Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How Francis Ford Coppola’s Rewards Program Connects Customers Across the Entire Brand Portfolio

Brands with multiple entities may find it challenging to connect their customers across their entire portfolio. The Francis Ford Coppola family of brands, which includes wineries, restaurants, resorts, and cafes made the investment in loyalty to unify its brands and reward customers for spending and engaging across all touchpoints.

Cat Rossi, Senior Director of Brand & Content Marketing at CrowdTwist, recently sat down with Rebecca Gilbert, Senior Brand Manager at Francis Ford Coppola, to discuss how Coppola is leveraging loyalty to create brand-authentic experiences that foster emotional loyalty. Here are the main takeaways:

Create one program that spans across all entities

With so many different business units, it’s valuable for Coppola to have a loyalty program that connects the brands across the entire portfolio. A Coppola consumer can interact with the brand in many different ways whether that be online, at a winery or restaurant, on social media, or in a grocery store. Before launching the loyalty program, Francis Ford Coppola had no way of capturing this customer behavior or rewarding their customers throughout their entire journey. 

Because members can earn points across all business units, the program encourages customers to explore more of Francis Ford Coppola’s offerings. Being able to interact and communicate with consumers across the entire profile allows the brand to build a deeper connection and drive emotional loyalty. 

Use receipt scan to reward members for all purchases

Since Francis Ford Coppola is sold through retail distributors like grocery stores and restaurants, the brand wanted to be able to capture purchase data and reward members for choosing their products. Previously, Coppola had no insight into the behaviors of the customers who made purchases in-store or at restaurants and had no way of communicating with them. 

Using receipt-scan technology, Francis Ford Coppola is able to reward customers for their purchases wherever they are made. They simply take a picture of the receipt and upload it into their loyalty profile in exchange for points. Including this perk in the Coppola Rewards program not only enhances the experience for members by making it easier for them to earn rewards, but it also gives Coppola an inside look into where their consumers are shopping and what else they are purchasing. Coppola can then use this information to help inform their decisions related to partnerships, promotions, and advertising to ensure that they’re maximizing customer reach and offering them compelling promotions.

Reward members for engagement activities

As part of their loyalty offering, Francis Ford Coppola rewards members for completing engagement activities, like reading blogs, taking surveys, and opening emails. This allows Coppola to keep consumers engaged with their program beyond purchases. It also serves as a valuable way to get first-hand information into what their consumers’ preferences are and how they like to interact with the brand. 

Francis Ford Coppola used Coppola Rewards to engage their members in brand-authentic experiences that are physically inaccessible for some customers due to geographic constraints. Reward members can earn points for completing engagement activities related to their Virtual Food & Wine Feast featuring recipes, entertaining advice, wine hacks, and culinary inspiration.

The feast was developed as a way to give consumers who did not live near Francis Ford Coppola’s winery in California a way to be involved in the action. Members are rewarded for participating in the feast and taking surveys about their experiences throughout. Campaigns like this provide Coppola with insight into how they can improve their rewards, how they can make the campaign even better next year, and the types of content that resonate best with their consumers so that they can better engage them, and drive brand advocacy and emotional loyalty.

Create unforgettable experiences

Francis Ford Coppola is a unique winery, and they aim to ensure that the experiences they offer to customers are just as unique. The rewards always tie back to the Family Coppola values, traditions, and passions and they center on creating unforgettable experiences for their members. Additionally, the rewards they offer further encourage members to learn about all of the Coppola brands and venture outside of their typical interactions.

For example, as part of Coppola Rewards, members were eligible to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to tour three different Francis Ford Coppola wineries throughout California and one of their newest wineries in Oregon. Members outside of California were able to redeem points for sweepstakes entries into this “West Coast Adventure” prize for one lucky Coppola Rewards member. Not only did this campaign drive new member acquisition into the Coppola Rewards program, but it also helped to spread awareness and promote their new and existing wineries to their member base.

Coppola also offers ways for members to learn more about their properties in Belize, Argentina, and Guatemala, by offering them as once-in-a-lifetime reward experiences. By providing access to these exclusive wineries, the brand sets themselves apart from the competition and makes their customers feel valued and special.

Find new ways to differentiate your brand and keep the rewards program fresh

As brands look to the future, it’s important to introduce new and fresh ideas that will help to set themselves apart from the competition. Francis Ford Coppola plans to stay true to their brand, while also highlighting what makes them unique. The data and insight captured through the Coppola Rewards program helps Francis Ford Coppola evaluate which campaigns have resonated most with their members, what members want to see more of, and the business units that are earning the most love from their consumers. Coppola uses this information to inform their decisions as they grow and evolve their program, and as they continue to navigate how best to unify their brand portfolio. 

One way Coppola is looking to expand their program is through introducing a “Coppola Experts” reward. Through the campaigns they ran this year, they found out that many of their members wanted to be able to talk directly to their winemakers, chefs, and gardeners. Therefore, they decided to roll out a “Coppola Experts” series which allows members to have one-on-one time with their experts through Skype sessions. Doing this allows members to deepen engagement with the brand, creating even bigger brand advocates out of their members. 


It’s a digital world, and retail marketers need to create an emotional connection between customers and their brands. It all starts with “Getting the Digital Handshake Right.”


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Disaster and Crisis Messaging Best Practices

Disaster planning is all about preparing for rare events, whether they’re epidemics, hurricanes, blizzards, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, or some other calamity. Crisis messaging should be a part of any disaster planning so you can communicate effectively with your customers and give them the essential information that they need.

