As a small business owner in 2024, you need to keep up with the times or get left behind. One of the easiest ways to do that in today’s world is to lean on IT customer service tools.

These tools are nearly ubiquitous in today’s always-online world. We interact with IT customer service tools whenever we talk to a customer service agent, peruse a company’s social media feeds or even just place an order.

The reality is if you’re not leaning on the proven effectiveness of IT customer service tools to make your customer service more efficient and effective, you’re going to fall behind your competitors.

In this guide, we’ll cover 10 tools that pretty much any small business should include in their IT infrastructure, as well as some links to some of the most reputable providers in the industry.

1. Live Chat Software

Some of the most popular kinds of customer service tools are live chat applications and software. Live chat software allows businesses to offer real-time support to their customers directly on their websites, making direct communication with customers easy and efficient. In addition, many live chat offerings also function as central hubs for your customer service team to make sure no customer query is left unsolved.

Live chat software is particularly useful for customer service representatives looking to solve problems quickly and efficiently, as it allows for immediate answers for potential or existing clientele. Live chat tools can significantly enhance customer experience and increase conversion rates by providing instant assistance that improves overall customer satisfaction.

2. Help Desk Software

Similar to chatbots, help desk software is designed to help businesses manage and resolve customer support tickets efficiently. Help desks differ from live chat in that they offer a far more in-depth range of services – often IT help desk software includes live chat!

In 2024, help desk software is practically essential for customer support teams who handle inquiries, as it allows you to unify all incoming queries via website, email, social media, etc. Help desk tools help prioritize, track, and solve customer issues – it’s your customer service team casting a wide net to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

3. CRM Software

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is another critical piece of IT customer service software for any serious business in 2024.

Similar to how help desk software unifies all customer service-related issues and tickets in one place, CRM software helps businesses manage interactions with current and potential customers throughout the customer’s journey. CRM software is invaluable nowadays, especially for sales and marketing teams, enabling them to track leads, customer communication, and sales opportunities.

CRM tools are great for small businesses due to their potential to improve relationship management and sales processes. They are also essential for keeping your sales data all in one place, which can improve collaboration between various departments and teams. It’s just nice to have everything in one place, so everyone is on the same page.

4. Social Media Management Tools

Social media management tools help small businesses manage their presence across various social platforms. The big win for social media management tools is they free up a ton of time and energy for your team. Using social media management tools allows your customer service team to continue nurturing and growing your customer base in a way that’s clever, consistent, and easy.

These tools are crucial for small businesses: they provide a way to directly reach your audience but without the burden of having to do the day-to-day posting that is necessary for social media success. Social media management tools help keep things organized and professional, allowing your small business to schedule posts, engage with followers, and analyze social media performance – freeing up time and energy for other things, while also growing your online presence.

  • Sprout Social: Manages all social interactions and offers valuable insights.
  • Hootsuite: Enables managing all your social media profiles from one dashboard.
  • Buffer: Best for scheduling posts and managing accounts.

5. Customer Feedback Tools

If you don’t know what your customers’ problems are, how can you fix them? Customer feedback tools are absolutely crucial for small businesses who rely on making individual customers happy, as it allows you to learn exactly what you need to do to improve.

Customer feedback tools are essential for gathering insights directly from customers about their experiences and expectations. These tools are must-haves for product teams and customer service managers looking to improve offerings and address customer needs effectively.

Tip: to encourage feedback, offering a small discount or coupon is often enough to get people “through the door”.

6. Email Marketing Software

If you’re not using email to market to your customers, what the heck are you doing?

Email marketing software enables businesses to send targeted emails to customers and prospects for an extremely low cost. It’s important now more than ever to grow your relationship with customers after the sale, and email allows you to do that for almost no cost.

Email customer service tools are essential for your marketing team, allowing them to promote products, share news, or engage customers through newsletters. They offer automation, segmentation, and analytics features, making them great for small businesses looking to optimize their email campaigns.

7. Knowledge Base Software

Knowledge-based software helps businesses create and manage a central repository of information that allows for easy access to critical information from both your team and the end customer.

A knowledge base is a centralized and easy-to-use place where customers can get the correct answers to their questions quickly. If you’re in an industry where your customer needs to be able to access your company’s information on a moment-to-moment basis, knowledge base software is essential.

8. Online Appointment Scheduling

Online appointment scheduling software automates the booking process, allowing customers to book appointments based on your availability, without you needing to delegate time, energy, or personnel to communicating, scheduling, and handling the inevitable minutiae of appointments with customers.

Appointment apps are particularly useful for service-based businesses and professionals like consultants, who need to manage appointments efficiently without the back-and-forth of traditional scheduling.

9. Chatbots

Like live chat, but far less personal, Chatbots provide automated, 24/7 customer support.

At the current moment, chatbots are rather rudimentary and act more like conversational FAQ pages – they answer common questions and guide users through website navigation.

In general, chatbots are particularly beneficial for customer support teams looking to offer instant responses but lack the funding to provide such a service. They’re great for small businesses as they reduce the workload required of your customer service team, allowing them to spend their time and energy somewhere else than answering repeat questions.

While far from perfect, most small businesses should have a chatbot, especially for how cheap they are. When implemented correctly, chatbots can greatly enhance customer experience, especially for small businesses aiming to provide scalable support.

Do Small Businesses Actually Need These Customer Service Tools?

Any small business owner knows that there’s very little you can’t accomplish with a clear plan and a good work ethic. Chances are you already have a system that seems to be working – so why fix what ain’t broken?

Well, the truth is that even if you’re not evolving with the times by adopting IT customer service tools like these – your competitors most certainly are.

You may not be feeling the pain now, or even in five years, but you will in time as the capabilities of these tools only grow – becoming easier to use and producing better results. If your goal for your business is long-term success and growth, there’s no excuse to not introduce these customer service tools into your current workflow.
Sure, you may not need any of these customer service tools right now, and sure, it will take some time for your employees to learn and adopt them, but trust us: you’ll be thanking yourself in the future.