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What Is Service CRM? a Breakdown of the 10 Best Options

Michael Scheiner
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Today, customer service CRM software is a necessary tool for any business. That’s because, more than ever, service and support departments are at the forefront of a company’s success. Customer success depends on synergizing customer service representatives with the rest of the company. Generating valuable customer data is integral to this process.

The best CRM as a service has unique and dedicated service and support features, helps guarantee the customer’s experience is amazing at every brand touchpoint. To learn all about the CRM for service business, you've come to the right place.

 

 

CRM service comparison chart (top 10 CRM tools for customer service)

To really up your customer relationship management service knowledge, take a look at this overview of amazing CRM tools for customer service. We even point out what each CRM services are best for which company size or focus.

 

Service CRM tool

Best for

Pricing starts at

Website

Agile CRM

Best CRM for customer service overall

$9.99 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

HubSpot Service Hub

Best free CRM for customer service

$45 per month, billed annually

Visit

SugarCRM Serve

Top service CRM tool for case management tracking

$80 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

Freshdesk

Great free customer service system for startups

$15 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

Creatio Service

Good customer service CRM for large business

$45 per user/per month

Visit

Zendesk

Great customer service CRM for small business

$19 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

Maximizer

Top CRM for customer service for customer retention

$29 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

Bitrix24

Great customer service CRM for customer interactions

$39 per month, billed annually

Visit

CentraHub CRM

Good customer service CRM for workflow automation

$16 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

Salesforce Service Cloud

Good service CRM to work with sales and marketing

$25 per user/per month, billed annually

Visit

 

 

Why use a CRM for customer service & support?

A CRM customer service and support is first and foremost a tool to make work more efficient. Here are some of the key features and benefits you get from a customer service CRM system.

Faster turnaround to support customer queries

By broadening the channels of communication, customers can get quicker and more convenient access to help any time, any place, anyhow. When service reps have all the necessary information about the customer, the order and the issue, they’ll waste much less time fixing the problem. Repeated issues can lead to re-usable solutions, and workflows can automate common tasks. Great platforms also have a mobile app, so reps can always be available to assist.  

Real-time data sharing of customer’s queries with your entire support team

Marketing, sales and service might have different roles and skills, but all are dealing with the same contacts and customers. Each department gathers unique data based on their interactions, and this data only adds to more robust customer profiles that benefit agents from other departments. Service is unique because it needs as much info as possible to do a great job, but also collects deeper data other departments might never get at.

View a complete history of customer’s interaction

Personalization is a huge aspect of good customer support experience. When someone reaches out to support, a CRM will display a detailed history of all customer engagement including their list of purchases and any past issues they may have had. This helps reps skip the tiresome intros and get right down to the business of helping. A CRM for customer service and support also makes it easier to identify problems, and of course, reduce the chance of old problems repeating. For best customer service software this article has great information.

Real-time analytics of support queries

Customer relationship management tools are all about accumulating and storing data to improve the customer experience. The kind of data gathered by service and support departments isn’t only about identifying and anticipating problems, it can also be invaluable for marketing and sales. Great analytics and reporting features are necessary for service CRM.  

Knowledge base for customers

A dedicated service CRM isn’t only about empowering reps to help more people in less time, it also sets up a system whereby customers can help themselves quickly and with little effort. FAQs and knowledge bases are easily organized using past service CRM data, and they can be regularly updated and improved with little coding required. This frees up reps from handling simple tickets, and customers also get a friction-free experience when needing to resolve common issues. 

Learn customer’s pain points and issues

A company’s service department gets to see all sides of the customer experience, both the good and the bad. With a CRM for service, companies can get a higher-level picture of common issues and pain points. It also offers a more personal picture of individual customers or specific demographics, from which one can anticipate any future problems or plan new ways to delight current and potential customers.

Building improved relationships with customers

Goods and services are increasingly secondary to customer experience and fostering great relationships between people and the brands they love. It’s easy to win someone over with a great sale, but a more meaningful relationship is keeping people satisfied afterward, especially if things are not going as smoothly as planned. Customer service teams need all the tools and tech available to be the best relationship managers they can be, and sometimes that can mean having excellent customer service software to back you up.  

 

What is CRM in customer service exactly?

Customer relationship management and customer service go hand in hand. While software dedicated solely to customer service and support (CSS) does exist, service customer relationship software integrates CSS functions holistically—not as something tacked on at the end, but working with marketing and sales at every stage of the customer experience.

Better customer interaction translates to more returning customers. In other words, we should stop thinking of a one-way funnel, and visualize more of a circular journey—after a great service experience, a customer is primed to resume shopping.

Contacting support can at times be frustrating: having to ID yourself and explain your issue only to be put on hold or transferred and asked to repeat everything all over again.

Customer service in CRM system avoids these issues by providing service and support staff instant access to all relevant customer touchpoint information. This means not only less frustration but also faster resolutions. 

 

How a customer service CRM system works

So what are some of the key elements of service CRM? Firstly, information about the customer is captured by every department in the customer relationship management ecosystem so that it is accessible by the service reps.

Customers can contact support through all channels: phone, email, online forms, chatting and social media.