Let’s talk about what that should look like in terms of messaging, subject line and preview text copy, tone, design, quality assurance, and segmentation.


The No. 1 goal with any crisis messaging is to address the burning questions that your customers have and to demonstrate that you’re doing your best to address their needs and that of your employees. Doing so will improve customer satisfaction and reduce confusion—which you’ll be able to measure partly from call center volume and the sentiment of the social media activity around your brand.

What those questions are will likely be different depending on whether the disaster has already hit or not. When it’s an event that can be predicted at least a few days ahead of time, it gives you the opportunity to proactively address customer questions such as: 

  • How can your company help people prepare for the coming disaster? Are you extending your store hours or call center hours? Are you providing preparedness checklists? Have you stocked up on high-demand items?

  • How can you help your customers plan for disruptions to their service, store closures, etc.? Can you alert them to what’s likely to happen so they’re not surprised? For example, during the Nor'easter that affected the 2009 holiday season, Neiman Marcus sent a segmented email to those affected by the blizzard on Dec. 20, saying in the subject line, “Can't get to the mall? Shop online and get FREE DELIVERY by Christmas at any price‏.”

  • Are you canceling services or events? If so, are you providing refunds or giving credit? Are you automatically rebooking services for a future date or does your customer need to pick a new date? Are you providing any incentives to encourage customers to rebook or not cancel?

  • Are orders likely to be delayed? If so, how long is the anticipated delay? What should customers do if they’d like to cancel their order?

  • Are you changing your cancellation, return, or warranty policies? Are you allowing more time for returns? Are you allowing returns in ways that you don’t typically?

  • Will you be closing stores? If so, when will they be closing?

  • How can customers get current information? What webpage can customers go to for up-to-date information? What phone number can they use to contact your company to get their questions answered? For example, Xfinity emails customers who are likely to be hit by severe storms to proactively encourage them to visit their Storm Ready webpage and to download their free apps so they can get updates on outages. They also encourage them to download shows and movies that they can watch offline in the event that they do lose power.

    “Xfinity knows how disruptive service outages (WiFi especially) can be for their customers' daily lives,” says Ana Jablonski, Senior Consultant for Strategic Services, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting. “By understanding and anticipating what their customers need during a crisis, they are able to proactively provide resources throughout the year so customers can feel calm and prepared in a time of need.”

For disasters that can’t be forecasted and during ongoing disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic, use your crisis messaging to address other questions such as:

  • What’s the best way to get information on how your business is affected? Are you experiencing delays in customer service? If so, set the appropriate expectations and tell them alternative ways to get help.

    For instance, in a Mar. 12, 2020 email to users in the wake of new travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19, Expedia said: “We are clearly facing extreme call volumes at this time, and wish we could respond to everyone immediately. Please know that we are working as fast as we can to update our site with options that allow you to manage your itinerary directly, as well as re-deploying Travel Advisors from other parts of the business in an effort to assist those who are calling in. The quickest way to find out if your travel plans can be changed without a penalty will be to check the airline or hotel website directly.”

  • Are you reducing capacity? If so, by how much? How might that affect your customers?

  • When will your locations reopen? Will they resume normal business hours or will hours be longer or shorter than normal?

    For example, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Lane Bryant sent a segmented email on Dec. 4, 2012 to their customers near Oceanside, NY, announcing in the subject line: “We're Back - Our Oceanside Store Re-Opens Friday.”

  • Are there alternative ways that your customers can get service? Can your customers get service from you some other way or can they get help from a partner, government agency, or charity?

    For instance, after tornadoes hit Nashville in early March of 2020, Comcast sent out a targeted email to customers in the affected area alerting them of new, public WiFi hotspots that had been added to allow for customers, friends, family and first responders to stay connected.

  • What actions are you taking to ensure customer safety?

    For example, during the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, many airlines, stores, restaurants, and other public places communicated that they were increasing cleaning protocols and making more hand sanitizer stations available to customers.

Depending on the circumstances, you may also want to address how you are keeping your employees safe and ensuring the continuity of operations. For example…

  • How are you keeping your employees safe? Is this why you’re closing locations temporarily? Are you allowing employees to work from home? Are you shifting workers to different locations to protect them (and your operations)? Are you instituting new safety procedures or a new sick-leave policy?

While most of your messaging will be about your company and your customers, there may be opportunities to be broader than that. For example...

  • Can you direct your customers to trustworthy sources of information? For example, can you direct customers to the National Weather Service, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, or other local, state, or federal websites?

  • Can you direct your customers to trustworthy charity organizations? For customers who may want to help those affected by the disaster, can you point them to reputable charities? If your company is donating to one or more charities, that’s a great way to strengthen this call-to-action and get people thinking civic-mindedly. For example, during the wildfires in California, grocery delivery company Good Eggs sent an email about how they are working with relief centers in Oroville, CA to bring Thanksgiving dinners to people displaced by the Camp Fire. The company encourages subscribers to donate to the effort as well.

Consider ending your messages with a reminder that crises and disaster recoveries are fluid situations, says Doug Sundahl, Senior Director of Strategic Services, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting.

“Make sure you let them know your organization is keeping a close eye on the situation,” he says, “and will continuously work to adapt in the best interest of customers, employees, and the community as new information comes in.”

