Zendesk vs. Freshdesk: Which Is Better?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Sep 25, 2022

Service desk platforms – also called agent desks – help companies enhance the customer experience, scale conversations across multiple channels and reduce customer service costs. Two of the most established ticket management software platforms – and often compared platforms, too – in this space are Zendesk vs Freshdesk. Both are used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world as customer support software and help desk software service solutions.

Both offer a suite of sophisticated features, some are the same and some different, that help agents resolve issues faster and also make support easier and more convenient for customers. The platforms are highly reviewed and rated on G2: Freshdesk rates 4.4/5 stars with 2,482 reviews and Zendesk Support Suite rates 4.3/5 stars with 3,267 reviews (at the time of publishing). So, what’s right for you: Zendesk or Freshdesk? 

In this post we’re diving into everything you need to know about Zendesk vs Freshdesk including features, pricing, customers, customization and more:

 

Zendesk: Everything you need to know 

freshdesk vs zendesk

Zendesk is one of the most well-known and established help desk platforms. It has over 160,000 customers, including some of the largest enterprise brands in the world such as Siemens, Uber, Instacart and Polaris. It’s targeted at high-growth and enterprise companies that need sophisticated features, and because of this, is the more expensive option.  More than just a help desk, Zendesk can help companies manage the entire customer experience – bringing marketing and support together into one platform. 

Zendesk enables customers to deliver a consistent experience across multiple channels and provide agents with a unified workspace to manage and even collaborate on conversations. The platform gives agents a 360-degree view of customer data so context can be carried forward (similar capabilities are available on Freshdesk). This has a major impact on the customer service KPIs: on average, Zendesk increases customer satisfaction by 25% and agent productivity by 30%.

Key Features of Zendesk

Zendesk Ticket Management

The ticketing system on Zendesk consolidates all of your tickets into a single platform – including from social media, email, chat, in-app support, phone, and the web. It boasts features including ticket routing and assigning tickets to the right agent. According to one review, this feature makes an impact: “the built-in intelligent routing ensures appropriate customer-to-agent fit and automates ticketing queues to reduce resolution time..

Leveraging the Zendesk platform, you will never lose a request as each ticket, regardless of channel, is entered into a queue for agents to pick up. 

Zendesk Knowledge Base

Zendesk is one of the best knowledge base software platforms that is self-service via customizable and user-friendly. This lets your customers find the answers to their questions via an online help center without needing to interact with an agent, and essentially deflecting tickets. These intuitive help centers can be deployed on mobile or Web via a simple SDK. 

Apps and Integrations 

The Zendesk marketplace has over 1,250 apps and out-of-the-box integrations including Zendesk chatbots to automate conversations,  productivity tools, time tracking, collaboration and customer surveys. These Zendesk apps amplify the power of the platform and many can be implemented with a single click. 

Zendesk Pricing

Zendesk offers a variety of pricing plans based on the number of agent seats you need, channels, and access to features like the self-service Zendesk Knowledge Base. At the time of this post, the most basic plan starts at $49 / month / agent and this increases to $215 / month / agent for the most robust enterprise plans. Though Zendesk does not offer a free tier, it does have a free trial.

Zendesk Customization

Zendesk allows you to customize all reports and graphs, as well as chat colors, text, logos, and branding. Views within the Zendesk dashboard can be “extensively customized to your preferences as well—an area in which Freshdesk tried to do something similar, but we preferred the way Zendesk Support shows the information, including ticket expiration times.” 

Zendesk Reports and Data Analysis

Zendesk offers a suite of beautifully-designed reports to help you measure the success of your customer support operations. You can quickly identify areas that require improvement, and areas of development for your agents. The best part?  You can track your performance against best practice metrics so you can see how you’re performing.

Zendesk Security

Security is core to the Zendesk platform. The company is SOC 2 Type II, ISO and FedRAMP LI-SaaS compliant.


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


A complete guide to Freshdesk

freshdesk vs zendesk

Freshdesk is a top Zendesk alternative and might be the better option if you’re looking for a simple, more affordable option. Over half of the reviews on G2 come from small companies, but that’s not to say that larger companies don’t also use Freshdesk.

