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The Best Ecommerce Customer Service Helpdesks

How are helpdesks different for Ecommerce and your specific needs? Find out here.
Derric Haynie
Nov 19
10
 mins

Sponsored by:

About

Debating the use of a helpdesk is really a discussion about customer service - so we should probably start by acknowledging that the landscape of customer service has changed quite a bit in the last couple decades.


Price and quality have always been the focus of purchasing decisions, but more recently the customer experience is what really sets companies apart - and pushes a customer to become loyal to one merchant over another. 


The data supports this new emphasis on the customer experience:


  • 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to make a purchase 
  • 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps.
  • American consumers say they’re willing to spend 17% more when a company delivers excellent customer service
  • 49% of American consumers switched companies last year due to poor customer service


A helpdesk is one of the best email tools to WOW your customer - it enables your customer service agents to offer a more personalized customer experience that is both enjoyable for the customer and the agent. While agents are serving your customers, you are also collecting invaluable data about your customers and their needs to guide your business decisions.


While helpdesks generally focus on email support, they often have integrations for chat and SMS channels too. It is also notable that a helpdesk can support your marketing touch points - i.e. SMS marketing and email marketing

When Should I Invest in a Helpdesk?

You may not need a helpdesk when you get started solo in Ecommerce, but as soon as you hire your first customer service rep, it is a good idea to move customer service out of the usual email inbox. 


There are two main reasons you should get started this early with a helpdesk:


  1. Metrics - Your customer has expectations about what it means to have a positive customer experience - response time, resolution time, backlogs, etc. If you aren’t measuring these things, you won’t be able to manage the customer experience or hold your agents accountable.
  2. Efficiency - Half the battle of offering a positive customer service experience is staying organized - which is what a helpdesk serves to do. Why wait to do this when you’re too busy to set it up?


This leads us to our next question...

Why Should I Invest in a Helpdesk?

How much time do you spend digging through your inbox for emails every day? 


Scenario: Your customer service agent receives an inquiry from a customer. Are they a prospective, new, or repeat buyer? Proceed to check Shopify history, dig through emails, check FB messenger, and instagram DMs...you get the idea.


That right there is time. Time that could have been saved by using a helpdesk. 


Saving agents time not only saves you money, but also leads to faster ticket resolution and more personalized support. 

How Long Will it Take to Set Up?

Helpdesks generally offer some introductory videos and articles to help with set up, as well as access to real people who can answer your questions when you get stuck or don’t understand how to use a feature. Helpdesk companies are smart to offer this assistance because they know how important the customer experience is. I mean you paid for their software because you want to make your own customers happy…it's best to make sure you have a positive experience.


Initial set up when you have just an agent or two will take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours. As your sales grow and support becomes busier, you or your agents will need to spend some time expanding on existing features (tagging, inboxes, etc) and additional integrations or app add-ons may be needed to support the additional ticket volumes.

What Are Some Key Features or Functionalities I Should Look For?

Another reason to invest in a helpdesk vs. keeping support in email is the robust number of helpful features that keep support flowing:


Triggers, Tagging, and Macros

These are going to be your agents’ favorite features - they keep things organized and efficient. 

  • Triggers can help to keep response times low with auto responses and automatic follow ups. 
  • Tagging helps to track issues, recurring subjects, and VIP customers.
  • Macros help your agents take quick action and prevent the constant ‘reinvention of the wheel.’ Agents can send canned responses, add CCs, or leave comments for other agents using this feature.

Social Media Integrations

Most helpdesks offer integrations that allow for messaging on those platforms to be forwarded in as tickets. Instead of having to login on each separate social media site to answer questions, your agents can answer from one centralized place.

Ecommerce Integrations

Your agents will likely have to reference order histories or customer accounts when they receive new tickets. Ecommerce integrations can add these order histories or account information into the ticket view so that your agent doesn’t even have to leave the message to review the needed information. 


Some integrations even go as far as allowing agents to make changes to shipping or order information directly from the ticket.


Live Chat

While email support is one of the most common support channels, 41% of consumers prefer live chat for contacting support teams. Adding a chat option to your helpdesk adds value to your customer support because live chat has the highest consumer satisfaction rate at 92%.


