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Customer service software is an extension of your brand experience, working directly with your client base. This investment and technology are vital to preserving your revenue stream.
The Best Customer Service Software: Our Top Pick
We chose HubSpot as the best customer service software because of its bundled service options and the quality of customer support.
Digital.com dives deep into every topic it covers to offer reliable recommendations. See how we review customer service software.
Tips From an Expert
Customer service software is more important than you think.
“Your customer experience is the primary driver of revenue for your business. Investing in tools that will not only serve your customers but elevate their trust in your brand and authority is essential to staying competitive in today’s business landscape.”
The Top 5 Customer Service Tools of 2023
#1 Top Pick for 2023
HubSpot is a well-known leader in marketing, CRM, and customer service software. With comprehensive and customizable business bundles (plus a robust free plan), you’ll get everything you need and more.
$27 per month
Moderate to high
Demo or Free Trial
30-day free trial
Ease of Use
Reasons to choose HubSpot
- Incredibly popular
- Comprehensive packages for business growth
- Integrated mailbox for expedited customer support
Reasons to avoid
- More expensive than others
- Starter bundle only includes two team members
HubSpot is well known for its comprehensive business bundles. It’s an industry leader in the e-commerce management space and has over 150,000 customers across 120 countries.
HubSpot continues to lead the industry with comprehensive bundles to support all areas of business — especially customer service. For the sake of this review, I evaluated the Starter CRM Suite package, from $27 per month.
The software offers one of the most inclusive dashboard designs out of all of the tools I evaluated, giving your team a single, centralized format to view messages from all company channels. This intuitive interface allows you to surf assigned, closed, and sent messages in a single-click view.
The customer support provided by HubSpot is a contributing factor to its rank, offering 24/7 phone and email support, as well as 24/7 access to chat assistance with a global team of reps. This is great for business owners who want the full marketing suite of services but may need a little extra help onboarding.
HubSpot’s strongest selling points are its consistency, ease of use, and comprehensive design with each of its packages and services. Business owners can unlock even more cost-effective benefits by going with a bundled option over the standalone service packages.
It’s bolstered by a template and snippet service. I noted the option to create 10,000+ saved responses, as well as its user-friendly design and unlimited support. This all contributes to a shortened learning curve. Business owners will be able to quickly launch and execute — saving you time and opportunities.
- Who is HubSpot best for?
HubSpot truly is the “unicorn tool” that’s great for everyone. However, my testing and experience have shown that those who could get the most cost-effective use would be mid- to large businesses and corporate enterprises.
- Recent upgrades to HubSpot
HubSpot continues to be enhanced via micro fixes for customer experience benefit and connectivity. The site’s recent changes may propel you toward a more Zero Trust approach with authentication points and offering more enhanced data analytics.
- HubSpot pricing
HubSpot is a bit more expensive than competing customer service options, but with good reason. The bundle price kit that I evaluated didn’t offer customer service support exclusively — it had a full library of tools to grow and scale your business over key areas of operation.
The Bottom LineHubSpot is an industry leader for marketing and customer service. It’s well known for its comprehensive business bundles, comprehensive free plan, and wealth of features.
- Heavy discounts for startups
- Easy knowledge base access for fast responses
- Assignments for efficient delegations
$12 per user per month
Demo or Free Trial
Ease of Use
Reasons to choose Groove
- Sleek, inclusive, and minimal design
- Affordable & scalable packages with startup discounts
- Integrations with Jira, Salesforce, HubSpot, & more
Reasons to avoid
- Slow inbound email syncing
- Rapid updates steepen the learning curve
Groove is best for brands that need a truly seamless customer experience, and that have an extensive team of agents. Its built-in efficiency tools and anti-duplicity are some of its main benefits, offering business owners the illusion of an entirely synchronous team at a consumer-facing level.
I was impressed by Groove’s sleek, minimalistic design that promotes distraction-free customer support in a single, centralized interface for incoming inquiries. Neatly separated into email and chat boxes, your team can delegate, manage, and execute out of Groove’s easy-to-use dashboard design.
Groove’s packages begin at $12 per month per user. It offers graduated pricing perks, such as multiple mailboxes, rule creation, application programming interface (API) access, and integration with top e-commerce tools like Salesforce and HubSpot. It’s also impressively scalable, suiting the needs of small and midsize businesses up to global brands and enterprises.
I appreciate the service’s segmentation and multiple mailbox features, which make it easy to support many brands. That can be helpful to serial entrepreneurs and rapidly expanding business owners. It also offers simple data import for effortless integration and transfer.
- Who is Groove best for?
Due to its library of easily scalable perks and sub-services, I believe that Groove is best for midsize businesses, offering the most benefits for the price compared with other tools on this list. You can enjoy multiple mailboxes, API and integration opportunities, and rule workflow functionality for a fraction of the price compared with other list options.
- Recent upgrades to Groove
Groove is one of the most consistently updated service options, which offers great promise of potential for business owners looking to optimize their processes. Some of the most notable updates I’ve seen are the live chat feature to connect with clients on your site(s), and the launch of iOS and Android apps for easy mobile management.
