5 Free (Or Low-Cost) Customer Service Tools For Small Business

5 Customer Service Tools for Small Business

The best customer service tools can make your business come across as professional, and even bigger than it really is.

However, many of the tools out there can get really expensive. As small business owners, we don’t have the money to dump into a million different tools or hire someone for every little task.

That’s why we at Formilla did some digging to find the best free (or low-cost) customer service tools to make your business really shine.

In this post, I’m going to reveal to you five of our favorite tools and how to use them to take your customer service game to the next level.

Enough talk – let’s dive in!

#1: Fiverr

If you haven’t heard of Fiverr yet, you’re really missing out.

Fiverr offers nearly every service imaginable, starting at just $5.

This is great news for small businesses like yours and ours. Here’s what we’ve used Fiverr for:

Affordable language translation

If you’re ready to start expanding into international waters, having a professional translator is a must.

We tend to translate things like customer support content (such as tutorials and FAQ pages) and voiceovers or captions for support videos.

Check out the two images below. We had translation work done on over 2000 words for just over $20!

Using Fiverr for translation

Using Fiverr for translation

Small web design work

Fiverr is also great for creating website banners, screenshots for a tutorial or blog, or creating a custom attention grabber that can accompany your Formilla Live Chat button.

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-8-52-31-pm

How to Use Fiverr With Great Results

When it comes to hiring professionals online, there are a few things you should know to ensure a good experience:

  1. Only pay attention to profiles with 4.5 star or higher reviews. Any lower and the person is probably not worth dealing with since there are plenty of other, higher rated sellers.
  2. Do a Google image search of their work to make sure it’s original. Plagiarism is still pretty common, but also easy to spot. To do a Google image search in Chrome, right click the image then hit “Search Google for image”. In other browsers, save the image (or copy the image URL) and put it in Google’s image search tool. Just press the camera icon and upload!Search Google for image
  3. Read the testimonials – and watch for “Outstanding Experiences”. If all of their reviews simply say “Outstanding experience”, there is a chance they’re fake. (This is the default review text, and you can pay to get mass reviews like these.) While not a definite indicator of fraud, it’s something to watch out for. Fiverr reviews
  4. Reach out to the seller first. Message them to talk about what you’re looking for. Question them a bit to see if they actually know what they’re talking about. Never order anything without talking to the seller first.
  5. Don’t forget – you get what you pay for. While there is quality work to be had for just $5, most of the truly great Fiverr-ians (my name for people who sell services on Fiverr) have options that go well beyond $5. Don’t be afraid to pay a little extra – that money goes a long way, and you’ll still probably pay less than you would elsewhere.

Overall, we love Fiverr and find it to be one of our favorite customer service tools. Oh, and one final tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for a few revisions to make sure you get exactly what you want. Communication is important – here’s an example of our response when getting some graphic work done:

How to respond to a Fiverr seller

#2: Google Voice

Don’t you wish you could have one number for all of your customer support needs? Want to stop giving out your personal cell phone number to customers?

Enter Google Voice.

Google Voice is a perfect customer service tool for small businesses. It’s a free (or very affordable) way to reserve a single phone number to serve as your main customer support line.

It even lets you record a separate business voice mail message, gives you a separate voicemail box, and allows you to get a number with your local area code! We use Google Voice for our main support line at Formilla and post it on our site instead of our personal numbers.

Oh, the best part? You can route one number to all of your support reps’ individual lines.

Some other cool things we do with Google Voice include:

  • Translate voicemails to text to see spam calls without listening to the message. This helps us know if we need to call back immediately or if it’s just a bogus message.
  • Get text alerts whenever a voicemail is left on your number. Obviously, this helps us stay quick on our feet and answer ASAP.
  • Make free calls to the U.S. and Canada, and get very cheap rates for outbound calls to other countries. Plus, your outbound calls don’t display your personal number, just your GV number.
  • You can manage it all in the Google Voice Android app! Place calls, listen to voicemail, and get alerts. (Here is the iOS version.)

Now, let’s get you started!

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How to Setup Google Voice for Customer Service

Google Voice is pretty simple to setup, but here’s a quick and dirty walkthrough to help you reserve your number today:

Step 1: Setup a Google Voice account and choose a number for your business (it will link with your gmail account if you have one).

Google voice as a customer service tool

Step 2: Setup call forwarding to all of your support lines by going to Phones -> Add a phone.

Google voice call forwarding

Step 3: Record your voicemail message by going to Voicemail & Text -> Record New Greeting.

Recording a Google voicemail

Viola! You now have a Google Voice number to display on your site.

#3: FreeConferenceCall.com

Did you know the first ever telephone conference call was held in 190956? However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that it gained popularity.

This method of bringing two or more people together into one call has long been a business tactic to help with sales, customer support, and onboarding. Now, you can get it for free.

Freeconferencecall.com gives you a toll-free number for international (and domestic) calls. You can start a conference call, and anyone with the access code can join.

Free conference call

What does a conference call have to do with customer service?

You can use this tool to start a screen share with your customers to show them exactly how to fix a problem.

Alternatively, you can use it to demo your product!

That’s not all – you can also record your sessions for future reference. This means you can focus fully on the call and not have to worry about taking notes or multitasking. If you feel you missed something, just go back and listen to it to capture every detail.

Another neat trick? You can use conference calls to onboard multiple customers at the same time.

Here’s a super quick video overview of all the features of Freeconferencecall.com:

 

How to Hold a Killer Conference Call

You want your customers to love getting on a call with you, right?