There is one caveat: chat is only beneficial if someone can consistently service the channel. Customers don’t see value in a chat feature that is rarely ‘live’ or only serving generalized answers from a bot. 

What Are the Main Types of Tools in This Space?

Not all helpdesks are created equal. Some cater to Ecommerce, some offer solutions for the needs of general retailers, and some may serve as a ‘helpdesk’ but do not have tools focused on Ecommerce. 


When considering your helpdesk needs, you will find yourself considering one from the following 3 categories:

Ecommerce-Specific

Many helpdesks are going to cater to specific Ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce. Having a helpdesk that integrates with your store is going to allow your customer support to grow with your business - the aim should be to keep things centralized and streamlined where possible.

Generalized

This type of helpdesk can support an Ecommerce business, however your product-type may not call for a support desk with Ecommerce specialized tools (i.e. inventory or shipment management). If you are offering a service or your agents ‘support’ the management of leads that will be courted offline - a generalized tool can be a better fit.

Conversational

This type of support can string together multiple support channels, but usually don’t turn all channels into tickets. Helpdesks aim to centralize where your agents operate when email is your most active support channel. Perhaps your most active sales channel is through social media and consequently live chat or FB Messenger are most effective for serving your customers. A traditional helpdesk may not be the right fit for managing your type of customer’s experience. 

It’s worth noting that the Ecommerce-specific and Generalized helpdesks usually offer additional features similar to what a Conversational platform serves to do. 

Related Tools That Touch the Helpdesk Space, But Not Quite

Live Chat / Chatbot

This is a conversational-type support platform. Your customers may prefer the self-serve type support of a chatbot or the immediate response of a live chat agent. This can serve as the first touch point to direct customers to someone who can best resolve their issue (i.e. an IT department) or to gather information before moving the conversation to phone or email (i.e. directing a lead to the appropriate salesperson). 

CRMs 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms do serve to support communication with customers, but it is more of a sales-focused tool, rather than customer service focused. These tools are meant to keep your sales people organized, rather than create the customer experience. Most helpdesks integrate with popular CRM tools and for your convenience some even offer their own CRM platforms.

Messenger and SMS marketing tools

Facebook Messenger may be your most active support channel - which may or may not require a helpdesk to manage. Social Media integrations make it easy to service messenger inquiries  within a helpdesk, but if your email support needs are low, a conversational-type platform can be used to manage messenger and other social media channels.


SMS marketing can lead to a need for sms/text support, which can be supported through a helpdesk. Your agents can answer text message inquiries from customers right from the helpdesk. It is rare that a majority of support is offered through SMS, but SMS marketing apps usually offer a support feature through social media channels.

Are You Choosing Your First Helpdesk or Migrating?

The most ideal situation is getting started on a helpdesk with nothing to migrate - but that is not the likely situation you find yourself in. There are migration services available from the helpdesk platforms themselves or through companies that specialize in this type of data migration. 


There are two migration scenarios you may find yourself in:

Platform Migration (helpdesk to helpdesk)

Your new helpdesk platform may offer migration services for free or for a nominal fee. There can be limitations depending on which platform you are moving from and how much data needs to be moved. A second option is choosing to utilize a service that specializes in migration from helpdesk to helpdesk, like Help Desk Migration. Help Desk Migration offers migration to and from 300+ platforms and can make the process less stressful since this is what they specialize in. You will want to discuss your expectations with the migration team and back up anything you would be upset about losing in the move before getting started.

Migration from Email

If you have been performing customer support through email - Help Desk Migration also offers this type of migration from Gmail and Outlook. There are migration tools that your new helpdesk offers to assist with email migration, however it may not be as robust. If you have very few emails you need to move, consider forwarding them into the helpdesk yourself or file them away for future reference if you can live without those messages in the system.

The Best Helpdesks for Ecommerce

Gmail

Email


You’re probably thinking Gmail doesn’t qualify as a helpdesk, but it’s practically every team’s starting point. 


If you are not ready to take the plunge into a dedicated helpdesk tool, Gmail is a viable option for managing customer service. Gmail does not have the robust tools and features that make a dedicated helpdesk so efficient, but is a budget-friendly option before you are ready to hire a customer service agent. 