The platform is used by over 50,000 brands, including Bridgestone, HP, Harvard University and DHL to improve customer service. While Zendesk has a broader lens of the entire customer experience, Freshdesk is more narrowly focused on customer support (although it can be integrated with other Freshworks products). 

The platform is touted for its usability and you can get set up in just a few minutes. According to one review, “Freshdesk is easy to set up and get started. It has the quickest go-to-market deployment, even when considering novice users.”

Key Features of Freshdesk

Freshdesk Ticket Management

The Freshdesk ticketing system lets you close tickets faster with a centralized inbox that brings in tickets from multiple channels (email, phone, web, chat and social) Tickets are assigned to agents in a few ways – skill-based, load balancing and round robin – and agents can collaborate on tickets in real-time. It is the only platform to provide in-app notifications to agents if a ticket status changes or a customer responds, and canned responses help to provide consistent responses to common questions. The platform has unique tools like a “Thank you detector” which prevents reopening of tickets when customers respond with a thank you. 

Freshdesk Knowledge Base and Self Service 

Sometimes customers want to help themselves and Freshdesk boasts a suite of self-help tools. One such tool is a fully-customizable Knowledge Base (or help center) which can be accessed on your website, mobile app or even chat. Another form of customer self service is community forums, which allows your users to ask each other. 

Freshdesk Integrations

While not as robust as the Zendesk marketplace, Freshdesk has an app store with over 800 pre-built integrations including productivity, remote work, file sharing and collaboration tools. 

Freshdesk Reports and Data Analysis

Freshdesk users can make data-based decisions by accessing a variety of reports, including ticket volume trends, agent performance, group performance, satisfaction surveys, customer sentiment, etc. 

Freshdesk Pricing

Freshdesk offers a variety of pricing plans from FREE (Yes, free!) to high-growth companies ($15 month / agent) all the way up to enterprise plans starting at $79 / month / agent (pricing at the time of publication). Plans vary based on features, channels and integrations available, but they have done a good job of providing tremendous value in every tier based specifically on the stage of your business. According to one review, “Even on the [basic and free] plan, there aren’t many restrictions [when it comes to features.”

Freshdesk Customization

Freshdesk offers a large number of ways you can customize your experience. You can brand your entire help desk to align with your company’s branding, choosing the style or color of elements of your portal, or selecting from a library of plug-and-play “FreshThemes.” You can also have your portal built in over 40 languages and even map your Freshdesk domain to your own support URL. 

Freshdesk Security

Like Zendesk, Freshdesk has rigorous security controls and is GDPR, HIPPA, SOC and ISO compliant. 


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


Zendesk vs Freshdesk Feature Comparison

Feature 

Zendesk 

Freshdesk 

Pricing 

Five Tiers: 

  • Suite Team ($49/agent/month)
  • Suite Growth ($79/agent/month) 
  • Suite Professional ($99/agent/month)
  • Suite Enterprise  ($150/agent/month)
  • Suite Enterprise Customization ($215/agent/month)

Four Tiers: 

  • Free 
  • Growth ($15/agent/month)
  • Pro ($49/agent/month)
  • Enterprise ($79/agent/month)

Free option 

N/A

Free plan with unlimited agents which includes: 

  • Email & Social Ticketing 
  • Ticket Dispatch 
  • Knowledge Base 
  • Ticket Trend Report 
  • Datacenter Location 
  • Team Collaboration

Self-help

  • Knowledge Base 
  • Community
  • Answer Bot
  • Knowledge Base 
  • Community Forums 
  • Chatbot

App Store 

  • 1,250 apps
  • 800+ apps 

Channels 

  • Email 
  • Chat 
  • Help Center
    Messaging 
  • Social Messaging 
  • Voice 
  • Text
  • Web Widget 
  • Mobile SDK 
  • Email 
  • Phone 
  • Chat 
  • Website 
  • Social Media 
  • WhatsApp
  • Mobile SDK

