You could spend months conducting research about SaaS business solutions. No matter what you need to do, there's software for it. Marketing? There’s a SaaS for that. Sales? There’s a SaaS for that. Payroll? You guessed it!
While many of them are certainly helpful, the process of comparing products can become overwhelming — especially when you already have a full To Do list regarding actual job tasks. And while you may be tempted to put some of them on the back burner, when it comes to customer service, you can’t afford to set it aside. After all, a significant portion of consumers is willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
To make this process easier for you, let’s take a look at two of the most popular customer service tools: HubSpot and Zendesk. What makes each of them stand out? And how do you know which one would be best for your business?
HubSpot’s Service Hub is designed around providing an extraordinary customer experience. To do this it collects data from your website visitors and contacts, such as the content they visit the most, preferences, and previous communications, so that you can provide tailored service that best meets their needs.
Some of their most useful features include:
HubSpot Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
HubSpot’s CRM keeps all of a contact’s data in one centralized location. This helps your team approach every communication within context, without the need to ask a contact to repeat their story, or transfer them from department to department.
You can also segment your contacts on the CRM so that you can send them relevant communications. For example: sales qualified leads, existing customers who use XYZ features, or former customers, to name a few. This increases the likelihood that they’ll engage with your communications, since what you’re messaging about is useful to their specific circumstances.
You can set up specific user behaviors that will trigger a particular communication. For example, someone who submits an inquiry may receive a confirmation email, as well as additional resources where they may get a quicker response. You can also preset follow up emails to get their feedback about their experience with your company.
Live Chat and Conversational Bots
While complex issues will likely require the undivided attention from one of your team members, some leads and customers may have a quick question — or one your team gets frequently enough that they can answer with their eyes closed. HubSpot offers the ability to answer in real time with live chat, as well as implement conversational bots to free up your agents’ time for more complicated questions. You can also use them to provide 24/7 support.
Some people prefer to look for answers on their own. And while regular search engines may provide them with a treasure trove of information, it can be out of context, or they may even find contradictory information. HubSpot’s knowledge base tools let you create a resource library that’s specifically relevant to your goods and services.
Customer Service Portal
Another way to give customers control over their accounts with you is to give them access to all the information they need, when they need it. They can browse through past communications, previous purchases, project status, and anything else pertaining to their services. This lets them get what they need, as well as fosters transparency.
There are many ways to collect payments from customers. And while you can certainly implement any of them to your website, using HubSpot Payments means that you’re not delegating the responsibility to yet another third party. The platform is secure, and makes it easy to send payment links through email, text, or live chat.
You can get started with HubSpot’s CRM for free, and the service hub has several tiers, starting at $45 per month, and going up to $1,200 a month for an enterprise account.
Zendesk is another excellent way to improve relationships and communications between businesses and customers. Some of their more noteworthy features include:
Zendesk allows an organization to communicate and create tickets from various channels, including social media, mobile devices, phones, and email. This customer support tool places all customer interactions into one brilliant interface for a seamless process.
The software comes with built-in routing intelligence that ensures tickets get sent to the right person with the required expertise. You first have to set up skill categories, and the software uses that information to match it to customer service requests. Agents who don’t have the needed skills won’t see the customer ticket requests, so that no one wastes their time.
Zendesk enables you to create multiple self-service options for your customers, including a help center and a community forum, so that they can get quick answers and browse through similar issues experienced by other Zendesk users.
Zendesk’s chat bot, Answer Bot, uses artificial intelligence to handle low priority tickets. If the issue needs to be escalated, then it routes it to one of your customer service reps — sharing transcripts of every communication, so that your team members can approach the transaction within context. Answer Bot can also be set up to communicate with clients in multiple languages.
Pricing starts at $49 a month for their starter tier, and it ranges up to $215 a month for their enterprise plan.
Reviewing the pros and cons of HubSpot Service Hub and Zendesk will give you a deeper understanding of both softwares. This will aid you in your decision making process so you can choose the best for your customer support team.
Here are some of the pros and cons that have been taken from real-life users:
HubSpot Service Hub Pros and Cons
Take a look at a few of the pros and cons for the Service Hub:
- The Surveys portion of the Service Hub makes it easy to capture and manage customer expectations right away.
- It is easy to combine HubSpot CRM features with the service desk.
- The ticket filtering system is convenient and easy, and it allows you to duplicate or mere tickets seamlessly.
- Includes a free for life version.
- A closed ticket isn’t reopened when a customer responds after closeout, which means response can be missed.
- The team inbox can get confusing because it is difficult to define who is specifically responsible for each email.
Zendesk Pros and Cons
- The software is highly functional, and it makes it easy to run a smooth and efficient help desk.
- It’s highly customizable and can be adapted to fit your brand’s needs.
- Provides you with a centralized hub to process and handle support tickets.
- The routing function and tracking is sometimes slow.
- It is difficult to set up automations.
- Pricing shoots up for the features you really need with the Enterprise plan.