On top of Gmail, you can use a tool like Gorgias templates Chrome extension for some easy to use templates and macros, for much cheaper than the full-fledged Gorgias solution (discussed below).


Be sure to set up a separate email for customer service. That way, when you make the move to a dedicated helpdesk, it will make the transition much easier. 

Features

  • Templates
  • Email Scheduling
  • Labels (similar to ticket tagging in a helpdesk)
  • Notifications - flag emails based on priority 
  • Mobile App - offer support on the go!


If you will be working with another member of your team on support, you should consider expanding your collaboration capabilities with apps like Drag or Keeping. These options add features to improve workflow - like shared inboxes, internal team chat, and collision detection.

Pricing

G Suite for business ranges from $6/user per month for the most basic plan to $25/user per month for the Enterprise plan. The main differentiator being the cloud and security capabilities.

ZenDesk

Omnichannel Helpdesk - Ecommerce or General


ZenDesk is a service-first CRM software company that utilizes an omnichannel approach to customer communication. ZenDesk Support is Ecommerce-centric thanks to its robust integrations and apps that help to centralize all the information your agents need to offer personalized and efficient support.


ZenDesk Support has become one of the top helpdesks thanks to the easy setup and customization. If you are ready to invest a little more, their reporting/analytics, knowledgebase, and chat support contribute to an excellent customer experience. 

Features

  • Tagging - track by issue or subject
  • Macros - canned responses for quick response times
  • Custom ‘Views’ to keep agents and communications organized
  • Triggers - save agents time with rule-based automations
  • Add-ons: Chat and Talk - offer live chat and phone support integrated into ticketing system


ZenDesk integrates with Ecommerce stores like Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce which allows your agents to access order information directly from customer tickets.


You will also want to check out their app store that offers free or low costs add ons that can track email deliverability (Mail Tracking), access shipping information (i.e. Shipstation, Narvar’s Track Connect & Care), see customer ticket history (Ticket History) and respond via SMS support (Attentive Mobile).


Pricing

There is a lot of room to grow with ZenDesk Support’s 5 tiers of service - pricing ranges from $5/agent per month to $199/agent per month. I recommend signing up for the Team Plan for your Ecommerce business so that you gain full access to their integrations and apps - which will run you $19/agent per month.

Gorgias

Dedicated Ecommerce Helpdesk


Gorgias is an all-in-one customer support helpdesk software specifically designed for Ecommerce stores. 


With a deep Shopify integration, Gorgias allows you not only to pull customer data into your helpdesk so that agents can more easily access it, but they allow you to edit shipping information, adjust tags, and refund orders. 


They integrate with lots of apps in the Shopify ecosystem, and they have a stellar customer success team to help ensure you’re getting the most out of their tool. If you’re a fast-growing Shopify brand, Gorgias is the best option.


Gorgias has a noble goal of making sure the Ecommerce support agent never has to leave their helpdesk to get any customer issue resolved. While there are still moments when agents will have to operate outside of Gorgias, they are doing a great job at making that dream a reality. They are saving support teams huge amounts of time, saving the business on margin AND increasing customer satisfaction.

Features

  • On-Ticket Order Editing - Edit customer orders without leaving the helpdesk
  • Auto-Responses For Order-Related Questions - Stop wasting time answering “where’s my order?”
  • Tagging & Custom ‘Views’ - keep issues organized
  • Assignment & Anti-Collision - essential for successful collaboration
  • Internal Notes & Mentions - prevent decreased productivity with better communication
  • Customer Timelines & Integrated Order History - keep agents working from one central location
  • Macros with easy-to-add variables - canned responses with order/shipping information added instantly
  • Mobile App - offer support on the go!


*Notable Plus: If you offer a subscription product, Gorgias offers an integration with ReCharge that allows for editing of customer subscriptions directly from the ticket.

Pricing

Pricing starts at $60/month for a basic plan that handles 500 tickets per month. They bill on tickets and not seats, which is a major differentiating factor and means that it's only the tickets you respond to that count against you. And you can respond to one ticket as many times as needed to resolve an issue. Price goes up to $500 a month for 6,000 tickets a month. Beyond that they have enterprise plans that tier up smoothly from there.

