Navigate the world of customer service platforms

Customer service
Feb 29, 2024
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Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “If we focus on the customer, the money will follow.” While I cannot verify the veracity of this statement, what I can say with surety is that Amazon’s phenomenal rise has much to do with its customer-centric culture.   

And why not? 

Customer service is no longer a sideline; it’s the very cornerstone of successful businesses. Today’s customers expect prompt, personalised and omnichannel support. Per a survey by Hubspot, 88% of customer support reps agree that customers today have higher expectations than ever before — that means it is crucial to have the right tools at your disposal. And since customers are not limited to one channel alone and since these tools do not work in silos, any tool you choose should be equipped to handle the complexities of today’s customer service. 

This is where customer service platforms step in. These software solutions streamline interactions across different channels, boost team efficiency and ultimately delight customers.

Read on. In this guide, will talk about all things related to customer support platforms. 

Specifically, we will discuss: 

  • The evolution of customer service tools
  • Key features of an effective customer service platform
  • How customer service platforms enhance business operations
  • Top customer service platforms in 2024
  • How to choose the right platform for your business

The evolution of customer service platforms

Remember rotary phones and scribbling notes on paper? I don’t either—that was a century ago! But customer service technology has come a long way since then. Not only have there been paradigm shifts in businesses’ attitudes towards customers but also the channels of communication and, ultimately, responses to these shifts. 

Here’s a brief — very brief — snapshot of the past, present and future of customer service solutions.  

From analog roots to digital transformation

  • Rotary dial (1920s): Earlier, users would ask an operator to dial for them. With the rotary dial coming into play, businesses could now speak freely with their customers without the need for any operator. 
  • Call centres (1960s): In the ‘60s, businesses established call centres — sort of — utilising Private Automated Business Exchanges (PABX). Customer service became a department of its own. 
  • Email and databases (1970s-80s): Email came in 1972 and with it came the basic version of ticketing systems. Also, database software came in the ‘80s, which would later become customer relationship management (CRM software). 
  • Internet (1990s): While the Internet did exist earlier, it became a household thing in the ‘90s. With it came web forms, live chat and early self-service options. 
  • Social media (2000 to 2010s): Much happened here—mobile phones, social media, e-commerce, online helpdesks and more. The rise of social media platforms added new communication channels and the need for omnichannel support. After the social revolution, the evolution of customer service has been pretty fast. 

The modern era of customer service tools

Fast forward to 2024, customer service platforms have become an industry. In 2023, the customer experience management industry crossed the $12 billion mark and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% from 2023 to 2030. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of customer support tools, each offering a different set of features. Generally, most modern customer support tools are cloud-based and offer: 

  • AI-powered features
  • Omnichannel support
  • Automation features
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integrations with other tools
  • Self-service portals

The future of customer service

While much of what we thought would happen sometime in the future has already happened, here is what customer support tools would offer: 

  • Personalised experiences — AI will tailor interactions to individual customer needs and preferences. Much like Spotify develops your playlist. 
  • Predictive support— platforms will watch out for trends, anticipate issues and offer solutions before they arise.
  • Augmented reality and virtual assistants — these technologies will enhance troubleshooting and provide remote support.

Must-have features of a customer support platform

Different tools offer different specialised features. However, an effective customer service software should offer a unified experience for both your team and your customers. 

Here are some key features to expect from your next customer support platform 

Omnichannel communication

Top platforms, such as Trengo, let your team handle inquiries from any incoming channel—email, phone, chat, social media and more—all in one place. 

Ticketing systems

Ticketing systems organise and track customer requests. A competitive customer software solution would offer ticketing system features like priority levels, automated routing, internal notes and clear status updates, both for agents and customers. 

Automation and rules

Automation means letting the system handle the repetitive and time-consuming tasks, like sending follow-up emails, routing tickets—and other tasks—based on time-based or event-based triggers and responding to common questions. AI-powered chatbots to handle basic inquiries 24/7 would be a huge plus!

Collaboration tools

Customer support is not a one-man job—it involves teams from various departments, such as billing, technical and onboarding. Best customer service platforms allow teams to work together on complex customer problems. 

Reporting and analytics

With reporting and analytics tools, you can track metrics like resolution times, customer satisfaction and agent productivity to identify areas for improvement.

Knowledge base

Not all customers would like to speak to an agent—and neither would it be possible for human agents to answer every question promptly. Self-service knowledge bases with articles, FAQs and even video tutorials can deflect common inquiries and empower customers to find answers on their own. 


Integrations can improve your team’s performance and efficiency. Depending upon your needs, choose a platform that offers integrations with most apps you use daily —Slack, Shopify, Salesforce, for example. 

These are only a few that are considered essential for any customer service platform. Depending upon your needs, some tools may offer more features, such as AI-powered chatbots, in-app messaging and so on. 

