Being cloud-based, this is more than just a database for tracking customer interactions. It can automatically monitor email, Twitter and Facebook accounts so that whatever route a customer uses to request support from your business, that request can be captured and dealt with it.

You can also set up keywords, which means that if someone mentions your business, products or services on Twitter, you can treat that as a customer support opportunity to deal with even though it isn’t a direct customer support request. can be set up for multiple users, and it has a reporting facility that tracks how effective your customer service response is so you can fine tune it.

Online channel integration can be set up to automatically monitor your business email, Twitter and Facebook accounts. When a customer requests support, that request appears in a list of open customer support cases. Those cases can be allocated to different individuals if you have more than one person working on support. Email notifications can be set up to notify you when a customer support request comes in even if you are not logged into at the time.

You can also set keywords to notify you when someone is talking about your business, products or services on Twitter. This means that even if someone doesn’t complain directly to you, those events can be captured and turned into support requests. In a world where social media can make or break a business, reacting quickly to this sort of thing is essential and makes it easy.

Incoming and outgoing phone calls need to be entered into manually. However, as with the online customer interactions, there is a complete record of each issue and how it was resolved.

Actioning support requests

With a account you can have any number of customer support agents, so the first thing to do when a customer support request comes in is to allocate it to whoever is going to deal with it. The system allows you to respond via whatever method the customer used to contact you. If you were contacted via email, your response goes back via email. Similarly, if the customer contacts you via Twitter or Facebook, your can respond via those routes.

You can set up macros to automatically deal with regular queries. These might be the sort of enquiries that would usually be answered by an FAQ document. If you were experiencing unexpected system downtime, you could create a macro to automatically respond to customers who were asking about system availability.

Statistics and analytics

With customer service, it is important to monitor how well you are doing because angry customers can damage your reputation incredibly quickly, especially now they can Tweet about how angry they are before you are even aware that they are angry. It is also important to identify any areas where you are getting frequent support requests because those areas are the ones that you need to be looking at with a view to improving them, partly to avoid making customers angry, and partly because by doing so you can improve your profit margins. shows you how long you are taking to respond to customer support requests. This is broken down by member of staff so you can identify who is and isn’t performing. It also provides a breakdown of where your customer support requests are coming from which helps you to identify where any problems are arising.

Final thoughts is a truly comprehensive system, but despite this—and unlike Zendesk—there is a completely free option for the small business that only has one person dealing with customer support events. Pricing is reasonable at $49/month (around £31.53) for each additional customer service agent.

Online help is provided, but because the system is so comprehensive you do need to know what you are doing to use it. A certain degree of technical knowledge is required to make the templates and macros do what you want them to do, and a certain level of business knowledge is required to actually use the system. And using properly will almost certainly mean that you have to adapt your current business processes to fit around it.

Another thing to bear in mind is that any system like this is going to project a “contact centre” image. That will give you a “big business” image which might be a good thing, but for a family-run business that prides itself on personal service, it might not necessarily be such a good thing. This is probably a system that is suited to some business sectors more than it is to others.