The Importance of Customer Experience

Written by Dylan Max on Nov 23, 2022

Customer experience has become a critical differentiator for companies looking to stand out from the crowd. In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, quality customer experience has become even more important.

Customers have more choices and higher expectations than ever before. They want convenience, personalized service, and seamless interactions across multiple channels and touchpoints. Providing a positive customer experience is not only essential for retaining existing customers, but also for attracting new ones. Brands that can pull off creating a positive customer experience will win big in the end.

This blog post will explore the importance of customer experience and how it can be used as a competitive advantage to drive growth, increase brand loyalty, and ultimately, improve the bottom line.

What is the difference between customer experience and customer service?

Both of these terms are related to how customers interact with a company or brand, but they have distinct meanings and implications for businesses.

The main difference between customer experience and customer service boils down to the scope of customer interaction. Customer service refers to the assistance and support provided to customers before, during, and after a purchase. It is focused on helping customers with specific issues or problems they may have. 

Simply put, customer service is a subset of customer experience and one of the many factors that contribute to the overall customer experience.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience, also known as CX, refers to the overall perception and attitude of a customer towards a company or brand. It encompasses all interactions and touchpoints a customer has with a company, including customer service, but also includes factors such as product quality, branding, and marketing. 

This can include everything from the first time a customer hears about the company, to browsing its website or social media, to making a purchase, and even after the sale when they may need customer service or support. Customer experience encompasses all aspects of the customer journey and can be influenced by factors such as ease of use, personalization, convenience, and overall satisfaction.

In simpler terms, customer experience is how a customer feels about a business or a brand based on how they were treated and how straightforward it was for them to get what they needed. A good customer experience is when a customer feels happy and satisfied. A bad customer experience is when a customer feels unhappy and unsatisfied.

Customer experience is important because it can have a big impact on whether customers will return to a business or recommend it to others. Companies that focus on providing a positive customer experience can increase loyalty, improve brand reputation, and ultimately boost the bottom line.

Let’s go one step further and look at the 7 core elements of customer experience.

7 Core Elements of Customer Experience

  1. Ease of Use

    Ease of use refers to how simple it is for customers to find what they need. For example, a website with intuitive navigation makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for.

  2. Personalization

    Personalization is the degree to which a company tailors its interactions with customers to their individual preferences. For example, a retail store that remembers a customer’s previous purchases and makes recommendations based on those can create a more personalized shopping experience.

  3. Convenience

    Convenience refers to how easy and efficient it is for customers to interact with a company. For example, a business that offers multiple channels for customer service, such as phone, email, and live chat, is making it more convenient for customers to get the help they need.
  1. Speed

    Speed is how quickly a customer can complete their desired actions or get help when they need it. For example, a fast-loading website or a quick-response customer service team will create a positive customer experience.

  2. Emotion

    Emotion refers to how a customer feels as a result of their interactions with a company. A positive customer experience evokes positive emotions such as satisfaction, while a negative customer experience evokes negative emotions such as frustration or disappointment.

    Typically, a good formula to measure sentiment is: Sentiment = Reality – Expectations

    If Expectations are higher than Reality that would trend to a negative customer experience and vice versa.
  3. Consistency

    Consistency is important for customers to have similar, if not the same, experiences no matter how they interact with the company. The more consistent the experience, the higher the customer experience will be overall. McDonald’s is a prime example of brand consistency. No matter where you go in the world, you can expect McDonald’s to have the same taste, seating, and food selections.
  1. Innovation

    Innovation is important because customers are living in a changing world and brands must keep up with the times. Innovation is not reserved for products but also for customer experience. For example, using Artificial intelligence or machine learning to enhance customer service speed and quality.

By isolating customer experience into these 7 elements, companies can better focus on improving each one. Those that do it well will create a positive, memorable experience for customers that will keep them coming back.

Why is customer experience important?

Customer experience is important because it can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. Studies have shown that companies with a strong customer experience have higher customer loyalty, which leads to increased sales and revenue. Research from Forrester found that customer experience leaders had 17% more revenue growth than their competitors. On the flip side, one study found that businesses lose an estimated $75 billion each year due to poor customer service.

As explored earlier, customer experience is important because it can significantly affect a company’s reputation and ability to attract new customers. A study by PwC found that 63% of consumers are likely to switch to a competitor after just one poor customer experience while brands with positive customer experiences have more customers who are willing to recommend their brand to others. This can be especially important in today’s digital age, where consumers can share their experiences online and influence the buying decisions of others.

Lastly, a positive customer experience can positively impact the company’s employee engagement, productivity, and turnover rate. A study by Accenture found that companies with strong customer experience also had lower employee turnover rates and higher productivity. These studies show that establishing a customer-centric culture benefits everyone.

What are the benefits of providing excellent customer experience?

Here are the top 6 benefits of delivering great customer experience:

  1. Increased customer loyalty

    When customers have a positive experience with a company, they are more likely to return for repeat business and to recommend the company to others. This can lead to a virtuous cycle of customer retention and growth.

  2. Improved brand reputation

    A positive customer experience can enhance a company’s reputation, leading to increased credibility and trust in the marketplace. This can be especially important in today’s digital age, where customers can easily share their experiences online and influence the buying decisions of others.

  3. Increased sales and revenue

    Customers who have a positive experience with a company are more likely to make repeat purchases and purchase more expensive items. They may also be willing to pay a premium for the positive experience they have.

  4. Cost savings

    Providing excellent customer service can lead to lower costs in the long run. For example, it can help to prevent customer churn, which can be expensive to replace. Additionally, a customer who had a positive experience with a company is less likely to require additional support, which can be costly for the company.

  5. Competitive advantage

    Providing great customer experience can give a company an edge over its competitors. In a market where customers have many choices, a positive customer experience can be a key differentiator that sets a company apart and drives growth.

  6. Greater employee engagement

    Companies with a good customer experience culture tend to have more satisfied employees. Employees who feel valued, respected, and rewarded are more likely to be engaged and motivated, which leads to better performance, lower turnover rate, and lower recruitment cost.

Overall, providing a great customer experience can help build strong, long-term relationships with customers and drive profitability for the business.

What are the disadvantages of poor customer experience?

When it comes to providing customer experience, it’s important to remember that poor customer experience can have serious consequences for a business. One of the most significant disadvantages of poor customer experience is lost customers. When customers have a negative experience with a business, they are less likely to return or recommend the business to others.

Another disadvantage of poor customer experience is damage to the company’s reputation. In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever for customers to share their experiences with a business, whether it’s through social media, review sites, or word of mouth. Negative reviews and feedback can spread quickly and damage a business’s reputation, making it harder for the company to attract new customers.

Finally, poor customer experience can also impact employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees are not empowered to provide good customer service, they may not feel motivated or engaged in their work. This can lead to increased employee turnover, which can hurt the bottom line of the business.

What about brand loyalty?

Brand loyalty is the degree to which a consumer will consistently purchase products or services from a specific company or brand. It represents a level of commitment that a consumer has to a brand and it can be influenced by various factors like quality of products, price, customer service, reputation, and the overall customer experience. Brand loyalty can be measured by a few key metrics like repeat purchase rate, customer retention rate, and net promoter score. 

  • Repeat purchase rate measures the percentage of customers who make repeat purchases.
  • Customer retention rate measures how many customers remain loyal over time.
  • Net promoter score measures how likely customers are to recommend a brand to others.

By measuring these metrics, companies can gain insights into their customer base, identify patterns and make informed decisions that can increase customer loyalty.

Customer Loyalty Statistics

Several studies have shown the importance of customer loyalty and the impact it can have on a business.

  1. The probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. (Forbes)
  2. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% results in an average increase in profits of 25% to 95%. (Harvard Business Review)
  3. Companies with the highest levels of customer loyalty have 27% higher profitability than companies with the lowest levels of customer loyalty. (Qualtrics)
  4. Businesses lose an estimated $75 billion each year due to poor customer service. (New Voice Media)
  5. 63% of consumers are likely to switch to a competitor after just one poor customer experience. (Netomi)

5 Examples of companies with excellent customer experience

Many companies are known for providing an excellent customer experience. Here are a few examples:

  1. Amazon

    Amazon is often cited as a company that sets the standard for customer experience. From their user-friendly website and mobile app to their fast and free delivery options, Amazon makes it easy for customers to find and purchase products. They also have a strong commitment to customer service, with easy-to-use tools for tracking orders and returning items.
  1. Zappos

    Zappos is an online shoe retailer that is known for its exceptional customer service. They offer a 365-day return policy, free shipping, and a call center that is open 24/7. They also have a unique culture that values customer service and encourages employees to go above and beyond to make customers happy.
  1. Ritz-Carlton

    Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel chain that is known for its exceptional customer service. They have a strong commitment to training and developing their employees to provide personalized service to guests. They also have a customer loyalty program that rewards guests for repeat stays.
  1. Apple

    Apple is known for its sleek and user-friendly products, as well as for its exceptional customer service. They have a strong commitment to providing customers with a seamless and personalized experience, from the design of their products to the service provided in their retail stores.
  1. Nordstrom

    Nordstrom is a retail company that is known for its exceptional customer service. They have a strong commitment to training and developing their employees to provide personalized service to customers. They also have a customer loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat purchases.

All of these companies provide exceptional customer experience because they prioritize it as a business imperative. Technology allows these strategies to flourish.

Technologies that help companies achieve great customer experience

Deploying new technology is one way to improve customer experience. Here are four types that can help companies overcome the challenges of achieving great customer experiences:

  1. Chatbots and virtual assistants: The best chatbots can provide customers with quick and efficient responses to their inquiries, 24/7 availability, personalized interactions, and can also handle multiple customer requests simultaneously.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-based technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) can be used to enhance the customer experience by providing personalized recommendations, automating repetitive tasks, and even predicting customer needs.
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: CRM systems can help companies to manage their interactions with customers, automate routine tasks, and gain insights from customer data. This can help to improve sales and marketing efforts and provide a more personalized experience for customers.
  4. Self-service solutions: these can include interactive kiosks, mobile apps, and web portals that allow customers to access information and services, such as account management, booking, and tracking, without the need for human assistance.

By leveraging these technologies, companies can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide a more personalized and seamless experience for customers.

Netomi can take your customer experience to the next level

By implementing conversational AI technologies like Netomi’s, businesses can provide 24/7 customer service, automate repetitive tasks, and personalize the customer experience. Additionally, conversational AI can also help businesses to improve customer engagement, increase customer loyalty, and drive sales.

However, it’s important to remember that conversational AI is not a silver bullet for customer experience. To truly take your customer experience to the next level, it’s important to have a holistic approach, which includes understanding customer needs, providing high-quality service, and continuously improving customer experience.