How do customer service platforms enhance business operations?

Superior customer service is the difference between successful and struggling businesses—it doesn’t matter if your business is large or small, B2B or B2C. And superior customer service starts with having a robust customer support system in place. 

Here’s how a feature-rich customer service platform can enhance your business operations: 

  • According to Salesforce, automating routine tasks allows 77% of agents to focus on what matters the most — customer care. 
  • Utilising Trengo’s automated workflows, through Trengo’s rules, helped Muntstad achieve an impressive response time of under a minute in 90% of incoming conversations. 
  • Customer support software helps reduce ticket resolution times by 20-40% with automation and streamlined workflows. For instance, Parfumado’s support team was 30% more productive by using Trengo’s automation and saw their resolution time drop by almost 50%.
  • They boost customer satisfaction scores with faster response times and personalised interactions. Using Trengo’s omnichannel support, Solar Concept’s customer satisfaction score now sits at an awesome 8.9/10. 
  • Reduce customer churn with proactive support and self-service options. Per a survey, at least 67% of customer churn is preventable when the customer’s problem is resolved during their first interaction. And that’s only possible when a business has the right tools in place to engage customers—even when human agents are not readily available. 
  • 63% of consumers who spend $250 to $500 per month online are more likely to buy from and remain loyal to a business that offers live chat support. 
  • Per Zendesk, nearly 70% claim they made decisions to buy a product based on the quality of customer service. 
  • Thanks to Trengo’s flowboat and integration capabilities, BAS World witnessed a 70% increase in lead generation. 
  • Investing in customer support can increase sales revenue by 2-7% and profitability by 1-2%.

Top customer service platforms of 2024 

1. Trengo 

Trengo is a modern, all-in-one customer service platform designed for businesses of all sizes, with special plans for small businesses, growing businesses and enterprises. Similar to other customer support applications, Trengo offers omnichannel communication, automation capabilities, AI-powered features, a help centre and integrations with popular third-party apps. But beyond these basic features, Trengo offers more: native integration with WhatsApp Business, advanced collaboration features, such as real-time draft collaboration and personalised onboarding and customer support. 

It offers three pricing plans, all with a 14-day free trial available: 

  • Essentials at $113/month per 5 users — get Essential features and combine all your customer conversations into a single platform. 
  • Boost at $170/month for 5 users. Boost lets you make teamwork more efficient and optimise your customer experience. 
  • The Pro plan is at $284 per month for 5 users. With Pro, you can customise the platform to the way you want it. 

Core features of Trengo

  • Omnichannel communication — manage inquiries from email, phone, chat, social media and more, all in one central location. Easy for your team; more prompt response to your customers. Here’s how implementing Trengo’s multichannel support helped Ferryscanner handle a 700% increase in customer queries with ease.
  • Ticketing system — organise and track customer requests efficiently. Unlike many other customer service platforms, with Trengo, email conversations are automatically tracked in tickets. 
  • Automation — automate repetitive tasks like sending emails, responding to customers with standard replies and generating reports. Additionally, using rules, you can route tickets, update status, add labels, set SLA targets, assign conversations, message customers and mark conversations as spam. Read more about how Billink, a financial services company, exceeded customer response times expectations with Trengo’s automated workflows.
  • Knowledge base — let your customers find answers to the most common questions with a centralised repository of articles and FAQs.
  • AI chatbot — Trengo offers 24/7 support and personalised interactions with its flagship chatbot. Using the automated chatbot helped Parfumado’s team be 30% more productive. 
  • Integrations — connect with popular CRM, marketing and productivity tools with no coding required. Also, for some tools, such as WhatsApp Business, we create native integrations that are simple and easy to set up.  
  • Collaboration features — more than 70% of customers want their customer reps to collaborate on their behalf so they don’t have to repeat information to different representatives. That’s what you get with Trengo—multiple customer service representatives can work with customers and teams through shared notes, an internal comment section and real-time collaboration on drafts. 

Sharing their experience with Trengo’s collaboration features, the Operations Manager of a buy now, pay later company says, “Employees tag colleagues or leave notes, so they collaborate within the customer conversation and get to the solution faster. For example, a finance colleague can easily collaborate with customer care via @tagging. There are no more endless email threads and questions are resolved easily. Plus, the solution is communicated to customers way faster than before.”

  • Excellent onboarding support — we are proud of our customer and onboarding support. Period. Our goal is to help you win your customers—and at Trengo, our onboarding and customer support team has internalised this simple philosophy. Let’s hear it from some of our clients. 


Check it out and see if Trengo is the platform for you. The demo doesn’t cost a penny! 

2. Zendesk

Zendesk is a popular customer support solution with a wide range of features and functionality suitable for businesses of all sizes. It is mainly a helpdesk ticketing system, but it does include features essential for customer service software, such as multichannel communication (phone and chat conversations reserved only for higher plans), reporting, self-service options and integrations with hundreds of popular tools.