Ticket Management 

  • Centralized Inbox
  • Customer context – Agents get access to order history, web activity and loyalty status
  • SLA Management
  • Alerts/Escalation 
  • Macros
  • Conditional and Custom Ticket Fields
  • Agent Collision Detection
  • Help desk automation
  • Triggers that initiate a workflow based on changes in a ticket
  • Team Inbox 
  • Agent Collision Detection
  • SLA Management
  • Ticket Field Suggester
  • Custom Ticket Status
  • Thank You Detector
  • Scenario Automation
  • Canned Responses
  • Help desk automation

Agent Collaboration

  • Light agents: Give limited permissions to certain agents who can provide subject matter expertise and advice via private comments.
  • Side conversations: Enable agents to bring in other people from internal and external teams to collaborate. 
  • CCs and followers: Include both Carbon Copy (CCs) and Followers fields.
  • Team Huddle: Discuss specific parts of tickets with experts from across your company.
  • Shared Ownership: Share ownership of tickets with other teams. 
  • Linked Tickets: Link related tickets together to keep track of widespread issues.
  • Parent-child Ticketing: Resolve complex issues by splitting them into smaller child tickets.

How to leverage AI to get even more value from Zendesk and Freshdesk 

Companies using chatbots for customer service can further enhance the CX experience. While ticket management platforms like Zendesk and Freshdesk streamline the agent experience tremendously and decrease resolution time, AI chatbots like Netomi are now acting as the first line of defense when tickets come in. Netomi’s virtual agents sit alongside human agents to supplement and enhance live chat support teams.

Once you get clarity on this decision comparing Zendesk vs Freshdesk, the Netomi AI takes the best course of action with every incoming ticket:

  • For highly repeatable tickets, the AI can automatically resolve it without having to loop in a human agent 
  • 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 
  • For the most complex tickets, the AI can summarize and route tickets to the right agent 

By leveraging the out-of-the-box Netomi virtual agent integration, companies enhance both the agent and customer experience while also reducing costs. Most other chatbots don’t sit natively within the agent desk, but with Netomi, virtual and human agents work alongside each other, creating the most efficient customer service team that we’ve ever seen. 

Interested in learning more about how Netomi integrates with two of the leading helpdesk AI platforms? Take a look at how we can integrate with Zendesk and how we can help you connect your Freshdesk implementation to Netomi.

References we used for this Zendesk vs Freshdesk comparison

  1. https://www.capterra.com/p/164283/Zendesk/
  2. https://www.trustradius.com/products/zendesk-support-suite/reviews
  3. https://www.g2.com/products/freshdesk/reviews/freshdesk-review-5036680 
  4. https://www.g2.com/survey_responses/freshdesk-review-5036680

AI for CX 101: Deploy an AI Solution with Confidence

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jul 13, 2022

As part of our new ‘AI for CX 101’ series, we will cover what to expect when you deploy an AI solution, including how to get started on your AI digital transformation journey. Whether you’re early on in the consideration phase or deep into the process, we’re here to provide you with insights and best practices to ensure you are well-equipped to proceed with confidence.

How to deploy an AI solution for your business

Analyze historical data

As with many business undertakings in the digital age ripe with information and insights, it all begins with data. When launching a customer support AI, you’ll first need to analyze your historical data to identify the queries that are highly repeatable and have high volume, those that carry low to medium business risk, as well as low exception management. These are the types of queries that are ideal for the AI to handle. We recommend analyzing data accumulated over a span of at least three months, so trends can be observed over time.

Facilitating the real-time, human-like conversation between a human and a computer, conversational AI enables companies to make every interaction feel relevant, personal and unique – sparking conversations that are driven by intent. What does the customer intend to accomplish from the engagement? What is their sentiment at this exact moment?

For an excellent conversational experience, it is important to understand all of the various ways that people are communicating a single intent. By analyzing this historical data, you are able to not only identify which queries have high volume, but also how your customers are asking questions. For instance, Comcast found that there are 1,700 different ways of saying “I’d like to pay my bill.” By leveraging AI to analyze your historical data, you will be able to train the AI to better and more accurately pick up on the different ways people are voicing an intent, even if not explicitly trained on a specific variation.