Conversational AI can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve their customer experience. By providing customers with convenient, personalized, and efficient customer service, businesses can increase customer loyalty, drive sales, and ultimately, grow their business. It’s important to start small, test and learn from it, and then scale.

Businesses that can effectively implement conversational AI will be well-positioned to provide a top-notch customer experience and stay ahead of the competition. If you’re ready to take your customer experience to the next level, consider investing in Netomi and see the results for yourself.

The 5 Top Customer Centricity Examples in 2022

Written by Dylan Max on Jul 29, 2022

Customer centricity. Customer obsession. Customer focus. 

These are not just boardroom buzzwords but rather essential principles for businesses today – from global enterprises to innovative upstarts. Over the last 10-15 years there has been a pivot from being price- and product-focused to centering everything around the customer. Starbucks, Nordstrom, Hilton, Amazon and other brands have created the blueprint for customer experience and customer relationship management (CRM), and have shaped customer expectations for brand interactions. In 2022, all companies need to take a radically customer centric approach. 

In this post, we’re answering questions like: 

  • What is customer centricity?
  • Why is customer centricity important?
  • How to be customer centric
  • What are the top customer centricity examples?

What is Customer Centricity? 

Customer centricity means you put the customer at the center of everything you do. Your products, in-store and digital experiences, and customer service are all designed with the goal of providing a consistently great experience and adding value. The entire company has a ‘customer culture’ and removes siloes to provide a cohesive, unified experience. 

Customer centric companies remove friction, preemptively solve problems and meet customer needs in unique ways. These companies often leverage powerful technology like machine learning, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, in addition to sophisticated CRM platforms to provide truly effortless interactions and hyper-personalization

Customer centricity can exist across a variety of dimensions of a business including Customer Support, Marketing, and Sales departments.

What is Customer Centric Selling?

In a nutshell, customer centric selling is a selling strategy that values building meaningful relationships with your customers as opposed to pushy sales tactics. Similarly, customer centric service also is about focusing on growing meaningful relationships, but in the context of the customer support role.

 “Human-centric marketing is defined by brands that approach engaging their current and prospective customers via advertising and marketing tactics as whole human beings with hearts, minds, and spirits.” — Philip Kotler

Why is Customer Centricity important?

Customers today expect more. And this comes at a time when customer experience (CX) is the primary differentiator in a sea of sameness. CX now dictates where people spend their money and develop loyalty. Companies need to obsess over providing positive experiences and adding value in order to create a positive view in people’s minds. Every interaction matters. CX expert Shep Hyken says: “Customers notice almost everything. In fact, their brains are wired to make a note of anything they don’t like1.” 

Adopting a customer centric mindset is crucial for many reasons: 

  • Every interaction matters: One in three customers will leave a brand they love after one bad experience2
  • A customer centric philosophy can reduce customer acquisition costs: It’s more expensive than ever to acquire new customers: it’s 5X more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. 
  • Customer centricity unlocks revenue: 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience3. Personalization alone can increase overall consumer spending up to 500%4
  • Customer centricity motivates people to recommend your brand: More than 65% of customers said that their experience on the website or app would be at least a “very important” factor in their willingness to recommend a brand. 

How to be customer centric

The first step in becoming customer centric is understanding what your customers need and want. Take frequent pulses on pain points and identify and eliminate friction points: 96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to 9% who have a low-effort experience5. The key to creating such an experience is for the team to be intimately familiar with the customer’s journey through your buying experience.

Customer centricity is also created by personalizing and contextualizing experiences, something that 75% of customers expect today6. This involves surfacing the right products, experiences and information to specific customers at the exact moment of relevance. To do this, companies need to get away from silos and disconnected systems to connect all of the dots of the customer into one centralized view. According to Professor PhD Luigi-Nicolae DUMITRESCU, “You cannot departmentalize a customer centric approach. It must emanate from the very heart of the organization. All departments need to work in harmony, if not complete synchronicity in all communications with customers.7” 

Customer centric brands also understand that you can’t be everything to everyone. In his book, Customer Centricity, Wharton professor Peter Fader encourages companies to look at the “overall customer lifetime value and concentrate efforts on those customer segments that were most valuable and interesting to optimize profit8.” Segment your customers to identify the best ones and develop strategies to provide these segments with the best experience. Don’t put resources into courting customers who don’t pay off in LTV. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by using a customer relationship management platform.

Creating a customer centric mindset needs to be managed by an internal champion overseeing everything to do with the customer. In an indication of the shift away from price focus and product focus to customer focus, the role of the Chief Customer Officer has been one of the fastest-growing. In fact, 22% of Fortune 100 companies and 10% of Fortune 500 companies now have chief customer officers9

The top 5 customer centricity examples you haven’t seen anywhere else 

Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, Netflix and Walt Disney World are often cited for their customer centricity, as they should be. In this post, we wanted to find customer centricity examples that you may have never seen before. 

1. Wayfair uses AI and data for hyper-personalization

Wayfair offers over eight million products, from furniture and décor to appliances and storage10. It has 37,173 kinds of coffee mugs alone, and when you account for different colors, sizes or materials, there are over 70,000 options11. Without taking a customer centric approach, the user experience would be overwhelming and time-consuming. 

The company uses predictive analytics and AI to create detailed buyer personas to show the most relevant products for customers, eliminating the need to scroll through pages and pages of products to find something they like. Wayfair “uses machine learning technology to work out which products complement one another and recommend them to customers. This makes sure that Wayfair isn’t wasting its customers’ time by recommending products that simply won’t work with the items they already own12.”

According to Wayfair Cofounder Steve Conine: “On average, we capture and store four terabytes of data every day and over the course of a year, we track approximately 40 billion customer actions on our site…..Data has been democratized across the organization — it can be accessed and used regardless of whether an employee works in marketing, logistics, or engineering. Data has allowed the company to better execute on its strategy through improved personalization.” 

2. Stitch Fix removes the hassle of clothes shopping 

Stitch Fix is one of the most fascinating customer centricity examples. The company gets to know customers through a personalized style quiz, and then after finding out clothing style and color preferences, favorite brands and styles, and budget, stylists curate pieces and outfits for the individual customer. There’s no subscription, items can be easily returned and you only buy the products that you like. Points of friction have been identified and eliminated. 

The company relies on AI and big data to power its operations. CEO Kristina Lake says, “Data science isn’t woven into our culture; it is our culture13.” The company reviews style trends, preferences, sizing info, and inventory. Stitch Fixes AI algorithms and data experts determine what styles typically work for each type of customer. And this is paying off: Stitch Fix increases its client base by 17% each year and currently serves more than 3.5 million customers14

3. Ikea’s In-Store and Digital Experience Elevate the CX 

The customer centricity at IKEA runs deep. According to Maja Bricevic, a Communications Specialist with IKEA Canada, “IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for the many, and is committed to meeting the needs of its customers by creating a great customer experience, whenever and wherever [customers] want to meet us.”

The Swedish home retailer is recognized for its immersive in-store customer experience. Customers shop carefully furnished and curated spaces, visit a food court and snack on famous meatballs and even take advantage of complimentary childcare. 

Apart from the in-store experience, IKEA’s digital experience is also very customer centric. One way the customer delivers this is through its IKEA Place app. Shopping for home furniture can be challenging to imagine how an item will look in your space. The app gives customers the ability to virtually place true-to-scale 3D models in their own space, furnish a whole room in one tap or find the perfect product by searching with your camera. 

4. L’Oreal mixes up makeup on demand 

Unlike products like toys or books, which are the same for everyone, makeup looks different on every customer. To help customers find the exact right shade, the company launched L’Oréal Perso, an AI-powered smart device that creates custom formulas for lipstick, foundation, and skincare. A customer uploads a picture to the Preso app “which will use AI to identify skin conditions like dark spots, large pores, or wrinkles.” The app layers in real-time contextual data to account for environmental concerns that affect the skin, including pollution, pollen, and UV index. All of this is used to create a custom formula that is dispensed in a perfectly portioned, single-dose. 

The company aims to give consumers more control over their makeup and skincare, according to Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal Technology Incubator15. “Consumers have been asking to be part of the process of their beauty and have a stronger relationship with how well it’s working. [With Perso], you become part of the process of your cosmetics,” he says. 

5. Hilton treats every loyalty member like a true VIP 

Hilton is one of the biggest hotel brands in the world, boasting 6,110 properties with more than 971,000 rooms in 119 countries and territories. Annually, 178 million guests stay at its properties. Even with these extraordinary numbers, the brand has implemented strategies to be truly customer centric. The driving force behind this is the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program, which has over 115 million members16

With the free Hilton Honors mobile app, guests can book their stay, select the exact room they want, order meals, check-in and out, unlock their door and elevators with a Digital Key, all from their smartphone17. The honors program and app provide a truly frictionless experience from booking and pre-stay to on-site. Because of these digital interactions and building rich customer profiles, “front desk staff can focus on more valuable face-to-face interactions, while guests avoid worrying about losing hotel room keys.” 

Final Thoughts: Customer centricity is here to stay 

Keeping the customer at the center of everything you do is a must for companies to compete, build loyalty and generate revenue. Customer centricity needs to be a fabric of every modern organization, with siloes eliminated and departments working together with the same goal: create positive customer interactions that deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle. 

Are you interested in making one of these customer-centricity lists? Let’s discuss how AI can transform your company into a customer-centric powerhouse. 

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The 13 Best Help Desk and Service Desk Software Platforms In 2023 [Features, Pricing, and More]

Written by Dylan Max on Jun 29, 2022

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

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

What is a help desk?

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

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

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

Why should companies use a help desk?

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

Automating processes through smart service desk tools will leave your customer service agents free to handle more complex issues.

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

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

Top 7 Benefits of Help Desks

  1. Improved customer satisfaction

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

2. A single source of truth

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

3. Automation

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

4. Improved agent experience

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

5. Intelligent routing

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

6. Heightened scalability

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

7. Sophisticated analytics

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

Do small businesses need to use a help desk?

Every company that prioritizes their customer experience should consider a help desk, even small businesses. Even for small teams with 5 agents or less, there are tons of benefits in leveraging the best help desk software for your organization’s size and needs.

Size should be one of your primary considerations when selecting help desk software for your organization, as enterprise help desk software is going to have a much different experience compared to software designed for a smaller business.

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

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

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

Several options on our help desk software list are designed with smaller businesses in mind.

How much does help desk software cost?

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

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

There is a growing number of options on the help desk software list – from both established players like Salesforce and Zendesk to newer Zendesk alternatives like Gladly. A quick look on GetApp, an online review platform for software, shows over 70 companies in the category. Read on for our top 12 help desk software list for this year.

