testimonials: What customers have to say about Zendesk’s help desk

    “Zеndеsk hеlрs yоu іmрrоvе yоur соmmunісatіоns еvеrywhеrе and еvеry mоmеnt.”

    Key features

      • Sophisticated ticketing system and automated routing
      • Omnichannel experience and support – including real-time chat and email
      • Advanced reporting & analytics
      • Knowledge Base
      • Automation and service desk chatbot options
      • Ticket collaboration
      • SLA Management
      • Alerts / Escalation

    Hear how AI can improve the customer experience in this webinar featuring Greg Dreyfus from Zendesk.


  3. Best help desk software for integrations with other tools: Salesforce Service Cloud
  4.  

    What makes Salesforce Service Cloud one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Salesforce is the leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform used by businesses to manage customer data, connect across a variety of channels and streamline customer support. The company’s Service Cloud automates service processes, streamlines workflows, and surfaces key articles to elevate agent productivity.

    The platform boasts many of the same features as the other help desk platforms on this list, but also has thousands of apps and integrations in the Salesforce AppExchange that extend the power of Salesforce. Whether you’re looking for customized surveys, AI-powered Salesforce chatbots, agent routing and productivity.

    “Service Cloud – the platform for success and customer centricity”

    Key features

      • Ticketing and automatic routing
      • Reporting and analytics dashboard
      • SLA management and routing
      • Knowledge base management
      • CRM
      • Automation
      • Omnichannel: voice, email, live chat, social media

  5. Best help desk for hyper-personalization: Gladly
  6.  

    What makes Gladly one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Gladly talks about its “radically personal service.” The help desk is designed to provide the ultimate customer experience that “treats customers like people, not tickets.” The platform provides this personalized customer service by enabling a single lifelong customer conversation across all channels. The customer’s context is carried forward, regardless of the channel on which they reach out. This customer-centric mindset  turns customer service teams into revenue-generating machines by providing agents with tools that can increase contact center generated revenue by up to 10%.

    Although the platform is used by companies across industries, Gladly has a ton of experience with retailers like Crate & Barrel, Ugg, Warby Parker, Ulta Beauty and Ralph Lauren.

    Drew Chamberlain, Director of Customer Experience for JOANN recounts that “’In less than a month we’d cut our email backlog by 93% and our email response times by 70%—it’s all thanks to how simple and efficient Gladly is to use.”

    Key features

      • Customer profiles with saved preferences, purchase history, attributes and relationships
      • Conversation timeline
      • Intelligent routing
      • Native knowledge base
      • Contextual engagement
      • Intelligent routing and seamless escalation
      • Task management and collaboration tools
      • Payments
      • Omnichannel – native voice, email, text, chat, and more tools

    Hear how support teams benefit from smart automation in this webinar featuring Mike McCarron from Gladly.


  7. Best help desk software for small businesses: Freshdesk
  8.  

    What makes Freshdesk one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Freshdesk converts requests coming in via email, web, phone, chat, and social into tickets, and unifies ticket resolution across channels. Additionally, Freshdesk lets you automate workflows, provide self-service, manage SLAs, and measure metrics, so you can stay on top of all things customer support. Highly repeatable questions can be replied to in a single keystroke with templated responses. Integrating a Freshdesk chatbot into the help desk might allow you to unlock 80% or higher automation rates.

    While the company has over 150,000 customers of all sizes, it is the gold standard for help desk offerings aimed at smaller businesses, according to PC Magazine.

    Key features

      • Ticket creation
      • Automation
      • SLA Management
      • Multilingual
      • Reporting and analytics
      • Multi-channel

    Get 5 strategies for successful customer service automation in this webinar featuring Rajiv Ramanan from Freshworks.


  9. Best help desk software for the value: Zoho
  10.  

    What makes Zoho one of the best help desks of 2023?

    “In its own words, Zoho Desk is a “straightforward help desk for a great price.”

    The Zoho cloud-based platform has an incredible list of features like automatic localization and automated ticket routing, and supports many of the top channels. The best part?  It’s very competitive in pricing with a free tier and paid plans starting at $12/agent for a month. To provide additional value to agents, many companies like Megabus deploy a Zoho chatbot.

    Key features

      • Multi-channel, including email, social, chat and telephony
      • Sentiment analysis
      • Auto-tagging of tickets
      • Knowledge base management
      • Ticket assignment and routing
      • Immediate escalations and alerts
      • SLA management
      • Multi-brand help center

  11. Best help desk software for teams that use Google Workspaces: Hiver
  12.  

    What makes Hiver one of the best help desks of 2023?

    As the world’s first Gmail-based helpdesk, Hiver is the best fit for all types of business verticals, as it is extremely easy to adapt. With Hiver, support agents are able to collaborate and act on support queries, automate workflows, and track support metrics – all within Gmail. This means that it is not necessary for support reps to switch tabs while working on a customer query – ensuring timely resolution and an excellent customer experience.

    Key features

      • Works within Gmail
      • Quick, seamless internal collaboration through Email notes (without using CCs and forwards)
      • Automation of specific workflows and repetitive tasks
      • Advanced analytics to track key support metrics such as first response time and average resolution time

  13. Best helpdesk software for Enterprise Service Management (ESM): InvGate Service Desk
  14.  

    What makes InvGate Service Desk one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Enterprise Service Management is the extension of IT Service Management (ITSM) principles and capabilities to other areas of an organization, such as Human Resources, facilities, finance, legal, sales and marketing. InvGate Service Desk is a help desk software commonly used by IT and other areas of large and medium organizations, with a clear ticket management interface, smart workflows, and knowledge base capabilities. It can also be integrated with InvGate’s Asset Management software.

    Key features

      • Ticket Management
      • Knowledge Base
      • Workflows and automation
      • Self-service portal
      • SLAs
      • Ticket collaboration
      • IT Asset Management integrations

  15. Best help desk software for social media support: Sprinklr
  16.  

    What makes Sprinklr one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Social media has emerged as a core support channel in recent years. The Sprinklr platform is a robust social media experience platform, Unified CXM, that spans marketing, ads, engagement and care. Sprinklr scales across 35+ digital channels.

    With consumers increasingly turning to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others for support, a big part of today’s social media management is customer service. Sprinklr’s Modern Care product is a unified agent desk that includes features like guided workflows, 360-degree customer profiling and CSAT prediction. The company’s AI identifies customer intent and sentiment; automatically creates support cases; and routes them to the right agent with the right information.

    If you have a big presence on social media and need a unified place to listen, triage, engage and analyze social conversations, Sprinklr is the perfect choice. Brands that use Sprinklr include hospitality brands Choice Hotels and AAA – many of which pair this platform with a travel chatbot. Cisco is also a known brand using their solutions.

    Key features

      • Social Analytics
      • Social Engagement
      • Sentiment Analysis
      • Ticketing
      • Influencer Identification
      • CSAT Prediction
      • AI Routing
      • Conversational AI
      • Quality Alerts

  17. Best help desk software for internal HR support: PeopleSoft Enterprise Helpdesk
  18.  

    What makes PeopleSoft one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise HelpDesk leverages real-time enterprise data to provide faster, more accurate internal support, maximize employee productivity, monitor service performance, and control service costs. The platform allows agents to view a 360-degree view of the employee to provide the most accurate solution.

    Tickets are routed to the agent with the best knowledge of a subject. This product also offers productivity tools like quick codes that populate the category, specialty type, and details fields of a ticket.

    Key features

      • Skills-based routing
      • Central repository of diagnostic tools
      • Shortcut data entry
      • Self-service tools

  19. Best help desk software for internal IT support (ITSM): ServiceNow
  20.  

    What makes ServiceNow one of the best help desks of 2023?

    ServiceNow is a platform-as-a-service provider of IT service applications. The company provides a range of pre-built ITSM products to automate and manage numerous IT enterprise services. Using the single software you can automate processes and create custom applications to meet all your IT service needs.

    Key features

      • Drag & Drop
      • Compliance management
      • Data visualization
      • Workflow management
      • Alerts / escalations
      • Data mapping and visualization
      • Configurable Workflows

  21. Best help desk software that is free: HubSpot’s Service Hub
  22.  

    What makes Hubspot Service Hub one of the best help desks of 2023?