Determine the resolution path

For every automated use case, you’ll need to understand the resolution path. While some queries might be straightforward FAQ-type responses with the same responses for every customer, others might be more contextual, and require a different answer based on factors like a customer’s loyalty status, or the resort where they are vacationing. Baggage costs for an airline, for instance, might vary based on the type of seat a person has (i.e. economy vs. first class). Rather than providing the customer with each possible cost, there might be a simple question or two that can help the AI provide just the specific information that is relevant to the customer, and provides the most value to them. There might also be personalized responses that are possible with integrations. Can the AI look into the order management system to find a person’s exact delivery status? 

Research your customers to plan, understand and improve their journey. What type of experience are they looking for, and how can you help successfully orchestrate that experience?

Create a bot personality

Now comes the creative part! To make an engaging AI-driven experience, chatbots should be endowed with on-brand personalities. For instance, do you see emojis and other rich media such as GIFs as representative of your brand? Are shorter-form answers, punctuated with punctuation marks, or text that is more grammatically correct, more suitable? Taking care to define and hone the conversational style will help to create experiences that are consistent.

Design conversational elements

Incorporate greetings, escalations, and conversation topics that are helpful, natural and persuasive, and align with the personality of your chatbot.

When designing dialogue for these conversations, we can also weave in elements that are inherent to human-to-human interactions, such as empathy and helpfulness, also ensuring the seamless alignment with those elements that artificial brains can be trained to comprehend, such as intent and context. Statements of acknowledgment can also be incorporated, which will help to build trust and make the conversation flow naturally (such as: ‘Got it. So you would like to upgrade your room to the executive suite)?’

Integrate with your agent desk, knowledge base and back-end systems

Integrations are a key ingredient to having your AI provide the most value:

  • Integration with an agent desk enhances the customer experience even further, for the ultimate combination of power and productivity.
  • Integration with your company’s knowledge base, so that if the AI is not trained on a particular topic, it can easily source and surface relevant materials for the customer. When the two are used in parallel, this also caters to customers’ desire for self-service, so they can access information that they need, when they need it the most.
  • Integration with back-end systems such as CRM (which houses rich customer data such as prior interactions and order history) allows the AI to pull in data from these sources to resolve customer service issues on an individual basis without human intervention.

Invest in ongoing learning and optimization

Over time, the AI will learn from more customer service interactions, and become more proficient in creating engaging interactions that count. However, as intelligent as chatbots can be, they are not ‘set it and forget it’ type of machines – rather, they require continual training and human supervision. It is important that support teams play an active role to optimize the chatbot’s performance over time, including tracking which queries are not understood and mapping them to the correct topics.

For instance, if a customer asks about extending their hotel room booking in an eccentric way and the AI doesn’t map it to the correct topic, the team can inform the AI of the correct topic the user’s query should correlate to so it can understand it in the future. Additionally, some topics may semantically appear very similar (such as ‘please cancel my service’ vs. ‘please cancel my subscription’, the former referring to account termination, and the latter referring to canceling a plan). In this situation, optimization is required in order for the AI to accurately learn the difference between the two use cases. We can also identify new and emerging patterns or topics, which will keep the chatbot’s knowledge updated as well as improve its understanding of your customers and your business.

Be patient, as deploying an AI solution is an ongoing journey. With some planning and forethought, your customer service team can take steps to AI-powered success.

The 13 Best Live Chat Software Tools for 2023 [Review and Key Features]

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jul 11, 2022

Finding the best live chat software for your business is a crucial step in providing top-tier customer service. Options range from simple live chat apps to robust customer support platforms for complex sales processes.