The 13 best help desk platforms


RankHelp DeskRating (Out of 5 Stars)
2.Salesforce Service Cloud5
7.InvGate Service Desk4.5
9.PeopleSoft Enterprise Helpdesk4.4
11.Hubspot Service Hub4.3

  1. Best help desk software for omnichannel: Zendesk

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

    Zendesk is perhaps the most robust and flexible service desk platform. It’s used by over 160,000 companies including large enterprises like Expedia, Tesco and Vodafone. While it works on any channel (email, chat, voice, and even social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more), all the interactions and relevant context are kept in a single, dynamic dashboard. Integrating a top-performing Zendesk chatbot can make your help desk even more powerful.

    The platform is completely customizable and is designed to help companies quickly close tickets. The company reports that it increases customer satisfaction by 25% and agent productivity by 30% at any scale.

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

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

    Key features

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

  3. Best help desk software for integrations with other tools: Salesforce Service Cloud
  4. What makes Salesforce Service Cloud one of the best help desks of 2023?

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

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

    Key features

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

  5. Best help desk software for hyper-personalization: Gladly
  6. What makes Gladly one of the best help desks of 2023?

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

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

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

    Key features

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

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

  7. Best help desk software for small business: Freshdesk
  8. Freshdesk - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

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

    Key features

    • Ticket creation
    • Automation
    • SLA Management
    • Multilingual
    • Reporting and analytics
    • Omnichannel

  9. Best help desk software for the value: Zoho

    Zoho - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

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

    To provide additional value to agents, many companies like Megabus deploy a Zoho chatbot.

    Key features

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

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

    Hiver - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

    Key features

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

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

    InvGate - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

    Key features

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

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

    Sprinklr - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

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

    If you have a big presence on social media and need a unified place to listen, triage, engage and analyze social conversations, Sprinklr is the perfect choice on our help desk software list. Brands that use Sprinklr include hospitality brands Choice Hotels and AAA – many of which pair this platform with a travel chatbot. Cisco is also a known brand using their solutions, giving further credibility for this platform as one of the best help desk software options for enterprise teams.

    Key features

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

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

    PeopleSoft Enterprise - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

    Tickets are routed to the agent with the best knowledge of a subject. This product also offers productivity tools like quick codes that populate the category, specialty type, and details fields of a ticket. This is easily one of the best enterprise help desk software solutions on our list because it can scale quickly and provide support to a large group of agents.

    Key features

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

  19. Best help desk software for internal IT support: ServiceNow
  20. ServiceNow - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

    ServiceNow is a platform-as-a-service provider of IT service applications. The company provides a range of pre-built ITSM products to automate and manage numerous IT enterprise services. Using this single software, you can automate processes and create custom applications to meet all your IT service needs. This makes ServiceNow the best software for help desks in the IT field in our top help desk software list.

    Key features

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

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

    HubSpot Service Hub - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

    If you use the Hubspot CRM, the Service Hub is a great solution. While it does offer paid plans, the free plan has unlimited users and significantly more features than other free plans. With the Service Hub, customer service data and channels are brought together into a single platform. HubSpot’s Service Hub is one of the more expensive options on our top help desk software list, but it is worth the price.

    Key features include

    • Comprehensive Ticketing
    • Live chat
    • Conversations inbox to offer transparency for the entire team
    • Detailed reports on closed tickets, agent productivity, and time-to-close
    • Email templates
    • Integrations with Gmail, Outlook, Facebook Messenger, and other programs, including mobile apps
    • Snippets or reusable answers to most commonly asked questions

  23. Best practical help desk: Happyfox

    Happyfox - one of the best help desk software options for 2023

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

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

    Key features

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

  25. Best help desk for project managers: Kustomer

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

Kustomer has made its mark as a customer service and support platform that prioritizes seamless communication and a holistic approach to customer data. As a powerful help desk tool, Kustomer has a strong focus on project management, enabling businesses to efficiently handle complex customer inquiries, coordinate team efforts, and stay organized in high-pressure situations.

Kustomer’s project management features stand out among other help desk platforms, allowing support teams to collaborate and manage tasks effectively. Users can create tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, and monitor progress all within the platform. Kustomer’s platform is also designed to consolidate customer data and communication history, ensuring that support agents have a comprehensive view of each customer’s needs and experiences.

Key features include

  • Task creation and assignment
  • Deadline tracking and progress monitoring
  • Collaborative workspace for support teams
  • Unified customer data and communication history
  • Real-time updates and notifications
  • Omnichannel support: voice, email, live chat, social media
  • Integration with popular CRM systems

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

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

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

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

Customer service becomes a competitive differentiator

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

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

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

For more information on customer service, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is A Help Desk A CRM?

While help desk and CRM (customer relationship management) systems share some similarities, they serve distinct purposes and should not be considered interchangeable.

A help desk system is primarily focused on managing, organizing, and resolving customer support requests or tickets. It streamlines the process of handling customer inquiries and issues by providing tools for communication, ticket tracking, and knowledge management. Help desk systems aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of customer support teams, ensuring a timely and satisfactory resolution of customer problems.

On the other hand, a CRM system is designed to manage and optimize all aspects of a company’s interactions with customers and potential customers. It encompasses a wide range of functions, such as sales, marketing, and customer service, allowing businesses to better understand and cater to their customers’ needs. CRM systems typically provide tools for tracking customer data, segmenting customers, managing leads and sales pipelines, automating marketing campaigns, and more.

In summary, while help desk systems are focused on customer support and issue resolution, CRM systems are more comprehensive solutions that encompass multiple aspects of customer relationships. Some CRM platforms may include help desk features, but they serve a broader range of functions aimed at managing and nurturing customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey.

What’s The Difference Between A Help Desk And A Service Desk? 

The terms “help desk” and “service desk” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to distinct concepts within the IT service management (ITSM) framework. The primary differences between the two lie in their scope, functions, and overall objectives.

Help Desk:

  1. Scope: A help desk is typically focused on providing IT support to end-users and addressing their specific technical issues or requests. It serves as the first point of contact for users experiencing technical difficulties.
  2. Functions: Help desk functions include handling incidents, troubleshooting problems, and providing solutions or workarounds to resolve user issues.
  3. Objective: The main goal of a help desk is to offer efficient and effective technical support to end-users, ensuring minimal disruption to their work and a satisfactory resolution of their problems.

Service Desk:

  1. Scope: A service desk has a broader scope, encompassing all aspects of IT service management. It serves as a single point of contact between an organization’s IT department and its users, covering not only technical support but also other IT-related services.
  2. Functions: In addition to incident management, a service desk handles service requests, change management, problem management, and other ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) processes. It provides a more holistic approach to managing the entire IT service lifecycle.
  3. Objective: The primary objective of a service desk is to ensure the delivery of high-quality, efficient IT services that align with the organization’s goals and needs. This includes both resolving technical issues and proactively managing IT services to minimize disruptions and optimize performance.

In summary, while both help desks and service desks provide support to end-users, a help desk is primarily focused on addressing technical issues, whereas a service desk encompasses a broader range of IT service management functions and aims to deliver comprehensive IT services in line with organizational objectives.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Help Desks?

Help desks can be categorized based on various factors, such as their size, scope, and the nature of the support they provide. Here are some common types of help desks:

Internal Help Desk: An internal help desk serves the employees within an organization, addressing their technical issues and IT-related requests. This type of help desk is typically found in medium to large-sized companies with dedicated IT support teams.

External Help Desk: An external help desk provides support to customers or clients outside the organization. This type of help desk is commonly seen in businesses that offer software, hardware, or other technology products and services to customers.

Level-based Help Desk: Help desks can also be categorized based on the level of support they provide. There are usually three levels of support:

Level 1: This is the first point of contact for end-users, handling basic issues and frequently asked questions. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, it is escalated to the next level.

Level 2: This level of support deals with more complex issues that require deeper technical knowledge or troubleshooting skills. Support agents at this level may work closely with Level 1 agents to identify the root cause of the problem.

Level 3: This is the highest level of support, typically involving experts or specialists in specific areas. Issues escalated to Level 3 often require advanced troubleshooting, research, or collaboration with other teams within the organization.

ITIL-based Help Desk: ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a set of best practices for IT service management. An ITIL-based help desk follows these guidelines and processes to deliver efficient and effective IT support. This type of help desk is focused on aligning IT services with business goals and improving overall service quality.

Virtual Help Desk: A virtual help desk leverages remote support agents or teams to provide customer support. This type of help desk can be cost-effective and provide 24/7 support to customers or employees, regardless of their location.

Outsourced Help Desk: In this model, an organization contracts a third-party service provider to manage their help desk operations. This approach can be advantageous for smaller businesses that lack the resources to maintain a dedicated in-house support team.

These are some common types of help desks, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks depending on the organization’s needs, size, and resources.

The 8 Best Customer Service Tools to Aid in a Connected Customer Journey

Written by Amy Wallace on May 13, 2022

Today’s customer support professionals have a lot on their plates – from interacting directly with customers and managing a steady stream of support tickets, to creating and updating libraries of self-service content. All this, while under pressure to keep customer satisfaction high and resolution time low. Indeed, customer service is a joint effort – it is a combination of people, tools and processes to work in tandem to deliver first-rate customer experiences across many touchpoints.

This is why access to the right tools and resources can make a difference.

Customer service tools enable support teams to answer key questions such as:

  • How can the entire customer journey be seen from one single view, for customer service that is driven by context?
  • How can they work better as a team, to deliver effortless and immediate support across multiple channels?
  • With growing demands for personalization and rising support tickets, how can smaller teams do more, faster?

In a quest to help customer support teams explore new capabilities for their support operations, the Netomi team has done some research, from previous lists detailing the best live chat software, help desk software, customer experience tools and knowledge base software. Now, we present our selection of the 8 best customer service tools.

The Best Customer Service Tools in 2022

  1. Netomi
  2. Aircall
  3. Gorgias
  4. Kayako
  5. Nicereply
  6. Podium
  7. TeamSupport 
  8. Vivantio

1. Netomi

Best customer service tool for mid-sized to enterprise brands

What makes Netomi one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

An omnichannel AI platform for customer service, Netomi helps companies resolve over 80% of support tickets via email, chat, messaging, and voice. This helps agents focus on more complex tickets.