Pricing: It has two types of plans — Zendesk Suite and Basic. Basic starts at $19/month per user, while Suite plans start at $55/agent per month. A free trial is available for all plans. 

Core features of Zendesk

  • Unified omnichannel agent workspace
  • Intelligent routing 
  • Ticketing system
  • Workflow automation 
  • Self-service portal
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Hundreds of integrations with third-party tools

Cons of Zendesk

  • The UI can be complex for beginners to learn and use, especially when dealing with integrations. 
  • Higher pricing compared to some competitors.
  • Poor customer support
  • Limited AI capabilities compared to newer platforms.

3. Front

Front is a customer operations platform that would qualify more as a collaborative email management platform than an all-in-one customer support app. It is designed especially for teams and businesses that prioritise shared inboxes to keep all conversations across various channels in one place. It offers shared email accounts, conversation threads, internal notes and reporting and analytics. You can also build automated workflows and integrate the app with many third-party applications. 

Pricing: Plans start at $19/user per month (billed annually), with limited features. A 7-day free trial is available, though you will have to rely on the sales team to get you started with the trial. 

Core features of Front

  • Shared inbox
  • Omnichannel communication 
  • Rules and workflow automation 
  • Knowledge base
  • Collaboration tools, such as assigning tasks, setting reminders and tracking progress within emails.
  • Integrations with popular CRM (not available in the Starter plan), marketing and productivity tools.

Cons of Front

  • Limited focus on traditional customer service features like ticketing and self-service.
  • It is quite expensive and may not be ideal for growing and small teams. Many basic integrations are add-ons. Also, it locks you in an annual contract. 

4. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a help desk solution designed for businesses of all sizes, with a focus on user-friendliness and affordability. It offers omnichannel communication, automation, reporting and integrations with popular tools. Besides, Freshdesk also offers AI-powered workflows, generative AI, knowledge base and collaboration features. 

Pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15/agent per month. Free trial available in all plans. 

Core features of Freshdesk

  • Multichannel support
  • Ticketing system
  • Self-service portal
  • Collaboration tools
  • Reports and dashboards 
  • Integrations with hundreds of apps

Cons of Freshdesk

  • Customisation is not as one would expect—it is rather basic. 
  • May not be ideal for large enterprises—too many tickets may get lost.
  • Many users complain of the Freshdesk app being clunky, slow and buggy.

5. Hiver

Hiver, previously Grexit, is an email management solution designed specifically for teams that manage high volumes of emails and chats. As its foundational feature, Hiver allows you to manage all support channels from Gmail. Other features include multichannel support, automation, performance analytics and integrations with third-party applications. In team collaboration, it offers features like task assignment, internal notes and collision detection. 

It’s not a full-fledged customer support tool; however, its features can be used for customer support cases.  

Pricing: Plans start at $15 per user a month. A 7-day free trial is available. 

Core features of Hiver

  • Email management
  • Multichannel support
  • Team collaboration tools
  • Automation
  • Performance analytics
  • Integrations

Cons of Hiver

  • Limited customer service features compared to dedicated platforms. 

For instance: 

  • Some customers have faced issues in integrations with other apps, such as Jira. 
  • There are a few issues with its collaboration feature. For example, “if two people both try to assign an email at the same time, Hiver won’t update fast enough for someone to see, causing two people to work on a ticket at the same time,” a user review mentions.  
  • The UI is not a little bit clunky. Working around the product may require some time, especially for non-technical members of the team. 
  • It gets sluggish and buggy at times. 

6. Help Scout

Help Scout is a customer service platform that is more suitable for businesses that prioritise managing email support and building self-service resources. It offers multichannel support (limited, though), a centralised inbox, collaboration tools, workflow automation and integrations with other apps. With Help Scout, you also get AI features that help customers get prompt answers about their issues.

Pricing: Plans start at $20/user per month. A free trial is available. 

Core features of Help Scout

  • Shared email inbox
  • Ticketing system
  • Help centre
  • Live chat
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integrations with 50+ apps. 

Cons of Help Scout

  • Not a complete solution for customer service. For instance, it offers limited live chat and multichannel support. As a user mentions, “HelpScout primarily focuses on email-based support, which may not meet the needs of organisations that require support across multiple channels like live chat, phone or social media.” 
  • The knowledge base customisation options have some inherent limitations. “I wish there was more room for customisation here. The current setup requires there to be Collections and Categories. If an article is uncategorised, it is not searchable in the Knowledge Base. I also wish there was a feature so I could add “was this article helpful?” to report on,” writes another user. 
  • Many users find their reporting capabilities lacking. 

For example:

  • Limited integrations with other apps—some popular apps are missing and others, such as Slack, have issues. 