According to many reports, conversational customer service is on the rise. Customer inquiries over live chat channels 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 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
  10. Respond.io
  11. Podium Webchat
  12. Smartsupp
  13. Snapengage

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. Best live chat software for mid-sized to enterprise brands: Netomi

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. Best live chat software for teams already using HubSpot or another CRM: Hubspot Live Chat

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. Best live chat software for businesses of all sizes who want to deliver rich experiences over chat and across different channels: Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations

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. Best live chat software for small businesses: ClickDesk

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

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

 

5. Best live chat software for companies looking for a full-ervice helpdesk tool, with 24/7 problem-solving: LiveAgent

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. Best live chat software for converting website visitors: LiveChat

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

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. Best live chat software for advanced sales and marketing teams: Pure Chat

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. Best live chat software for teams already using Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Webex: Social Intents

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

10. Best free live chat software: Respond.io

What makes Respond.io one of the best live chat software solutions in 2023?

Respond.io has a small footprint with a potentially big impact, with a “forever free” tier for small teams or individuals who want the benefits of a live chat but without the overhead. Respond.io can provide a better understanding of each customer profile with the inclusion of omnichannel chat history, contact import, and real-time analytics. While Respond.io is a solid choice for desktop communications, it doesn’t have a mobile component, limiting how customers can engage.

Other key features

  • Free, but also offers a paid tier
  • Includes a “supervisor dashboard” for managers
  • A workflow system provides easy delegation

11. Best live chat for mobile users: Podium Webchat

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

Where some other live chats might neglect mobile, Podium directly engages mobile customers. Users who interact with the Podium Webchat provides an SMS number, and continued assistance comes through text messages. This allows businesses to meet customers where they are–on their mobile phones–rather than in front of a computer.

Other key features

  • Integration with Google Analytics
  • Easy implementation with few steps
  • Fully customizable with user’s brand

12. Best live chat for sales: Smartsupp

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

A live chat is great for customer service, but it can also be a great way to enable sales and conversions. By engaging with your prospects and customers in real-time, you create an opportunity to build relationships, answer questions, and close deals. Smartsupp purports to get the most out of live chat for a business by specifically focusing on conversions. Their platform also includes video recording of customer activity on the site, so employees can more effectively address customer intentions.

Other key features

  • Free version with additional paid tiers
  • Optional chatbot implementation
  • Integrations with all major online shopping platforms

13. Best Live Chat For the Medical Field: SnapEngage

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

SnapEngage is a great choice for medical providers because their live chat is HIPAA compliant. If you don’t know what that means, it’s basically a set of regulations that protect patient privacy. Any businesses in the medical industry have to abide by these rules, and SnapEngage makes it easy to do so with their software. Not only is their chat software compliant, but they also offer a number of features specifically for the medical industry.

Other key features

  • enables interactions with patients from point of access to diagnosis and beyond
  • medically enabled but robust offerings that cover all industries
  • detailed and helpful support documentation

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.

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 omnichannel 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, omnichannel 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 omnichannel 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 omnichannel experiences the same? 

“Omnichannel” and “omnichannel” experiences are often used interchangeably, but there are a few key differences. Omnichannel 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 omnichannel 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.

How to Maximize Your Zendesk Knowledge Base with AI (Updated June 2022)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 10, 2022

The Power of a Zendesk Knowledge Base and Customer Self-Service

The modern customer wants self-service. That’s why, over the past few years, we’ve seen companies build out robust Knowledge Bases (or Help Centers) on Zendesk and other leading customer experience platforms. Zendesk Knowledge Base solutions are team publishing libraries covering recurring topics and questions on products and services.

Another way that companies provide self-serve support options is by launching customer service chatbots. These can resolve issues without customers having to engage a live customer service agent.

In this post, we explore the benefits of using AI chatbots in parallel with the best knowledge base software platforms like Zendesk Guide, the Zendesk internal knowledge base application. We’ll discuss how this powerful combination creates a more comprehensive self-serve experience that resolves even more tickets and increases customer satisfaction (CSAT).


Higher CSAT, more capacity, AND cost savings? How much will you save with Netomi?


Why having a knowledge base is so critical for excellent customer service 

The cornerstone of good customer service is respecting customers’ time. Forrester reports that two-thirds of customers say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service1. Committing to creating knowledge base content is a great way that companies can provide information quickly, no matter when a person needs it.