Netomi’s key features

  • A Clustering Engine that uses unsupervised learning to sift through and cluster historic support tickets, pinpointing repeatable scenarios that may be automated
  • Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to understand the underlying intent of customer inquiries, with the highest overall accuracy (85.17%) of any conversational AI platform, and the highest out-of-scope accuracy at 92.45%
  • An intuitive analytics dashboard that displays real-time performance data on key customer service metrics such as AI resolution rate and accuracy
  • A fully customizable chat widget that has many U/X tools like embedded customer forms, the ability to upload files and more
  • Native integration with all major agent desks such as Gladly, Zoho, Freshworks, Salesforce and Zendesk
Best Customer Service Tools - Netomi


Best customer service tool for call center support

What makes Aircall one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

The “phone system for modern business,” Aircall’s inbound call center software is ideal for businesses both small and large, and is used by sales, IT & operations, and customer support teams. The result? A clear view of call activity and issues that are resolved as a team, for smarter customer conversations, and smoother support.

Aircall’s key features

  • Parallel calls, enabling agents to put current conversations on hold and simultaneously start a separate call with another customer
  • Custom filters to search and sort through categorized calls to find a certain conversation
  • Call Center Analytics, allowing teams to keep track of key call center metrics – such as wait time, missed call rate, and call volume – all in one place
  • Insight Cards, allowing agents to see more context behind each inbound call by pulling related data from other apps into view


Essentials$30/user per monthUnlimited calls within US & Canada*
100+ Integrations and API access
Send and receive SMS**
Essential telephony features including IVR, call recording and click-to-dial
Unlimited simultaneous outbound calls
Professional$50/user per month
Salesforce integration
Mandatory call tagging
Advanced analytics and call monitoring
Advanced support features including queue call back
Advanced sales features including Power Dialer
CustomCall for details
Unlimited calls worldwide*
Custom analytics
Custom onboarding
Access to API developer support
Service-level agreement (SLA)
Best Customer Service Tools - Aircall

3. Gorgias

Best customer service tool for eCommerce stores

What makes Gorgias one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

A customer service platform built for eCommerce, Gorgias allows support teams to centralize all of their tickets in one place, to get the full customer picture, and offer faster support. The platform’s powerful integration with Shopify and Shopify Plus means that agents can view order details for a customer, and refund, cancel, and duplicate orders, all without leaving the helpdesk app.

Gorgias’ key features

  • Intents and sentiment detection that leverage customer intents, allowing teams to automate their workflows with precision, with sentiments that automatically detect how customers are feeling (are they angry, or in a rush)?
  • A customer sidebar that displays rich customer data right next to tickets, allowing support teams to choose the data they want to see, and pull in data from 65+ third-party apps
  • A self-service feature that allows teams to manage routine requests such as returns, cancellations or damaged items, to increase their efficiency, and provide customers with instant answers and full resolutions
  • Integration with Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, and BigCommerce, enabling teams to scale their support across stores, so they can manage every customer question, for all of their brands, in a single helpdesk


Starter$10 per month50 billable tickets/month
$0.40 / extra ticket
3 user seats
2 social media channels
Limited active integrations
Support reporting
Starter customer services
Basic$60 per month
300 billable tickets/month
$40 / 100 extra tickets
Unlimited user seats
2 social media channels
150 active integrations
Support reporting
Basic customer services
Pro$360 per month
2,000 billable tickets/month
$36 / 100 extra tickets
Unlimited user seats
2 social media channels
150 active integrations
Support & revenue reporting
Pro customer services
Advanced$900 per month
5,000 billable tickets/month
$36 / 100 extra tickets
Unlimited user seats
3 social media channels
150 active integrations
Support & revenue reporting
Advanced customer services
EnterpriseContact for details
Custom billable tickets/month
custom price for extra tickets
Unlimited user seats
3 social media channels
150 active integrations
Support & revenue reporting
Enterprise customer services
Best Customer Service Tools - Gorgias

4. Kayako

Best customer service tool for SMBs looking for a fully integrated cloud-hosted help desk to immediately start supporting customers

What makes Kayako one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

Paving the way for “better conversations, a better customer experience,” Kayako’s helpdesk software comes equipped with powerful out-of-the-box functionality that makes it easy for customer service teams to manage requests and conversations that come through any channel. More than 131,000 customer agents use Kayako for customer support, ticketing software, eCommerce support, a shared inbox and internal help desk.

Kayako’s key features

  • Live chat software (included as a tool in Kayako’s help desk software), that is quick and easy to customize, and can be integrated into a business’ website, iOS and Android apps
  • A shared inbox that collects all support conversations in one place and makes it easy to collaborate with teammates
  • SingleView, which captures a customer’s entire journey, allowing teams to view customer activity at a glance, such as site visits, purchases, shipping history, previous customer service inquiries, and self-help searches
  • A self-service portal, to provide customers with the resources they need to help themselves, and Help Center Analytics to identify gaps and optimize portal content to meet customer needs


5 agents$625 per monthAdvanced workflow customization
Internal help center and knowledge base
Custom forms for help center
Customer access to every ticket from their organization
Custom security policies
Custom roles and permissions
Salesforce integration
Custom performance reports
Help center advanced layout and design options
25 agents$3125 per month
Same as above
50 agents$6250 per month
Same as above
Best Customer Service Tools - Kayako

5. Nicereply

What makes Nicereply one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

How satisfied are your customers? Nicereply makes it simple for support teams to measure customer satisfaction with easy-to-deploy surveys, customizable with multiple scales (such as stars, smiley faces, or 5 or 10 rating points), and one-click responses. The platform also allows teams to measure Customer Effort Scores to receive instant feedback, identify any friction points, and deliver an effortless experience. Moreover, the two metrics can be combined to get even more feedback. Additionally, Net Promoter Score measures customer loyalty, judging by a customer’s likelihood to recommend a product to others.

Nicereply’s key features

  • In-signature surveys, allowing agents to ask customers for feedback at the bottom of every email
  • Instant ratings that record customers’ answers as soon as they click the survey
  • Customer sync that automatically adds customer names based on the ticket ID, as customers often don’t share their names in feedback forms
  • Trend charts to Identify trends in CSAT, NPS and CES performance, as well as response volumes


Mini$39 per month3 agents
100 responses/month 
Customer support surveys
Unlimited number of surveys
Powerful integrations
Simple setup
Start$79 per month
10 agents
250 responses/month 
Customer support surveys
Unlimited number of surveys
Powerful integrations
Simple setup
Grow$159 per month
25 agents
1000 responses/month 
Customer support surveys
Unlimited number of surveys
Powerful integrations
Simple setup
Business$239 per month
50 agents
2500 responses/month 
Customer support surveys
Unlimited number of surveys
Powerful integrations
Simple setup

Best customer service tool for measuring CSAT 

6. Podium

Best customer service tool for local businesses seeking an all-in-one customer communication and payments platform

What makes Podium one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

An all-in-one, and multi-product platform that is “modernizing the way local business gets done,” Podium combines web chat, online review generation, SMS (text) marketing and payment processing, all in one easy-to-use inbox.

Podium’s key features

  • Website chat to capture website leads, immediately taking the conversation to text so that customers can remain connected, on their terms
  • One inbox that is optimized for efficiency, allowing agents to bring every conversation and touchpoint – from chat to reviews to voicemail – into a single thread, and respond instantly over text
  • Podium Reviews, which makes it easy for customers to leave business reviews by sending them a direct link via text
  • Video chat, allowing agents to quickly move from text to video, all within a simple and familiar interface
  • Podium Text-To-Pay, a convenient way for customers to pay, and for businesses to collect payments via text


Essentials$289 per month1000 contacts
Up to 3 team members
Capture online reviews instantly
Text-based website chat
Easy-to-use text-marketing
100s of app integrations
Secure & simple payment process
Standard$449 per month
All benefits of Essentials package
Unlimited contacts
Unlimited team members
Personalized setup & onboarding
Website reporting & customizations
Automated review invitations
Customized branding
Professional$649 per month
All benefits of Standard package
Unlimited contacts
Unlimited team members
Automations that streamline tasks
Round-robin lead routig
Personalized automated FAQs
Multimedia marketing messages
Best Customer Service Tools - Podium

7. TeamSupport

Best customer service tool for B2B technology-enabled companies

What makes TeamSupport one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

Offering much more than effective ticket management, TeamSupport provides an omnichannel experience that facilitates internal team collaboration and streamlines customer support issues. Rather than a focus on each individual contact or ticket, emphasis is placed on streamlined collaboration among teams and built around the entire B2B customer.

TeamSupport’s key features

  • Phone-to-ticket integration with RingCentral, so when a customer calls a RingCentral-enabled support line for help, TeamSupport automatically surfaces the customer’s ticket history, service agreements and happiness index
  • Customer self-service software, offering a fully customizable customer hub that can be embedded in a website or stand alone with a custom URL
  • A help desk ticket management system, complete with ticket automation and workflows, ticket collision prevention, and and a powerful global search tool
  • Visual customer support such as VideoView, which allows agents make video recordings using their webcams to show customers features of technical products, or the steps to take to resolve an issue
  • Customer distress index that shows potentially at-risk customers


Essential Support$49 /agent/monthCustomer Management
Advanced Ticket Management
Customer Self-Service, Ticket Deflection
Knowledge Base (Single Product)
Collaboration Features Within Tickets
Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT)
Customer Distress Index (CDI) scoring
Basic Reporting & Prebuilt Dashboard

Enterprise Support$69 /agent/monthCustomer Management
Advanced Ticket Management
Customer Self-Service, Ticket Deflection
Knowledge Base (Multiple Products)
Collaboration Features Within Tickets
Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT)
Customer Distress Index (CDI) scoring
Custom Reporting & Dashboards
Asset Management
SLA Management (Up to 3)
Ticket Page Full Customization
Customer Hubs (Up to 3)
Multiple Brand/Product Lines
Integrations (1 included)

Complete Customer Support Suite$119 /agent/monthAll benefits of Enterprise Support package
Enterprise live chat
Business intelligence reporting and dashboards
SLA Management (Unlimited)
Sandbox (Up to 3)
Customer Hubs (Up to 5)
Integrations (Unlimited)
API Calls (Up to 20,000)
Best Customer Service Tools - TeamSupport

8. Vivantio

Best customer service tool for small and medium-sized growing B2B businesses seeking service optimization across all disciplines

What makes Vivantio one of the best customer service tools of 2022?

Empowering teams, enabling operations and elevating the customer experience are the main highlights of this highly configurable service management system. Vivantio’s CRM brings all customer information into one centralized location, providing a 360 ° view of a business’ customer service operations, and making it simple to retrieve vital customer information.