Re:amaze

Ecommerce Helpdesk with Outstanding Live Chat


Re:amaze is a customer service and live chat platform that helps Ecommerce customer service teams mitigate and respond to inquiries by prospects and customers. 


Re:amaze is ideal for fast growing brands or companies that need to service multiple Ecommerce stores. Ecommerce-wise, they integrate with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento and WordPress directly.


They have a robust Shopify integration, advanced live chat tool, knowledge base/FAQ system, which you can search directly from their chat tool, and they integrate with all the channels you would need: SMS, Messenger, Social Media, Email, Contact forms, Phone, etc.

Features

  • Internal Staff Notes, Assignments, and Reminders - for successful team collaboration
  • Macros, Tags, and FAQ article injection - stay organized and answer efficiently
  • Departments - assign conversations to the appropriate team members
  • Mobile App - offer support on the go!


One of their standout features is their live chat - features within their chat:

  • Automated messaging with Cues - trigger based on authenticated, url/utm, time on site, shopify triggers, and javascript sdk
  • Live dashboard so that you can see users currently on-site some additional personal information (i.e. location) to customize your message and attempt to engage
  • Debug problems in your site or funnel from the customer’s screen with their co-browsing feature

Pricing

Pricing is per staff, per month and starts at $20 for a basic feature set. It goes to $40 per month for advanced reporting, a custom domain, and the ability to manage multiple brands/stores, and then up to $60 per month for larger organizations that may need things like department groups, staff scheduling, or the screen sharing feature that I mentioned.

Kustomer

CRM-based Omnichannel Customer Service Platform for Ecommerce


Kustomer touts its customer service approach as customer-centric, rather than ticket-centric in the Ecommerce helpdesk space. To achieve this experience, they provide in-ticket customer data that gives agents a full timeline of orders, interactions, and even their browsing history. This history, thanks to their omnichannel approach, includes email, chat, SMS, voice, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter - making this helpdesk the epitome of centralized service.


To keep things even more efficient, Kustomer uses this customer data to proactively reach out about issues that impact customers - reducing the number of inquiries and increasing retention rates. If your customer support team is remote, their routing system will make sure the customer is directed to the appropriate agent.


Kustomer integrates with Shopify and Magento, as well as subscription apps like Chargify and Recharge. While they don’t offer a live chat feature, they do have integrations for some chatbot apps. 

Features

  • Segmentation of Customers - send new offers or prioritize tickets based on customer data
  • In-Ticket Customer History
  • Multichannel Communication from One Thread - also prevents agent collision
  • Automate Business Processes - fewer tedious tasks
  • Intelligent Ticket Routing - Essential for remote teams

Pricing

Kustomer makes the choice pretty simple with just two service plans, $99 Enterprise or $169 Ultimate per agent, per month. You can get most of the features with their Enterprise plan, but if you want any enhanced features, you will need to upgrade to Ultimate. 


Access to their Kustomer IQ product (AI feature) is an add-on. The basic AI features for automation are free for up to one agent, but if you would like to offer self-service support to your customers (or have more than one agent), it will cost you $39/agent per month on top of the main plan cost.

JumperAI

Multi-Channel Ecommerce Centric Conversational Commerce Platform 


Jumper.ai is a chat tool on the forefront of conversational commerce and social commerce. They have all the channel integrations you would want: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, SMS, Google RCS, iMessage - basically any conversation platform you can think of. 


And most importantly, they integrate with your product catalog so that you can create orders and even checkout, directly in chat.

Features

  • Sell, sell, sell directly through chat
  • Chatbots direct customers to the appropriate agent for their issue
  • Team Inboxes & Follow-up Reminders - usually common in email-based helpdesks, they have applied this to chat

Pricing

They do have a free plan, but this shouldn’t really be used as a free tool. Either you can make the investment and want to try it out, or if you can’t afford it, you probably want to start with a simpler solution. They start at $200/month. Their enterprise plan, which is super powerful, starts at $2000/month requiring a 6 month minimum contract.