    If you use the Hubspot CRM, the Service Hub is a great solution. While it does offer paid plans, the free plan has unlimited users and significantly more features than other free plans. With the Service Hub, customer service data and channels are brought together into a single platform.

    Key features include

    • Comprehensive Ticketing
    • Live chat
    • Conversations inbox to offer transparency for the entire team
    • Detailed reports on closed tickets, agent productivity, and time-to-close
    • Email templates
    • integrations with Gmail, Outlook, Facebook Messenger, and other programs, including mobile apps
    • Snippets – or reusable answers to most commonly asked questions
  23. Best practical help desk: Happyfox
  24.  

    What makes Happyfox one of the best help desks of 2023?

    Easy to use and “practical,” HappyFox provides multi-channel support for customer requests coming from email, web, phone and social media. Although it lacks some integration capabilities as the other platforms, HappyFox integrates with business applications for accounting, customer feedback, CRM and commerce.

    Key features

    • Ticket creation and automated routing
    • Alerts and escalation
    • Knowledge base management
    • Automation
    • Ticket collaboration
    • SLA management
    • Multilingual

Service Desk Chatbot Integration with AI: A must-have feature for any help desk platform

Getting set up on a help desk platform is essential for any modern day support team. Integrating with an AI-powered service desk chatbot can extend the power of the platforms, and help to further improve the customer experience, boost agent productivity and reduce costs.

Netomi, for instance, has out-of-the-box integrations with Zendesk, Freshdesk, Gladly, Salesforce, Zoho and Sprinklr, amongst others. Netomi brings its powerful AI chatbots natively into the agent experience. With these integrations, Netomi’s AI service desk chatbot works alongside human agents seamlessly and can benefit a customer service team in many ways:

  • Automatically resolving mundane, repetitive tickets enabling human agents to focus on higher-level tasks
  • Triaging tickets by gathering information from customers and back-end systems before escalating to human agents
  • Drafting responses for an agent to quickly approve, edit or reject
  • Scaling support across every digital channel –  email, chat, messaging, social, as well as SMS customer service – without increasing headcount
  • Service desk chatbot tools can provide 24/7/365 coverage
  • Reducing customer service costs by optimizing human agent resources
  • Increasing customer satisfaction by reducing resolution time

Customer service becomes a competitive differentiator

When support teams have the right technology and service desk chatbot behind them, agents are able to work better and faster, and meet the demands of today’s modern consumer. Increasingly, companies are competing on customer service, as much as price and product.

Without top-of-the-line help desk software, and layering powerful customer service tools like AI service desk chatbot tools to elevate the experience, it’s hard for support teams to measure up to the experience of customer-centric organizations that prioritize the customer experience and invest in the proper tools.

Want to learn more about how AI and the right service desk chatbot can transform customer service operations? Watch our featured on-demand webinar featuring Zendesk.

For more information on customer service, visit:

The Need for Speed: How Telecoms Can Offer High-Speed Customer Service

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Jun 29, 2022

Customers today seek speed – speedy access to services, and in a timely fashion. This extends to customer service in the telecommunications (telecom) industry, as many rely heavily on mobile devices and networks in an era of remote work and social connections. With advances in technology, lightning-fast connectivity is already here, or well within reach.

Take, for instance, 5G, the fifth generation of cellular networks, a game-changing technology that is up to 100 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. By the end of the first quarter of 2022, global wireless 5G adoption hit a milestone of 701 million connections and is expected to accelerate again in 2023, reaching 4.8 billion by the end of 2026. Canadian telecom giant Bell recently announced the network readiness of 5G+, to soon be deployed across the country on its 5G wireless network, offering unprecedented mobile data speeds of up to 3Gbps (gigabits per second) for gaming, streaming, and video conferencing.

In parallel with this sense of momentum, telecom companies must offer speedy resolutions when it comes to customer service and support.

Providing High-Speed Telecom Customer Service in a Connected World  

New advances in technology = more service offerings = more support tickets

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the telecom industry is also growing more intricate and complex, with a slew of new offerings. Gone are the days when customers had a landline phone and dial-up (!) internet. Now, with the advent of 5G, fiber internet, fixed wireless access (FWA) and IoT-connected devices, customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to how and with whom to connect to the internet, and the competition among service providers is heating up. Additionally, unlimited data plans, as well as improved network coverage and capacity, are increasingly attracting new 5G subscribers. Service providers are offering packages that include gaming, music and video streaming and speed tier options to incentivize service uptake, providing additional value to subscribers.

With this combination of a growing customer base and an increased number of services, there is bound to be an increase in support-related queries.

Choices, choices, choices: An example of how customers can build custom service packages.                                                                                  Source: Ericsson Mobility Report June 2022

This complexity calls for improved organization and a streamlined customer support process – here is where AI-powered virtual assistants can play a leading role. For instance, the virtual assistants can summarize and route tickets to the most appropriate agent for the task, and also assist agents by gathering information from the customer and back-end systems prior to handoff to a human agent, such as a customer’s account status. Such assistants help to tackle the problem of providing immediate responses, and directing customers to the right resources to find what they are looking for.

Yet, in the increasingly sophisticated landscape that is the telecom industry, there is a need for sophisticated solutions to deliver an exceptional customer experience. How can telecom customer service teams get ahead to offer truly exceptional, proactive customer care?

Timely and proactive support, in the moments that matter

Going one step beyond AI-powered chatbots for customer service, this is where it becomes critical to adopt conversational AI systems that incorporate advanced natural language systems – systems that intuitively understand that the statement “I want to pay my bill” has closely the same meaning as “I’d like to settle my account.” Armed with this understanding, they are better able to leverage customer-specific information, to provide customer responses that are both instant and relevant. Conversational AI, for instance, might notice that customers are inquiring specifically about 5G network roll-outs, and generate a set of comprehensive and standard responses in anticipation of more of these queries. Such systems can easily handle common and highly repeatable queries, such as ‘Can I change my current plan’ and ‘how many GB of data do I get per month?’ phone capability, plan limitations and modifications.

As global demand for 5G technology increases, however, so does the need for enhanced security. Due to the convergence with traditional IT, the threat landscape for 5G is more complex than with previous generations. As networks such as 5G grow more software-based and decentralized, their surface attack area and points of entry increase. Recently, several U.S. Government security agencies warned that, by exploiting software flaws in routers and other network infrastructure equipment, hackers breached major telecom companies. Because of heightened concerns of customer personal data potentially at stake, telecom companies need to be more vigilant about continual communication with their customers, as they will likely be seeking more information, as well as thoroughness in responses.

Based on in-depth knowledge of the customer, AI is adept at predicting and resolving potential issues before they occur, at using simple insights to take action on behalf of the customer, or informing them that it is time to take action. Working alongside AI-powered virtual agents, human agents can preempt and prevent – halting any potentially budding issues in their tracks before they turn into issues. For instance, a telecom company may have new internet service packages that meet a customer’s profile current needs. Virtual agents could initiate a proactive conversation with the customer with a friendly message such as: “Looking to upgrade your current home internet plan? We have several new packages available that may be suitable for you and your family.” Such a gesture can go a long way in terms of driving customer loyalty.

Transmitting a State of the Art Telecom Customer Experience

Netomi’s The State of Customer Service in 2022 report discovered that telecom companies are the most dreaded customer service calls to make – this was reported by 53% of respondents. Wireless companies took the lead with 27% of consumer votes, with cable companies at 26%. It is time for this perception to change, time for telecom companies to adopt AI-powered solutions and harness conversational AI to deliver high-speed service in the rapidly advancing and hyper-connected world of today.

10 Ways Customer Service Automation Works Today (Updated June 2022)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 29, 2022

AI is transforming customer service, making it more convenient and personal by automating high-quality resolutions on consumers’ terms and empowering human agents to work smarter. The use cases for automated customer service seem endless, so we’ve pulled together the best opportunities for leveraging the power of helpdesk AI in customer service that we see today.


How are our customers using automated support to rethink retail customer service?
Learn how Nespresso, Tommy Hilfiger, and Westjet have turned support into a difference maker.


