The Best Customer Success Software to Power Your Company in 2021
Tribe has witnessed tremendous growth and our focus on customer success is also improving continuously. This has helped us create happier clients that are worth more to our business. While we’d like to take all the credit, we have been helped by some of the best customer success software available. These tools give us a better understanding of the customer journey, enabling us to act on these insights.
There are plenty of customer success tools to choose from. This is a list of twelve of our favorites. Some of them are ones we use at Tribe, while others are those we think would be useful but don’t fit into our current workflow.
For each entry, we’ll explore how its top features help teams, as well as provide pricing information. First, here’s what we mean by customer success software.
What is Customer Success Software?
Customer success software is that which helps you and your team provide experiences customers love.
They help you:
- Measure the customer experience.
- Spot upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
- Find common problems.
- Build customer relationships.
- Create customer retention processes.
No single product will fulfill all these needs, and we’ve tried to select tools that provide different functionality. Of course, many of the products have competitors that may work just as well for your situation.
The Best Customer Success Software
Let’s now check out the top technology stack for a modern customer success team.
Tribe: Build Customer Communities
That’s right; we’re putting our product first on the list. But that’s because we know how much value our clients (the likes of IBM, Pipedrive, and Decathlon) get from it.
Tribe is software that helps you build a brand-led online community with similar features to a social media group or forum. The main differences are the following:
- You have complete control over your community — easily export and import data
- Tribe is powered by digital interaction best practices and pre-built social UX for different use cases
- Fully customizable and white-label
- Modular apps (Virtual Currency, Reputations, Moderation, etc.)
- Embeddable widgets to add community touchpoints in your product and website
- Direct integration with third-party apps (including Zapier)
- Comprehensive API to build a custom integration
Our clients use these online communities to let their customers connect with peers and their teams (support, success, product, marketing, etc.). This helps customers get the most from the product, building advocacy along the way.
Tribe Platform has plenty of features useful for customer success. But instead of us telling you about them, here is how Pipedrive uses Tribe for customer success.
- Onboarding: Pipedrive has created groups based on language or industry. When new customers sign up, they are automatically placed in one. Onboarding resources are displayed prominently in each group.
- Customer Support: The customer support team has set up keywords to notify them when a customer makes a post that could signify a problem. A member of the team can easily check out the post and solve the issue.
- Feedback and Customer Insight: The community is full of people willing to test new or upcoming features—making it a great source of customer insight.
- Share Product Updates: Pipedrive shares updates on community boards to gain valuable feedback on new products.
- Troubleshooting: When customers search for answers to problems, community posts are shown alongside knowledge base articles. This ensures customers can get help even when official documentation doesn’t cover a topic.
Pipedrive found the tool has helped improve brand loyalty, which results in a greater customer lifetime value.
Tribe has a free plan available that is great for small communities or those that want to test out the software. Plans for fully-featured communities with unlimited members start at $85 per month.
Read more about how to build a customer community here.
Gainsight: Access In-Depth Customer Data
Gainsight provides customer success managers with in-depth data into how customers use their products.
Customer success teams get everything they need to know about a customer in the dashboard. The customer satisfaction scorecard is key. This provides an overview of each user’s experience with your company based on various KPIs.
But data’s nothing without action, and it’s in the strategy that Gainsight stands out.
The tool lets you create strategic playbooks that define best practices for different customer success challenges. It also provides reports about which activities work best so you can further improve product adoption.
Gainsight doesn’t advertise pricing on the website, but you can contact the team for more information.
CustomerSuccessBox: Build Automated Customer Journeys
CustomerSuccessBox is a good customer success management tool with many features that help SaaS businesses.
It contains tailored solutions for various customer success scenarios, including:
- Onboarding: Create actionable customer-centric playbooks, check milestones, and track customer health.
- Upselling: Monitor how customers interact with your product and create alerts for cross-sell opportunities.
- Retention: Set up alerts that notify you when customers show signs of churn. Create tasks, so you always take the optimum action at this point.
The upselling features are particularly useful. If you use them effectively, you can seriously boost your revenue and average customer value.
Another cool section is journeys.
This feature allows teams to create and automate entire customer success journeys based on best practices and customer actions. It’s advantageous if you are scaling and want to streamline your processes.
Customer Success Box has three plans: Grow, Business, and Enterprise. These start at $499 per month.
HelpJuice: Create Searchable Knowledge Bases
Knowledge base software is hugely valuable to customer success teams.