Furthermore, people have a desire to help themselves. We’ve seen this in banking. People now often deposit checks on their phone using a customer portal instead of visiting a bank branch, or use a banking chatbot to look for a quick solution. Another common example is when travelers opt to check bags via a kiosk rather than engage with the gate agent at the airport. The same holds true for customer service: 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative2.

This do-it-yourself attitude is even more prevalent with millennials. Before sending an email or picking up the phone to call customer support, 89% of millennials use a search engine to find answers. When there’s a knowledge base available, people will access it to find the information they need. In fact,  Zendesk found that 91% of people would use online knowledge base articles if they were available3


Ready for the future of AI in customer service? Watch our webinar on-demand
with Zendesk’s Platform Architects Manager to see how it improves CX.


What is Zendesk Knowledge Base?

So now that we know why knowledge bases are important, let’s look closely at one of the most popular tools among both internal and external users. As one of the most popular agent desk platforms, Zendesk Guide, is the choice of over 150,000 companies. It offers robust product features, including:

  • Customizable themes
  • Rich text editor for the easy creation of articles including media like images and video
  • Content history which shows a list of edits and changes
  • The ability to restore deleted content so if something is deleted by accident, it can be recovered
  • Content cues that combine machine learning and usage data to improve the overall health of your knowledge base

Zendesk Guide integrates seamlessly with Zendesk Support and offers an easy way for support teams to address knowledge management concerns. Therefore, they can update their internal and external knowledge bases using Zendesk products without needing IT support. Zendesk Guide has a Web Widget and a Mobile SDK, so customers can access self-help articles whether on a website or in a relevant knowledge capture app.

Why every user needs to use an AI Chatbot in parallel 

As mentioned above, another way companies are helping customers help themselves, and cutting back on support tickets, is by deploying AI chatbots. In fact, 1.4 billion people are using chatbots today. As more companies using chatbots for customer service can meet customers’ demand for convenient resolutions, let’s consider how integrating an AI chatbot with Zendesk’s knowledge base provides an added safety net and improves the user experience.

Unlike first-generation bots that relied on buttons, keywords and rigid decision trees to pull up information, newer AI chatbots use Natural Language Understanding and semantics to understand context. These bots can engage more naturally in conversations with customers. Additionally, they respond to more inputs without being explicitly trained on every single way a person might phrase a question.

Even so, there will be circumstances in which the AI chatbot cannot confidently understand what a person has said. This is especially true when an AI chatbot has just been launched and is still learning from real-world scenarios.

There are also times when an AI chatbot has not ever been directly trained on a topic. In these scenarios, if an AI chatbot has been integrated with a knowledge base like Zendesk Guide, it can recommend relevant articles to a specific user segment. This can help customers resolve a wider number of tickets on their own without human agent intervention by directing people to the relevant article with the sought-after information.

Unlock Netomi’s powerful AI with an integration to the Knowledge Base from Zendesk

Netomi’s powerful self-serve option integrates Zendesk’s Knowledge Base with its most native AI chatbot. The result: an amazing customer experience and the highest resolution rate when it comes to customer service tickets.

When you use Netomi’s low-cost, Knowledge Base service, you can launch an AI chatbot on Zendesk in minutes. More than just an answer bot, this allows you to harness the rich information in your Zendesk Guide and Netomi’s advanced AI platform to accurately provide your customers with information in the exact moment-of-need.

This results in higher deflection of everyday questions from live agents, therefore reducing costs as human agents focus solely on complex tickets.

Netomi’s Knowledge Base Service uses AI to search and identify the best answers to your customer questions right within your chat window. You’ll simply connect your knowledge base via a URL into Netomi’s Knowledge Base Service to enable each user segment to access relevant articles from your knowledge base. Instantly, your knowledge base will be automated, enabling customers to find relevant information via a chat window.


Looking for an AI platform that works beautifully with Zendesk products? Let us show you how it works.