Here are the Best Automated Customer Service Use Cases

Use Cases for Customer Support on Autopilot

  1. Constant, Direct Attention to Customers
  2. AI can respond instantly to customers, faster than any human. This instant response is available all the time, making time zones irrelevant in the first few interactions with customer service. Human attention isn’t required for every scenario, and chatbot statistics show that a chatbot operating 24 hours a day can make an enormous impact on those tenuous first steps.

  3. Automated Customer Service Responses to FAQs
  4. Use AI to respond to the repeatable, and costly, issues that consumers ask about frequently such as return/exchange policies and processes. AI can also educate customers about complex services or products, like applying for a mortgage or comparing credit cards. We worked with Aflac to create an AI Agent to help educate people during the health insurance open-enrollment season, offering support through an insurance chatbot.

  5. Facilitate Routine Actions
  6. AI can help facilitate routine actions like checking in for a WestJet flight, ordering your favorite Starbucks coffee or a Domino’s pizza. Bank of America is using AI to make everyday banking more pleasant: instead of a website search and navigation to various Web pages, a customer can check their balance, confirm due dates and pay bills via a natural language conversation with virtual assistant Erica, a banking chatbot. Customer service software and artificial intelligence can also help answer customer questions about the shipping status of their eCommerce order.

  7. Payments
  8. Sometimes a customer service human being is more than you need, and that is no more often the case than in simple transactional exchanges, like a customer paying for a product or service that your company offers. That’s where AI for customer experience comes in. Those self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores are popular for a specific subset of customers for a reason: for a fast, no-frills payment process, nothing beats DIY with AI. Chatbots can serve the same function in an e-tail setting, acting as automated cash registers when a human is best utilized elsewhere.

    Bonus: Three More Simple Use Cases for Automated Customer Support

  9. Intent Discovery
  10. The customer might not always be right, but they are rarely shy about telling you how they feel. Gauging a user’s mood, and finding out what kind of help they need, is all part of discovering customer intent. Are they mad? Probably best to get a human on the line ASAP. Are they sick of trying to get a hold of a human at other places and hope they don’t have the same issue with your company? Also, probably a good time for a human to hop on the line. Either way, it makes a lot more sense for AI to ask the question “what can I do for you?” before any valuable human time is spent doing what a machine can do.

  11. Account Information
  12. Nobody likes to put the same information repeatedly into web forms, then give that information again to customer service, and then again every time they’re routed to a new customer service agent. This is especially true when the information they’re looking for is simple customer information, like how long until their subscription ends or whether the address on file is current. Customer service chatbots are perfect for this kind of application, where the task is no more complicated than updating a database or reporting on its contents.

  13. Troubleshooting
  14. If your company offers products or services that need troubleshooting, say a TV or refrigerator, you could use AI to help customers first identify the problem and offer the steps to remedy the issue. Depending on the deployment channel, a knowledge base article, or rich video and images could be shared at optimal times to help customers more effectively help themselves. AI can also be used to proactively offer care advice. For instance, Nespresso uses AI to help customers descale their coffee machines using step-by-step tips delivered naturally via conversation.


    Our webinar with Freshworks, Practical AI to Transform Customer Service,
    is a great intro to learn how AI can work inside your existing CX.


    Automated Customer Service Use Cases for Service Ops

  15. Tag-team AI / Human Support
  16. AI-powered automation tools can gather key important information from a customer before bringing in human service agents, such as account number, current needs or details around the issue they are facing. AI can also be used for account verification, like confirming security questions or matching account numbers to birthdays. This will optimize the agent’s time, ultimately getting a customer’s issue resolved quicker.

  17. Ticket Routing
  18. Based on a customer’s interactions, need, profile, and loyalty status (via integration with a CRM), machine learning can route the ticket to the right agent based on their:

    • areas of expertise
    • real-time availability
    • the number of other open tickets they are currently managing

    British supermarket Ocado, for example, uses support automation AI to intelligently route its 10,000+ daily emails to the right agent taking into account the topic, sentiment and the priority needed for a response. This makes sure the frustrated customer who had an issue with their online order is treated differently than someone who is providing positive feedback on the website.

  19. AI Recommended Replies to Agents

Once the ticket is in the right human hands, automated customer service can still help get tickets resolved quicker. AI can suggest replies or actions based on various contextual factors, the customer’s profile, information the AI gleaned from an earlier exchange to enable the human agent to easily select the best response or update the response if needed. Sprint, for instance, is launching AI in its call center to analyze a topic and recommend real-time solutions to agents in real-time.

Conclusion on AI and Customer Service Automation

AI is now a member of the workforce, enabling companies to create customer satisfaction for high-quality, fast support. Working in tandem with human agents to deliver exceptional customer experience. AI today is best used in highly repeatable, simple scenarios like live chat, but in the future, AI will be able to manage more complex situations, playing an even greater role within an organization’s support team.


Find out what your ROI will be if you automate customer support with an AI chatbot platform. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator today.


For more information on AI and customer service, visit:

AI to Inflation-Proof Your Business?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 27, 2022

Globally, the cost of living is skyrocketing – in the US, inflation hovers near a 40-year high, topping Americans’ concerns for the country, while Canada’s official inflation rate rose at a 6.8% annual pace this past April, a new 31-year high. Prices for everyday necessities – food, shelter and gas – are on the rise, as the COVID-19 pandemic is driving up the costs of raw materials and impacting global supply chains. Concerns about a recession are mounting, with economists warning that a recession in the US and Europe is ‘increasingly likely’, and Goldman Sachs forecasting a 30% chance of the U.S. economy tipping into recession over the next year, an increase from 15%.

Rising inflation rates place financial pressure on businesses, which need to find a way to bring in more revenue by either increasing their prices or, more optimally, by optimizing the revenue per head made by their employees. This pressure is propelling businesses to identify and act on new ways to drive efficiencies. While adjusting pricing or changing hiring practices may be the first to come to mind, the time to consider other strategies and processes to navigate this uncertain landscape is now, which is where the opportunity for AI and automation come into play.

Harnessing automation in a turbulent environment

For business leaders, leveraging an AI and automation-first strategy should be top of mind for reducing operating costs. For instance, Microsoft employs around 5,000 people on its finance team, a number that has largely remained steady over recent years, even though the company’s operations, profit and market capitalization have grown. Various technologies such as AI, bots, and machine learning have helped to keep a tight lid on the team’s headcount. This is a strategy that all companies, even those experiencing tremendous growth, need to do in this environment.

Turning customer service from a cost center to a profit center

While being conservative about headcount is important across all business areas, customer service is one area that can most benefit from automation. Customer service has long been a cost center for businesses – $400 billion is spent annually on customer experience, yet, this has been plagued by inefficient processes that actually damage customer relationships. In fact, 61% of people have switched brands due to poor customer service, costing businesses $1.6 trillion in lost business. With it costing 5X more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, a time of economic uncertainty makes the need to improve customer service even more important than ever.


Learn more about Intercom vs. Zendesk if you are looking for a new solution to give your customers a more personalized experience.


Herein lies the opportunity with AI. The amount of knowledge work done by customer service agents that can be easily automated with modern AI systems is significant. Today, it’s not uncommon for agents to have multiple systems open simultaneously, extracting information from various places in order to close one ticket. And in fact, they are usually handling multiple tickets simultaneously. This causes even more issues. For one, resolution time for single tickets surges, as does employee stress and burnout. Customer service has one of the highest attrition rates of any industry, at around 45%.

By bringing AI into the organization, business leaders can improve the efficiency and profitability of customer service teams, leading to:

  • Increased loyalty and deepening relationships by meeting customer expectations (the expectation for 24/7 customer support on any channel has only accelerated post-pandemic. Many companies can’t meet these expectations without AI-powered virtual assistants acting as the first line of defense).
  • Customer advocacy and proactive care, which reduces the cost per contact by anticipating tickets, and preemptively resolving issues before a customer even knows that one exists.
  • Team efficiency by automating repetitive tickets (anywhere from 40-70% of support tasks are highly repeatable knowledge-work that can be effectively automated with AI).
  • Savings with onboarding and hiring as agents are more fulfilled with mundane tasks reduced, resulting in lower attrition, at a time when there are fewer agents in the labor pool.

Using automation to shield against over-hiring

When AI is adopted, businesses can have more predictable hiring.