Your users love these tools because they can find answers to common problems quickly. And customer success teams love them because they are an easy way to help customers while gaining data about common issues.
Helpjuice is one of the popular knowledge base solutions.
It has many useful features, including:
- Customization options to display topics in the most helpful way.
- Powerful analytics that shows what your customers are searching for.
- Multi-language support for global companies.
An important Helpjuice feature is its search engine. This lets customers easily find answers to their questions. It even suggests answers as users search.
Pricing is based on the number of users you have. It starts at $120 for four users and goes up to $369 for unlimited users.
ChurnZero: Prevent SaaS Churn
Preventing churn is a critical challenge for SaaS companies. If you can stop customers leaving, your customer lifetime value increases, and you won’t be so reliant on new customers for growth.
ChurnZero is a platform with an interesting take on how to do this.
The tool uses real-time product usage data to show CSMs where a customer is in the customer life cycle.
Teams can then automate activities based on a customer’s interaction with the tool. For example, sending them a message at a time when they are most engaged.
One of the popular features is the customer health score.
This is a metric that shows B2B SaaS teams how likely a customer is to renew based on customer data. With this information, your team can take proactive steps to improve the customer’s experience and reduce the chances of them leaving.
ChurnZero doesn’t advertise pricing on its website, but you can contact the team to find out more.
UserPilot: Create Guided Onboarding Experiences
Onboarding is critical to customer success—a good experience can be the difference between a new user becoming a long-term customer or bouncing at the end of their trial period.
UserPilot makes it easy for app and software businesses to provide great guided onboarding experiences. This helps your customers get up and running fast, ensuring they quickly see your value.
It also provides essential insight into how customers interact with your product during this time.
With UserPilot, you can:
- Draw a customer’s attention to the product features that provide the most value.
- Create onboarding checklists that show new customers which actions to take.
- Run experiments to increase upsells or conversion.
- Use surveys to discover your Net Promoter Score (NPS)
You can also tailor the above steps based on customer segmentation. This means each user is shown the features that correlate with their needs—potentially increasing customer engagement.
UserPilot starts at $249 per month for the growth plan or $749 per month for the full-featured enterprise plan. There’s also a 14-day free trial.
Zendesk: Enable Support via Live Chat
Zendesk is a hugely popular helpdesk and live chat tool that makes providing excellent customer support easy.
The tool has many great features. These include the ability to:
- Offer live chat support.
- Create customer support tickets.
- Connect the app to popular messaging apps.
- Integrate with your CRM.
The highlight of the tool, in our opinion, is the live chat and messaging functionality. That’s because we know how powerful the feeling of getting an instant answer to a problem is.
The way the feature works is that you add a “Get help” icon to your website or app. When customers have a question, they click on it and type in their query which is sent to your support team.
The image below shows how the icon looks on the ZenDesk website before and after you click on it:
The most basic version of the Zendesk customer support software is $5 per support agent per month, with prices rising to $199 per agent per month.
If you’re interested, you can grab a free trial to test the software out.
Brightback: Stop Customer Churn
No matter how good your customer success team is, customers sometimes quit. Knowing why can help you reduce the chances of this happening.
Brightback is a tool that acts as a last defense against churn. It helps you put in place cancel processes that are optimized to stop customers from leaving.
When a customer clicks cancel, they get sent to your Brightback powered cancel funnel. Here you can:
- Show them targeted offers to tempt them back on board.
- Show them personalized messages with details about how they used your service—for example, the number of purchases they made.
- Track how customers react to your offers.
Perhaps the best feature for customer success teams is Surveys. This lets you gain feedback from customers about why they left your product.
If you’re a subscription business, then Brightback is a tool to consider.
Brightback’s Essentials plan starts at $1,000 per month and powers up to 1,000 cancel sessions per month.
Intercom: Automate Business Messaging
Intercom is a business messenger that lets businesses set up chats with customers. These touchpoints can be used in customer success to help with onboarding or problem-solving.
At Tribe, we use Intercom to communicate with customers and prospects. The widget on our website allows people to chat with our team or search for answers to their questions.
The tool also offers a messaging solution so you can send emails and in-app messages via automated sequences or manual campaigns. You can also create rules to connect customers with your support or success teams.
The tool’s chatbot feature is a great way to take the strain from your customer support by letting the bot answer common questions. You can set up custom bots to help customers solve problems independently or prioritize customer support queries based on specific criteria.