Subject Lines & Preview Text Copy

Especially in times of crisis, clarity is the order of the day. Don’t be vague with your subject line or pull punches. Be direct.

For example, the subject line of REI’s Mar. 15, 2020 email was “We're Closing Our Retail Stores Until March 27.” That is much clearer than “An update on our retail stores,” which was the subject line of another retailer that was also closing its stores.

Continue this philosophy of directness in your preview text, which allows you even more characters to give your subscribers the most critical information.


If your brand is funny, irreverent, zany, or really casual, it can be easy to get tripped by up disasters. It’s best to dial down your brand personality and be heartfelt and serious. 

Whatever the situation, the chances are high that property and lives are being lost, so the last thing you want to do is be indifferent or make light of things. Imagine that you’re good friends with your most affected customers. You should express sympathy for those affected.

“We typically see a lot of these messages come from CEOs and presidents,” says Sundahl. “In and of itself, that usually puts a more conservative and serious tilt to the messaging, which is exactly what’s needed.”

Most of all, you’ll want to avoid any perception that you’re profiteering off the disaster. “Make sure the messaging never appears to be opportunistic,” he says, “but value- and benefit-focused in an effort to help consumers. It could very easily come across as trying to capitalize on a bad situation, which would likely hurt your brand image and jeopardize long-term sales.”


Your message design should be simple. Now is not the time for flash or creativity. Clarity of communication is the goal, so anything that distracts from that should be jettisoned from your design.

“It’s important to formalize the email versus making it look promotional,” says Jason Witt, Senior Director of Creative Services at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting.

Generally, what this leaves you with is an email with clear branding at the top of the email, often followed by a headline, and then your body copy. We don’t recommend using hero images in these emails, as they push your copy down, can distract from your message, or project the wrong tone. You can see this design aesthetic in action at a glance in this collection of COVID-19 messages on ReallyGoodEmails.com.

Because these messages tend to be text-heavy, make thoughtful use of subheads and bullet points to break up text and to create easy-to-digest chunks of information. And make sure your font size isn’t too small or all the text will look impenetrable, says James Wurm, Head of Coding Services, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting. 

“Depending on how much copy there is,” he says, “I find 14pt to 18pt to be appropriate.”

Using reverse copy, where it’s light text on a dark background, is okay, but you’ll want to pay extra attention to legibility and contrast ratios, says Witt. “It needs to be ADA compliant,” he says. “That’s key!”

Remember: It’s a time of crisis. Your customers are likely stressed. They may not be at their best. Make your email easy to scan and easy to read. Cut extraneous words and ideas wherever you can to highlight the most important messaging.

Quality Assurance

In times of crisis, you’re moving fast. But make time for QA, even if it’s less than usual. Thankfully, crisis messaging is fairly simple in terms of design, so most of your QA is simply copy proofing. Make sure there aren’t any typos, missing words, or bad grammar.


Most disasters are regional in nature, so segmentation is key to getting your message in front of the appropriate subscribers within your overall audience. Do your best with the geographic information that you have about your customers.

“If the disaster affects all of your customers, as COVID-19 does for many senders, then you’ll still want to use some segmentation. However, in this case, you’ll want to exclude your inactive subscribers to avoid causing deliverability problems and driving up attrition,” says Clea Moore, Director of Deliverability Strategy, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting. 

“With any large, full-file send, there is the potential for a performance and reputation hit, especially if the email is sent as a service message from a transactional IP address that usually has low send volume per day,” she says. “So, loop in your deliverability expert or consultant and assess which subscribers you’re going to send to and determine if throttling the campaign is necessary.”

Sending your crisis message may only be the beginning of your adjustments, as some crises have a lasting impact on consumer behavior. And because we always want to be in sync with our customers, that may require you to adjust your messaging, frequency, and other elements. 


Need help with your crisis messaging strategy? Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting has more than 500 of the leading marketing minds ready to help you to achieve more with the leading marketing cloud, including a Campaign Deployment & Monitoring Services team that offers crisis and rush campaign support to get your emergency campaigns out the door in 2 hours or less.

Learn more or reach out to us at CXMconsulting_ww@oracle.com

For more information about digital marketing, please visit: https://www.oracle.com/marketingcloud/.




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Martech platforms reduce costs as CMOs face budget cuts

Many platforms are already making concessions to help marketers by reducing costs and, in some cases, even suspending billing.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Best Call Center Software

In a world where everything has gone digital, phone support still plays a vital role in providing excellent customer service. According to a recent study, 48% of consumers say they prefer to communicate with companies on the phone.

Furthermore, 75% of people say they want human interaction for customer support.

Historically, call centers were typically associated with larger enterprise-level organizations. But modern technology and software has made it possible for any business to set up a call center.

Since call centers today are driven by software, you won’t have to worry about expensive hardware or anything like that. In most cases, you’ll be able to continue using your existing phones and devices to manage your call center.

The 7 Best Call Center Software of 2020

After extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the seven best call center software solutions on the market today.

As we continue you through this guide, I’ll give you an in-depth review of each provider on this list. We’ll discuss the features, benefits, pricing, and other considerations so you can make an informed decision for your business.

Best Call Center Software Reviews

RingCentral Contact Center

• Great for sales & service teams
• 40+ robust features
• 99.99% guaranteed uptime
• Wide range of options
Get a Free Quote

Most of you will probably be familiar with RingCentral. This company ranked first on our list of the best video conferencing services, and they also ranked high on our guide of the best VoIP phone systems. These are two of RingCentral’s best-known products.