No need for major pricing adjustments to products or services, or the need to add expensive, short-term hires to deal with expected and unexpected spikes in tickets. Then, there is the possibility of having too many staff – this was the case with Walmart, which experienced “weeks of overstaffing” during the first few months of 2022, as extra associates were hired to cover for staff that were on COVID leave, yet when Omnicron case counts declined, employees returned to work sooner than expected. Amazon also faced a similar situation, resulting in lower productivity which added roughly $2 billion in costs for the company. On the other hand, many are hesitant to hire during these turbulent times, and companies including Salesforce and Uber have announced plans to slow or freeze hiring.

Removing some of the guesswork, leveraging AI-powered solutions allows for more elasticity, enabling businesses to strike a balance between too many and not enough staff.

Automation can also play a leading role in other areas of a business when it comes to process automation, including recruiting, sales, and administration activities. This helps businesses streamline various processes that are high volume and common, such as gathering data files, or processing and tracking employee vacation and leave requests.

In today’s often uncertain economy where global events such as inflation are taking their toll, emerging technologies such as AI enable businesses to stay efficient and maintain costs with limited disruption. Today, the trade for businesses may be increasing prices or increasing automation. We place our vote on the latter.

Intercom vs. Zendesk: Which Is Better?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 27, 2022

It wasn’t all that long ago when customer service just consisted of support agents speaking with customers over the phone Since then, the landscape of customer service has changed drastically, incorporating various other touchpoints that a customer can have with your company. Whatever people are using to communicate with each other, whether it be online or over the phone, they expect to also be able to talk to the businesses they use with those same tools and platforms. Among the many challenges facing businesses today is the pressing need to meet their customers where they are. 

In navigating this conundrum, several digital tools can come in handy, and two of the most popular options are Intercom and Zendesk. As both platforms have their pros and cons, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your business. To guide your decision-making, we explain the key features and qualities of each, and the role that a multichannel conversational AI platform (Netomi!) can play, for the ultimate CX strategy.  

What Is Intercom?

Intercom has positioned itself as a messaging platform rather than a comprehensive CRM solution. This differentiates it from Zendesk, which offers a more traditional CRM experience. Intercom’s primary focus is engaging and communicating with customers through live chat, in-app messaging, and email. This makes it a great choice for businesses that want to provide their customers with a more personal experience.

Intercom also offers a few features that are unique to its platform – one of these being the ability to segment users based on their behavior. This means that you can send targeted messages to different groups of users based on how they interact with your product. Intercom also offers a suite of tools for customer support, including a knowledge base, a help center, and a community forum.

What Is Zendesk?

Zendesk is a comprehensive CRM and support suite that offers a variety of features for customer support, sales, and marketing. One of Zendesk’s most notable aspects is its robust ticketing system. As Zendesk initially began as a help desk ticketing system, it’s no surprise that the platform makes tracking and managing customer inquiries seamless.

Zendesk has over 160,000 customers, including some well-known brands like Siemens, Uber and Instacart. Zendesk identifies itself as a growth-enabling, all-in-one solution. 

Feature Comparison: Intercom Vs. Zendesk

Helpdesk

Zendesk’s core feature has always been its ticketing system, and it remains the industry’s finest. Since Zendesk’s inception, its ticketing system has remained the best in the business.

Zendesk’s dashboard ties together your customer interactions from every possible channel. This makes it easy for agents to manage requests and communicate with customers more efficiently. They also offer features that enhance collaboration amongst employees if you have a bigger team.

Intercom’s helpdesk is the most popular option, which complements their chat tools rather than replaces them. It’s well-designed and simple to employ, but it lacks the more complex capabilities of Zendesk.

Knowledge base

With Zendesk’s Answer Bot, relevant articles are automatically suggested to your customers, saving them time while they look for solutions. This also reduces the workload of your support agents.

Both Intercom and Zendesk provide you with their own Operator bot, which immediately suggests relevant material to clients via the chat widget. When it comes to creating an optimum knowledge base experience, both Intercom and Zendesk are excellent choices with similar capabilities for your needs.

In-app messaging

While Zendesk offers a wide array of support features, many more than Intercom, there are a couple of major features it lacks that Intercom has. The first is proactive, in-app messaging, and the second is email marketing capabilities.

In-app messages are notifications sent to users while they’re engaged with an app on mobile or PC. It allows companies to interact with customers while they’re active in the app, delivering information based on time or behavior. They may be utilized to alert consumers about product updates, provide assistance, and promote specials that are relevant to them.

Email marketing

Another feature Intercom offers that Zendesk doesn’t is email marketing tools. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers.

Intercom’s email marketing service provides value for businesses at every stage of the customer lifecycle and can be combined with in-app messaging for even more interaction. These interactions can take the form of newsletters, onboarding emails, and product setup emails.

Real-time analytics

As a full-featured all-in-one solution, Zendesk has one big feature that Intercom lacks: real-time analytics. Zendesk’s real-time analytics are displayed on a live feed, and help agents decide where they should spend time to assist customers best.

Pricing Comparison: Intercom Vs. Zendesk

ZendeskIntercom
Team PlanStart Plan (1 seat)
Grow PlanGrow Plan (5 seats)
Enterprise PlanEnterprise and Pro Plans
30 Day Free Trial14 Day Free Trial

Zendesk offers tiered pricing based on the level of service you need, the size of your teams, and other factors. Every feature is available in the broadest option, Zendesk Suite, which is the version most companies would be implementing. After all, most businesses find it easier to use one solution for all of their needs rather than parceling duties out to different tools. 

While Intercom offers a “Starter Plan” for very small businesses, the price for larger companies is scaled upward, too. If you only need the services Intercom offers, then you’ll only spend around $75 a month for two seats. Zendesk is around the same price for its smallest suite offering. Larger companies should expect to spend more.

​​Zendesk is ideal for both sales and messaging solutions with sophisticated features, whereas Intercom is best for finding the greatest messaging solution and, with the ability to add and subtract add-ons, its price customization is a nice benefit.

The Verdict: Intercom vs Zendesk – Which Is the Best CRM Solution?

Having the two presented side by side, which is the best CRM solution? The answer, as with most things in life, is that it depends on your specific needs and ultimate goals. Both play a key role in a strong CX strategy – if you’re looking for a comprehensive solution that can handle all of your customer interactions, then Zendesk is a great choice, while, if you’re looking for a messaging-focused solution that will help you streamline your customer support, then Intercom might be the better option.

There is no harm in testing the waters before committing to one or the other, as both Zendesk and Intercom offer free trials. 

How to leverage AI to get even more out of Intercom and Zendesk 

There is power to be realized in partnerships and the strategic combination of forces, and companies using chatbots for customer service can further enhance the CX, taking it to new heights. While platforms like Zendesk and Intercom streamline the agent experience and can decrease resolution times, multichannel conversational AI platforms like Netomi are now acting as the first line of defense when it comes to customer support. Netomi’s virtual agents sit alongside human agents to supplement and enhance the capacity of support teams, ensuring the seamless resolution of customer queries.

Once you get a better sense of clarity on the defining features of Intercom vs Zendesk and decide on which platform to implement, the Netomi AI takes the best course of action with every incoming support ticket:

  • The AI can automatically resolve common, highly repeatable tickets without having to loop in a human agent (‘auto-pilot’ mode)
  • For more complex tickets, the AI can gather information from the customer or back-end systems, and even draft a response for review, before handing off to a human agent (‘co-pilot’ mode) 
  • For the most complex tickets that require a human hand, the AI can summarize and route tickets to the most appropriate  agent for the task 

By leveraging the out-of-the-box Netomi virtual agent integration, companies enhance both the agent and customer experience, while also reducing costs. Other chatbots don’t sit natively within the agent desk, but with Netomi, virtual and human agents work alongside each other, creating an efficient and ultra-powerful customer service team.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at how Netomi seamlessly integrates with Zendesk.

Everything You Need To Know About Omnichannel Customer Experiences in 2023

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 27, 2022

Today’s digital world is littered with companies providing omnichannel experience scenarios for their customers.