7. Intercom

Intercom is a customer service platform that offers features like shared inbox, omnichannel support, help desk and workflow automation tools. It’s geared more towards a customer messaging platform: it offers targeted messaging and in-app (or website) messaging, and its Messenger can work as a supplement to other support tools. It also offers an AI chatbot called Fin, in addition to a basic ticketing system and product tours. Intercom has an app marketplace through which you integrate the software with 350+ apps. 

Pricing: Plans start at $39/user per month, with a 14-day free trial available. 

Core features of Intercom

  • Messenger platform
  • Targeted messaging
  • Knowledge base
  • AI chatbot
  • Product tours and guides
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integrations with other apps

Cons of Intercom

  • Limited ticketing, automation and traditional support features. Also, the help centre lacks customisation features. 
  • Higher pricing plans for larger teams. Also, some users find its billing practices ‘shady.’ “Intercom is an overpriced scam. They lure you in with nice looking features and then take advantage of the difficulty to later migrate to another product to extract ridiculous prices. Their new pricing pages are so opaque that it’s impractical for you to get a good idea of the insanely high price you will have to pay as you grow.”
  • Not ideal for businesses with complex support needs. 
  • Poor customer support. “Good luck getting live support. If you do get support, they will just forward you articles,” writes Michael V., Manager at a Medical Practice. 


Choosing the right platform for your business

We covered only a few customer support platforms, but there are hundreds of software out there, each promising to be the best. Choosing the right one could overwhelm you—but not when you know what you are looking for. With a few key considerations, you can identify a solution that helps your team, delights your customers and aligns perfectly with your business needs.

First, start with your core goal:

  • Business size and needs — are you a small startup, a growing business or an established enterprise? Simple needs might be met with budget-friendly, no-coding platforms, while complex use cases would require robust features (APIs, custom platforms and all that). 
  • Industry — different industries have specific communication and support requirements. For instance, a logistics company would have different needs—more focus on voice support—than an IT company, where a knowledge base will be a key requirement. Consider platforms that integrate with your industry-specific tools, much like Trengo’s does with popular business platforms.
  • Budget — define your budget upfront. Explore freemium options or opt for paid plans with features that directly impact your business goals. At the same time, keep in mind that affordable is not always the best—it’s more about features and the value for money. 

Once the core is sorted out, move to specific features that your business needs. 

Key features to consider

  • Communication channels — what channels do your customer use, and does the platform you are about to choose handle your preferred channels (email, chat, social media, phone)? For example, if you want a platform that offers omnichannel support, Trengo is your solution. Similarly, Trengo is the only app among the popular platforms that offers native integration with WhatsApp Business. 
  • Integrations — can it connect with your existing CRM, marketing tools and other software your team daily use? While many may overlook it, integrations bring the whole — almost — customer-facing apparatus to one platform.  
  • Scalability — will the platform grow with you? Some platforms are rather basic — if you grow, you will have to switch to a more robust platform and start all over. Consider future needs and choose a solution that adapts as your business expands. Speaking of scalability, Trengo is one such platform that grows with you. Our flexible plans and API access ensure scalability for growing businesses and enterprises alike. 
  • Automation — can it automate repetitive tasks like sending emails or routing tickets? The very purpose of choosing customer support software is to free up your agents from time-consuming and repetitive and let them on complex issues of customer satisfaction. And that comes with advanced automation features, and that’s what Trengo offers!
  • Collaboration features — what about teamwork? Shared inboxes, internal notes, customer history and task management features keep everyone on the same page. Trengo goes a step further—it includes real-time collaboration on drafts, so your customer receives the best of what your team could offer. 
  • Reporting and analytics — all will be in vain if you do not know what you are doing. Reporting and analytics features help you track your team’s performance and customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. 

But is the perfect platform just about features? 

I think not. Consider: 

  • Ease of use — can your team learn and navigate the platform easily? A user-friendly interface, like Trengo’s, minimises training time and ensures smooth adoption—it should be easy for those with no background in tech to make full use of the platform. 
  • Customer support: Does the platform offer reliable support when you need it? Responsive and helpful support is essential for any software implementation, especially for companies that help other businesses delight their customers. Trengo prioritises customer success, offering dedicated support to guide you every step of the way. And we mean it—any time, any day. 

The right customer service platform for you

Any business that wants to survive cannot afford to ignore customer service — and a good customer service platform. They help you manage conversations, free up your team’s time and ultimately, delight your customers. But much depends on choosing the right platform, as it becomes an extension of your brand. 

If you want to embrace automation, foster collaboration and prioritise personalisation through omnichannel communication — and all within an intuitive and scalable platform — consider Trengo. With the right tools and strategies, you can turn every interaction into an opportunity to build customer loyalty and fuel your business growth.

Have a chat, and explore how Trengo can help your team and your business grow.

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