But the RingCentral Contact Center is also a top option for any business seeking call center software.

It’s an ideal solution for both sales and customer service teams.

RingCentral Contact Center has more than 40 robust features like intelligence routing, CRM integrations, and workforce management tools. You’ll also benefit from administrative and management features like surveys, call recording, and analytics.

RingCentral is safe, secure, and reliable. They have a guaranteed uptime of 99.99%, and the software gives your agents the ability to work from anywhere.

Here’s an overview of the RingCentral Contact Center plans:


  • Inbound voice support
  • Standard IVR and ACD capabilities


  • Omnichannel support and integrations (email, chat, SMS, social media)
  • Advanced IVR and ACD


  • Inbound and outbound voice
  • Predictive, progressive, and preview dialing
  • Campaign management

You’ll need to contact the RingCentral sales team to get a quote for your business.

But as you can see, they have options for everyone. Smaller teams that only need solutions for inbound calls can use the Basic plan. If you want omnichannel inbound call center support, the Advanced option will be best for you. For both inbound and outbound calling, you’ll need the Ultimate plan.

RingCentral is a trusted name in the VoIP phone and video industry. Their call center software is consistent with the high-level quality you’d expect from this provider.


• Free 14-day trial
• Cloud-based solution
• Wide range of features
• Used by 6,000+ businesses
Try for Free

Freshcaller is call center software provided by Freshworks, which is another well-known, trusted, and established name in the world of business solutions.

Like other Freshworks products, Freshcaller is a cloud-based solution that’s both simple and modern. It’s easy for any business to use, regardless of its size and technical expertise.

More than 6,000 businesses use Freshcaller’s software for a call center. It’s used by inbound sales agents as well as customer support teams.

Pricing for Freshcaller is a bit unique. You’ll pay a monthly rate for the plan you select based on the features offered. But you’ll also pay per minute based on usage.

Let’s take a look at those plans first before we dive into the usage rates.

Sprout — $0

  • Best for startups and freelancers
  • Unlimited agents
  • Basic call queues
  • Custom greetings
  • Forward to phone
  • Custom ringtones

Blossom — $19 per agent per month

  • Advanced queues
  • Blind transfers
  • Import bulk contacts
  • BYOC (bring your own carrier)
  • Business hours
  • Call masking and recording
  • Custom voicemail, voicemail transcription, and voicemail drop

Garden — $40 per agent per month

  • Advanced call metrics
  • Agent extensions
  • Conference calling
  • Call monitoring
  • Routing during non-business hours
  • Virtual hold
  • European and Australian data cent
  • Click-to-call Chrome extension

Estate — $59 per agent per month

  • Abandoned call metrics
  • Service level monitoring
  • Omnichannel routing
  • Custom agent status
  • Answer bot
  • Agent activity reports
  • Call recording opt-in

From startups to growing teams and global companies, Freshcaller has an option for everyone.

Call rates are based on factors like device (browser vs. phone), country, and whether or not the call is incoming or outgoing. Incoming rates start as low as $0.016 per minute, and outgoing rates start at $0.022 per minute.

You can try Freshcaller for free with a 14-day trial.

8×8 Contact Center

• Customized solutions
• Omnichannel routing
• Real-time analytics
• Improve agency productivity
Get a Free Quote

The 8×8 Contact Center is an ideal solution for omnichannel routing. It’s a way for your company to enhance the customer experience from a single touch point.

Top features include skills-based call routing, queued callback, web callback and IVR (interactive voice response). 8×8 also has inbound chat, email, and social channel contact solutions for your call center software.

You’ll also benefit from real-time analytics and reports. This information is available from any device. It details customer journeys and wait times for every customer across all channels.

8×8 has tools to help you improve agency productivity. A private knowledge base, expert connect, simple interface, and comprehensive communication hub ensures that all customer communication is handled quickly and efficiently.

Your 8×8 Contact Center integrates with CRMs like Zendesk, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and more.

8×8 is a top solution for large businesses and enterprises. It has advanced features with a global reach.

The 8×8 Contact Center has exceptional security. It’s compliant with HIPAA, FISMA, and more. 8×8 has tools to ensure privacy for sensitive data entry fields as well.

You’ll need to contact the 8×8 sales team for a custom quote on your solution.


• All-in-one contact center solution
• Cloud-based solutions
• Work from anywhere
• 2,000+ business customers
Get a Free Quote

Five9 is an all-in-one contact center solution. It’s used by big brands like Lululemon, Expedia, Carfax, Omaha Steaks, and DHL. This company has been providing cloud-based solutions to businesses for roughly 20 years. Its 2,000+ business customers worldwide manage 5+ billion calls each year.

The Five9 Intelligence Cloud Contact Center gives your customer service agents the power and flexibility to work from anywhere.

Five9 is completely customizable. It’s built to meet the needs of your business, regardless of your size or industry. The software delivers crystal clear voice, strong security, and a 99.99% uptime rate.

The top features and benefits of an all-in-one contact center software include:

  • CRM integration
  • Open platform APIs
  • Call routing
  • Omnichannel support
  • Global voice
  • Self-service tools
  • Analytics
  • WFO
  • Predictive dialing

Five9 has a wide range of solutions based on the type of business you have. They provide call center software for sales, telemarketing, customer service, collections, outsourcers, small business, medium-sized businesses, and enterprises.