Here’s a real-life example of an omnichannel experience: While looking through photos, you see an ad on Instagram for an all-inclusive tropical getaway from an online travel agency. You click on the ad and start researching the property. You open your laptop to read reviews before you complete your booking. On the OTA’s app, you book activities to do while you’re there and receive restaurant recommendations via email (did we just describe your Thursday?) You get an email alert when it’s time to check in for your flight and SMS customer service updates when your flight is delayed. Your itinerary of booked activities and restaurants is printed off for you when you check in at the hotel, and you ask the concierge to change your evening’s dinner reservation as you arrive later than expected.

This is a true omnichannel experience. 

Today’s customer journey is complicated. Every customer has their own preferences of when and how to research and purchase, and follow up with questions and issues on their channel of choice. There is a growing expectation from consumers to have a truly seamless omnichannel experience: being able to start something on one channel and pick it up on another at a different time. 

Having a fluid omnichannel experience is critical to satisfying customers, driving loyalty and building long-term relationships. Customer expectations and what companies are providing, though, are not aligning:  71% of consumers want a consistent experience across all channels, but only 29% say they actually get it1.

In this post, we’re diving deep into everything companies need to know about omnichannel experiences in 2023. We’re answering these questions:

  • What is an omnichannel experience?
  • What’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?
  • Why is an omnichannel customer experience important?
  • What’s a good omnichannel strategy?
  • What makes an omnichannel experience great?
  • What are examples of great omnichannel experiences?

What is an omnichannel experience?

Omnichannel experience definition: An omnichannel customer experience enables a customer to interchange devices and move fluidly between channels, carrying context forward with every interaction. Omnichannel experiences merge and integrate the online, offline and physical (in-store, on-flight, on-property, etc.) worlds together, creating a truly seamless and consistent experience regardless of channel. Omnichannel experiences span sales, marketing and support and align messaging across platforms and internal business groups. 

Are omnichannel and multichannel experiences the same? 

“Omnichannel” and “multichannel” experiences are often used interchangeably, but there are a few key differences. Multichannel solutions offer customers the ability to perform tasks on many channels, but the channels are not integrated. Customer context is not carried forward. Communication is fragmented and disconnected. This compares to omnichannel experiences which create a cohesive, synchronized journey as a person moves between channels. A person does not have to repeat themselves, or restart a task. Most brands have implemented a solid multichannel strategy, but as expectations from customers increase for effortless and frictionless cross-channel interactions, there will be a significant shift towards truly omnichannel interactions. 

Why is omnichannel customer experience important?

Customer expectations for great experiences have never been higher: half of all customers say that Customer Experience (CX) is more important to them now than it was a year ago2. A big part of providing a good CX is being omnichannel. Here are the top five reasons why providing an omnichannel customer experience is important for brands in 2023. 

  1. Omnichannel is what your customers expect: The mindset shift of customers has accelerated significantly in recent years. Today, nine out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods3and approximately 60% of millennials expect consistent brand experiences—whether in-store, online or by phone4
  2. Omnichannel is how your customers are shopping and receiving support: It’s not just what people expect in some far-flung reality, it’s actually the behavior of the modern customer. Numerous studies have revealed the underlying shift in customer behavior. Two of the most well-regarded studies reveal that 73% of consumers use more than one channel on their shopping journey5 and as many as 85% of digital consumers start the purchasing workflow on one device yet finish it on another6. When we drill down into travel as one example, an Amadeus study found that the average accommodation purchase journey involves as many as 45 touchpoints across different devices and websites7. Customer behavior has shifted, and companies need to shift their marketing, sales and support strategies to accommodate this evolving behavior. 
  3. Omnichannel drives relationships: Investing in omnichannel experiences is a key ingredient in keeping customers loyal. Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies see 91% higher year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t8
  4. Omnichannel unlocks new revenue: Companies will see revenue payoffs from long-term relationships, but also in the short-term. A study in the Harvard Business Journal finds that omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money5. Another study finds that shoppers who used three or more channels to interact with brands had a purchasing frequency rate that was 250% higher than single-channel users9
  5. Your competitors are omnichannel: Sometimes, even businesses need to keep up with the Joneses. Companies no longer compete just with competitors in their space. When it comes to customer experience, companies have to rise to the standards set by Amazon, Netflix and other customer-obsessed brands. As a result, investment in omnichannel experiences is on the rise:  the number of companies investing in this has jumped from 20% to more than 80% since 201210

To learn how Netomi is a one-stop, self-service solution for delivering omnichannel experiences, read this.


What makes an omnichannel experience great?

Now that we’ve covered why an omnichannel strategy is important, let’s discuss what exactly makes an omnichannel experience superior. 

First and foremost, companies need to be available on a variety of channels, empowering customers to complete tasks at each touchpoint – including email, chat, web, mobile app, SMS, etc. Being omnichannel doesn’t necessarily mean having all functionality available on each channel, but rather unlocking features and functionality on the channels that make sense, would provide value and offer a good experience. Take advantage of what makes each channel unique. Invite a person to ask friends for feedback on outfits on Messenger or vote on your next trip destination, for instance. Even when the same task might be available on multiple channels – like interacting with customer service, browsing or purchasing – the experience needs to be optimized for the particular channel. 

The core of omnichannel experiences is carrying context forward. Remove silos of customer data that live on different channels and within different departments to have a single view of the customer. This way, a customer is able to start a task on one channel and pick it up where they left off on another device or at another time. Customers don’t have to start a conversation over or repeat themselves. 

On its website, Zendesk talks about customer service agents who use its help desk platform have the power to “easily transfer the conversation from a chat app to a web chat, from an email to SMS, from social media to the phone—or any other combination that makes sense.11” For instance, if a customer reaches out on live chat with an issue, and the customer ends the chat thinking they have all of the answers they need, only to realize later there is one thing they forgot to ask. Away from her computer, she calls customer service instead. The agent quickly pulls up her profile and sees the interaction she previously had on chat and has all of the context to quickly resolve her issue.  

What is an omnichannel strategy?  

Creating an omnichannel experience requires sales, marketing, product and support teams to come together to align on messaging, functionality and strategy. Here’s the core components of an omnichannel strategy: 

  • Map your customer journey: Understand exactly when, why and where customers are interacting with your brand, and understand what context and data is needed to personalize each touchpoint. 
  • Continuously scale to new and emerging interaction channels: A few short years ago, WhatsApp was not on the radar as a channel for consumer and brand interaction. Today, there are over 5 million business users on the popular messaging app12. The channels that are on your radar today, may not account for what’s going to be important for your customers and business five, three or even one year from now. Ensure your technology stack is flexible to scale to new channels. 
  • Optimize the experience on every channel: As you scale to new channels, remove sources of friction. Be obsessive about finding ways to make tasks simpler or removing steps. 
  • Leverage the right technology: You can’t have a true omnichannel experience without the right tech stack. Have a single view of the customer in a cross-channel CRM platform. Leverage AI chatbots to manage some of the interactions autonomously, or pull data from back-end systems to arm human sales or support agents with digestible, relevant customer info in real-time. 
  • Apply predictive and machine learning: Identify patterns in behavior and opportunities to surprise and delight customers with new experiences or proactive care at key points along the customer journey. 

To find out what over 700 US consumers think about customer service,check out The State of Customer Service: 2022 Edition.


What are examples of great omnichannel experiences?

There are a few companies that have truly nailed the omnichannel customer experience. 

Starbucks is one of them. It’s mobile app, loyalty program and order-ahead functionality merges the digital and physical worlds effortlessly. On the app, you easily place your order. Payments are completed with the tap of a button.  You walk into the store, and your order is waiting for you. Your loyalty points are tallied up and stored on your account. Truly seamless. 

Another famous example of a great omnichannel experience is Walt Disney World. Nearly 21 million people visited its Florida park alone13. These visitors can plan their trip in advance, book shows and restaurants, reserve and manage fast passes, and more using the My Disney Experience tool. The Disney’s Magicbands enables visitors to unlock hotel rooms, check in at FastPass+ entrances, get directions and charge food and drink purchases to their hotel room…. all from a device on their wrist. 