Richpanel

All-in-One Ecommerce Helpdesk with focus on self-service


Richpanel is an all-in-one, multichannel helpdesk for Ecommerce. It integrates with Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce, giving agents full context when assisting customers - including order details, shipping information, and customer stats in one view. By organizing all customer history in a timeline your agents are able to get the full picture of each customer’s experience to better service their personalized needs. 


Richpanel has enhanced their ticketing system with excellent self-help features so that customers can be helped 24/7. For example, customers can initiate their own return process without a live agent! Richpanel believes "The best service is no service” - which works well in today’s landscape, with 67% of U.S. consumers preferring self-help options over help from a representative.


Richpanel further supports their helpdesk with a live chat and messenger program specifically designed for Ecommerce. Like their ticketing system, the chat offers the same level of customer context. Their focus on centralizing support and preventing the constant toggle between tabs saves your agents time and consequently money. 

Features

  • Self-Service Automations - offer service 24/7
  • In-Ticket Customer History 
  • Common Response Automation 
  • Collaboration features made better by the ‘full context’ approach

Pricing

Richpanel plans all offer unlimited users, but limit by the number of conversations. Plans start at $60/month with an allowance for 200 conversations via chat and email. If you want Facebook and Whatsapp channels included, you will need to upgrade to their Pro plan for $750/month. If you are just getting started it may be hard to determine how many conversations you need to allow for, so this may not be a good option for a new merchant - especially with that price jump. 

The Best Generalized Helpdesks

HelpScout

Shared Inbox with Live Chat


HelpScout is a more generalized helpdesk program centered around a shared inbox system. They don’t have the Ecommerce-focused bells and whistles, but they do offer in-ticket customer data for agents to easily review for context and collaborative features to keep agents working in harmony.


HelpScout keeps things clean and simple - making it more user-friendly than some of the Ecommerce-centric helpdesks. Achieve the elusive ‘Inbox Zero’ utilizing their automations and workflow features. Their Knowledge Base ‘Beacon’ feature helps to facilitate customer self-help through their live chat app. If they can’t find the answer, they can easily toggle over to live chat.


Their integration options open up the ability to offer multi channel support, but are otherwise less robust than other helpdesk offerings. You can integrate HelpScout with Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento to add some basic order data to tickets, but the spectrum of information is not as immense as what helpdesks designed for Ecommerce can provide.

Features

  • Private Notes and Collision Detection - for ease of collaboration
  • Multiple Mailboxes/Folders and Tagging - stay organized by issues and priority 
  • Knowledge Base - easily accessed via chat

Pricing

HelpScout’s base plan is priced at $25/agent per month - but they limit the number of mailboxes, collaboration features, and integrations. To get all their more advanced features and integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, and JIRA you will need their PLUS plan for $40/agent/month. Notably, if you are in the Healthcare field their PLUS plan offers HIPPA compliance.

Happyfox

Multichannel Helpdesk


Happyfox is the epitome of a generalized helpdesk or ticketing system. Their interface is well thought out and they offer all the key features you need for a team to collaborate and resolve issues efficiently.


Happyfox does offer Ecommerce integrations with Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce - but the ticketing system does not integrate customer and order history as smoothly as some of the more Ecommerce-focused helpdesks. They have an add-on live chat (with chatbot) that is notable, with their chat offering canned responses, intelligent chat routing, and mobile app accessibility. 

Features

  • Basic ticketing system
  • Collision Monitoring & Intelligent Ticket Routing
  • Simplistic Knowledge Base - easy to use and add to
  • Customer Portal - let your customers check on the status of their ticket
  • Smart Rules - create automations to escalate issues and ensure timely responses
  • Task Management & Kanban View - manage teams and projects

Pricing

Happyfox offers pricing options based on the number of agents or unlimited agents. If your team is smaller, the agent-based pricing is the best fit - with plans starting at $39/agent per month. To utilize their collaborative and organizational tools, you will need the Enterprise plan, which is priced at $69/month per agent. If you have a large team, or are scaling quickly - the unlimited agents option is ideal - with plans starting at $1,499 per month. These plans include all their tools and features, but with limitations on the number of tickets.

Groove

Shared Inbox HelpDesk


Groove touts their product as ‘the shared inbox for when you outgrow email.” This is a fair description as their simplistic design and pared down features are one-step up from utilizing a Gmail for support.