The Five9 contact center is fast, reliable, affordable, and easy to use. Contact their sales team to request a demo and get a custom quote.


• 14-day free trial
• Plans start at $11/month
• Makes sales calls more efficient
• Great solution for sales teams
Try for Free

CrazyCall is a top call center solution for sales teams. It offers features like auto dialing, call monitoring, call script, call transfers, click to call, and a callback widget.

All of the CrazyCall features and benefits are designed to make sales calls more efficient.

CrazyCall has other solutions for ecommerce shops, small businesses, and support teams, but the sales features are still the highlight of this software. It even has tools for lead generation on your website.

Here’s an overview of the CrazyCall plans and prices:

Starter — $11 per month per user

  • 200 free minutes per user each month
  • 45 days of data storage
  • 3 active projects

Team — $22 per month per user

  • 500 free minutes per user each month
  • 365 days of data storage
  • Unlimited active projects

Professional — $45 per month per user

  • 1,250 free minutes per user each month
  • Unlimited data storage
  • IP restriction
  • Tailored reporting tools
  • Unlimited calls to US and Canada

All plans come with a free phone number, API and integrations, and 24/7 customer support. The free minutes each month apply to 122 countries. Beyond that, calls to US landlines start at just $0.01 per minute.

You can try CrazyCall for free with a 14-day trial.

Zendesk Talk

• Free lite plan
• Upgrades start at $19/mo
• Cloud-based solution
• Integrates with Zendesk Support
Try for Free

Zendesk is best known for its customer service CRM. But it has a separate solution, called Zendesk Talk, for call center software.

This cloud-based call center solution is built directly into the ticketing system for Zendesk Support. Your agents will have access to the full customer history and additional features like call recording and automatic ticket creation.

The software is designed to improve your support process, while eliminating unproductive tasks. Your agents can focus on solutions, conversions, and customers, as opposed to workflow bottlenecks.

Top features of Zendesk Talk include:

  • Inbound and outbound calling
  • Custom greetings
  • Local and toll-free numbers
  • Browser-based calls
  • Call forwarding to phones
  • Call blocking
  • Conference calling
  • Group routing
  • Callback from queue
  • Inbound and outbound SMS
  • Advanced analytics
  • Real-time dashboard
  • Call recording and call record permissions

Similar to other call center software on our list, Zendesk Talk is based on a combination of your plan and usage.

Zendesk Talk has a wide range of plans for you to choose from. The list and features for each one are quite extensive. So rather than giving you a complete overview of those, I’ll just quickly cover the starting prices to give you an idea of the cost.

  • Lite — Starting at $0
  • Team — Starting at $19 per agent per month
  • Professional — Starting at $49 per agent per month
  • Enterprise — Starting at $89 per agent per month

Zendesk offers a paid partner edition starting at $9 per agent per month. This is for every agent taking calls with Zendesk Support. To estimate your usage rates, Zendesk Talk has a calculator tool that you can play around with.


• End-to-end customer experience
• Omnichannel support
• Customized solutions
• Used by 1,800+ businesses
Get a Free Quote

Talkdesk has a wide range of products and solutions for businesses. The company offers tools and software for things like customer engagement, workforce engagement, and reporting.

The contact center software from Talkdesk is one of its best and most popular offerings. It’s marketed as an end-to-end customer experience solution.

It’s designed the meet the needs and expectations of the modern customer. These people have a certain expectation when they call your company. Talkdesk will help you improve productivity while reducing costs and increasing the customer experience.

Top features of Talkdesk include:

  • Outbound dialer
  • Customer self-service
  • Omnichannel support
  • Agent desktop and mobile agent tools
  • Call recording
  • Integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.
  • AI virtual assistant
  • Reporting and analytics

For the most part, Talkdesk is used by businesses across a handful of major industries. This includes retail, ecommerce, financial services, healthcare, travel, and hospitality.

Talkdesk has solutions based on call center type (sales, support, BPO) and business size (small, mid, enterprise).

Contact the Talkdesk sales team today for a quote. Join the 1,800+ businesses like Peleton, IBM, and Dropbox using this call center software.

How to Choose the Best Call Center Software For Your Business

As you can see from this list, call center software is extremely versatile. There are so many different features and benefits at your disposal. But with all of these options, how can you possibly know which one is best for your company?

There are certain factors that you should be evaluating when making your decision. This is the methodology that we use and recommend here at Quick Sprout.

Omnichannel Support

Any business in the market for call center software is likely communicating with customers across other channels as well.

Consider if you want to integrate those communication tools like email, live chat, and social media into your call center software. This will allow your agents to better serve the needs of your customers throughout each stage of the support process.

Call Center Type

What type of call center do you have?

Do you need software to support inbound calls only? Or do your agents need outbound dialing capabilities? Not every solution offers both.

The purpose of these calls will also have an impact on the software you choose. There are certain options that are better for sales, while others are better for customer support, troubleshooting, and ticketing.


The best call center software will integrate with your CRM solution.

Some of the options on our list have their own full-service CRM systems as well. So you could potentially get an all-in-one solution from the same provider.


It’s important that you have a clear understanding of how you’ll be billed for customer call center software. Not every company lists their prices online.

In most cases, you’ll pay based on a combination of usage and support agents. The majority of call center solutions have different plans for different the features you need. Make sure to find one that best fits your needs and budget.