To learn more about improving customer experience, visit:

References 

  1. https://go.gladly.com/customer-expectations-report-2020 
  2. https://www.zendesk.com/customer-experience-trends/ 
  3. https://www.uctoday.com/contact-centre/delivering-an-excellent-omni-channel-experience/
  4. https://www.sdl.com/about/news-media/press/2014/sdl-study-reveals-channels-are-irrelevant-to-consumers.html
  5. https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works
  6. https://www.tallysoft.com/5-omnichannel-retail-trends-2019/
  7. https://amadeus.com/en/insights/blog/omnichannel-vision-for-new-world-of-travel
  8. https://loyalty360.org/content-gallery/daily-news/survey-businesses-that-use-omni-channel-strategies-have-far-better-customer 
  9. https://www.clickz.com/onmichannel-marketing-automation-statistics-for-2019/231381-2/231381/
  10. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/retail-consumer/publications/assets/pwc-retailing-2020.pdf 
  11. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/omnichannel-really-means/
  12. https://www.pymnts.com/mobile-applications/2019/whatsapp-business-messaging-app-users/ 
  13. https://www.statista.com/statistics/232966/attendance-at-the-walt-disney-world-magic-kingdom-theme-park/ 

The 10 Best Banking Chatbots (And How Your Financial Institution Can Use Them, Too)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 24, 2022

Banks and credit unions are deploying AI-powered chatbots to modernize the ai customer experience and remove friction from everyday banking. Chatbot statistics can help prove that these banking chatbot solutions, or AI virtual assistants, are game changers for the financial industry. Tasks that used to be completed by talking to a human in a branch or on the phone now take place in a conversational interface with virtual assistants for automated support, in real-time. These banking chatbots allow financial institutions to talk to millions of customers at once and proactively alert customers to potential issues or upcoming payments. 

As people continue to avoid branches in favor of digital banking, expect even more banks to launch virtual assistants. 

What Are The Top Use Cases For Chatbots In Banking?

Chatbot vendors in the banking industry can help make everyday banking tasks easier. An AI chatbot makes it easy for customers to:  

  • Retrieve account balance and information such as account and routing numbers
  • Get historical spending analysis and budgeting recommendations
  • Receive bill pay alerts and payment notifications
  • Receive fraud, repeat charges and suspicious activity notifications
  • Transfer money, buy stocks and mutual funds
  • Report upcoming travel
  • Report lost or stolen cards
  • Activate new cards
  • Check rewards and points balances

Learn how conversational AI is rewriting the rules for banking and fintech in this eBook.


Which banks have chatbots? A roundup of the 10 best-of-the-best banking chatbot solutions

Here are some of the most well-known banking chatbots. 

  1. Ally Assist from Ally Bank
  2. One of the first banks to launch a chatbot, Ally Bank rolled out Ally Assist in 2015 in an effort to provide users with seamless personalized customer service to manage their account. Accessible within the Ally Bank iPhone app, Ally Assist performs bill payment, transfers and account information requests. The bank also launched an Ally Skill on Amazon’s Alexa giving people perform simple banking tasks via voice commands. 

  3. Amy from HSBC
  4. HSBC’s Virtual Assistant Chatbot Amy is available on the bank’s website on various product pages. Amy understands English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese and helps customers get instant answers to common questions on the bank’s products and services. 

  5. Ceba from Commonwealth Bank (Australia)
  6. Ceba is a virtual banking assistant that answers a range of day-to-day banking questions. Ceba is available on the bank’s app and Website. Ceba is one of the only banking chatbots to have human escalation and directs customers to other channels based on their specific need.

  7. Citi Bot SG from Citi
  8. Citi Bank’s Citi Bot SG is a chatbot that enables customers to ask about basic account information through Facebook Messenger. Customers can get answers to questions around account balance, transactions, rewards and payment information for credit cards, checking and savings accounts. 

  9. Clari from TD
  10. Available within the TD banking app, Clari answers common banking questions. Clari can find information on spending, bank accounts and more. Banking customers can ask about opening an investing account, account balance, historic spending and categories, and sending money. 

  11. Eno from Capital One
  12. Available on the bank’s website, mobile app and SMS, Capital One’s digital assistant Eno uses sophisticated natural language processing to understand 2,200 different ways someone might ask for their balance. Eno also proactively reaches out if a bill is higher than normal, if it suspects fraud, or if it detects a particularly high tip. Another unique feature is monitoring free-trials to remind customers before they end. 

  13. Erica from Bank of America
  14. Available within the BofA app, the virtual financial assistant Erica is designed to help customers more easily manage their money. Within the interactive interface, Erica provides reward and account balances, spending summaries, refund confirmations and credit scores. She can also identify duplicate charges and send bill reminders. 

    The AI-powered chatbot’s capabilities don’t stop there: Erica helps support BofA subsidiary Merrill clients through insights on portfolio performance, trading, investment balances, quotes and holdings. 

    In 2020, Erica helped more than 5 million customers complete over 75 million requests. Since launching in 2020, Erica has helped 15 million customers with over 175 million requests. Every day, Erica engages in approximately 400,000 interactions. 

  15. Eva from HDFC
  16. Eva helps customers with everyday banking needs: checking on a loan status, facilitating payments and getting instant answers to FAQs. Eva can also help customers apply for various loans.

  17. HARO and DORI from Hang Seng Bank
  18. With the ability to communicate in Chinese and English, and also understand Cantonese as well as the mixing of English and Chinese, the two bots from Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong get retail customers instant answers to a variety of needs. HARO and DORI use a combination of natural language processing and machine learning to have human-like conversations, helping banking customers get answers in real-time.

    HARO stands for ‘Helpful; Attentive; Responsive; Omni” and interacts with customers on the bank’s website, mobile app and WhatsApp and answers questions related to mortgage, personal loan, credit card, medical insurance and travel insurance services.

    Available on Facebook Messenger, DORI (‘Dining; Offers; Rewards; Interactive’) helps customers discover shopping and dining offers.

  19. NOMI from Royal Bank of Canada

NOMI is a banking chatbot that hails from the Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank. NOMI is a chatbot that sends alerts, reminders, and tailored insights based on a person’s banking habits. Available in the RBC mobile app, it provides tools to help people manage day-to-day spending, including  a calculated budget recommendation based on unique spending habits. 

The use of virtual assistants by financial institutions to help banking customers save money, manage their bank accounts and XYZ is on the rise. Customers increasingly expect effortless and proactive customer support and banking bots are delivering the experience that customers expect.  

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator.

Can we help you discover the possibilities with conversational banking? Get in touch today.

Click any of the links below to get more of our insights on FinTech customer service solutions.

Wait Times: How AI Helps Customer Service Teams Win the Waiting Game

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Jun 22, 2022

Customer service is notoriously a waiting game. This has been more rampant in recent years, with a stretched labor pool and staff shortages across numerous industries. Canada’s federal government has warned of long wait times for passports, due to the surge in the number of applications since COVID-19 border measures were relaxed (the number of Canadians applying for passports is 40 times higher than it was pre-pandemic). On a recent Monday morning, more than 100 people lined up at the passport office in downtown Montreal, some arriving as early as 11:00 p.m. the night before, some who also spent hours waiting on the phone beforehand. Service Canada, the government office that provides access to such services, hired 600 new employees to help sift through the influx of paperwork, and additional service counters have been added at more than 300 centers. The government said that it is receiving more than 200,000 calls per day for passport requests at Service Canada!

Lengthy customer wait times are attracting the attention of lawmakers. In a move to eliminate the “administrative labyrinths” faced by customers when they contact company call centers, a new customer service law in Spain limits the time that customers are put on hold to a maximum of three minutes. Companies that fall under the basic service sector, including those providing water, internet, transport and electricity, will need to guarantee 24-hour call center service, on all days of the week.

“Customer services far too often cause endless headaches for Spanish families, because far too many companies create bureaucratic labyrinths to stop you from exercising your right to service. These difficulties also represent an enormous waste of energy, time and money for the families, [with] many being resigned to giving up on their rights.”
– Alberto Garzón, Spain’s Consumer Affairs Minister

The logical solution would be to hire additional support staff to assist with customer queries in a timely and proactive fashion. Yet, with a little help from AI, wait times in customer service can be drastically reduced.

AI: Giving Time Back to Customers and Agents When it is Needed the Most

Enable businesses to scale, without the added headcount

AI-powered solutions afford teams the ability to quickly scale up and down without adding expensive, short-term hires, and to deal with expected and unexpected spikes in tickets, to be better prepared for busy times.