Once a customer reaches out, a “ticket” is created. This contains the customer details, the nature of the complaint, and suggestions to whom the ticket should go to, for example, problems logging into an account might go to IT; problems with delivery would go to shipping.

It might include details about the service-level agreement (SLA), which makes both rep and customer aware of what to expect regarding how long it might take for the issue to be addressed and resolved.  

A “workflow” organizes and automates the various steps toward resolution. Like, if the customer wants to return a broken item, workflows should trigger a task to inventory and shipping to promptly mail out a replacement.

At a later stage, customer service software can gather feedback about their service experience, which further boosts support quality for every future ticket.

 

What is the best customer service CRM software? Here’s our top 10 list:

Let’s not waste another moment before delving into these customer service CRM software. We break down the benefits and features of CRM tools for customer service and support, let you know if there are any cons, and show you service CRM pricing, along with whether there’s a free version.

 

Agile CRM (Best CRM for customer service overall)

The Agile CRM plans include bits of their customer service features along with other tools from sales and marketing, all tied together by a solid CRM base. The dashboards are easy-on-the-eye and the price is pretty competitive too.

Pros:

Agile CRM’s service features include Helpdesk, which segments types of customers based on previously-known issues then matches them to reps who have the most experience in that area. Even reps can be grouped into silos to quickly funnel the issue to the next available specialist. There’s service automation, which includes workflows and canned responses. They do chat pop-ups with anticipatory solutions. There’s a good telephony system that makes and records calls, plus auto-generates call logs and voicemail automation. Finally, there’s a feedback system to build up the knowledge base, and customer support analytics.

Cons:

While great for getting started, if your business plans to grow and scale up, this might be a bit limiting after a point.

Pricing:

  • There’s a free plan for 10 users

  • Starter plan is $9.99 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Regular plan is $39.99 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $64.99 per user/per month, billed annually

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HubSpot Service Hub (Best free CRM for customer service)

It's impossible to ignore HubSpot, the innovators of inbound marketing are now a total package, and that includes service and help desk software. HubSpot is famous for its ease of use, it's great resources to help you get the most of the platform, and finally, its free iterations.

Pros:

First and foremost, the Service Hub package gets you their CRM tools. The ticketing system lets you prioritize tickets, assign them to reps, and track their progress. You can get a chat widget to put on your site for live communication, and there's also VOIP for live phone talking. All other incoming messages from emails and chats arrive in a shared inbox, from where messages can be instantly turned into new tickets. There's a bot tool that can handle common problems, direct customers to a knowledge base, or route the issue to specific agents. Finally, HubSpot Service Hub reports on everything from ticket resolution stats to agent performance. 

Cons:

To really get into using this product, you really need to learn all the HubSpot inside lingo.

Pricing:

  • HubSpot offers a free plan

  • Starter plan starts at $45 per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan starts at $360 per month, billed annually 

  • Enterprise plan starts at $1,200 per month, billed annually

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SugarCRM Serve (Top service CRM tool for case management tracking)

SugarCRM brings together the usual suspects of marketing, sales, and service, but also includes IT. The software works independently but also functions inside Microsoft Outlook, syncing contacts, calendars, and tasks.

Pros:

Within their service product, Sugar sets up service-rep teams based on skills and experience. Workflows route the latest issues to the first available rep or specific cases to the most appropriate match. Sugar’s self-service portal is a place where customers can not only access the FAQ but also update their own customer information. The CRM system has a case-management and a bug-tracking tool, which gives all customer-facing staff both the full purchase history and other customer interaction details, as well as the genealogy of a specific bug as it may have arisen in multiple cases.

Cons:

This is really great for IT purposes, but not so much for more general customer interactions.

Pricing:

  • Serve plan is $80 per user/per month, billed annually

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Freshdesk by Freshworks (Great free customer service system for startups)

Freshdesk is great because of its modular position with a bunch of other “Fresh” platforms. For support, it’s a solid mix of tools, some to help reps get personal with contacts, others for automating tasks and letting customers use support resources on their own.

Pros:

Inbound tickets from every channel are unified for whole-team use, helping balance rep workload. Intelligent ticketing learns which rep is best suited to deal with each issue. Every ticket has rich contact profiles and histories of past service requests. You can link tickets, or split them. There are automation features for sending responses to customers. Freshdesk does auto-suggested solutions for common problems, or customers can search within a unified knowledge base. There’s reporting on everything from customer satisfaction to service rep performance.  

Cons:

The free plan is great for startups. But the better features are really in the paid plans.

Pricing:

  • Freshdesk offers a free plan

  • Growth plan is $15 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Pro plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $79 per user/per month, billed annually

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Creatio Service (Good customer service CRM for large business)

Creatio was formerly Bpm’online. Now it’s a full CRM solution for sales, marketing and service. This one’s great for scaling teams who need to work with lots of accounts in an omnichannel direction. Bonus points go to Creatio’s display views, which try to put data relevant to the task at hand front and center.