Here’s how to make that a reality:

  • Prepare for your calls. The easiest way to rid your nerves (and be on your game) is to simply prepare for a call. Rehearse the general message of what you’ll say. Bonus points if you talk to yourself in the mirror.
  • Involve your customers. Don’t just drone on – no one wants to listen to you all day. (If it makes you feel better, no one wants to listen to me all day, either.) Ask your customer questions and get them talking.
  • Call the customer by name. Dale Carnegie once said that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Call people by name, and you’ll win customers for life.
  • Be punctual. My personal rule? Call right on the dot. That way no one can complain about you being early or late – you’re right on time. This will also build trust with your customer.
  • Don’t forget to press record. Have you ever seen The Internship? Vince Vaughn nearly lost his job because he forgot to hit the little red button. Don’t let that be you!
  • Keep it short and sweet. You’re on a customer service call – so perform the service, and get them off the phone. Unless, of course, the customer wants to stay on the call. Then, by all means, let it go on.

When it comes to conference calls, just be genuine and empathetic and you’ll do just fine. Heck, just be genuine and empathetic in life and you’ll do just fine.

#4: Screencast.com

Have you ever seen those useful screen capture videos of a business showing a demo of their product?

You can make one of them using our fourth favorite customer service tool: Screencast.com.

Screencast

Yes, you can also do this using Freeconferencecall – but you have to hold a conference call to do it. With Screencast, you can create screen capture videos offline, without holding a call.

The potential here is huge:

  • Create formal (or informal) support videos to help your customers master your products.
  • Start capturing video in under 30 seconds, without installing any software!
  • Host videos on the cloud, so no uploading to YouTube or Vimeo – just share a link with your customer and they can view it in their browser.
  • Reuse videos, and even create a library to help you save precious time on customer support in the future.

One of my personal favorite uses of screencaptures is sending my customers custom videos where I speak to them directly. It’s a win-win – your customer gets a nice surprise and feels special, and you solve their problem.

Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to use screencasts with internal team members as well. We regularly use them to visually communicate product defects or issues with our development team for quicker resolution.

By the way, this kind of creative problem-solving is one of the 11 skills that make up excellent customer service!

#5: Formilla Live Chat

Last, but certainly not least, we have live chat. We couldn’t talk about customer service tools without mentioning our live chat software!

Here’s why:

Live chat leaves 73% of customers feeling satisfied, compared to just 61% for email support and 48% for social media support.

Live chat is the best customer service tool

Customers have come to expect live chat software, too. According to a Forrester survey, the percentage of customers who have used live chat for customer service has grown from 38% in 2009 to 58% in 2014, and it’s continuing to rise.

The cat’s out of the bag – live chat is here to stay and people are loving it.

How to Make Customers Love You With Live Chat

First of all, go sign-up for Formilla Live Chat. Installing the software is super simple – you can just install our WordPress plugin. If you don’t have WordPress, installing the code manually is as simple as copy-paste.

Got it hooked up? Good! Let’s talk about what you can do with it now:

Automatically ask customers if they need help.

Sending an automated message that pops up like a notification encourages customers to ask questions, which gives you an opportunity to interact with them before they leave. It’s also an extra chance to capture their email to build a relationship with them.

Live chat automated response

Send canned responses.

Canned responses will help save you loads of precious time. Why type out a full response when you can press one button and shoot a whole answer to nearly every common situation. You can even make your own! Plus, canned responses are great for training new hires when they don’t know what to say.

Live chat canned response

Real-time visitor monitoring.

See who’s online at any given time and request a chat with any of them. Not only does this help you engage your customers – it also gives you insights into how they’re using your site so you can improve!

Real time visitor monitoring

Now that you understand the benefits and features, here are a few extra tips to get the most from your live chat software:

  • Answer quickly. Customers tend to get annoyed when they have to wait longer than one minute to receive a live chat response. If you can’t respond that fast, you can set your Formilla live chat to offline mode to notify the customer they’ll get an email response within 24 hours (or however long you need).
  • Start by introducing yourself. Don’t just say, “Hi, how may I help you?” Instead, say “Hi, my name is ___, how many I help you?” People want to connect with other people, introductions help with that.
  • If you can’t resolve the issue immediately, tell them exactly when they’ll hear from you. And be sure to respond by that time whether you solved the issue or not! If a customer has to reach out to you to “follow up” on the status of their ticket, you’ve failed. Customers following up on their status results in lower customer satisfaction.
  • Make live chat super easy to use. Don’t make customers enter their information and go through hoops. With Formilla, you can let them enter a message with no contact info (if you want).
  • Build a knowledge base for easier support. You don’t want to send a page long live chat message if it’s a complex issue. Instead, have an explainer article (or, preferably, a video) you can send them to make the process faster and easier.
  • Don’t be afraid to move the conversation to the phone or hold a screen share using the tools above if they need extra help! You can also keep a few canned responses ready to quickly reply to customers.

There you have it: Six tips for better live chat support. We’re also working on a full guide to providing 5-star live chat support. If you’re interested in getting it when it goes live, enter your email below and we’ll send it to you!

Bringing It All Together

Having the right tools is paramount to your success. A carpenter wouldn’t go into a house with just a hammer, and you shouldn’t go into customer service with just an email address.

Of course, these are only a few of the many customer service tools available. We only shared five of our absolute favorites that we believe will have a major impact on your customer service.

If you liked this article, let us know in the comments. You never know – we might just give you a few more tools to further upgrade your kit! Until then, good luck and don’t forget to share this article if you’ve found it helpful!

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  • Kim Smith Brooks

    We use Formilla on our web site at smartgovcommunity.com and we love it. One of our favorite tools for engagement with new customers and support for existing customers. Affordable and easy to implement & use. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at the level of support – for such a low-price product, support is fast and accessible. You can see it on our site smartgovcommunity.com or paladindata.com

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kim! We’re ecstatic that you love our tool. 🙂

      What can we do to make our blog even better for you? Do you have any burning questions about customer service or business in general that we can answer for you?