Intercom starts at $39 per month for its basic chat and messaging features which are suitable for small businesses. Its regular plans start at $499 per month.
Tribe also offers tight integration with Intercom. There are two ways in which the integration works:
- If Intercom integration is enabled in a community, powered by Tribe, all the member events and attributes are sent to Intercom Contacts.
- The search field in Intercom Messenger can search both the user-generated content from the community and knowledge base in Intercom.
Learn more about the integration here and explore the notification tools available with Tribe here.
Ramen: Gain Product Feedback
It can be hard to implement a top customer success strategy if you don’t know what your customers want.
Use Ramen to ask customers questions while they use your product. Ask the right questions at the right time, and you’ll gain valuable customer feedback.
Ramen helps you:
- Gain feedback on software updates.
- Discover what features customers would like added.
- Find motivations for actions. For example, why people cancel their accounts.
The great thing about the tool is how seamless and natural the questions are. Unlike surveys, which can take significant time for customers to complete, answering a question with Ramen can be as simple as checking a box.
There are also plenty of ways you can target different audiences with different questions, so you know you’re only getting the most relevant answers.
Ramen has a free option that allows for up to 50 survey responses. The top enterprise tier allows 5,000 responses and costs $199 per month.
Delighted: Collect Customer Feedback
Delighted enables businesses to collect, analyze, and distribute customer feedback across their organization. You can align feedback with business growth, reduce churn, and leverage happy customers to promote your brand.
The customer success team can leverage the feedback from customers to align the customer needs with business growth, measure the customer voice over time, and proactively reduce churn.
Skilljar: Train Customers
Skilljar is one of the best tools for businesses to educate their customers, vendors, and partners. It is essentially a Learning Management System (LMS) designed with a focus on usability.
The lessons built with Skilljar can be accessed anywhere and allows you to create a story with your content. Additionally, Skilljar offers a wide range of integration with third-party tools and includes a complete analytics dashboard.
HubSpot: Engage Customers and Build Stronger Relationships
HubSpot is well-known for the Marketing Hub that helps B2B and B2C companies attract visitors, convert online traffic into leads, turn leads into customers, and analyze ROI. HubSpot’s marketing automation suite enables your marketing and customer success team to work in conjunction to keep customers updated and share resources.
Apart from that, HubSpot also offers CRM as well as Service Hub — these tools enable the customer success team to get a comprehensive understanding of the customer, offer support and grow through their success.
ConvertKit: Build Powerful Email Sequences
Email is crucial to providing outstanding customer experiences. Use it for onboarding, upselling, re-engagement, and more.
There are plenty of email services out there. But ConvertKit is a powerful tool that we like.
Use it to set up an automated onboarding sequence for when someone buys your product. You can send different sequences depending on the exact plan or product someone has signed up for.
Perhaps the best thing about ConvertKit is the powerful email automation. You can create funnels and paths based on the actions a user takes. This is a powerful way to generate revenue if you can, for example, identify when specific actions lead to a customer churning or being open to an upsell.
ConvertKit has a free option that’s good for early-stage startups, although you’ll miss out on the automation and funnel features. The next tier up starts at $29 for up to 1,000 subscribers and rises as you add more people to your list.
ZipWhip: Communicate Via Text Messages
Many of the customer success platforms we’ve looked at so far involve connecting with customers on the internet. But what if your customers prefer to use other modes of communication?
That’s where ZipWhip comes in useful. It enables businesses to contact their customer base via text messages.
ZipWhip’s desktop dashboard is easy to use. Here you can view conversations with customers, send messages, and create automation.
There are two features we especially like about the software.
The first is the option to create personalized templates. These allow you to create and send messages tailored to the receiver based on fields like their name or address—ensuring each customer gets a unique experience when communicating with your team.
The second feature we like is automation.
You can create predefined replies to use when a customer contacts you. You can even tailor these based on keywords within the message. It’s a great way to ensure each customer gets a response without overburdening your team.
ZipWhip pricing starts at $19 per month for one user and up to 500 messages. It rises to $99 per month for unlimited messages and up to 5 users.
Choosing Best Customer Success Software Isn’t Easy
Customer success is a complex field with many different parts. When choosing the best customer success software for your team, look at your needs and select the one that fits.
Tools like Customer Success Box and Gainsight provide a valuable overview of the customer journey. Meanwhile, tools like UserPilot or Ramen can help you find out how customers interact with your product.
If you’d rather build customer relationships and improve how your customer gains information, consider solutions like Tribe and Intercom.