Pros:

With Creatio, you receive a total picture of all your accounts and contacts, including their locations on a map, social media profiles, and service histories. The single interface can be shared by teams, letting reps collaborate with customers across all channels. There’s smart data enrichment, which fills in missing info and constantly refreshes profiles. Creatio also helps you find new contacts through social media. You can group customers, and set up parameters to auto-segment them. It also provides analytics on customers, ticket issues or timeframes.

Cons:

A powerful platform, but because of this, there can be a bit of a steep learning curve to master all the tools.

Pricing:

  • Customer Center Cloud plan is $45 per user/per month 

  • Service Enterprise Cloud plan is $60 per user/per month

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Zendesk (Great customer service CRM for small business)

Zendesk has evolved into a suite of services including Zendesk Support. It’s advertised as being out-of-box ready, but it’s also highly customizable. By combining support, guide, chat and call center modules, this is a pretty-near complete package, good for both big and small businesses or independent operators.

Pros:

A customer context tool makes sure all reps have the relevant details on any contact creating a ticket. The ticket system does a straightforward job handling the issuing and prioritizing of support tickets sourced from multiple channels like web, email, and social media. Users can create custom macro responses, or populate the knowledge base of FAQs. You can get customer satisfaction ratings and other analytics. There's also a visual WYSIWYG editor for creating common resources like wikis.

Cons:

As a helpdesk tool this is great, but as a basic customer relationship management platform it could be lightweight.

Pricing:

  • Support Team plan is $19 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Support Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Support Enterprise plan is $99 per user/per month, billed annually

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Maximizer (Top CRM for customer service for customer retention)

Maximizer CRM for service is one part of the trinity (which includes sales and marketing), and one price gets you the whole package. This is a very professional-looking tool, and even the service features have an eye toward helping sales. It can be hosted on their cloud or on-premises too.

Pros:

It starts with syncing all your CRM data from Gmail or Outlook. There’s an intelligent address book where every contact with all their info is readily accessible, and you can upload and store documents there too. Maximizer shows you all related contacts, for example, grouped by job, industry or location. Multiple-step solutions can be standardized and reused as templates. There are triggers for alerts and notification tools that can be customized. They also have a reporting dashboard, and can handle phone call logging. 

Cons:

The look and feel leave a bit to be desired. Also the less expensive plan is limited to one agent.

Pricing:

  • Small Office plan is $29 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Business Plus plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually

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Bitrix24 (Great customer service CRM for customer interactions)

Bitrix24 is a business-class CRM with equal emphasis on sales and marketing. The customer support and contact center have loads of features that could take some time to master, but once the learning is done, the opportunities are plentiful. There’s a good telephony feature too.

Pros:

With Bitrix24, you can manage incoming support issues from live chats, emails, phone calls, social media and messenger apps all in one place. It’s easy to monitor tickets based on priority, status and SLA details. There are simple auto-reply features to offer customers basic information with custom-canned answers. Open tickets and conversations can be routed to the right rep, shared between reps, or transferred during the resolution process. Finally, you can use this CRM system as an online call center complete with phone routing and recording.

Cons:

The Bitrix24 stack of tools is quite big, and at times it could seem a tad overwhelming, which means it takes time to master.

Pricing:

  • Bitrix24 offers a free plan

  • Basic plan starts at $39 per month, billed annually

  • Standard plan starts at $76 per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan starts at $152 per month, billed annually

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CentraHub CRM (Good customer service CRM for workflow automation)

CentraHub CRM is a pretty robust package in itself, even without being linked up with CentraHub’s other modules. They’re aimed at some specific verticals, like for real estate, retail, project management and more. The survey features are a nice added touch.

Pros:

CentraHub’s contact and customer database has the usual data and purchase histories, as well as useful indicators like ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ and product catalogs with warranty info or contract terms. Incoming tickets from email, social media or web forms go into a single platform where they can be grouped or routed individually. You can make workflows to help common issues or direct customers to knowledge bases. There are metrics for ticket stats or your team’s performance. Finally, they have survey features to monitor customer satisfaction.  

Cons:

There is a lot worth praising here, but the basic drawback is that you’ll need the pricier plans to get the best it has to offer,

Pricing:

  • Startup plan is $16 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan is $30 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $50 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Ultimate plan is $83 per user/per month, billed annually

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Salesforce Service Cloud (Good service CRM to work with sales and marketing)

Salesforce has been a huge name as a CRM platform to streamline contact management for sales teams. The Salesforce total package has functionality for marketing automation, lead management and service management.

Pros:

Salesforce has lots of contact information, messaging and chatbots team members can use to stay proactive with your customer service department, including lots of customization. Like many CRM offers, the service module helps solve customer issues quickly and boosts customer retention. There is a robust AI tool called Einstein for more advanced support management tools.

Cons:

Compared to some other service CRM packages, this seems a bit pricier on the essentials end of the tiers.

Pricing:

  • Essentials plan is $25 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan is $75 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $150 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Unlimited plan is $300 per user/per month, billed annually

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What is the best customer support CRM for me? Our final points

Each customer relationship management system for service and support on this list deserves some recognition. So it’s important to understand your needs when it comes to choosing customer service CRM systems.

In the end, just as marketing, sales, and support departments strive to be more closely connected, so should the features of customer service and support software remain part of a larger CRM ecosystem.

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