They offer key tools for collaboration and integrations to popular social channels. While they offer an integration with Shopify, the lack of analytical features make it more suitable for servicing a non-Ecommerce business (or one that isn’t solely online).


With just the basics, this may be a good option for those who don’t need all the extras or who need a transitional option while sales grow. 


Features

  • Assignment, Collision Detection, and Private Notes - keep the team collaborating effectively
  • Knowledge Base
  • Simple, Easy-to-Understand Analytics
  • Coming soon: Chat & WhatsApp/SMS integrations


Pricing

Groove’s pricing starts at $12/agent per month with one inbox - ideal for small teams getting started. However, if you need access to integrations, you will need to upgrade to the Plus or Pro plans, $25/agent and $34/agent per month, respectively. 

The Best Conversational Helpdesks

Drift

Conversational Marketing Platform - chat


Drift claims to be “the world’s first and only conversational marketing platform.” Their focus is on generating leads through multichannel communication via email, video, live chat, and automation. 


Drift Email is focused on getting the emails to the right people and helping to keep things organized to sell, sell, sell. This platform is more of a CRM than a dedicated helpdesk, as it is less about the customer experience and more about your sales team being able to prioritize.


Their chat tool can notify your team when an existing customer is on your site, so the sales team can engage quickly. The Drift chatbot works to pre-qualify a prospective customer and then funnel them to the appropriate sales team member. Essentially Drift’s chat program is using its intel to set your sales team up for success!


Once the sales team is ready to woo the customer, Drift’s video feature allows you to put a face to a name for a more personal selling process. While not a live video, these are pre-recorded to make sure your prospective customer gets the best impression. 

Features

  • Email routing - keep things organized and prioritized
  • Intelligent Chatbot - pre-qualify and route appropriately
  • Video sharing - face to face sales without traveling
  • Mobile App - sell on the go!

Pricing

Drift separates their plans by tool - email, chat, and video. 


Email pricing is based on the number of emails replied to monthly - starting at $350/month for 3 inboxes, up to $4350/month for 30 inboxes. 


For chat, they offer a free plan to get you started without any bells and whistles. Their pricing gets more complicated as you scale up on the features, with their most popular premium plan running you $1500/month + each chat seat (an agent) is $80/month. 


Their video platform, like chat, offers a free plan to get started. Their Pro Plan is $12/month but is touted as ‘for individuals.’ If you need video for a team, you have to reach out for a quote.

Olark

General Chat App - less Ecommerce focused


Olark chat offers integrations for your helpdesk and CRM - but unfortunately is limited on the Ecommerce side, as it only offers integration with BigCommerce. If chat is one of the main ways you communicate with customers, their integration with CRMs do give you access to data and analytics that would otherwise be lost.

Features

  • Automations - canned responses and auto-greet customers to quickly engage and answer
  • Chat forwarding - easily send chats into your helpdesk
  • Analytics and Reporting - easily collect customer satisfaction and usage data
  • Transcript Insights - easily review chat histories to retrieve customer feedback

Pricing

They are more generous than some other live chat options when it comes to pricing. With any plan at any size team, you get all the features. So rather than tier pricing by access or team size, they offer discounts based on time commitment. Their plan paid monthly is $19/agent per month - but if you pay for 1 year or 2 years of service upfront, you pay $15/agent per month $12/agent per month, respectively.

LiveChat

Multi-Channel Live Chat with Ticketing


LiveChat enables you to support your customers through email, SMS, and Messenger. Like most live chats, they offer a chatbot feature with many customizations. Their integrations with GoogleAnalytics and Mailchimp help to support your marketing efforts by tracking customer browsing habits and engagement. 


Their chatbot and chat routing helps to ease your customer’s frustration by quickly gathering information and getting them to a live agent. While you cannot sell directly from chat, you can easily forward customers to what they are looking for and track the sale. 


LiveChat stands out from other live chats with their ticketing system to support your offline chat needs - so if your main channel of engagement is chat, you may be able to utilize this like a dedicated helpdesk. However, to get all the features of a helpdesk you will need to sign up for one of their more robust plans.


