Ultimate Guide to Customer Support Apps for Shopify

Best Customer Support Apps

Customer support is one of the top challenges ecommerce brands have to address as it goes beyond providing just goods and services. It’s more about identifying what your customers truly want and which customer support apps work for your business. 

So, what do your customers really want? 

They want a solid customer experience—with 62% of customers even willing to pay 5% more for it. But at the same time, 74% of customers with a poor customer service experience will quickly shift to your competitor. US businesses alone lose $35.3 billion in customer churn.

Then the question arises, what’s a good and a bad customer support experience? 

Customers desire highly personalized and empathetic customer support with quick resolution of their problems. It pays off, too: customer loyalty increases 2.4 times if their issues are addressed quickly and efficiently.

The problem is meeting the demands of speed and personalization within a reasonable budget. You’ll require a considerable customer support staff, coming with a hefty price tag if done manually.

The solution is to leverage AI-powered customer support apps for Shopify. Customer support apps make customer service affordable for you without compromising the quality of the customer experience.

What is customer support software?

Customer support software is a tool to help you communicate with your customers effectively. You can collect customer data, organize customer support requests, and keep track of the communication in one place with it. Having such systems in place for customer communication results in a better customer experience.

Where it began

Customer support has been a part of businesses historically. However, in the past, it was only limited to providing goods. 

Businesses were concentrated locally, catering to people within the same local area. So, customers had personal connections with the local vendors, which led to quick problem resolution. Yet, customers had limited options and had to stick to the local businesses, whether they liked it or not. 

The advent of the telephone and internet changed the face of customer support dramatically. People got exposed to more options via social media, referrals transcending geographical limitations, and online forums. They can now make well-informed decisions before purchasing any product or service. 

This leads to growing competition among businesses to acquire and retain customers. You must have a differentiator that goes beyond your product. The only viable option is to develop a strategic customer support system to increase customer satisfaction, thereby cultivating brand loyalty.

Types of customer support

From telephones to AI-driven chat, you can choose different channels to provide support to your customers. The best-fit channel depends on your business type and your presence on the internet. Here are the most popular channels:

1. Telephone: This used to be the go-to support channel before the internet made its way. It’s still effective as customers can discuss elaborative issues on the call, and the customer rep can assist them properly. It’s especially beneficial for older customers who might not be familiar with modern technology. 

Make sure you highlight your available hours on your website along with the number. For example, this is how we’ve highlighted our availability on our website:

Highlight your available hours
Highlight your available hours

2. Live Chat: Live chat is an efficient customer support system that outweighs a telephonic conversation in aspects like speed and efficiency. Your existing and potential customers can contact the support team via your website to receive a response instantly. The highlighted section is an example of live chat:

Live chat example
Gorgias live chat example

3. Email: Emails are best suited for issues that might require an in-depth response. It also saves customers time as they can leave a message and don’t have to wait for a long time to get a rep assigned.  This is the contact page of MESA, filling which the customer will receive an email response:

Customer support email example
Customer support email example

4. Self-service: Customers are increasingly moving towards a self-service approach to solving their issues. In a survey, 88% of customers wanted to see companies having self-service support. Having a self-serve system gives your business an upper hand in customer service. It comes in the form of FAQs or knowledge base, chatbots, video tutorials, and informative articles.  

For example, this is the knowledge base of MESA with the option to search for the desired term:

Self-service example
Self-service example

Why customer support is important

Retaining your customers is 6-7 times cheaper and more profitable than acquiring new ones. To be precise, an increase of 5% in customer retention can increase your profits by a whopping 25%. 

The reason is that the longer a customer stays with you, the higher their lifetime value. So, you’ve generated more value from the same customer without spending any extra dollars on customer acquisition cost (CAC). Excellent customer service helps you create a positive experience for your existing customers and keep them satisfied. 

What’s more, every bad customer experience is an opportunity for you to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one. With fast customer service, you can still manage to keep a customer even if you’ve failed to meet their expectations. 96% of shoppers would stay with a brand if they sincerely apologized for a mistake.

The trends in 2022 are pointing towards the need for dependable customer service even more:

  • Multiple options for customers: With the explosive growth of ecommerce, customers now have a variety of options to choose from. The size of the ecommerce market in the US alone was $768 billion in 2021. Your churn rate will quickly increase if you fail to establish a trustworthy brand reputation. 
  • Increased customer support demand: The effects of the pandemic like product shortages and overburdened delivery are likely to continue in 2022. This will continue to cause a flood of customer service queries. Being prepared beforehand will help you cater to the increased demand.
  • Demand for self-service tools: Over 88% of shoppers expect businesses to have an online self-service support portal in 2022. With this shift in the support-seeking channel, your ecommerce store must have a knowledge base ready to tap into this large audience. 

The future of customer support apps

Customer support has been ever-evolving with the introduction of new technology. Here’s how you can see it developing in the future:

  • Demand for personalization: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, customers will want an increased degree of personalization. 
  • Use of AI: The use of AI, which has been the topic of discussion for many years, has already started materializing. They won’t replace the human office staff but instead help them amplify effective customer service interactions with less effort. 
  • Precise customer data collection: Understanding your customers and their needs are the foundation of providing high-quality, consistent customer service. With the development in technology and analytics tools, we’ll see new ways to collect, connect, and use customer data more effectively. 

Which customer support apps are the best?