Vivantio’s key features

  • A self-service portal, on which support teams can publish knowledge base articles, tutorials, manuals, and more. Customers can also log into the portal to track the progress of their tickets or service requests
  • A workflow designer that automates recurring processes within a business, removing the need for manual resources, such as scheduling backups, to the onboarding of new employees
  • FLEX Insights that provides first line support teams with help and advice on dealing with issues while they’re listening to the customer, supplying them with information regarding known outages, similar issues, knowledge base articles, guides, and support
  • Configuration Management Database (CMDB) that records the software, hardware, and services delivered to each customer


Value$42 /user/month Simple, easy configuration
Intuitive interface
Simple SLAs
Offer enhanced services offering
Brand self-service portals
Keep all your tickets in one place
Mobile edition
Organize with Queues and Tabs

Vital$52 /user/month Manage multiple tickets
Support for ITIL processes
Multiple SLAs
Track and monitor KPIs
Codeless setup
List, Kanban and Calendar view types
Custom forms and fields
Home screens and watch lists
Highlighting rules
Links to knowledge and help
Create routing rules
Custom Dashboards

Velocity$82 /user/month Create unlimited ticket types
Full control over ticket configuration
Per customer SLAs
Realtime statistics and data analysis
Full business rules engine
Advanced interactive searching
Roles and Permissions
Automate Reporting and KPIs
Multiple Branded Portals
Create reporting wallboards
Insights to detect conflicts
End user and tech to tech chat
Create dynamic assignments
Centralize all KPI monitoring
Automate complex workflows

Visionary$142 /user /month Visibility of all service operations
Unify your corporate approach
Continued promotion of core services
Data Warehousing
Bespoke managed customer service
Bring together global service teams
Best Customer Service Tools - Vivantio

Delivering exceptional customer service is no easy feat – it involves multiple moving parts. And today, the onus is on businesses to double down on their CX efforts – a recent study from TELUS International found that nearly 60% of consumers said they would rather sit in a traffic jam than have a poor customer experience. Customer service tools can play a principal role in this practice, in a multitude of ways, and it is important for businesses to select the tool or suite of tools that can deliver the greatest impact to their support teams, and ultimately, their customers.

Best Customer Service Tools - Book Demo

Forging Connections in the Cloud: How SaaS Companies Can Leverage AI to Deliver a Superb Customer Experience

Written by Priya Balasubramanian on Apr 28, 2022

It is a digital world indeed, and one in which software, in its various forms, stands as a vital component of daily life. Also known as “on-demand” software, Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to a licensing and delivery model whereby software is licensed on a subscription basis and hosted centrally. A SaaS cloud-based service is accessible through an internet browser, rather than users needing to download and install software on a PC or business network.

Empowering businesses around the globe, SaaS platforms are widely adopted for their accessibility, compatibility, and operational management – whether that is for hosting company-wide meetings and webinars (Zoom), sending and analyzing engaging email campaigns (MailChimp), or even signing legal contracts (DocuSign).

Demand for SaaS-based software or services increased in recent years, as, with the rise of remote working, the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged the use of on-demand, scalable cloud models for businesses to achieve both cost efficiency and business continuity. With the increasing use of smartphones and app-based services, as well as the widespread adoption of the public and hybrid cloud, this burgeoning market is only predicted to grow – while the global size of the SaaS market stood at USD $144.17 billion in 2021, it is forecast to reach USD $703.19 billion by 2030. And with this incredible growth, comes competition and a threat of losing customers if their expectations are not met.

The Evolving SaaS Landscape and The Rising Role of Customer Experience

The scalability of cloud infrastructure has pushed the major pain points of scaling a business from technical issues to ones on the customer side, those related to customer satisfaction and engagement. In this fast-paced industry, creating loyal customers and reducing churn rates with continual subscriptions are top of mind for every SaaS leader.

In this highly competitive era, the SaaS business model requires a new approach to customer service and customer experience. B2B and B2C customers expect quick resolutions to their issues and if their expectations are not met, they are quick to churn to a competitor. Keeping customers happy has never been more important, or harder, which is why increasingly, SaaS companies are leveraging AI-powered virtual agents to automate repetitive interactions.

AI-powered virtual agents offer SaaS companies many benefits, including:

The ability to scale with the business, without the added headcount

With the SaaS model, how quickly a business is able to scale is no longer limited by needing to produce and ship physical goods, such as a company that sells bluetooth headphones.

So what is it limited by? It’s not the product, but it’s interactions with people; both those interested in purchasing a service as well as a company’s current customer base.

While increasing one’s outbound marketing spend can bring more potential customers into the top of the funnel, after that, businesses are limited throughout the rest of the process by both their number of employees and how much support they are able to provide. It isn’t just a question of money, and this is where we hit our first major bottleneck in scaling a SaaS business – it’s time – time to source, onboard and train the correct talent, and familiarize them with the service offerings. 

That’s where AI-first customer experience platforms such as Netomi’s customer service chatbot come in – playing a key role in saving valuable agent time that would otherwise be spent triaging client’s and prospect’s questions. Automation of repetitive queries allows them to instead focus their energy on those tasks that are of higher value, carry greater complexity and require more creativity and critical thinking – skills that are vital for members of today’s workforce to flex and hone.

“Technology makes your people more efficient and more effective. It lets you scale across all your customers. But most importantly, it lets you make sure that you’re putting your resources into the efforts that actually have an ROI.”

– Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight

Offer timely and proactive support to reduce churn and grow revenue 

Many SaaS companies offer multiple products, at multiple subscription tiers. AI-powered virtual agents can link to a CRM platform to understand the customer’s history and usage in order to up-sell specific features in the exact moment of relevance to encourage a customer to upgrade. It can also preemptively intervene if a customer is at risk of churning with offers, competitive differentiators or other incentives to keep a customer.

In remote and hybrid work environments, troubleshooting issues are bound to occur – and AI helps support teams and customers deal with these issues swiftly and efficiently.

How can SaaS companies take their support one step further – going above and beyond to deliver an excellent customer experience? Harnessing the power of AI, SaaS customer service can take a more proactive and predictive approach – rather than waiting until a customer reaches out with a query or request, what if customers were alerted to issues before they even become visible (such as: ‘We’re getting a lot of questions about this new feature. Let me show you how it works!’) What if such service, that which is preemptive, proactive and highly personalized, was provided in real-time, and at the exact moment of need? This is the power of AI-powered solutions.

Offer a personalized touch in a competitive market 

When it comes to the customer experience, AI is helping SaaS companies meet the levels of personalization that customers have come to desire and expect, and the expectations of SaaS customers are higher and becoming sophisticated and evolving. Research from Salesforce found that 52% of customers expect offers to always be personalized – this is up from 49% in 2019.

AI powered chatbots are able to tailor the interaction based on customer profile and behavior. Such a chatbot can demonstrate that it comprehends prior interactions and customer preferences – noting, for instance, that a customer has asked about subscription options for students in a past inquiry. Might they be interested in a company’s special offer for the upcoming new semester?

How SaaS Companies Can Leverage AI to Conquer New Heights

For SaaS companies, helping businesses and individuals maintain their productivity and thrive in today’s digital-first environment is the ultimate end goal. How can these companies successfully retain their customers, turn them into raving fans and help them to get the maximum value out of the SaaS solution, all while growing their own businesses? A little extra help from AI will make a big impact in this area, especially as demand for SaaS products only grows. In this fast-moving industry, it will be those businesses that integrate AI into their technology stack that will forge ahead, seamlessly scaling their operations while focusing on maintaining long-term relationships with their customers.

CX Leader Insights: Industry Musings & Trends from Chili Piper’s Gemma Cipriani-Espineira

Written by Amy Wallace on Apr 27, 2022

Customer experience (CX) is now more important than ever, and even the White House is taking note: in a move to fix federal customer experience, the Office of Management and Budget will conduct research to better comprehend how people wish to deal with the government at various critical points in their lives. Further proof: findings from an April 2022 survey by TELUS International found that nearly 60% of consumers said they would rather sit in a traffic jam than have a poor customer experience. How can companies be more customer-centric, and what sorts of tools and technologies can aid them along the way? We caught up with Gemma Cipriani-Espineira, Chief Customer Officer at meeting lifecycle automation platform Chili Piper, to discuss key challenges facing CX leaders today, empowering support agents, and how support teams can show their customers some love.

The Importance of Customer Experience Today

It all boils down to choice, and the myriad of options that are available today. “People have more choice than ever before, and are more conscious about who they are doing business with,” Gemma said.

Additionally, customer preferences and expectations are evolving along with the changing times, and, in today’s 24/7 and ‘always-on’ environment, expectations are high. Gemma pointed to the popularity of Uber and Amazon, major companies which have disrupted their markets in a significant way, both by doubling down on ease of doing business as well as speed of delivery. “Consumers, particularly those living in North America, expect that same easy, fast, and convenient service in their business engagements now,” she said. “What consumers are expecting is now what B2B buyers are expecting, they are judging all of their experiences back to the convenience of booking an Uber or ordering their groceries.”

Honing in on Interactions that Count

Chili Piper is passionate about its customers – so much so that the company recently rebranded its Customer Support department – which sits within the company’s Customer Success (CS) Group – to the all-new Department of ‘Customer Love.’ “Support teams are notoriously thought of as the last place that customers would want to go, and customers are typically only engaging with these teams because they have an issue and they need help,” Gemma explained. “We faced that reality head-on, acknowledging that any time a customer is reaching out to a customer support engineer, they are having a bad experience.”

The opportunity here is for the team to show their customers that they are loved – to offer them blazing fast service with resolutions that not only answer their questions, but also turn any negative experiences around. “If we can find other ways to service customers that they might not have even thought of originally, such as making another recommendation, we will do that,” she said. Emphasis is placed on giving agents more time to spend with customers, so they are not solely focused on closing Zendesk tickets, but actually feel empowered to better the customer experience. Can a customer be brought onto a customer advocacy program? Gifting tools are available to support engineers, for instance, to remedy any potentially negative customer experience.

One of the key challenges facing CX leaders and teams right now, especially in today’s predominately remote and distributed work environment, Gemma pointed out, is having meaningful moments with customers. Such moments are critical, yet are harder to replicate in the absence of face-to-face interactions.

“The biggest challenge for CX leaders is motivating members of their team to apply that same enthusiasm to all of those remote interactions that they’re having with their customers, giving them the space to ensure that they are coming into those remote interactions in the best prepared way, and that they are also holding onto that opportunity to stand out,” she emphasized. “The customer that you are speaking to could be dealing with a pet running loose or a child at home, there are many more distractions now than there were before!”

Essential Tools for CX Leaders

We at Netomi are all about harnessing a combination of tools and resources at our disposal, tools such as customer experience software that enable us to analyze all customer interactions and gather valuable insights so support teams can then take action on issues to increase customer loyalty and enhance the overall customer experience.