Every business providing phone support for customers can benefit from call center software. From startups to enterprises and everything in between, these are the top seven call center software solutions on the market today:

  • RingCentral Contact Center — Best overall contact center software.
  • Freshcaller — Simple contact center software for teams of all sizes.
  • 8×8 Contact Center — Best contact center software for enterprise-grade security.
  • Five9 — Best all-in-one contact center software.
  • CrazyCall — Best call center software for outbound sales.
  • Zendesk Talk — Best call center software for support and automated ticketing.
  • Talkdesk — Best call center software for end-to-end customer experience.

Whether you need assistance with sales, customer support, or both, there’s an option for your business on this list.

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Best Customer Service Software

Your customers will make or break the success of your business. Happy customers keep coming back and spending more money, while unsatisfied customers will cause significant damage to your reputation.

In fact, an unhappy customer will tell up to 15 people about their poor experience. Negative interactions spread twice as fast as positive ones.

91% of customers who experienced poor service will never do business with you again.

On the flip side, eight out of ten consumers are more likely to buy from businesses again after a positive customer service experience. A 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by up to 125%.

The numbers speak for themselves. Customer service must be a priority for every business.

Fortunately, the right customer service software can make this possible. Customer service solutions help ensure fast response times, positive interactions, and happy customers.

The 8 Best Customer Service Software of 2020

Customer service software is a saturated industry. There are so many options available on the market. But some of these tools are significantly better than others.

After researching and testing dozens of customer service solutions, I’ve narrowed down the top eight for you to consider.

As we continue you through this guide, I’ll give you an in-depth review of each one below. You’ll learn about the top features, benefits, use cases, pricing, and more.

Best Customer Service Software Reviews


• Free trial available
• Starts at $89/mo
• Flexible customized solutions
• Used by 150,000+ businesses
Try for Free

Zendesk is one of the best overall customer service software solutions on the market today. It’s used by 150,000+ businesses, including big brands like Uber, Venmo, Shopify, and Slack.

The Zendesk support suite has everything you need to manage customer service communication across multiple channels. You can provide customer support via email, live chat, voice, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, WhatsApp, and more.

The software makes it possible to connect all of your data sources to a single location. So when a customer contacts you for support, the right information will automatically be on display.

Zendesk is flexible, so it can support the needs of any business. You can get a customized solution that fits with your existing support environment.

Here’s a quick overview of the plans, features, and pricing for the Zendesk support suite:

Professional Support Suite — $89 per agent per month

  • Omnichannel support
  • Social messaging add-on
  • Self-service knowledge base
  • Dashboards and reporting for all channels
  • Talk partner edition
  • Multiple ticket forms

Enterprise Support Suite — $149 per agent per month

  • Roles and permissions with skilled base routing
  • Multi-brand support
  • Chat widget and web SDK
  • Content cues to identify knowledge gaps
  • 24/7 live chat and phone support

The full-service support suite from Zendesk has it all. But not every business needs something this comprehensive. If you’re looking for something a little bit more basic, Zendesk offers more affordable options for smaller businesses.

  • Essential — $5 per month per agent
  • Team — $19 per month per agent
  • Professional — $49 per month per agent
  • Enterprise — $99 per month per agent
  • Elite — $199 per month per agent

You can try any Zendesk software or support suite with a free trial. If you’re looking for a customized solution, contact the Zendesk sales team.

Salesforce Service Cloud

• Starts at $25/month
• Resolve cases quicker
• Streamline your on-site support
• Trusted by 150,000+ companies
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Salesforce is an industry leader in sales CRM software. But they also offer tools and solutions for customer service. It’s trusted by 150,000+ companies across the world.

The Salesforce Service Cloud makes it easy for any business to build customer relationships while saving time and improving customer satisfaction. Brands like Yeti and Adidas are just a couple of well-known names that use this software.

Your customer service representatives will be able to resolve cases quicker with the insights and tools offered by Salesforce. The platform has a shared view of every customer interaction.

Set up self-service portals so your customers can access account information, view tutorials, and view knowledge base articles.

The Salesforce Service Cloud has capabilities to streamline your on-site support. Field service works, dispatchers, and on-site technicians can use these tools to resolve problems during the first visit.

Salesforce uses AI to predict recommendations and provide support with an intuitive chatbot service.

Let’s take a look at the plans and pricing for Salesforce Service Cloud:

Essentials — $25 per user per month

  • Case management
  • Service console apps
  • Knowledge tools
  • Telephony integration (CTI)

Professional — $75 per user per month

  • All Essentials features
  • Service contracts

Enterprise — $150 per user per month

  • All Professional features
  • Web services API

Unlimited — $300 per user per month

  • All Enterprise features
  • 24/7 support and configuration

All plans come with tools for collaboration, productivity, personalization, real-time insights, cross-sell and upsell tools, app integration, and solutions to automate processes.

Salesforce offers add-ons for things like field service workers, digital engagement, and location-based intelligence.


• 100% free forever plan
• Upgrades starting at $15/mo
• All-in-one solution
• Simple and flexible tools
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LiveAgent is a customer service solution that helps you manage all customer requests from multiple channels in a single platform.

No matter where your customers are, you can merge all communication and support to one place. LiveAgent saves you time, simplifies the process, and allows you to increase the profitability of your support team.