However, they are not dedicated to Ecommerce the same way as many other tools, and don’t have as robust of an integration with Shopify, limiting some usability.

Features

  • Chatbot & Chat Routing/Transfer - present relevant information quickly to route customers effectively
  • File Sharing 
  • Ticketing System - Manage chats via email when offline or to follow up
  • Reporting and Analytics for both chat and tickets
  • Mobile App - chat with customers, solve tickets, and boost sales on the go!

Pricing

LiveChat’s starter plan is $19/agent per month (paid monthly) - but to get most of their analytics and reporting features you will need one of their more robust plans, priced between $39-59/agent per month.

Intercom

Live Chat with Shared Inbox


Intercom is a live chat & messenger platform layered into a shared inbox. Agents can answer live chat conversations and emails from one place, as well as see the activity of other agents. This interface is well-designed and keeps things centralized for efficient collaboration.


Intercom offers some add-on features that support products that require onboarding and  automated lead generation. These are rather pricey but could be a good investment as your sales and team grow.

Features

  • Rules for automated messaging to proactively capture sales
  • Notes, Mentions, & Anti - Collision - effective collaboration in chat and on tickets.
  • Chatbot with self-service features
  • Centralized support of ticketing and chat

Pricing

Intercom has split plans based on the exclusion or inclusion of their automation features. Without automation, plans range from $39-99/month. When automation is included, pricing jumps to $499-999/month. It is notable that you cannot utilize almost any of their integrations with their plans that exclude automation, making Intercom a pricier option.

Crisp

Live Chat with CRM


Crisp is a less Ecommerce-focused chat app that touts its support for small businesses and has some very unique features. Like other live chats they offer integrations with social media messengers, SMS, and email - but instead of offering a ticketing system, they have a CRM program for customer communication outside of chat. I won’t get into the CRM system, but a live chat and CRM combo may be the right choice for a service-based product.


While they don’t have a true ticketing system, Crisp does offer a shared inbox so your agents can communicate across all channels from a central location. A shared inbox won’t have all the bells and whistles of a dedicated helpdesk - but is a good option if your agents mainly delegate leads to a sales team (rather than utilizing the inbox to resolve customer issues directly).


The main chat features that get me excited is the ability to live video chat and co-browse. Those in customer support know that it can be difficult to understand and resolve an issue over text-based communication. By enabling a face-to-face chat and/or viewing your customer’s screen, issues can be solved much quicker and with less frustration.

Features

  • Automated messaging - proactive customer service that increases leads 
  • Integrated knowledge base - get common questions answered immediately
  • Video chat - personalized and unique service
  • Co-Browsing - see what your customer sees for better assistance

Pricing

If you want to give chat a try to see how that channel works for you as you’re getting started, Crisp offers a free plan for up to 2 agents. Unlike most live chats, their pricing is per website, rather than per agent. Their Pro plan is priced at $25 per month for 1 website, but limits you to 4 agents. Their unlimited plan is $95 per website, but does not limit the number of agents. If your brand will continue to operate just one store as you grow, Crisp could be a good option for your live chat.

Next Steps

Now comes the time to prioritize what you need in your helpdesk features and determine a budget to narrow down your options. Once you have your top choices, it is time to reach out to sign up for a demo of each helpdesk. 


Helpdesks usually offer a guided demo and then a free trial so you can try out the helpdesk yourself. You should read through their onboarding literature, play around with the different settings and features, and run some messaging tests to see how easy it is to use. This is the ideal time to consider how you will want to organize your team and incoming inquiries within the system and anticipate issues you may need to address. 


Make sure that your customer service team, marketing team, operations team, and (depending on size) c-suite are all looking at the final 2-3 options and asking questions on how it changes their business processes, before committing.



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About the author

Derric Haynie is the host of “The Future of Ecommerce” podcast and Chief Ecommerce Technologist at Ecommercetech.io – Where Ecommerce stores go to research, discover, and buy the right tools to grow their store. Half of his day is spent reviewing tech tools, and the other half is talking with merchants to help them discover which solutions are right for them. When he’s not doing that, you can find him speaking, networking, or grabbing a drink at any of your favorite Ecommerce events.