Gemma is a strong advocate for having a Customer Success system of action, one that highlights to CSM’s where there is customer risk, along with recommended actions to take, no matter where the customer is in their journey. It is important to harness a customer-facing support ticketing tool, such as Zendesk or Freshworks, a space where customers can not only access knowledge bases and other self-service options, but also raise their hand to reach technical support teams when assistance is needed. In addition to these, teams can then layer on tools that help with automation of tasks, such as Zapier (using Zapier, the Chili Piper team created 40 automations that automated 50,000 tasks for their support agents and saved 173 hours per month!), tools to communicate with customers, as well as tools that capture notes from customer conversations such as Gong.

A Proactive Approach to Customer Care

Today, we are seeing a shift from reactive customer service, towards one that is more proactive – identifying customer issues and making the first move to resolve them before they intensify. Taking a more proactive approach, Gemma noted, involves measuring those activities that team members are currently doing with customers, and also looking at where there are gaps in the process that would help make customers happier and drive adoption of services. It also involves using data to plug into customer success tools to direct teams to where there are risks before customers are raising their hand with concerns.

Situations in which support teams can demonstrate proactiveness may be: ‘we’ve noticed that your usage has dropped’, or ‘you purchased our product for a particular use case, and we have recently introduced an additional feature that helps with that use case.’

“It is all about proactively reaching out to the customer and anticipating things that could go wrong before they go wrong through a deeper understanding of the customer journey,” she said.

Taking care to maintain engaging conversations with customers in the digital age, and harnessing various tools to boost the experience for both support teams and their customers, are among the ingredients of a successful CX strategy.

Stay up-to-date on all things happening in the world of CX! Visit our library of previous and upcoming webinars to catch engaging conversations featuring speakers from the world’s most admired brands!

Play, Support, Repeat: How Gaming Companies Can Design a Winning Customer Experience

Written by Dylan Max on Apr 19, 2022

The Importance of the Customer Experience (CX) in Gaming

Back in the year 2000, there were 3 major players in the gaming space worldwide. Today, there are over 55,000 gaming companies in the United States alone. The barrier to creating games has been lowered, thereby elevating the importance of customer experience to new heights.

To offer a sense of the sheer size and exponential growth of the gaming market, in 2021 it was valued at USD $198 billion, and, by 2027, it is expected to reach a value of USD $340 billion. Moreover, increasing adoption of smartphones, as well as the arrival of high bandwidth network connectivity such as 5G, have increased the demand of this booming market across the world even further.

Proactive and supportive customers, gamers are extremely loyal – to others in their community, and to the games they know and love. This strong sense of being part of a like-minded community and social element is what draws many to the pursuit, all while being afforded the freedom to take risks, progress towards set goals, and a chance to fail, while in a safe space.

For avid gamers, time is of the essence, and urgency is high – when an issue is disrupting gameplay, they expect quick and immediate responses, and if something goes awry, they will be quick to complain. For players who have spent countless hours constructing their characters and universes in World of Warcraft, if a technical glitch destroys all of this hard work and effort, they will be wanting help ASAP. If an in-game transaction to purchase an additional feature is not going through, and is time-sensitive, a gamer will likely not be pleased.

What’s more, outages and game lags can generate tens of thousands of support requests all within a short period of time, and things can exacerbate quickly. An example of this is September 2021’s widespread outages of Microsoft’s Xbox Network service, which affected thousands of users across the globe. Thousands of commenters chimed in, and many posted harsh comments related to the gaming company’s customer service.

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

When it comes to customer support in the industry, many gaming companies don’t think they have the adequate bandwidth or resources to provide continual player support, which encourages gamers to turn to other members of their online community (via comment boards, social media forums or Reddit) to troubleshoot their problems. However, gaming companies need to consistently monitor these external forums for complaints that may not be easily visible in their support queues. Such conversation threads can also quickly garner media attention that can both limit player participation and impact the reputation of a company/game.

Even though these community forums are popular, in many situations, gamers still want to interact with the publisher themselves via chat or email. By providing support on these private channels, gaming companies can have both more control of and awareness over issues, as well as improve customer satisfaction.

The answer here, one may think, is for companies to simply bolster their workforces so they are better equipped to handle increases in ticket volume that accompany a growing customer base. However, scaling a human-only support team is more expensive and trickier than ever, with 25% fewer agents than there were pre-pandemic due to cutbacks, staffers quitting and a lack of resources for agents to work from home. How can companies deliver more effortless and timely support, across channels?

Reimagining the Gaming Experience: An Gamer-Centric Approach to CX in Gaming

Customers today desire self-service options, many preferring to resolve their own issues without involving customer support agents – and gamers are no exception to this trend. Exiting their favorite game in order to conduct a web search or call a customer support number may very well be the last thing on player’s minds.

In today’s digital world, the solution is for gaming companies to harness digital tools to modernize how they deliver support, all the while keeping players in the game and engaged. Significantly elevating the player experience, in-game support offers just-in-time engagement and faster response times – no more wait times, and no need to leave the app. Additionally, for those games that earn money with in-game purchases, there is the potential for upselling (encouraging players to spend more, and upgrade with additional features), in the exact moment of relevance. Players are often quick to abandon games that fail to engage them, and higher retention makes for a more vibrant community, especially in multi-player games.

An in-game support experience also involves communication that is both synchronous communication (real-time) and asynchronous (time-lapsed- think of responding to a message after finishing an important project). Armed with these two messaging options, players can fluidly move between engaging in real-time, and leaving a conversation until they are re-engaged with a push or email notification, alerting them of a critical update or resolution.

For businesses today, providing customers with an omnichannel experience is critical – a seamless journey that enables a customer to interchange devices and fluidly move between channels, carrying context forward with every interaction.

In Netomi’s Customer Service Benchmark Report: Gaming, we found that, in our analysis of nearly 3,000 of the world’s top gaming companies, only 54% of them have an easily accessible email address. Additionally, of the companies that do have an email address, nearly 76% ignore simple customer service emails. As email stands as the preferred channel for customer service, for many, offering support over this channel is critical.

The Role of Chatbots & Conversational AI in Gaming

With modern AI that is continuously learning and improving the ways in which it responds to customer feedback and requests, these newer AI systems can provide assistance immediately to the gamer in the moment of need, thereby keeping them fully immersed in the experience.

A robust customer support strategy should follow such an approach, beginning with self-service knowledge bases and AI-powered chatbots that can tap into insights gleaned from questions and concerns brought up on popular forums such as Reddit. Upon identifying the customer’s intent, these bots can assist players by suggesting relevant articles from a knowledge base and in some cases summarizing only the most relevant info, encouraging self-service and offering gamers immediate help. Automation tools can then help with escalating issues from these channels into an instant messaging environment, in which players are able to chat directly with a support agent (human or virtual), to receive the assistance they need.

Offering always-on, always-available support, AI can respond to customers around the clock (which is extremely useful, as many gamers are known for their late-night gaming tendencies, and for publishers, as they reach a global customer base).

Automation of basic and repeatable player issues, such as modifying a subscription plan or directing gamers to the right forum, frees agents to focus on more complicated issues, such as bugs and system outages. Agents are free to spend more time with players, building rapport and sharing tips for better gameplay – serving as invaluable referees. With intelligent support ticket routing and analysis, complex issues are escalated to human agents, immediately.

Taking a proactive and predictive approach, an AI-powered chatbot can also update gamers on bugs and issues that they might encounter, recognizing when users are approaching key milestones and warning them that a certain aspect of the system is being fixed ahead of their game path. It would also leverage background information about unique player, device, and platform to update only those who might be affected. Then, as soon as a fix has been deployed, it can proactively communicate the update with each user that initially reached out.

Whether offered in-game or over channels such as email, it is clear that, in the world of gaming, customer support is falling short. As gaming only continues to grow, the opportunity for gaming companies to deliver excellent experiences is there. 

The Top 11 Zendesk Alternatives

Written by Amy Wallace on Apr 7, 2022

Today, providing strong customer service is key – according to Zendesk’s CX Trends 2022 report, 72% of business leaders say that their organization views customer service as a critical business priority. Moreover, customers today are engaging more with service teams, with support requests – ranging from technical questions to assistance with a return – up 14%, in comparison to last year.

So, in order to deliver the best possible experience, it becomes essential to equip support teams with robust tools and resources, setting them up for ultimate success. To provide customers with a seamless, personalized, and connected experience, across all channels. When it comes to service desk platforms (aka agent desks) that help accomplish this feat of providing a best-in-class customer experience, there are no shortage options available.

If you are considering help desk software, you’ve likely heard of Zendesk.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk is one of the most well-known and best help desk platforms in the market today. In a nutshell, Zendesk helps companies manage the entire experience for their customers and improve customer relationships – bringing all marketing and support functions together into one platform.

Zendesk also has a spunky side and is known for bold messaging. Take a look at how Zendesk describes themselves in their own words:

While Zendesk is an exceptional customer service solution, there are other options available, all with their own unique and sophisticated features. Here, we take a look at 11 alternatives to Zendesk.

How can you seamlessly introduce Netomi’s AI into your workforce? Get in touch with our team to learn more!

11 Top Zendesk Alternatives

  1. Freshdesk
  2. Gladly
  3. Salesforce Service Cloud
  4. HubSpot Service Hub
  5. Intercom
  6. Zoho Desk
  7. Front
  8. Groove
  9. Help Scout
  10. Kustomer
  11. LiveAgent

  1. Freshdesk
  2. Best Zendesk alternative for larger teams


    What makes Freshdesk one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Freshdesk helps businesses to deliver seamless customer service across digital and traditional channels, including email, chat, phone, and social media. Complete with a help widget and multilingual knowledge base that supports 42 languages, the platform lets businesses design a self-service experience for their customers, one in which they are free to help themselves.

    Freshdesk’s key features

    • Built for omnichannel support
    • Collaboration features that fuel teamwork and efficiency, including shared ownership of tickets and parent-child ticketing (splitting tickets into smaller tasks that respective teams can work on in parallel)
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Freshdesk chatbot solutions
    • Analytics to measure improved efficiency, including team dashboards, custom, and curated reports, and customer satisfaction ratings
    • AI-powered automation to streamline workflows, such as scanning through tickets hourly to check if there’s a need for an update or an alert, and auto-assigning tickets to the right agents
    • Complete customization capabilities, including custom ticket forms, custom apps, and portal customization

  3. Gladly
  4. Best Zendesk alternative for retailers


    What makes Gladly one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    With a strong emphasis on providing personal customer service, Gladly is a customer service platform that “treats customers like people, not tickets.” Its people-centered rather than ticket-centered approach means that all conversations, across all channels, are tied to customer profiles, in one single place. As voice, email, text, and chat are all built-in natively to the platform, agents can respond across all channels during a conversation from a single screen, while also having the historical context from a customer’s previous interactions.