- Groove pricing
I was pleasantly surprised to see Groove’s current price point — $12 a month per person. This is incredibly affordable for the suite of services included. You also won’t see a major price jump per seat as your business grows and scales, as the highest cost you’ll pay (without a custom enterprise plan) is $30 a month per seat.
The Bottom LineGroove’s service segmentation and multiple mailbox features make it easy to centralize support inquiries from various channels, all at a steep discount for startups.
- Unlimited ticket history on every plan
- Numerous integration opportunities
- White glove implementation support
$15 per user per month
Demo or Free Trial
Ease of Use
Reasons to choose LiveAgent
- Concierge, white-glove onboarding experience, and 24/7 multichannel customer support
- Dozens of integrations and API opportunities
- Advanced reporting
Reasons to avoid
- Steeper learning curve than other options
- Mixed experiences with the spam filter & embedding options
LiveAgent is used by top brands, including Forbes, NASCAR, and many more. This is for good reason, as the app offers 300+ integration opportunities and ticketing features for large-scale and global brands. It was the first software to combine live chat and help desk capabilities when it launched in 2006.
LiveAgent has made a splash in the customer service software market since its launch in 2006. It’s been picked up by some of the biggest names in the industry. It’s one of the most comprehensive choices due to its multiservice call and chat management functionality.
The depth of LiveAgent’s service is impressive for its low per month, per agent cost. For just $15 a month per agent, you can make use of 300+ features and integration opportunities in the native interface. For this price, I got access to internal and external knowledge management tools, advanced reporting, and pairing with some of the top platforms in e-commerce, such as Shopify, Salesforce, Squarespace, Mailchimp, and WordPress.
The native CRM (customer resource management) functionality and automated routing are some of the top perks I explored with this service, as well as its support for more advanced types of calls: transfers, interactive voice response (IVR), and video calls — on top of its chat and email management tools.
One of the best parts of the service is that you can connect as many inboxes as you want, thanks to the unlimited support for third-party email systems.
- Who is LiveAgent best for?
I believe that LiveAgent is best for larger businesses and full-scale, global enterprises. The depth of service you receive for the price is one of the most competitive on this list, allowing you to easily grow and scale your customer service offerings. Smaller businesses may also benefit but may not need the range of services the tool offers.
Live Agent has an easy-to-reference dashboard for management at a glance and easy optimization.
- Recent upgrades to LiveAgent
The LiveAgent changelog shows regular improvements and fixes, occurring approximately once per week. This service also continues to roll out larger-scale platform changes, such as the recent addition of intuitive newsletter email templates for more comprehensive marketing. I look forward to seeing how the platform continues to meet the needs of e-commerce business owners.
- LiveAgent pricing
LiveAgent is one of the best deals on this list, with prices starting at $15 per month, per seat. This price is competitive given the wide range of services available and allows you to easily scale your customer service offerings. You can also try the “Forever Free” version. It offers basic chat, phone numbers, email links, and basic customer portal and reporting features.
The Bottom LineLiveAgent offers 300+ integration opportunities and unlimited ticketing on every plan on top of concierge-level implementation and ongoing support.
- Multiple inboxes for delegation and operations
- Automated workflow capabilities
- API & 50+ integrations
$20 per user per month
Demo or Free Trial
Ease of Use
Reasons to choose HelpScout
- Simple UI with no learning curve
- Strong automation and workflow tools
- More than 50 integrations + open API
Reasons to avoid
- CRM functionality is lacking
- Can be hard to set up for larger, more complex business operations
Help Scout is renowned for its commitment to sleek, centralized experiences through the platform service. It’s consistently won G2’s Best ROI Award due to its comprehensive customer service approach and interdepartmental management.
Help Scout is an award-winning customer service tool that I found to be incredibly easy to use and simple in design. It’s one of the only tools on this list with no real learning curve and a nearly endless potential for customization and optimization, thanks to its easy API access and integration partnerships with top services and tools.
Help Scout’s base plan comes out to $20 a month per seat, slightly higher than competitors such as Groove and LiveAgent. However, while not as comprehensive as HubSpot, it does offer advanced functionality in automation, workflows, and reporting.
Beyond your regular customer service management tools, it offers light CRM tracking and management by mailbox, conveniently housed under the “Customers” tab. It also allows for an easy interdepartmental function, allowing you to search and assign work by tags, team, or specific members.
- Who is HelpScout best for?
I believe that Help Scout would be ideal for small businesses that are on a rapid growth track. It has all the tools you need to scale (such as integration opportunities, automation, and knowledge management) without the “clunky” learning curve that a service like HubSpot requires.
- Recent upgrades to HelpScout
Help Scout releases updates and enhancements on a near-quarterly basis, which you can read about on its blog or within your dashboard. A recent update included iOS app enhancements, dynamic first name capability, and referral program rewards.
- HelpScout pricing
Help Scout is one of the pricier options on this list with a total cost of $20 a month per seat on the base plan. But it does offer lighter complimentary functionality, enhanced automation options, knowledge management, and workflow capabilities, making it a higher value than other lower-priced tools.