A seamless and streamlined escalation path to human agents

There are a number of ways that human and virtual agents can work in tandem, as the ultimate dynamic duo. At the center of a customer support bubble, the AI-powered virtual assistant works alongside human agents to offer support and escalate issues as needed, drastically reducing the need for additional labor, and streamlining the ticket triaging process. Here’s how this process works:

  • When a query is received, such as a request for passport renewal, the AI-powered virtual assistant swiftly categorizes and prioritizes these tickets. As this type of query is fairly basic and repeatable, the live chatbot is able to resolve the issue without human intervention. Or, it can route it to the right agent, as needed.
  • Alternatively, AI agents can also help agents with more complex tickets by doing basic ‘prep’ work, such as gathering order details from the customer, prior to involving an agent.
  • The human touch factor in customer service is essential (consider Spain’s proposed customer service law), which is why it is imperative to always offer an escalation path to human agents, based on topic, user sentiment, customer profile, or when a customer asks to converse with one. Additionally, some companies have business policies that mandate a human be involved in certain decisions (such as refunds and exchanges), in which case, the AI needs to escalate these queries to a human agent. Escalation may also be required when the customer has a premium membership and the SLAs require a live human agent for certain interactions. Similarly, if an issue is fairly complex or involves sensitive information, a human agent would need to take the lead.

In Service Canada’s passport situation, the sheer volume of similar support tickets received means that AI will have a wealth of historical data from which to learn, such as chat records and common questions posed by customers, which will result in its enhanced performance. This efficiency improves the experience of agents themselves, helping them feel more engaged and productive in their roles (because there are only so many repetitive passport applications a person can sanely handle). The process also frees up human agents to focus on resolving more complex issues that necessitate a human touch, such as assisting an elderly customer who is not at all tech-savvy.

A tremendous time-saver, AI-based ticket classification and the automatic routing of incoming customer contacts to the right agent can save agents up to 1.2 hours per day!

Limit wait times for customers

According to call-center analytics firm CallMiner, the average length of a service call rose by several minutes since the pandemic began. Dwindling patience is evident among customers, especially in the fast-paced and digital world of today. Research from Netomi discovered that 39% of people have less patience now than they did before the pandemic, with 43% reporting that long wait times are the most frustrating aspect of customer service. What’s more, issues are resolved in a single interaction just under 35% of the time, meaning that customers resort to reaching out to customer service teams for a second time, thus spawning a cycle that results in more wait times and a greater number of tickets.

Paving the way for customer self-service to occur, the AI can help customers resolve issues by themselves by surfacing the right content to common queries, at the right time (such as how-to articles and FAQs). This, in turn, will reduce wait times.

Customer Service Wait Times, Be Gone (Or At Least, Minimized)

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a revaluation of many aspects of life, from working and living situations, and perhaps most significantly, offered customers a good hard look at the concept of time and how it should best be spent. When it comes to customer service, customer standards have risen, and customer service support teams need to meet customer desires for quick service. By being at the frontline of customer support, AI-powered virtual assistants play a leading role in reducing customer service tickets, by immediately resolving queries, or funnelling tickets through the triaging process to ensure that each one gets into the right hands.

Who Passed with Flying Colors? Highlights from the 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Jun 20, 2022

It’s time to talk travel. This fondly remembered hobby is now on the minds of many, after being pent up due to COVID-19 restrictions. Demand for flights is soaring – Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported that March 2022 had been the carrier’s best month for sales in its history, while the four major U.S. airlines (American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United) are planning summer schedules that are 4% to 20% larger than one year ago. Amidst this summer travel rush, airline worker unions are warning that travelers could endure months of continual flight delays and cancellations – in other words, travel within the near future is likely to be a bit of a headache.

While airline customer service has been notorious for its long wait times, does this long-standing perception really hold true? How long are customers typically left waiting, which channels are the most helpful, and where are timely responses most likely to be received? We at Netomi were eager to take a deeper dive into how airlines today are delivering customer support via web chat, social media and phone. We visited websites to engage with virtual assistants, called customer service phone numbers and sent messages via social media platforms. After careful analysis of 20 of the largest airlines in North America, the report cards are in.

Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report: The Top 5 Findings

  • The award for best overall customer service goes to… WestJet: This Canadian airline was found to provide the best overall customer service, with an SPI of 82.56 out of 100 (the Support Performance Index is a 100-point scale that was used to measure the quality of customer support). WestJet performed the best overall in terms of its cross-channel support, scoring well in availability, responsiveness, response time, personalization, relevance and empathy – all of which are key qualities of customer support teams. Spirit Airlines and Porter Airlines round out the top three.
  • When it comes to speedy resolutions, social media reigns supreme: The average response time for inquiries sent via Twitter is 42 minutes, and 75 minutes for Instagram.
  • Twitter is the better social media channel for support: We found that the overall quality of the support provided by airlines was 38% higher on Twitter than on Instagram, with 100% of the responses received through this channel also more relevant to the questions that were posed.
  • Chatbots are few and far between: While chatbots have been widely adopted for customer service, only nine airlines (45%), had a chatbot on their website. Of those who have leveraged chatbots, only WestJet and Spirit Airlines had prominent chatbot pop-ups, while others were hidden within help sections and knowledge bases.
  • If calling airline support teams, it may be wise to have a newspaper handy: The study found that the average hold time across all days and times was 56 minutes – 41 minutes on weekdays, and 1 hour 16 minutes on the weekends. Aeroméxico, Spirit Airlines and Sunwing Airlines take the lead in providing the best phone support.

Where to Next?

As travel picks up steam in 2022, prioritizing responsiveness and timely service across channels is key for airline customer service teams. For many, travel, along with its various elements (flight delays, booking and lost luggage) can be stressful and time-consuming. To scale their support across traditional and digital support channels, many airlines today are turning to sophisticated AI tools, leveraging a unique combination of human and machine intelligence to tackle repeatable and costly support tickets with ease, decrease resolution times, and ensure smoother journeys ahead.

The report cards are in, and we have the results. To view all of our findings, download your copy of Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report!

Connect in Real-Time, Through Messaging Apps or Online: The 9 Best Live Chat Software

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 12, 2022

For businesses today, taking care to reach customers where they are, and connecting with them on their terms, is critical. Where are customers spending their time? On instant messaging and social media apps such as Slack, text messages and WhatsApp. In today’s digital-first world, receiving customer support through such channels seems like the most logical approach, and for many customers, this is indeed the case.

According to Zendesk’s CX Trends 2022 report, conversational customer service is on the rise. Customer inquiries over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and regional favorites including WeChat or Line have jumped 36% in 2021. This jump represents the highest increase of any other communication channel.

What is live chat software?

Live chat software is a service that allows customers to communicate with companies in real-time. Live chat provides customers an easy way to access customer support and information. Live chat software enables support agents to interact with customers on a company’s website, mobile app, over social media channels, or via text message.

Why is live chat important?

Think of live chat as an instant messaging service. Live chat is convenient, immediate, and has grown into a popular offering that customers have come to desire and expect. In fact, 79% of customers say they prefer to chat with agents solely because of the immediacy it offers in comparison with other channels. On top of that, 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support queries answered through a live chat widget versus traditional channels.

What are some of the benefits of live chat software?

Here are 3 main benefits of using live chat software:

  1. A cinch to install
    Adding live chat functionality to a website or within an app is quick and easy to implement.
  2. Enables agents to serve multiple customers concurrently.
    This translates to faster service times and lower operating costs.
  3. Opens a personal and casual feel
    Unlike the formality of phone calls (and without the hold times), live chat has a back and forth exchange more similar to what one might experience with friends or family.

How to evaluate live chat software tools?

Here are some of the key questions to keep in mind when evaluating live chat software tools:

  • Does it work well with the people, processes, and tools that your agents already use?
  • Does it include AI to automatically respond to common queries?

To help your team realize the full benefits of live chat software and make the most of these powerful tools, we break down the core highlights and features of the nine best.