LiveAgent has tools for:

  • Email ticketing
  • Live chat
  • Voice and video calls
  • Social media integration

Here’s a closer look at the plans and prices for customer service software form LiveAgent:

Free — $0 forever

  • 7 day ticket history
  • 1 email address for ticketing
  • 1 live chat button
  • 1 phone number for call center support

Ticket — $15 per month per agent

  • Unlimited ticket history
  • Unlimited email ticketing
  • Load data from your CRM
  • Multi-brand support

Ticket + Chat — $29 per month per agent

  • Unlimited live chat
  • Real-time visitor monitor
  • Chat invitations
  • Chat satisfaction surveys

All-inclusive — $39 per month per agent

  • Unlimited call center support
  • Video calling
  • Gamification
  • Unlimited call storage

For all of the paid plans, LiveAgent has add-on pricing for features like social media integration, time tracking, audit logs, and more.

Overall, it’s a simple and flexible tool for managing live customers with ticketing and live chat.


• Free 21-day trial
• Plans start at $15/mo
• Extensive list of features
• Trusted by 150,000+ businesses
Try for Free

Freshdesk is another one of the most popular help desk solutions on the market today. Above all, it’s simple. That’s why it’s trusted by 150,000+ businesses, including American Express, HP, and Panasonic.

With Freshdesk, you’ll have access to an extensive list of features across a wide range of customer support categories:

  • Ticketing
  • Collaboration
  • Field Service
  • Automation
  • Customer self-service
  • Reporting
  • Multi-channel support

It’s an excellent solution to streamline all of your customer connections in a single location. Freshdesk makes team collaboration and automation a breeze.

If you’re currently using another help desk solution and you’re unhappy with it, Freshdesk makes it easy for you to switch to its software.

Here’s an overview of the plans and pricing. All rates are based on an annual plan. The prices are a bit higher if you go month-to-month.

Sprout — Free

  • Unlimited agents
  • Email ticketing
  • Team collaboration
  • Knowledge base
  • Ticket trend reports
  • Social ticketing

Blossom — $15 per month per agent

  • Automations
  • Collision detection
  • Marketplace apps
  • Helpdesk
  • SLA management
  • Business hours

Garden — $29 per month per agent

  • Time tracking
  • CSAT survey
  • Session replay
  • Performance report
  • Knowledge base with multi-lingual support

Estate — $49 per month per agent

  • Automated ticket assignment
  • Custom agent roles
  • Custom portal
  • Enterprise reporting
  • Multiple time zones and SLAs

Forest — $109 per month per agent

  • Ticket assignment based on skills
  • Create a testing environment without affecting agents or customers
  • IP Whitelisting
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Extendable API rate limit

Freshdesk has omnichannel add-ons and features for field service management for an additional fee. Try it free with a 21-day trial.


• 100% free forever plan
• Advanced features start at $40/mo
• Wide range of solutions
• Free software for customer service
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HubSpot is one of the most well-recognized CRMs in the industry. They have a wide range of software and solution suites for managing relationships with customers.

These offerings are segmented into three main categories—sales, marketing, and service.

The HubSpot Service Hub is what we’ll be focusing on here today. It’s an exceptional solution for managing customer issues through service tickets.

I like HubSpot because they offer free CRM solutions, including free software for customer service. Free features include ticketing, live chat, chatbots, team email, and a conversations inbox. You’ll also benefit from free email templates, closed ticket reports, and time-to-close reports.

HubSpot is proof that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on improving your customer service with software. This won’t cost you a thing.

For those of you who want access to advanced features and benefits, here’s an overview o the paid plans:

Starter — $40 per month

  • Includes two paid users
  • Canned snippets
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Agent productivity reports
  • Calling

Professional — $320 per month

  • Includes five paid users
  • Ticket status, routing, automation, and pipelines
  • Knowledge base
  • 1:1 video creation
  • Custom reporting
  • Surveys for NPS, experience, and support

Enterprise — $1,200 per month

  • Includes ten paid users
  • Playbooks and goals
  • Hierarchical teams
  • User roles
  • Single sign-on
  • Integrates with Slack

All rates are based on an annual contract. You can get the HubSpot Service Hub month-to-month for 20% more.

HubSpot also offers exceptional product bundles for all CRM categories in a single solution. So if you want to get software for service, sales, and marketing from a single provider, HubSpot is the best option for you. Bundles start at $112.50 per month.


• Plans start at $9/month
• Team collaboration tools
• Customizable knowledge base
• Exceptional automation tools
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Groove isn’t as popular and well-known as some of the other options on our list. But it’s still used by more than 10,000 businesses across 140+ countries.

If your company has outgrown email for customer support and you’re getting inquiries on multiple channels, Groove will be a top choice for you to consider.

This solution stands out from the crowd with its team collaboration tools. You can add internal private notes to discussions, quickly mention teammates to bring them in the loop, and assign specific tasks to members of the team.

Groove has exceptional automations to streamline your customer support. Set rules, tagging, canned replies, and custom folders with your preferences to eliminate busywork.

Another standout feature from Groove is the ability to customize your knowledge base. This is crucial for businesses that want to offer customer self-service tools.

