Customer-centricity should be a top goal for every company — no matter what you sell, who you serve, or where you live. So if your team needs to brush up on their customer service skills, there are loads of customer support resources to check out.
These 30 blogs, books, and software tools are guaranteed to help brands like yours support every type of customer, even as client needs change. Don't waste time scouring the internet to up your customer service game — read on for our favorite customer support resources, organized by category. Think about it this way: You’re just 30 clicks away from getting on Amazon’s level.
For more on how to maintain customer loyalty through customer experience:
The Best Customer Support Blogs
These blogs are great customer support resources for news and analysis on the industry, including thought leadership from some of the brightest minds in customer support.
- ClientSuccess Blog: This blog, which is focused on customer retention, includes actionable tips for B2B companies, such as how to map out a customer’s SaaS journey and the best way to onboard new clients.
- CX Journey Blog: Written by Annette Franz, founder of customer experience consulting firm CX Journey, this resource offers her take on how marketing impacts the customer experience, such as the impact of influencer marketing and the widespread benefits of journey mapping.
- Fighting Churn: This resource is dedicated to ideas and inspiration for retaining customers, such as tips for reducing turnover and building trust to enhance loyalty.
- Help Scout Blog: Help Scout, a customer service software and education company, simplifies the help desk experience for brands and consumers in this blog, offering tips, guides, and product updates.
- HubSpot Blog: Check out the latest research, strategy, and thought leadership information for customer support professionals, such as how to listen to customers and how to speed up hold times in your service department.
- Relate: Zendesk — which works with major brands including Mailchimp, Stanley Black + Decker, Vimeo, Instacart, and Slack — dissects the customer experience in its blog, Relate, including what works and what doesn’t, and how brands can move customer support forward.
- Shep Hyken’s Customer Service Blog: Shep Hyken’s blog is a great way to keep up with what’s trending in customer support. He shares weekly updates of his favorite industry articles with commentary. He also interviews brand leaders and includes guest posts with expert tips.
- Totango Blog: Customer success platform Totango collects and analyzes billions of consumer signals for customer service teams at companies like SAP, Zoom, Monster, and Trust Pilot. Its blog offers news, tips, and best practices for the customer service industry, including insight from company leaders and client success stories.
For more on how to maintain your customer service via social media:
The Best Customer Support Communities
Online communities are another great resource to help keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in customer support. They also offer an opportunity to connect with peers. It’s a win-win.
- Customer Contact Week Digital: This online community helps more than 150,000 customer support professionals stay on top of the latest industry developments — such as digital engagement, chatbots, mobile support, and other related topics — through research, newsletters, and webinars.
- Customer Experience Professionals: One of the many LinkedIn groups that enables nearly 30,000 customer support agents to share best practices on customer feedback.
- Customer Support Professionals: Yet another LinkedIn group with about 37,000 members, Customer Support Professionals fosters an online community through conferences and other support.
- Customer Service Champions: This private LinkedIn group with nearly 108,000 members shares trends, best practices, and skills valuable to fellow customer service professionals.
- CustomerThink: Providing news, opinions, and Q&As on everything pertinent to customer-centric business management, there’s a reason why CustomerThink captures more than 2.5 million annual visitors. Don’t sleep on this helpful resource.
- Support Driven Blog: Support Driven is an online community in which actual practitioners ask questions, share advice, mentor one another, and participate in leadership training.
For more on how online communities are dominating 2020:
The Best Customer Support Books
These books offer insight into some of the most enduring customer support concepts, such as what clients actually want and how to keep them happy as their needs evolve.
- Ask: Online marketing expert Ryan Levesque details the Ask Formula, which he claims helps uncover what consumers want — and how to give it to them through survey-based, customized sales channels.
- Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless: Prolific speaker and author Jeffrey Gitomer offers an easy-to-digest guide on how to cement customer loyalty. (P.S. It involves going beyond just making customers happy.)
- Delivering Happiness: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh talks about the lessons he learned after founding the e-commerce platform in 1999, and how a unique corporate culture focused on happy employees yields happy customers — and sales.
- The Effortless Experience: This book describes what makes customers loyal and disloyal, and why surprising and delighting customers might be overrated. Instead, giving them what they want, when they want it, is what breeds loyalty.
- Hug Your Haters: Using proprietary research, marketing and customer service expert Jay Baer outlines how brands should respond to customer complaints through a variety of channels — and what they can learn in the process.
The Best Customer Support Software Tools
No organization can tackle customer support in 2020 without help from tech partners. Given the volume of queries through touchpoints like phone, email, chat, and social media, using the right technology gives companies an advantage. Work smarter, not harder, with some high-tech assistance from the following.
- Gong: This platform offers real-time insights into the conversations sales reps have with customers to help businesses make better-informed decisions about impressing clients.
- Happyfox: This help desk software provider converts customer requests through email, phone, chat, and web into help tickets. It also analyzes help desk metrics and outsources redundant tasks to AI and machine learning to provide faster and better customer support.
- HubSpot Service Hub: HubSpot offers tools for a frictionless customer experience in its Service Hub. The “Conversations” inbox combines customer interaction points like email, chat, and Facebook Messenger into a single, easy-to-see interface. It also boasts a help desk with automation and reporting to make closing tickets easier.
- Intercom: This so-called conversational relationship platform helps scale messenger-based interactions in order to build customer relationships throughout the purchase journey.
- Kustomer: Another customer relationship management platform, Kustomer, consolidates consumer data like purchase history and interactions to provide context for future conversations. It also uses AI and machine learning to automate manual tasks and address customer needs faster.
- LiveAgent: Through LiveAgent, brands can connect with customers via their communication platform of choice while also offering live chat and automation.
- Podium: Messaging platform Podium focuses on helping local businesses facilitate text-based interactions with customers.
- Salesforce Service Cloud: The customer service offering from Salesforce helps clients deliver a personalized experience by matching cases with the agent best positioned to help them, as well as via their preferred communication channel. It also taps into AI to help agents work smarter.
- Sprout Social: The social analytics platform helps brands forge more meaningful relationships with their clients and targets.
- TeamSupport: Focused on helping B2B businesses provide more seamless customer support, TeamSupport enhances collaboration by facilitating communication across teams and departments.
- Zendesk: This CRM giant helps more than 160,000 customers build better relationships with their clients through a suite of support and sales products.
Customer Support for the Rest of Us
We’ve come a long way since caveat emptor — let the buyer beware — was the guiding principle of commerce. Instead, in today’s marketplace, brands must beware of unhappy customers. This comes at a time when customer expectations are higher than ever before.
With the right partners, any brand can ace customer support, quickly resolve issues, and anticipate client needs. And with these customer support resources, you don’t have to work at a trillion-dollar company to offer stellar customer service either.