    Gladly’s key features

    • ‘People match’ that pairs customers with the best “service hero” to assist them, based on their own unique situation, history, and needs
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Gladly chatbot solutions
    • ‘Conversation timeline’ that stores customer communications across all channels in one lifelong conversation thread, and in one centralized view
    • Customer service analytics that offer cross-channel insights that make a true impact, such as action-oriented reports and data exports
    • Integrations with applications such as Shopify, Twitter, Messenger, and Netomi

  5. Salesforce Service Cloud
  6. Best for integrations with other tools


    What makes Salesforce Service Cloud one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Built on Salesforce Customer 360, Salesforce Service Cloud gives businesses a 360-degree view of their customers, allowing them to deliver smarter, faster, and more personalized service. The platform gives agents the tools to deliver an exceptional customer experience, enabling them to work faster and more productively, which, in turn, improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs.

    Salesforce Service Cloud’s key features

    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Salesforce chatbot solutions
    • An agent workspace that allows agents to seamlessly handle cases from one screen with an easy-to-use service console, affording them a unified view of every case detail and customer interaction
    • Omni-channel routing to deliver more efficient support by automatically routing cases to the best agent or team for the job, based on their skill set and availability
    • A point-and-click interface that enables teams to easily design and deploy automated processes, such as orchestrating workflows, creating and updating records, logging calls, and sending emails

  7. HubSpot Service Hub
  8. Best Zendesk alternative for teams that are already using HubSpot


    What makes HubSpot Service Hub one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Part of the HubSpot CRM platform, Service Hub includes conversational tools, help desk automation, customer feedback surveys, reporting, and more, to provide businesses with one unified view of each customer interaction. The comprehensive, end-to-end service allows for better customer service management and satisfied customers, at each stage of their journey.

    HubSpot Service Hub’s key features

    • Reporting dashboards that surface actionable data to improve customer service, highlighting the top service requests
    • A secure customer portal that empowers customers to gain ownership over their experience, and keeps ticket conversations between customers and reps flowing
    • Live chat that enables teams to assist customers on their website in real-time, automatically routing them to the right support agents
    • A shared inbox that connects team email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and more to one universal inbox, so support teams are able to manage and reply to conversations in one place

  9. Intercom
  10. Best Zendesk alternative for early stage businesses


    What makes Intercom one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An all-in-one customer communications platform, and one that offers conversational support, conversational engagement and conversational marketing, Intercom’s comprehensive solution enables businesses to personalize all customer interactions, and deliver support that is personalized as well as proactive. Ideal for both large as well as growing businesses, under Intercom’s Early Stage Program, eligible startups receive advanced Intercom features and Early Stage Academy at a 95% discount.

    Intercom’s key features

    • Product tours that introduce customers to a company’s products, offering guided experiences that spotlight new features and drive adoption
    • Management tools, including a collaborative inbox, rules and automated workflows, and reporting tools to help teams be more efficient
    • Customer messaging that allows agents to communicate with customers across platforms, chat in real-time or follow up later, and help customers self-serve
    • Integration with 300+ apps, including Slack, WhatsApp and Google Analytics, to maximize customer experience and team efficiency

  11. Zoho Desk
  12. Best Zendesk alternative for sales-focused teams


    What makes Zoho Desk one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An omnichannel customer service solution, Zoho Desk works across verticals including telecom, hospitality and finance, catering to businesses of all sizes, from startups to enterprises. With actionable insights, ticket management and automation, Zoho Desk helps support teams stay on top of all aspects of their customer service efforts. Additionally, Radar, the company’s mobile app, allows teams to monitor ticket traffic and key support metrics, wherever they are.

    Zoho Desk’s key features

    • A omnichannel ticketing system that collects support tickets from various channels (such as email and social media), and organizes them in a single interface
    • Zoho’s AI-powered assistant can identify the sentiment behind tickets, process incoming tickets, and assign them appropriate tags
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Zoho chatbot solutions
    • Instant remote assistance with the Zoho Assist add-on that enables teams to provide cloud-based remote support from within Zoho Desk
    • Different ticket views that help agents automatically organize tickets based on priority, due time, status, or CRM status, and ‘ticket peek’ that shows a preview of every interaction that team members have had with the customer, as well as the ticket’s properties

  13. Front
  14. Best Zendesk alternative for companies that offer the majority of their customer support through email

    What makes Front one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Offering a hub for all things related to customer communication, Front combines the simplicity of email with the intelligence of a CRM. The platform’s intuitive design allows for smarter collaboration between teammates, so they can deliver unmatched and tailor-made service to their customers.

    Front’s key features

    • Custom workflows that automatically route, triage and escalate messages, and prioritize VIPs
    • A universal inbox that consolidates work all in one place, and each message gets a clear owner, so no customer requests fall through the cracks
    • In-depth analytics to track performance, customer satisfaction, and growth
    • 100+ integrations with apps such as Asana, Gmail, and Facebook, so teams can manage projects, consult their CRMs, and view all communication channels right in their inbox

  15. Groove
  16. Best Zendesk alternative for small businesses

    What makes Groove one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    A shared inbox for small businesses seeking an alternative to Gmail, Groove provides a space for teams to organize all of their support emails in one place, route them to the right people, and get more work done as a team.

    Groove’s key features

    • Reporting functionalities, including team analytics, conversation insights, and performance metrics
    • A 24/7 smart, self-service knowledge base, that can be easily edited and designed to match a company’s brand, featuring insights such as most-searched terms, most-viewed articles, and article suggestions
    • Automations such as instant replies, rules and tags, to organize conversations and speed up workflows
    • Integrations with hundreds of apps, such as Slack, Shopify, and MailChimp

  17. Help Scout
  18. Best Zendesk alternative for growing businesses


    What makes Help Scout one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An all-in-one support platform, Help Scout is designed to help growing companies “turn customers into brand ambassadors.” Complete with an integrated knowledge base, 50+ integrations, in-app messaging and live chat, it helps keep support teams on the same page so they can focus on delivering a great customer experience. What’s more, with Help Scout’s free iOS and Android apps, teams can easily check their inboxes and reply to customers, while on the go.

    Help Scout’s key features

    • Workflows that automate repetitive tasks, keep response times low and act based on pre-set conditions (if one event takes place, what action should happen after?)
    • A single shared inbox that houses all support requests, allowing teams to collaborate with ease, and personalize conversations with customers
    • “Beacons” that can be placed on any page of a website or app, standing as an easy way for customers to flip through a knowledge base or reach out to a support team
    • Reports that do all of the heavy lifting, providing summaries of phone calls created, key chat metrics, trending topics among customers, and more

  19. Kustomer
  20. Best Zendesk alternative for teams looking for more native CRM capabilities in their helpdesk


    What makes Kustomer one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Kustomer brings together CRM, customer engagement, and helpdesk software into a single omnichannel platform. With a strong emphasis on omnichannel, the platform allows agents to view the entire experience and seamlessly switch between channels to meet customers where they are.

    Kustomer’s key features

    • Kustomer IQ’s AI capabilities contextualize conversations, generate predictive insights, and recommend next-best actions
    • The Kustomer Timeline – an easy-to-use agent workspace for managing customer conversations, displaying each customer journey in a chronological timeline view, including website visits, historical interactions, and purchase history
    • Integrations with various apps to unify CX operations, including Gmail, SurveyMonkey, and Instagram
    • Reporting and analytics features that enable teams to generate reports about conversations, team performance, and customer base

  21. LiveAgent
  22. Best Zendesk alternative for larger teams who have the need for the platform’s numerous support desk features


    What makes LiveAgent one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    A pioneering customer service software established in 2006, LiveAgent was the first solution to offer both live chat and help desk capabilities. Its advanced help desk ticketing system integrates with numerous communication channels to provide customers with exceptional support, going “beyond an IT ticketing system.”

    LiveAgent’s key features

    • A comprehensive ticketing system that allows teams to handle all customer inquiries from one interface, complete with automated ticket distribution, time rules that prioritize tickets, and a ‘to solve’ button that reminds agents about incoming tickets
    • 15 live chat features, including proactive chat invitations, chat button animations, real-time typing view, and chat embedded tracking
    • A built-in call center with unlimited call recordings, internal calls and call routing
    • Social media integrations with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to save agents time by streamlining all customer interactions into a single, unified inbox

    Are you using Zendesk to its fullest potential?

    “Alone we are one, yet together we are stronger,” Alexandra da Silva Rodrigues, Radisson Hotel Group’s Strategical Advisor for Global Contact Centers, noted in a recent Netomi webinar. While Alexandra was referring to teams of call center agents, the same idea rings true when it comes to integration of systems and softwares. Because one platform alone can be powerful and make a true impact, but two combined? Now that’s a whole other story.

    This is why we work to bring together the best of machine and human intelligence. Netomi’s AI-powered Zendesk chatbot ​​works natively within the Zendesk Chat window and agent console, to resolve up to 80% of repeatable customer tickets within seconds with zero human effort. Issues that are sensitive, critical or high-risk are routed to human support agents. Netomi’s virtual agents are there to supplement and enhance live chat support teams, working alongside them to create the ultimate customer service team. Best of all, the seamless integration means that agents do not require any re-training, they need not master new tools.

    The possibilities for service desk platforms are endless, yet not all are the same. As your needs are unique to your team and your industry, it is important to select the one that fits your organization, and will deliver the most impact to your support team and your customers.

    How can a powerful AI-powered chatbot like Netomi’s integrate with your service desk solution? Send us a message to learn more!

Top Takeaways from CX Sheroes: Women CX Leaders Shaping the Future of Customer Service

Written by Amy Wallace on Mar 14, 2022

In honor of International Women’s Day, we at Netomi are celebrating CX ‘Sheroes’ who are leading from the front in the world of customer support and CX. From our Women of Influence list to our CX Sheroes webinar, we are shining a spotlight on inspiring female leaders who are doing their part to #BreakTheBias.

Here, we revisit some of the highlights from this special edition of our Support Superheroes virtual series, held on International Women’s Day, March 8. During the live event, Rupal Nishar, Netomi’s VP of Customer Success, chatted with Anastasia Zdoroviak, Charlotte Ward, Tania Hoque and Laura Lakhwara about emerging CX industry trends, bolstering tech skills and the importance of carving out time for oneself. For customer service, what does the future look like?

Bridging the gap

“The gender gap is not just a salary gap, it’s an opportunity and growth gap,” Charlotte said, pointing out that the gap is affected by several things, one of which is transparency. “Women, particularly younger women, are great at being authentic and transparent with one another in a safe space, but we don’t really get that authentic and transparent in the presence of men,” she said. “Transparency across the divide is needed.”

