Is there anything more annoying than bad customer service? You just want to return some sneakers—but it feels like the online store is giving you the runaround? Customer service apps help customer support teams save time, organize their operations, and ultimately serve customers better.
But there are dozens of tools out there to choose from, including self-service software like chatbots, and customer support management suites like help desk software. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top eight top customer service apps and categorized them to help you find the right ones for your business. (Now that’s customer service!)
What are the 3 types of customer service?
When it comes to customer service, there are three main methods you can use to interact and help customers out when they have a problem, question, or feedback::
- Self-service, where customers help themselves. Examples of this include self-checkouts at the supermarket, telephone and online chatbots, and FAQ sections on websites.
- Live service, where customers receive live help from a human support agent. Think of call centers, live chats, and in-person cashiers.
- Community customer service, where customers help each other. This might include forums, groups on social media platforms, and customer reviews.
In each of these categories, there are a number of customer service apps for you to choose from. The businesses with the best customer service offer a combination of all three of these categories so each customer can choose which level of interaction works best for them.
How do apps help customers and customer support agents?
10 years ago, maybe you could get away with no having any apps powering your customer service. But today, customers expect quick information around-the-clock—and apps are really the best way to provide these interactions. They help to reduce wait times, optimize how support agents spend their time, and let fewer employees handle a greater volume of customers..
Consider how useful FAQ sections are (if they’re good!). As the name suggests, they’re put together based on questions that customers ask frequently. So when new customers have the same questions, they have the answers right away at their fingertips.
Customer service tools also help agents save time and work smarter. For instance, help desk software lets support teams manage and keep track of multiple cases and automate repetitive tasks. They also improve customer experiences without them realizing it—since agents can track previous interactions and provide customers with a consistent conversation even if they deal with different agents.
The 8 best customer service apps (categorized)
Looking to improve your customer service with great apps? Check out some of our favorite picks and the most popular options.
Best for self-service
Help your customers help themselves. These great self-service apps will make it easier for your customers to find what they need, so your team doesn’t have to spend as much time answering the same questions over and over (and over) again.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Chatfuel offers a free plan with limited features.
There are loads of mature chatbot platforms, but we like Chatfuel quite a lot because it's reliable, easy to use, and affordable. Their free plan is like a sandbox—you can toy around with the tool, but the functionality is limited. But when you’re ready to invest, the plans start at just $15/month (prices increase depending on the number of users).
Chatfuel’s visual builder makes it really easy to create your own custom chatbots—you can pick from pre-made templates or create your own flows. The chatbot provider also offers white-labeling features with its Premium plan, making it a great option for agencies and firms looking to sell chatbot implementation services.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Document360 offers a free plan for up to five team members.
Document360 is a dedicated knowledge base software for creating self-service portals, for both customers and employees. The software is used to create user guides, technical documentation, internal knowledge bases, FAQ sections, and more.
Document360 is popular for its intuitive UI (it’s really easy to navigate and get started with) and affordable plans. Its free plan supports five team members and up to 50 articles. And while the software has all the essentials covered, it hasn’t shied away from more advanced features, including localization, IP address restriction for security, and in-depth analytics.
Best for live service
Looking to deliver the best live service to your customers? Here are some great customer service apps to help you out.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Intercom offers a free 14-day trial with limited features.
Intercom is one of the best-known platforms for managing customer relationships. It technically offers both self-service and live chat functionality, but we decided to rope it into this section. 😁 The platform offers a whole suite of tools to improve customer service, including help desk software.
Intercom’s chatbot features are extensive and they allow customer service teams to automate lots of interactions. The platform offers:
- Task bots: to take over conversations when there are no agents around.
- Resolution bots: to interpret questions using keyword recognition and respond to them.
- Custom bots: to create custom chatbots for your needs.
Intercom’s plan for small businesses starts at $74/month (for annual billing) and it gives you access to live chat functionality. You’ll need to go for a higher plan to access Intercom’s automation features and chatbots.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Freshdesk offers a free plan for up to 10 agents, with limited features, and a 21-day free trial for paid plans.
Freshdesk is one of the most well-known and mature providers of help desk software out there. Zendesk used to be a very close competitor, but it has since changed its direction a bit—Zendesk now offers multiple other tools, like project management software, and has increased its pricing overall.
So, Freshdesk holds its own as the gold standard for small and medium-sized businesses. The free plan is great for getting a feel of the platform, before you’re ready to commit to a paid tier. The platform supports ticket management from multiple channels (email, phone, social media), creating and sharing knowledge bases, and customer service automation. It also has gamification features to save agents from boredom and keep them engaged!
Freshdesk’s intuitive UI, affordable pricing, and well-rounded feature set make it one of the best customer service apps for small business.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Calendly’s Basic plan is free.
Calendly is probably the most well-known scheduling software, and it has lots of utility in customer service. If your company doesn’t offer 24/7 support, or you need to schedule dedicated support for a customer, Calendly helps you avoid back-and-forths. The calendar helps customers and agents find a meeting time that works for both parties.
Calendly also offers video calling features, in case your customers need extra attention. The tool also integrates with major customer service apps, including help desk software like Freshdesk, making it easy to sync up your customer service operations.
Free plan/trial? Yes, Magical is free to add to chrome and use.
Magical helps customer support agents save time by automating some of their repetitive, day-to-day tasks and interactions. The app’s text expander lets customer service teams save templated responses, which they can recall with a couple of keystrokes anywhere, speeding up interactions with customers.
And Magical doesn’t restrict you to static responses, either. The tool’s Variables feature lets you customize each response, with the help of tags like “First Name” or “Date.” Plus, the app lets team members share templates, which encourages teams to support one another.
Using Magical, the average customer support team saves up to seven hours a week! Freeing agents up from mundane, repetitive tasks helps them focus on what really matters: delivering the best experiences to customers. The result is simply magic. 🪄
Best for community customer service
Ready to bring your community of fans together? These apps can help you build a place for your customers to answer questions from each other.
Free plan/trial? Yes. Discord’s core functionality is free.
Discord probably doesn’t need an introduction—it’s one of the most well-known collaboration and community tools. It hosts servers for every type of community, from physics servers to gaming ones.
Increasingly, brands are starting to create their own Discord servers to bring their customer base together. This allows users to help each other, which eases up the workload on your support team. Companies can create separate channels on their servers for general discussion, support requests, feature requests, and updates.
Discord also supports bots (including AI-powered chatbots), helping you automate customer service within your community.
8. Facebook Groups
Free plan/trial? Yes, Facebook Groups are free to use.
Discord may or may not have needed an introduction, but Facebook Groups definitely don’t! Meta has recently developed Facebook Groups a fair bit, letting community owners segment discussions, pin important posts, award badges to active members, and more.
Two of the biggest reasons to consider using Facebook Groups are:
- Tons of people use Facebook already. If your users are active on Facebook, you won’t need to worry about moving them onto an external platform. Zero friction.
- It’s free. Community software can end up costing a lot, but Facebook Groups are completely free. That’s a big reason to consider using them!
Of course, Facebook Groups aren’t the best option for every business—especially because there are people out there who absolutely hate Facebook. (And yeah, they’ve got valid reasons.) So you definitely need to consider your customers’ preferences—but it’s an option, and one that many SaaS startups go for.
Which customer service apps should you choose?
As you’ll notice from our reviews, there are loads of different apps that help companies improve their customer service in different ways. Ultimately, the customer service apps that are best for your business depend on the type of customer service you want to offer, the size of your team, and how to plan to connect with customers.
All the apps we’ve reviewed have either a free plan, trial, or both, so you can take them for a spin before committing to any!