Every Zendesk Guide User Should Adopt an AI chatbot 

As consumers continue to seek out self-serve options for support, companies need to integrate AI chatbots with an external or internal knowledge base. These will allow them to cover more use cases and resolve more tickets without getting human agents involved. This helps to satisfy the desire to do-it-yourself, while also eliminating even more mundane tickets from human agents. 

Can we show you how you can immediately bring a powerful AI chatbot together with your Zendesk KB to delight customers? Schedule a demo today

References

  1. Forrester: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/your-customers-want-to-self-serve-its-good-for-them-and-good-for-you/
  2. HBR: https://hbr.org/2017/01/kick-ass-customer-service
  3. Zendesk: https://www.zendesk.com/blog/searching-for-self-service/ 

SMS Customer Service and SMS Chatbot Strategies (Updated June 2022)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 9, 2022

We’re a society of texters: 8.5 billion text messages1 are sent in the United States every day. On a personal level, it’s about 26 sms messages, per person, per day. With that much volume, if your business does not have an SMS customer service strategy – powered by SMS chatbots – it’s obvious that opportunity is passing you by.

Even as texting is an inherent part of our daily lives, companies have historically shied away from providing customer support via text. While there have been appointment reminders, payment confirmations and order statuses sent to customers who opt in, by and large, the channel has not been used for general customer support. 

This is largely due to the belief that customers would get annoyed and feel like brands were encroaching on their personal space. While this may have been true at one point, customers today actually prefer to text with brands for specific needs instead of reaching out on other channels (think social media). In fact, 72% of consumers would prefer to text a business instead of receiving support-related phone calls2. Customer service and support powered by SMS chatbot builders represents a huge untapped opportunity for companies to provide excellent customer support, increase CSAT and decrease costs.


Learn more about companies using chatbots for customer service.


What is SMS Customer Service?

SMS customer service is any type of support provided by a company to a customer via text messaging to a phone number. It is completely virtual and requires no face-to-face interaction or verbal communication. According to research by Gigaom, text messages are opened over 4X more often than emails.

What are the biggest opportunities for SMS Customer Service?

In addition to reaching customers through a vehicle they are using repeatedly throughout the day, messages sent through SMS chatbots offer two incredible opportunities to transform customer service: offering proactive support and eliminating hold times from other channels.

  1. SMS opens the door for proactive, predictive and preventative support
  2. The opportunities to step in at critical moments along the customer journey are bountiful on SMS. People have their phones with them at all times: 75% say they are addicted7 ( tapping, touching, or swiping their phone a 2,617 times per day8) and SMS open rates are as high as 98%4. But beyond accessibility, the real magic comes from the built in sensors that provide rich contextual insight into a person’s current situation – with opportunities to either surprise and delight or prevent a problem. 

    An airline, for instance, could recognize that a person is stuck in traffic and going to miss a flight from data from a phone’s location, gyroscope and accelerometer sensors. The airline could then proactively text rebooking options through an sms bot. A hotel, on the other hand, could send a text when a person’s flight arrives early at the airport, offering an early check-in. 

  3. SMS chatbots improve response times

35% of callers will hang up within one minute of waiting9. Similar to offering customers a way to receive a call back instead of waiting on hold to speak to an agent, companies could ask if a person would like to receive support via a text message. With only 6.5% of U.S. households having a landline10, companies could seamlessly follow up with a person on the same device that they are using. Customers who opt in would immediately receive a text and could engage in a 1-on-1 conversation with a human or virtual agent. 


AI can accelerate a digital support organization to a customer relationship powerhouse. Learn how here.


The cornerstones of great SMS customer service 📱

When deploying customer service on SMS, it’s critical to carefully execute to ensure boundaries are not crossed on this inherently personal and intimate channel. SMS is an effective natural language customer service platform that has the ability to create a great deal of customer satisfaction, but only when implemented with careful consideration.