The knowledge base themes are fully customizable, beautifully designed, and mobile responsive. Plans and pricing for Groove customer support software are as follows:

Starter — $9 per month per user

  • One mailbox
  • Knowledge base
  • Live chat
  • Web widget
  • Assignments and mentions

Plus — $19 per month per user

  • 5 mailboxes
  • Full history of reports
  • Rules
  • API access
  • 40+ integrations

Pro — $29 per month per user

  • 25 mailboxes
  • Teams
  • WhatsApp and SMS
  • Integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, and Jira

Company — Custom pricing

  • Unlimited mailboxes
  • Priority support
  • Dedicated customer support manager
  • Enterprise-level security

I’d recommend Groove for small teams and startups. In fact, they have a special startup rate for businesses with less than ten employees. Eligible businesses can get a 93% discount off of the Pro plan.

Zoho Desk

• Free forever plan
• Upgrade starting at $12/mo
• Email ticketing & help center
• Mobile app access
Try for Free

Zoho is one of the most popular names in the world of business software and CRM. The company has tools for sales, marketing, email, collaboration, finance, accounting, human resources, and business intelligence.

But one of the best solutions that they offer is Zoho Desk—IT and help desk software.

Zoho Desk has solutions for customer service agents, managers, and customers. But above all, it’s arguably the best customer service software for managing and closing tickets.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans and price points for Zoho Desk:

Free — $0

  • Up to three agents
  • Email ticketing
  • Help center
  • Private knowledge base
  • Predefined SLAs
  • Mobile app
  • Multilingual help desk

Standard — $12 per month per agent

  • Social and community channels
  • Product-based ticket management
  • Public knowledge base
  • Escalations
  • Workflow and assignment rules
  • Supervise rules
  • Customer happiness ratings

Professional — $20 per month per agent

  • Multi-department ticketing
  • Team management
  • Telephony
  • Automated time tracking
  • Ticket templates
  • Ticket sharing
  • Mobile SDK

Enterprise — $35 per month per agent

  • Live chat
  • AI
  • Customize help center
  • Advanced process management
  • Scheduled reports
  • Validation rules
  • Role-based data sharing

No matter how big, small, or complex your business is, Zoho Desk has a plan for you.

Help Scout

• Plans start at $20/month
• Certified B corporation
• High-quality software
• Used by 10,000+ businesses
Try for Free

Help Scout is another lesser-known solution on our list. But with that said, it’s still a high-quality software for customer service. It’s used by 10,000+ businesses worldwide.

Help Scout is unique because it’s a Certified B corporation. They strive to make a positive impact on the environment and communities. So they go the extra mile to support organizations that share the same values.

If you have a nonprofit that supports human rights, environmental sustainability, or underrepresentation in tech, Help Scout will provide a significant discount on your customer service software.

Some of you might even be eligible for discounts of up to 100%. That’s right—free.

Even if you don’t fall into one of those categories, Help Scout is still a top solution for customer service. Here’s a closer look at the plans and prices:

Standard — $20 per month per user

  • Three mail boxes
  • Beacon with live chat
  • Messages for up to 10,000 customers
  • Reports
  • Automated workflows
  • 50+ integrations

Plus — $35 per month per user

  • 10 mailboxes
  • Custom fields and teams
  • Salesforce, HubSpot, and Jira apps
  • HIPAA compliance
  • SSO/SAML authentication

Company — Custom pricing

  • Unlimited mailboxes and docs sites
  • Flexible users
  • Concierge onboarding
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Enterprise-grade security

The rates above are based on an annual contract. Month-to-month plans are available for an additional fee. You can try Help Scout for free with a 15-day trial.

How to Choose the Best Customer Service Software For Your Business

What’s the best customer service software for your business? There are certain features and considerations to keep in mind as you’re evaluating different options.

This is the methodology that we use and recommend here at Quick Sprout.

Number of Agents

How big is your customer service team? Companies with five service reps won’t need the same software as a business with 50 agents.

Larger teams need features for things like collaboration and role-based ticketing, but that won’t be necessary for a smaller business.

Customer Communication Method

How are customers currently reaching out to your service team? How do you want them to do so moving forward?

There’s a software for everything. Whether it’s email, live chat, chatbots, or support tickets, you can find a solution to meet your needs. There are even tools for social media integration so all of your messages, including DMs and comments, can be managed from a single dashboard.

Feature Bundles

Every customer service software on our list does an exceptional job of marketing its top features. But with that said, you should only focus on the features you need the most.

For example, are you looking for customer service software specifically for live chat? LiveAgent will be a top choice for you. If you want a solution for your field service agents, use Salesforce Service Cloud. There are even tools for customer service, sales, and marketing CRM built into single product bundles.

My suggestion is this. Identify the features you definitely need. Then look for the right plan that has all of those features.


The price for customer service software varies on a wide range of factors. Lots of solutions charge you based on the number of customer service agents on your team.

Available features in your package will also have a significant impact on what you pay.

Customer service is definitely not something you should skimp on. It’s ok to spend money. But with that said, not all of you need to go overboard. Small businesses, startups, and nonprofits with smaller teams can use free customer service software without compromising quality.


Every business must prioritize customer service. These are the top eight customer service software solutions on the market today:

  • Zendesk — Best overall customer service software with support suite options available.
  • Salesforce Service Cloud — Best customer service software for field service agents.
  • LiveAgent — Best customer service software for live chat support.
  • Freshdesk — Best customer service software if you’re switching from another platform.
  • HubSpot — Best free customer service software and product bundles.
  • Groove — Best customer service software for small teams and growth startups.
  • Zoho Desk — Best customer service software for ticketing.
  • Help Scout — Best customer service software for nonprofits.

Use this guide to help you find the best solution for your business. I made sure to include something for everyone on my list.

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