Purchasing new customer service software takes careful consideration. You want to make sure your customer support team can use the new tool fully to create better customer experiences for your clients.
Here are some key aspects for you to think about before you purchase HubSpot or Zendesk:
Be realistic about what you are willing to pay for a great service software.
Introductory prices and free trial versions for software are enticing, but keep in mind the future expenses. You often need to purchase add-ons and upgrades to be able to use all of the wonderful features a customer support tool has to offer.
HubSpot has an enticing free forever guarantee that allows you to use a good amount of service features without any costs.
Consider all the pricing factors as you shop around for software to ensure you get all the features you need in one package with a flat price.
Integration and Customization Options
When choosing a ticketing and service software, you need to consider the tools you will be working with in conjunction with the new software. Your support and service software should allow for integrations to make your workflows seamless.
Also look for options to customize areas like reports, dashboards, and self-service areas. This will help you to provide the precise type of support you want your customers to have.
Your software is most likely going to store important data such as private customer information. Security is important so you can help protect your customers’ information. Search for a tool that assigns role-based permissions.
This helps to limit access to certain areas within the software. You may also want to select a help desk with two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.
Also consider your industry-specific federal and state laws and regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR. HubSpot is not compliant with HIPAA, so if you're one of the covered entities, you'll want to look at other options. Zendesk is not compliant right out of the box, but it can be configured for it. By the same token, HubSpot is compliant with GDPR.
Whether you have a small or large team, your customer service tool should facilitate successful collaboration between all teammates.
Search for a tool that truly helps everyone stay on the same page. Your goal should be to prevent any confusion about follow ups by selecting software that doesn’t let customer conversations get lost in the shuffle.
For instance, some customer service tools may issue a warning for tickets that have two agents working on them to prevent double follow up.
Reporting and Metrics Options
Providing service to your customers using your new software should reflect an increase in customer satisfaction. Your customers’ satisfaction is directly related to the quality of your support.
The best way to track the quality of your customer support is through easy-to-understand metrics and reports. Metrics provided through your help desk can shed light on your team’s most productive hours, response times, frequently asked topics, the customers that access the knowledge base articles, and which saved replies are used most frequently.
This insight is necessary for you to have so you can strategize and continue to provide great customer service.
After you take these elements into careful consideration, it's time to look at the reviews to see what real users are saying.
Need some more convincing to choose a customer service tool? Look no further than these real reviews from users on G2.
HubSpot Service Hub Reviews
"The system is easy to understand and easy to navigate. Filters are very useful and very nice interface. It is easy to add and remove a specific table headers whenever you need them.
"It is also very easy to find the items that you are looking for. There are also two views that I liked, the table view and the board view. I can always switch to any of them whenever I want to, which really helps me in doing and finishing my tasks.
- Alvin M.
"I really like how customizable the ticketing process can be. There was a small learning curve, but all our CS reps were able to use the features quickly. Support on HubSpot's side is good with quick response and the feedback surveys are intuitive and helpful.
"The automation built in can really cut down on processing time and reduce our reps' workload. We've seen a big influx of new tickets and thankfully had things set up so we could handle things without spending too much time updating and changing a million fields."
- Lisa S.
"The formatting of the help center articles is very easy to use. I enjoy the tickets board, the group inbox, snippets are good. I like being able to see who has changed what. Quick assignment to others and then they get a notification or email about it.
"I don't have to keep nagging or asking if someone is following a case or completing their task. Especially with customer success, needing to know everyone's situation and internal backstory before reaching out and maintaining engagement, need to know what issues they are having and how is solving what."
- Aaron E
“The back end management system is extremely user friendly and takes little to no previous training to figure out. You are also able to download the app to your phone for on-the-go customer support when not in the office. This is extremely useful and helps us maintain 24 hour support as best as possible.”
- Corey V.
“Zendesk makes it easy to contact customers and follow up with them. It provides great tools to maximize productivity by assessing clearly what tasks need to be prioritized. Metrics like the service level, the ratings, and the number of actioned tickets also allow us to constantly improve and maximize our performance.”
- Aicha B
“There's a lot of things about Zendesk that are great. For example, it helps you in your daily job. It is a great way to manage or take control of how you work because you can use it with Ujet and you can change from available to unavailable to meal, break, and training or meeting.
"All of the things you need to get and to look for on your customer's account and batches or tickets I use it daily for my job. It is a really essential tool to use and it is a very necessary site in order to get my work done and do it properly. I really enjoy working with Zendesk and having it help me to get my job done and have it done in order while it takes care of my accounts.”
- Luis M
As you can see, both of these tools have some excellent features that you can take advantage of. The one you select should be based on your customer service goals and the needs of your customer support teams.
Let us show you how HubSpot’s service hub tools can help your business. As an Elite Partner Agency, we are thoroughly familiar with their tools and can help you figure out how to best align them with your business goals. Get a free HubSpot audit, along with a comprehensive list of actionable steps to move forward with confidence.