Plenty of apps help you maintain a healthy bond with your customers by providing top-tier customer services. Here are some of them:

1. Gorgias

Gorgias is a help desk for ecommerce stores, which gives your customers multichannel customer support. But you don’t have to juggle between apps to fulfill the customer tickets as you can manage all the activities in a single app of Gorgias.

Gorgias homepage
Gorgias homepage

Pros:

  • Easily manage the tickets from one spot.
  • Integrate it with 30+ apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Klaviyo, and Yotpo.
  • Integrate it with Shopify, Magneto, and BigCommerce if needed. 

Gorgias offers you multiple templates for automation for free. For example, you can automate raising a support ticket whenever a customer leaves a negative Yopto review.

Gorgias workflow template
Gorgias workflow template

2. Help Scout

Help Scout is an all-in-one customer service solution, providing live chat, email support, in-app messaging, and a knowledge base. 

Gorgias homepage
Gorgias homepage

Pros

  • Intuitive and clean interface for tracking and replying to customer tickets
  • Onboard new users easily
  • Integrate with 90+ apps for all the features available
  • Quickly scale as you grow
  • Personalize customer experience and create optimal individual performance

Use cases

  • Translate your knowledge base into the language of your choice
  • Plug webinars in the in-app messages for an upcoming event
  • Collaborate with your team by sending private notes
  • Send personalized emails and create templates for self-serve help

3. Zendesk

Zendesk is a customer-centric CRM tool with customer support and customer engagement features. It provides powerful and innovative customer experiences to companies regardless of their size. 

Zendesk homepage
Zendesk homepage

Pros

  • Handle support, sales, and general inquiries at the same place.
  • Create file requests automatically.
  • Divide communications into groups or departments depending on a variety of criteria.
  • Create a branded knowledge base for your employees, users, and customers. 
  • Integrate with not only apps but themes and partners, too. 
  • Perform customer satisfaction surveys and reports powerfully.

Use Cases

  • Maintain a detailed record of essential activities such as repairs, deliveries, replacements, and the history and health of your customer-focused assets and connected devices.
  • For better-tailored experiences, get a complete picture of the customer journey across all touchpoints, including third-party apps and external systems.
  • Account hierarchies and user interactions between your customers, partners, and sellers are modeled to reflect how your marketplace functions.
  • Knowing the complete product and order lifecycle in connection to each customer helps you manage orders, delivery, and warranties.
  • Capture user activity and click routes to gain a deeper understanding of in-product behavior, resulting in the type of data that can assist enterprises in guiding users to their desired destinations.

How to implement customer support

Once you have your customer support app set up, it’s time to implement the service with some best practices:

1. Maintain transparency with customers

Transparency breeds trust, value, and loyalty. To maintain transparency, a solid rule of thumb is to set clear expectations from the get-go to make sure your customers know exactly what they’ll receive. 

If you’re expecting to deliver a product in X number of days, don’t promise faster delivery than that. Once an expectation is set, you can’t go below it. Instead, underpromise by giving a delivery time including a buffer, then strive to over-deliver within the X number of days itself. 

2. What is customer support automation?

Successful customer support thrives on speed and efficiency. As you scale your customer base, the grievances and queries will increase accordingly. Customer support automation is the only way to deal with such a situation effectively.

Customer support automation is leveraging technology to automate repeatable tasks that your team performs manually. Templatizing such tasks will free up your team’s time and allow them to take up tasks demanding their attention.

For example, you can:

  • Streamline the return process with a form on your customer’s order page. Once a customer submits their details, you can directly start processing the return, taking away the back and forth between the customer and your support executive.
  • Send team alerts to your email and Slack channel automatically. After setting up a form on your website to capture leads or general inquiries, you can redirect the responses to your team’s Slack channel directly.
  • Collect and analyze customer data with a single integration of your customer support app with a data analytics tool.
  • Segment and prioritize tickets based on customer needs and provide a personalized experience. You can segment the customers based on your chosen factors such as location, product or plan, and average order value. 
  • Auto-assign and unassign tickets to available agents.

Here’s how the workflow of a return works in MESA’s integration with Gorgias:

Automate customer support
Automate customer support

3. Implement empathy-driven customer support

Empathy-driven customer support is the key to a close and personal bond with your customers. Empathy in customer service means understanding your customer’s problems from their perspective and interacting humanly. 

When you pay extra attention to identifying your customer’s needs and tailor a solution to them, you make them feel heard and valued. Remember, robots can never replace the personal human touch, which keeps your customers engaged and loyal to your brand for a long time. 

ClickUp, a project management tool, leads by example. To every customer grievance or request, they reply as a human rather than a robot-generated reply. See, for example, how ClickUp uses empathy-driven phrases such as “totally hear you” when answering a question: 

Empathy driven customer support
Empathy driven customer support

Customer support automation is the key to your business growth

While customer support has traditionally been seen as an extra expense for the business, new reports are debunking this belief. Today, 64% of customer service and support leaders aim to grow the business with their service. As customer retention and the customer value generated via customer support increases, the ‘cost’ pays for itself. 

For example, providing excellent customer support can increase your company revenue by more than 20%, with a boost in net profit margins.

Overall, follow these two strategies to enhance your customer support:

  • Identify patterns in the customer base and create strategies to attend to different customer needs. For example, a new customer requires more support than an old one.
  • Leverage customer data to identify customers who might require more assistance. You can mine past data and analyze the similarities among customers to estimate their needs.

With MESA, you can join 500+ other brands and harness cutting-edge software to perfect your customer support automation and retain more customers. Try the Gorgias integration with MESA to get started with customer support automation.

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