  1. Communicate properly: Leverage channel-specific conversational design. Keep messages brief.  While modern phones allow for longer messages, try to keep responses to 160 characters, so it is not broken up into multiple messages. Communicate only the most important things to not drive up data usage or fees. If it aligns with your brand or with specific use cases, don’t be afraid to use emojis and other messaging-first communication styles.
  2. Use AI to automate SMS support: Agents are already stretched working across traditional and emerging support channels. Deploy an AI-powered virtual agent to automate SMS support. These virtual agents, also known as SMS chatbots, can now fully resolve upwards of 80% of tickets in some cases – especially simple, highly repetitive tickets.
  3. If needed, escalate seamlessly to human agents and other channels: If a problem is not fully resolved on SMS, loop a human agent into the conversation or offer a frictionless way for customers to opt-in for a call back. Eliminate the need for a person to dial a number themselves and wait for an available agent, or seek help in another channel. Instead, add the customer to the call-back queue, communicate anticipated call-back time and end the conversation.
  4. Enable two-way communication: Automated text messages today are typically one-way. People can’t often reply, for instance,  to the message from their telecommunications provider with their monthly autopay acknowledgment asking why charges are higher this month. Ensure that if you’re creating an SMS campaign for telecom customer service with customers, they can send and receive messages in a two-way conversation.
  5. Text the right use cases: Use your SMS platform for support – not marketing or sales. Customers want to text with a brand to troubleshoot issues (70%), ask about billing questions or concerns (68%) or make/update a reservation (64%)4. These are all simple questions that could be easily be handled through an automated conversation. Creating SMS conversation strings for complex use cases is not ideal. If a complex question arises, suggest the customer reach out on a different channel (or offer a call-back). 

Access all of the customer service stats you need to know this year here.


The growing customer appetite for SMS chatbots and brand texting 


35% of consumers
text with businesses once a day to once a week3 

While SMS communication is inherently personal, people are open to communicating with brands, too. In fact, 43% of consumers have texted a business unprompted, which signals an expectation that businesses are already text–enabled3. This mindset shift has come at a time when frictionless experiences are now expected: 64% of consumers think companies who text value their time, are progressive and would recommend them to others4.  

This shift in expectations for utmost convenience is also accompanied by overwhelming app fatigue. Texting does not require a person to download a company’s brand-specific app or a third-party messaging app. Texting apps are native on phones. Studies have shown that 77% of consumers say that they use texting more than other messaging tools3. Using the native texting app on their phone, consumers say, helps keep messages organized and ensures that new messages aren’t missed or buried in other messaging apps.

Moreso, good customer service is defined by convenience and effortlessness. Texting is already a part of the daily routine and is the number one activity on smartphones5, even edging out browsing the Web. Plus, the threshold for being on hold has all but disappeared: 81% of people get frustrated waiting on hold on the phone or a computer to talk to an agent6. Texting can do away with a lot of the inconvenience that typically comes with reaching out to customer service. 

SMS represents an incredible opportunity to provide hyper-convenient, immediate and effortless support. It’s a channel that already commands so much customer attention and if SMS support is deployed properly, the frustrations with modern-day customer support could be eliminated. 

Interested in learning how SMS can fit into your multi-channel customer support strategy? Let’s chat! 📲

References 

  1. https://www.asktelemarketing.com/blog/2018/3/15/4-reasons-your-customer-service-should-include-sms 
  2. https://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Web-Exclusives/Viewpoints/Why-You-Should-Not-Overlook-SMS-as-a-Customer-Care-Tool-133666.aspx 
  3. https://www.zipwhip.com/state-of-texting-2020/ 
  4. https://www.slicktext.com/blog/2018/11/44-mind-blowing-sms-marketing-and-texting-statistics/ 
  5. https://www.eztexting.com/blog/2019-mobile-usage-statistics 
  6. https://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/best-practices-in-sms-customer-care 
  7. https://www.reviews.org/mobile/cell-phone-addiction/ 
  8. https://bagby.co/blogs/digital-wellbeing-pills/smartphone-addiction-facts-statistics-updated-2020 
  9. https://www.datapine.com/blog/call-center-metrics-and-kpis/ 
  10. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/study-only-65-percent-us-households-have-landline-135212