Tania pointed out that, in the tech industry, women are the minority, especially in positions of leadership. How can companies create space, and support growth for their female employees? This may include setting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) targets, or having awareness of unconscious bias that may be occurring during a meeting. Having male mentors (or champions) is also important, others who can help to pave the path. “It is important to have someone say ‘she has something to say, let’s give her an opportunity,” she said.

Making time for yourself & committing to your own learning

“Make sure you’re investing in yourself and are putting yourself out there to have that opportunity,” said Laura, who works in the AI space at automation platform UiPath. “This could involve getting the technical acumen that you need, you don’t need to be doing the technical development or execution but just need to have the acumen in order to be able to speak to it,” she continued, noting that she may pull aside an engineer in the room for a whiteboard brainstorming session.

Aside from investing in your personal development, it is also important to make those important financial investments that will make an impact in your career journey. “Pay for things that you need, whether that may be tips to enhance a resume, or help with interviewing or public speaking,” Laura urged. “The top CEOs have executive coaches to help them..investing that money will mean a lot in terms of how you grow.”

Essential skills for women in customer service

“Analytical skills are a necessity because experience, the way I think about it, is all about understanding what is important to customers, and in order to understand what is important, you need qualitative feedback,” Anastasia pointed out. “You need to be able to interpret the feedback you are receiving, rather than relying on your analytics team to prepare a report and then tell you what it means.”

Having such skills, she continued, can also prove useful during a meeting, as, rather than simply rephrasing their own thoughts and referencing their own opinions, women can easily refer to data. Tangible and difficult to argue with logically, stats and figures can be a good base for women to use in challenging situations in which they may not feel that their opinion or experience is heard or valued.

For those working in CX in the tech industry, Tania pointed to the importance of understanding the technology that you are working with, at least at a high-level, so you are able to have informed and educational discussions with colleagues (no need to dive too deep into the specifics of coding). “Try to get your hands a little dirty, and you’ll be surprised with how much you can grasp through that process,” she said.

The future of women in customer service

As technology and automation advance, it becomes incumbent upon customer support agents to become educated and well-versed on what is happening on the back-end, Laura noted. Agents can then form their own points-of-view and recommendations and ask the big questions such as: what data do I want to see to make my job better? How could this process be improved? What does a better customer experience look like? “The jobs of the future will still have in-person agents, but more importantly, there will also be roles involved in managing these processes and putting in that customer journey, which is not linear, it is a web of pathways that people are following to get the help they need,” she said. “Learning about that is going to be the most important thing in having a voice, and you are the people to do it.”

“Rather than being confined to call centers, service reps will have more tools that they can use to work remotely,” said Tania. “There will be more and more automation that will happen in the customer service space where service reps will be more focused on doing things that require more intellectual power, rather than mundane tasks…there will be more elements that are automated so that humans can do what they’re good at, which is empathizing and bringing new products and services to life.”

In the future, Charlotte sees more of a collaborative partnership occurring between service reps and their customers. “We are going to extend much more into a space where we will find solutions for [customers] that exist outside of the box that we are currently operating in, in which we are presented with a problem and deliver the answer,” she emphasized. “We are going to get to a place in which we are delivering whole solutions in a much more collaborative way with our customers, this is where we can relate to them as human beings, solve bigger problems for them than they originally came to us for, and also preempt problems.”

For more engaging discussions from leaders in the CX world, check out our library of past Netomi webinars!

7 Ways AI Customer Experience Can Enhance Your CX

Written by Emily Peck on Feb 15, 2021

AI customer experience is emerging as one of the dominant trends in customer service – this article will explore what it is and why so many companies are adopting AI to improve their CX. Good customer experiences help people feel good about a purchase and a brand. This positive experience influences them to come back in the future. The more efficient and personalized the experience is, the more likely companies can turn a first-time customer into a long-term loyalist and advocate. 

Traditional businesses are now competing against innovative, digital-native upstarts that have grown customer bases by prioritizing the customer experience (CX). Good CX is no longer an option: 2/3 of companies compete on CX, up from just 36% in 20101. Consumer-facing companies across industries are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance user experience.

  1. What Is AI Customer Experience?
  2. How AI CX Works?
  3. How Does AI Improve the Customer Experience?
  4. 7 Examples of How AI Transforms Customer Experience
  5. The Final Word

What Is AI Customer Experience?

AI customer experience is a holistic view of how customer experience is augmented by artificial intelligence. AI CX leverages technology like machine learning (ML), deep learning, and natural language understanding (NLU) to automate all the little interactions that make up a user’s experience. The key difference between “AI customer experience” and “AI customer service” is that the former is not limited to rapid resolutions to customer questions and issues.

How AI CX Works?

One example of how AI augments customer experience is via an AI-powered chatbot. An AI chatbot can function digitally through messaging platforms like WeChat and Facebook Messenger, email, and on voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Chatbot statistics show that the biggest benefits of AI customer support chatbots are eliminating wait times historically present with human-only support, helping customer service reps work more efficiently and automating mundane tasks so human agents can focus on complex issues. Companies using chatbots for customer service create happier customers who turn into long-term loyalists and reduced customer service costs. 

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

How Does AI Improve the Customer Experience?

AI can enhance CX in many ways. It streamlines processes and improves automated support to simplify everyday tasks. According to Gartner, “58% of consumers will use AI to save time, and 56% said they’d use it to save money. The more time they save, the more likely they are to purchase a product, and the more money they save, they’re likely to return to your business to buy again.2” 

Using AI to enhance the CX pays off in many ways:

  • Customers who rate a company as delivering a “good” experience are 34% more likely to purchase more and 37% more likely to recommend3
  • Companies with a CX mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industry4
  • Companies that lead in CX outperform laggards by nearly 80%5

7 Examples of How AI Transforms Customer Experience

Companies are deploying AI to create much better user experiences in these seven key ways.

  1. Create Hyper-relevant Digital Ads
  2. Power Personalized Search
  3. Help Customers Find The Best Price
  4. Provide Immediate Answers To Questions
  5. Anticipate And Prevent Issues
  6. Empower 24/7 Support Across Every Channel
  7. Eliminate The Hassle Of Returns

1. AI customer experience creates hyper-relevant digital ads

According to Joanna Coles, the former chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, “People hate advertising.” This is because, according to Marc Pritchard, the chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, ads are often irrelevant and sometimes “just silly, ridiculous or stupid.6

Advertisements are not going anywhere, but the experience is ripe for change: 

  1. 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago7
  2. 83% of people agree with the statement: “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones”7
  3. 25.8% of internet users were blocking advertising8

To address the challenges with digital ads and make them less intrusive, brands are harnessing AI to show hyper-relevant ads. Machine learning helps companies anticipate if a person is likely to click on an ad – based on online behavior, customer profiling, and audience segmentation.

For instance, predictive targeting allows companies to adapt ads to an individual customer and recommend products in an ad based on thousands of signals. These algorithms improve over time to provide increasingly personal ads. 

2. AI customer experience powers personalized search

AI is being used to help customers discover the most relevant products and streamline the online user experience. This is driven by the fact that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences9

Personalized search is typified by Netflix. The streaming company has rights to 13,612 titles10. To help customers more quickly find something they want to watch, Netflix’s AI crunches huge amounts of data to present a different home screen to each viewer. The recommendations are based on past viewing behavior and granular audience segmentation.

The streaming wars are brutal. Your CX must be stellar.
Improve it with our streaming video customer service eBook.

Online shopping is another example of personalized search enhancing the customer experience. eCommerce companies are using AI to surface highly relevant products from expansive online catalogs. Wayfair, for instance, has 37,173 coffee mugs.  AI-powered search provides a better user experience by eliminating the need for people to scroll through multiple pages to see the few products they might be interested in. AI-powered personalized search will only become more pervasive as 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal11

Download a copy of our full Retail and CPG Customer Service Benchmark Report!

3. AI customer experience helps customers find the best price

AI is also helping customers find the best prices so they can be confident that they are getting the best possible price based on predictive intelligence around price fluctuations. For example, Hopper is a highly-regarded startup in the travel space that heavily relies on AI to provide an exceptional CX. The company “offers travelers flight recommendations based on highly accurate pricing predictions, uncovering price drops and exclusive deals relevant for the traveler.” Another way to improve to customer experience is through an AI travel chatbot to quickly answer questions and resolve solutions. 

4. AI customer experience provides immediate answers to customer questions

Netomi offers AI for customer service, providing instant resolutions to simple everyday queries like order or flight status, refund policy and requests, and other FAQs. Advanced customer service AI platforms can integrate with back-end systems like CRM and shipping platforms to provide personalized resolutions to an infinite number of customers at the same time. This frees up customer service reps to focus efforts on high-impact, complex customer situations – providing better customer satisfaction (CSAT) across the board. 

5. AI customer experience anticipates and prevents issues

Companies are also using AI for proactive customer service, which allows them to anticipate and solve problems and issues before customers are even aware. Examples include alerting a customer when a package will be arriving late due to weather delays, offering early check-in to a customer whose flight arrived early or proactively educating a person on how to care for a product. For instance, HP lets a customer know when their printer ink is about to run low and provides a frictionless way to repurchase compatible ink. This eliminates user frustration – improving customer effort score and the responses submitted during customer satisfaction surveys – and the need for a customer to reach out themselves to a company to resolve an issue.

6. AI customer experience empowers customers to get 24/7 support across every channel

There’s an increasing number of channels where customers expect to receive customer support. Human-only agent teams are expensive and hard to staff to manage multiple channels, around-the-clock. AI helps companies scale support across email, chat, voice, messaging, SMS and voice platforms. This allows customers to get the support they need on their preferred channels. Without AI, it would be cost-prohibitive to have a truly omnichannel experience that customers expect i.e., immediate, personalized, meaningful. 

7. AI customer experience eliminates the hassle of returns

Retail customer service is crucial, and returns are a huge part of the online shopping experience. Over 30% of all online purchases are returned. Although retailers have made efforts to make the return process as seamless as possible over the last few years, returning an item is still frustrating. AI helps improve the CX by anticipating when a return is likely based on items in a shopping cart or user behavior. For instance, if a person has multiple sizes of the item or has checked the size guide and return policy within the same session, it could indicate that a person is unsure of what size to buy. AI-powered chatbot tools are preemptively intervening to help the customer find the best possible selection to avoid frustrating and costly returns.

The Final Word

AI is drastically improving CX, delighting customers across the customer journey. And the result of adopting AI for CX is not just happier customers, but also a better topline: 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue12.

Would you like to learn more about AI and customer experience tools? Our CX experts would love to chat about our chatbot platform.

Request a meeting today.

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