One of my current tasks is to determine what the best phone software my company should use as we move our company to a new location. Due to the company’s quickly expanding size and revenue, I need to find a solution that meets all of our current/future needs and strengthens the cornerstone of our business, customer service.
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phones systems offer many improvements to the outdated traditional landline services that we are all familiar with. By connecting directly to the Internet, as opposed to a local phone company, customers can save a lot of money, increase functionality, and provide unparalleled analytics and scalability. Portability, something that many businesses, especially those who have traveling employees, is an excellent part of VOIP systems. By directly plugging your VOIP phone system into the Internet, you can get access anywhere you are in the world. This allows customer service employees to work from home, quickly change infrastructure, and have the phone system scale as fast as a company grows. VOIP also supports a wide range of features such as incoming call holds, call transfers, hunts, conference calls, and auto-attendant phone menus.
Finding the right VOIP phone system for your specific needs can be simple enough, but first, the software that the system will use should be researched; this is where I am currently. The software is what enables the phone system to do what I need it to do, such as tracking call durations, implement a ticket-based system, monitor customer engagement, and connect with customers on multiple different channels. By finding the right phone support software, an entire application can be used and customized to streamline and integrate all customer service operations.
So far, I have narrowed my options to 3 companies, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Freshdesk. Each option has excellent methods and features that check off what we want our customer service system to do, both now and into the future.
Zendesk– Featuring multi-channel support and a reliable ticketing system, paired with an exquisite analytics and reporting module, this product seems to have its functionality rivaled only by its smooth operation. Its customizable customer-facing web interface allows users to talk to your company’s customer service representatives through a variety of mediums, as well as access a company-specific self-service FAQ and knowledge base. Workflow and tickets are both managed and automated, as well as offers code-less macros which can simplify responding to multiple customer service tickets at once. By using mediums such as email, web, phone, social media, and chat, customers can ask questions and get fast, intelligent answers, all while creating a knowledge base of that specific customer’s recent inquiries and other reports and analytics.
Freshdesk– Offering a great free trial and a free plan for up to 3 agents, Freshdesk truly allows a potential customer to get an immersive first experience of the products they offer. Some of its features include ticket routing, scenario automation, a community portal, email-ticket conversion, multi-channel support including Twitter and Facebook, as well as satisfaction surveys. Their time-tracking abilities are quite advanced, monitoring customer service agent’s turnaround time and helping to identify patterns, bottlenecks, and opportunities to reduce workloads and strengthen customer relationships.
When comparing these 2 companies, they both offer many of the same features and options. They are genuinely great products. However, there are certain areas that they excel in, respectively.
Freshdesk’s “Dispatch’r” feature automatically distributes incoming tickets to customer service representatives, as well as making this feature highly customizable. Zendesk on the other hand, enables customer service representatives to work on multiple tickets at a time, though seeming to lack in customization options.
A vital part of my company’s needs is to be able to track customer service performance, viewing what areas need attention, what our high-traffic times are, and what are the most common issues reported. By using satisfaction ratings, surveys, and a dashboard that shows you all of this at a glance, both Zendesk and Freshdesk are up to the task. One thing I really enjoyed with Freshdesk is their use of emoticons, allowing you to be able to easily see your team’s performance and even integrate a leaderboard and award system. A little competition is always a good thing.
An integral part of any IT product is automation. Making a job easier and providing constant results is something we all strive for in the tech world. Freshdesk seemed to come out on top in my opinion due to its simple way of auto-assigning cases and support tickets, without too much prior input. While Zendesk offered the same features, it demanded more attention.
Similar to both Zendesk and Freshdesk, Salesforce is pretty much a CRM solution with a help desk component. It seems to be focused mainly on gaining/keeping customers and building accounts. Closing deals, getting leads, accelerating productivity, and providing insights were all areas that Salesforce excelled at. Due to the significant customer service priority of my company, I felt that Salesforce simply was going in a different direction with their products.
I found both Zendesk and Freshdesk to be more than up to the job of satisfying all of my needs, although, Freshdesk did seem to offer superior features and benefits at flexible prices. Also, Freshdesk did not require a contract, while Zendesk did. As I conduct more research and try out the trial versions of the two company’s products, I will further state my findings. Check out more info about these companies below.