The Best Live Chat Software in 2023

  1. Netomi
  2. HubSpot Live Chat
  3. Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations
  4. ClickDesk
  5. LiveAgent
  6. LiveChat
  7. Olark
  8. Pure Chat
  9. Social Intents

These robust tools are unlocked by an equally robust customer service chatbot, such as Netomi’s, which can streamline the entire customer journey and offer immediate responses to customer queries, with its native integration with leading agent desk platforms such as Zendesk.

1. Netomi

Best live chat software for mid-sized to enterprise brands

What makes Netomi a top live chat software in 2023?

Netomi’s AI platform helps companies automatically resolve customer service tickets via email, chat, messaging, and voice. Netomi holds the record for the highest automation rate, automatically resolving over 80% of routine queries.

Other key features

  • Full customization, allowing agents to customize the chat experience such as embed customer forms to collect data, accept uploaded files, and send a copy of the chat transcript to a customers’ email
  • Natural Language Understanding (NLU) for 100+ languages, to fully understand the customer’s intent, for human-like conversation with high precision
  • Native integrations with agent desks such as Freshworks, Gladly and Salesforce, making it easy for agents to use the systems they already use
  • An intuitive analytics dashboard that displays real-time performance data on key customer service metrics such as AI resolution rate and engagement metrics, also enabling teams to track how well the AI is performing

 2. Hubspot Live Chat

Best live chat software for teams already using HubSpot or another CRM

What makes Hubspot one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

Businesses can harness HubSpot’s live chat tool to automatically connect chatters to the right people, route customer inquiries to services teams, and pass leads to the salesperson who owns that relationship. Affording teams complete context and a clear view of every interaction, all conversations are automatically saved and stored in both conversation inboxes and on the contact’s timeline.

Other key features

  • Integration with HubSpot CRM offers full visibility into customer and prospect information, helping your teams provide better support and close more deals
  • Real-time support enables agents to interact with customers or prospects in real-time to understand their direct pains and needs
  • Targeted welcome messages that can be created for different web pages or audience segments, so you can connect with the site visitors who matter, and right when they’re most engaged
  • Contact activity pages allow team members to view historical conversations and their outcomes all in one place, including page views, form submissions, and sales activity

3. Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations

Best live chat software for businesses of all sizes who want to deliver rich experiences over chat and across different channels

What makes Sunshine Conversations one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

As Sunshine Conversations is natively integrated with Zendesk, every single conversation is automatically captured. The Sunshine Conversations Cloud is a software platform that enables businesses to communicate with their customers across popular messaging apps. With Sunshine, businesses can craft rich interactions from scratch, to drive revenue and captivate customers across their entire journey.

Other key features

  • A conversation-focused and centralized agent workspace, allowing agents to see all interactions in one place, and maintain relevant and personal conversations on any channel
  • Conversation extensions, which allow teams to create custom interactive experiences inside the chat window of any messaging channel. Customers can pick concert seats, or view their shopping cart from right inside the chat (see below use case of a hotel booking!)
  • Integrations with Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, enabling agents to stay on top of conversations and customize conversations
  • Integrations to link data to and from all systems, such as CRM, order management system, and inventory database, with platforms such as Netomi
  • Live chat analytics to ​track agent metrics over time to see the impact of wait times and missed live chats, keep track of all past chat conversations, view actionable data on chat volume, visitor experience, and measure the positive impact of chat on your overall bottom line

Note: if you already use Zendesk for your help desk and chat, check out how Netomi can transform your CX with a best-in-class Zendesk chatbot.


4. ClickDesk

Best live chat software for small businesses

What makes ClickDesk one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

As the leading live chat app for more than 180,000 small businesses in 100+ countries, ClickDesk has been designed to be simple to use from any device, anywhere, anytime. An integrated helpdesk, live chat, and social media platform, ClickDesk touts itself as a “cross-platform software with a global outlook.”

Other key features

  • Advanced reports, analytics and metrics, such as daily web chat stats, weekly chat stats, and ticket status offer actionable data, enabling teams to make better business decisions
  • Proactive chat greetings, enabling agents to welcome visitors with custom messages based on user behavior, location, URL or the time spent on a page (such as : ‘I see the weather is splendid in London today, are you looking for a leather coat’)?
  • Keystroke preview that offers insight into what visitors type before they send it, allowing agents to understand their visitors more completely, and anticipate their helpdesk questions

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Learn more about how Netomi’s fully customizable chat widget can help your team offer 24/7 support over chat!

 

5. LiveAgent

Best live chat software for companies looking for a full-service helpdesk tool, with 24/7 problem-solving

What makes LiveAgent one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

A tremendous time saver, LiveAgent’s simple (copy & paste) integration connects support teams with their customers within seconds. When customers reach out through the chat application, agents receive a new ticket in the platform’s universal inbox, allowing for seamless communication and prompt replies. The platform routes new incoming chats to the right team members, and dynamically adapts online chat availability as agents log in and out during their shift.

Other key features

  • Video live chat software, so issues can be effectively solved via screen sharing
  • Proactive chat invitations that assist website visitors during different customer journey stages by inviting them to live chat with agents
  • Real-time typing view, allowing agents to preview the text that a customer is typing at the moment, giving them the necessary time to analyze the situation and provide accurate answers, faster
  • Chat embedded tracking allows companies to track events of live chat sessions in Google Analytics to evaluate the impact of live chat on conversions on their websites

6. LiveChat

Best live chat software for converting website visitors

What makes LiveChat one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

From email and website to WhatsApp and SMS – LiveChat enables customer support teams to be everywhere their customers are and connect across multiple channels. One of the software’s highlights is its integrations with popular tools such as MailChimp, WhatsApp Business and Google Analytics. With the Mailchimp integration, for instance, website visitors can opt-in to email marketing during their chat experience, with no additional forms needed.

Other key features

  • Inactivity messages to stay in touch with customers when agents are too busy to reply instantly (e.g. “Please leave your email and I will respond to you later”)
  • Chat tags that can be added to chats to give them context, also allowing teams to filter reports using tags to compare numbers between different types of cases
  • Chat boosters to provide customers with instant answers, allowing teams to sync their chat widget with their Knowledge Base to offer self-service prior to chatting
  • Chat ratings to gather feedback to gauge whether customers are happy with their live chat experience and improve customer service, such as post-chat ratings and customer satisfaction reports

7. Olark

Best live chat software for smaller businesses and websites that are new to using live chat

What makes Olark one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

Olark’s live chat software and customer data tools help businesses learn from every online interaction. With Olark, businesses can listen to their customers online, learn from live chat data, and, in turn, improve their sales support. Additionally, the platform offers ‘PowerUps’ — specialized live chat features for sales, growth, and customer service, such as live chat translation and visitor insights, that are available to add to any plan with a flexible monthly subscription.


8. Pure Chat

Best live chat software for advanced sales and marketing teams

What makes Pure Chat one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

Born with the simple premise to “help entrepreneurs and small teams have better conversations with leads and customers,” Pure Chat is ideal for teams looking to connect with their website visitors throughout the customer lifecycle by leveraging data and insights from chat conversations and user behaviors, to provide a personalized experience at each and every touchpoint.

Other key features

  • A mobile-optimized chat widget for websites and a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices, so teams can efficiently manage live chat while on-the-go
  • Direct integrations with popular software products such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft; teams can also use Zapier to integrate with over 1000+ other applications
  • Historical chat transcripts, enabling agents to easily reference previous conversations

9. Social Intents

Best live chat software for teams already using Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Webex

What makes Social Intents one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

With Social Intents, agents can chat with their website visitors directly from Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Webex. The platform is ideal for companies that want to use their existing workflow without switching between different tools.

Other key features

  • Canned responses, allowing for agents to reply to customers instantly, send default responses for common questions, and make the live chat process more efficient
  • Proactive Invites to reach out to potential customers with automatic chat invites, with chat triggers based on URL, time, a visitor’s past interactions, and knowable visitor info (such as country and device)
  • Customizable chat widgets to fit a company’s brand, complete with custom colors, logos, text, default responses, and tab styles

Conclusion

Instantaneous and frictionless, live chat enables customer support teams to connect with their customers on their preferred channels, offering assistance in the moment of need, in a conversational and user-friendly manner. As not all live chat software platforms are the same, it is important to select the one that can deliver the most impact to your support team and your customers.