What is the best, simplest customer service platform out there?
September 25, 2012 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a Customer Service online platform for a new startup.

I work at an internet startup that deals in content management - like a very early version of Tumblr. We expect to have clients in late December. I used to work in more of a content role but as we have a small team, I have been asked to lead Customer Service. I have never worked in customer service before, much less on the internet, so I am not familiar with what is available.

So far, I am in trial versions of Desk.com and Zendesk.com.

Our needs: I want something extremely user-friendly. Desk.com is very complex and may be more than what we need. ZenDesk is nicer looking and easier to understand, but I am still having a hard time figuring out how to do what.

Any other suggestions? I prefer options with a free trial period so I can evaluate it thoroughly. This is for a small startup - I estimate having 1-2 clients per week starting in December, maybe going up to 15 by January, with a max of about 200. I wouldn't want to have to stop using it completely with a larger volume - but that is lower priority for now.

We would like to have a Support page on our website with some guides, an FAQ page, and perhaps a form to submit a ticket. Live chat would be nice but it's not a requirement. We're flexible on price but nothing too crazy ($50 - $100 a month may be in our budget, but not more than that)

Any suggestions?
posted by amicamentis to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't need to reply via email, check out Assistly.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:17 PM on September 25, 2012

I'm going to put a vote in for ZenDesk. It gave a lot of structure to my support business and when I was setting it up, I was able to pick up a phone and ask my question. This was invaluable. They also had webinars and videos that helped me decide which of their features I needed to implement now, and which I could grow into.
posted by Wild_Eep at 2:29 PM on September 25, 2012

We've done all of the above with Zendesk, and I'm currently working on customising it even more, including moving all of our Help pages from our site to Zendesk. The more I use it, the more I like it, and it's certainly the easiest customer-facing option.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:14 PM on September 25, 2012

(Assistly was purchased by desk.com and they are the same product now.)
posted by thatone at 6:29 PM on September 25, 2012

I've been really happy with Zendesk.
posted by TimeDoctor at 1:48 AM on September 28, 2012

Hello Amicamentis –

Congratulations on starting a business and getting customer support set up at the beginning of that process -- the lack of customer service is one of the main reasons new startups have challenges getting off the ground. I like that you’re looking for something user-friendly and, based on your needs, here are some key elements you should look for during your trial period:

• An “out-of-the-box” support center where your customers can go 24/7 to find their own answers. The ideal support center is easy to set up and has blog-like editing tools, but also has a full content management system backing it. Today your support team is small (mostly you!), so you want it to be easy to edit. But you also want it to be easy for other team members, such as your devs, to be able to add content. You should look for a provider that has a help center built-in and has a team that can help you set it up quickly -- and your tool of choice should have a widget built-in so your customers can submit tickets directly from a form on your website.

• A platform that lets you support your customers across all channels, including social channels. Social media is an important aspect to any startup, and having a single tool to help you organize customer activity across key channels will take a huge weight off your shoulders as you try to build this new business. During your trial, you should connect an inbound support email address as well as your company Twitter account and your Facebook business page -- so you can put all your customer interactions in one place. And when you’re ready to add live chat, that should be included too.

• A company that cares about customer service as much as you do. During your trial, you should take the time to test out each provider’s own ability to support you through the implementation process. You need to make sure you are working with a company that understands you as a buyer and has the right customer service orientation that you are looking to provide to your own clients.

I hope this helps your efforts. Again, congratulations on your new endeavor.

Sam Twombly.
posted by Stwombly at 10:32 AM on October 9, 2012

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