The Bottom LineIt has all the tools you need to scale such as integration opportunities, automation, and knowledge management without the “clunky” learning curve that a service like HubSpot requires.
- AI-powered answers
- 1,000+ apps and integrations
- Web, mobile, and social connectors
$55 per user per month
Demo or Free Trial
Ease of Use
Reasons to choose Zendesk
- Suitable for a wide range of industries
- Extensive API and integration library
- Email, voice, SMS, and live chat
Reasons to avoid
- More expensive than other options
- Complex dashboard and overall UI
- Challenging setup process
Rated No. 1 Digital Customer Service Tool by Gartner, Zendesk is a solid option for e-commerce business owners. The platform is used by some of the top brands, including Mailchimp, Uber, and Stanley Black & Decker. While widely used by enterprise clients, startups can get great benefits too — and use Zendesk free for up to six months.
Zendesk is the platform of choice for global businesses and enterprises who are ready to take their customer service experiences to the next level.
It has unique ticketing systems and industry-leading capabilities for automation and workflow setups. I like that you can manage multi-channel messages through a single centralized interface, conveniently structured with optimized tools to delegate and execute.
Although the platform fee is significantly higher than the others on this list (starting at $49 a month per seat), you can enjoy advanced functionality. For example, it has 1,000+ pre-built app and integration opportunities, robust API support, and assisted onboarding processes to avoid lost time during the transition period.
While this tool is best for larger businesses and enterprise brands, I believe that small businesses can enjoy additional benefits as long as they have time for the learning curve. Zendesk offers free service for six months for qualified startup brands, which provides additional support for businesses on a budget.
- Who is Zendesk best for?
Large businesses and global brands can get the most out of Zendesk. While the functionality can be beneficial for many business types and structures, the depth of service and range of knowledge required could lead to longer implementation times and slowdowns without the proper infrastructure in place.
- Recent upgrades to Zendesk
Zendesk has recently launched a large number of updates targeting user experience and messaging, incorporating new avenues of integration that are suited to mid- and large-size enterprises. Other notable updates include new views and insights for your datasets and messaging dashboards, as well as ticket insights to better prepare your agents.
- Zendesk pricing
Zendesk comes with a heavier price tag than some competitors, with entry-level plans beginning at $55 a month per seat. While it may be more expensive for the functionality included when compared with tools such as Groove, it’s a great choice for enterprises that require more complex ticketing and sorting systems for a larger customer base.
The Bottom LineIt has unique ticketing systems and industry-leading capabilities for automations, workflow setups, and AI-powered features you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Compare Customer Service Tools
What You Need to Know
What is customer service software?
Customer service software is any program that helps an organization deliver support to the people who buy or use their products. It is a set of tools used to collect, organize, respond to, and report on customer support requests. It helps brands serve their consumers’ transactional, informational, and diagnostic needs during the course of the customer’s lifecycle with the business, all the way from research to buying to post-sales service.
What are the benefits of using customer service software?
Some of the benefits of customer service software include:
- Easier communication with colleagues and customers
- Increased sales and conversions
- Ability to provide support 24/7
- Automatically route inquiries to the right specialist
- Easily view and track support tickets
- Support your customers via any channel
- Lower operational costs
What is the difference between CRM and customer service software?
The purpose of CRM is to build relationships with customers and is focused on profitability and customer retention. Customer service focuses on answering customer questions and helping them find solutions to challenges.
What are the drawbacks of automated customer service?
Customer service automation is becoming a popular way to handle customer inquiries among companies looking to boost customer satisfaction and retention. As a new technology, customer service automation can enhance customer care, but it has its limitations. Fully automated customer support is a recipe for disaster.
Drawbacks to automated customer services include:
- Inability to solve complex issues
- Sensitive issues are for humans
- Legacy customer support systems are hard to automate
- Too much automation can negatively impact the customer experience
How We Review Customer Service Software
Most customer service tools work the same way–they make it easier to manage tickets, assign them, and track them to completion across a team of agents. The difference between tools is what they look like, the different features they come with, and how customizable they are.
For most small business, a simple and affordable solution is more than enough. For larger teams with complex tool stacks, integrations and APIs, automations, and advanced collaboration tools are more important.
Testing these tools came down to signing up for them, setting up a ticketing system, connecting different channels, and evaluating how easy or challenging they are to use.
With each tool, I tested its:
- Ease of use: Tools with good functionality can be more easily adapted across your organization, encouraging collaboration and true integration with current processes and systems.
- Supports social media and alternative mailboxes: Your customer service support option should have capabilities to connect to your alternative mailboxes, whether they are with other service providers or social media channels to promote efficiency and consistency in your team’s responses.
- Knowledge base or reference material support: Choosing customer service software with the capability to house knowledge base material helps your team operate with more agility and empowers them to provide higher quality and more consistent brand support.
- Demo or free trial: Demos and free trials help you to be confident in your decision and integrate the tool with your pre-existing support systems.
- Overall cost: Cost is always a major consideration when choosing any type of service. Many customer service software options offer monthly fees at a per-person rate, which could place an additional strain on your business’ finances as your team continues to grow and expand.
Learn more about our review methodology.