In fact, omnichannel apps have been practically non-existent until now. So, in this review, we look at a few of the best multichannel customer service apps for Shopify – and also an omnichannel app called Gorgias that breaks the mould.
There are over 90 Shopify helpdesk apps and apps for simplifying and automating customer interactions on Shopify.
We couldn’t consider them all. So below we review just a few of the best options available to you for your Shopify store.
But first – a little more information about omnichannel and multichannel approaches to customer support.
What is an Omnichannel approach?
According to TechTarget, an omnichannel approach is one that “seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.”
Shopify simply calls omnichannel “the future of retail”.
By definition, omnichannel looks after ALL the channels through which a customer may contact you and integrates them all. This creates more consistent and seamless customer experiences.
So, let’s break that down a little.
With omnichannel, consistent customer experiences are provided across the following channels:
- Web channel
- Mobile channel
- Company interest boards (like Pinterest)
- Company social media sites (Facebook etc)
- Custom content (like on YouTube)
- Digital media
- Direct marketing (emails etc.)
- Traditional media (newspapers, magazines)
- Loyalty programs
For larger organizations, it can also mean a consistent experience from call centres, franchisee relationships, and in property locations around the world (such as in-room messaging in hotels, etc.)
Omnichannel vs. multichannel
That new bag you bought? You probably first saw it in an ad or in a store? Then you searched it out on your smartphone for more details and to see if you could get a discount, maybe contacting the vendor? Then perhaps you looked it up on your PC for some larger images to check it’s really what you wanted – and asked a few questions on the live chat? Then you bought it.
In ecommerce, customers may now search for and research products in three or four different places before deciding to buy.
As a store owner, how are you able to capture and integrate all that information to provide a consistent experience for customers?
The answer is through omnichannel customer service.
The multichannel approach (which preceded omnichannel and which some stores persist with today) was essentially designed to bridge the gap for the customer between the offline and online worlds.
With some businesses, that might simply mean providing quality service through more than one channel (i.e. two!); these channels themselves are not integrated with each other.
Omnichannel is the next step up. It is already assumed that the gap between offline and online has been bridged: businesses now know that the offline and online experiences cannot be considered separate and unconnected.
But omnichannel now connects together every single touchpoint that you have with potential customers.
You can provide great website service, solid social media service, and a great mobile experience – but unless they are all working together seamlessly, you’re still providing a multichannel experience.
The evolution of customer support
It is the integration and seamlessness of the customer experience that really defines omnichannel customer support – and its value cannot be under-estimated.
Customer support has always evolved with technology. Once it was call centres; now live web-based chat is everywhere.
With the technology now available to connect all customer touchpoint experiences together and provide total consistency in terms of service, it follows that the leading proponents of customer support are doing this already.
The availability of Twitter, Facebook, video chat, and live web chat together have revolutionized customer support, turning it into an essential marketing vehicle for those businesses that have fully embraced it. Some examples are included below.
Email support is not enough
Many stores are still relying on email for customer support. Essentially, email is reactive – not proactive. Therefore, while it still has its place, relying on it alone is not enough.
You can replace those email chains that can take weeks to resolve and end up infuriating the customer. Live chat is the answer there.
Live chat can help increase leads and conversions, as well as reduce the time it takes to resolve queries or complaints. It offers the benefits of real-time interaction with the customer.
Around 4-8 times the amount of leads can be generated for chat-optimized websites than for typical non-optimized sites that convert at 2 percent. This can result in significant revenue increases.
Businesses that are killing omnichannel
Following are a couple of examples of excellent use of omnichannel marketing and support. The first is an established brand, Chubbies, and is more from angle of marketing to its customer base.
But, just so you don’t think this is only for the biggest players, the second is a smaller ecommerce business killing it with customer support.
It’s not surprising to see Chubbies leading the way with omnichannel. The brand simply understands marketing – and its use of Instagram is a great example of this.
One of the first things you notice about Chubbies is that, wherever you look them up, they have consistent messaging that talks directly to their target audience; user-generated content and humour plays a big role in their marketing.
Whether you like their shorts or not, you have to admire the consistency with which they hit the right notes across all the customer touchpoints, creating a seamless user experience.
Darn Good Yarn
Darn Good Yarn sells sustainable yarns and fabrics. Previously, its five customer support agents had to navigate between six different tools to locate the right customer information. You can imagine the delays.
When they started using an omnichannel customer service app for their Shopify store, agents were able to instantly access a unified view of each customer – including last orders, fulfilment status, and all other necessary info to answer customer queries in a timely manner.
All team members can now see the same information, and the result is the customer is not left waiting for a resolution.
Top 5 Shopify customer service app reviewed
Pricing: From $30/month (free trial available)
Gorgias describes itself as “a help desk which gives you a unified view of your customers”.
Darn Good Yarn (the example mentioned above) is a typical client using Gorgias to make life easier for customer support agents to resolve issues. When a customer contacts Darn Good Yarn, their support team immediately see all the conversation history they had with the customer. Gorgias also pulls all the information agents need to respond: order history, delivery status, subscription info, loyalty points, etc.
As a result, customers don’t need to repeat themselves anymore, and the support team maximizes efficiency.
Ultimately, this leads to more rapid response to issues, with more personalized support: these should be considered essential for the user experience.
Last month, they started piloting smart autoresponders. When customers inquire about the status of their last order, Gorgias sends an auto-responder with tracking info. This provides a better experience than the traditional “we got your request”, and helps deflect 20% of support requests.
Gorgias integrates with all Shopify apps merchants are using,, including:
- Bold Recurring Orders
- Loyalty Lion
These are just for starters – there are many more integrations. You can find the full list here: https://gorgias.io/integrations
Pricing: From $19/month (14-day trial available)
Help Desk describes itself as “a customer-oriented support system designed specifically to operate out of Shopify backend, as an integral part of the platform”.
Support staff work from a backend Inbox that includes messages from contact forms and direct email, with all messages associated with an individual customer arranged in a simple layout that is easy to view.
It’s quite easy to review previous orders and related follow up messages, but does not include integration of all channels (like live chat, Facebook, Twitter for instance).
Pricing: From $19/month (30-day free trial available)
You’re probably familiar with Zendesk. It’s one of the most commonly used customer service systems, adopted by some of the largest companies in the world.
It describes itself as “a growing family of products that work together to improve customer relationships, and can be embedded and extended through an open development platform.”
It includes an embeddable help center, live chat, and tickets, which can be provided direct from the Shopify storefront: this helps to maintain brand consistency and increase the efficiency of support interactions.
Zendesk integrates with:
- LogMeIn Rescue
Pricing: $69/month (60-day free trial available)
Robin describes itself as a “fast, smart, hassle-free customer service app that seamlessly integrates support e-mail, live chat, proactive chat, eCommerce data, metrics & much more.”
It’s an app that focuses on three major customer service KPIs: acquisition, retention, and efficiency. Agents receive access to a single centralised dashboard for each customer, with all messages, emails, and live chat logs combined with Shopify ecommerce data integration.
While some would describe Robin as ‘omnichannel’, it doesn’t have as many integrations as Gorgias, and plans start at over double the monthly charge.
Pricing: Free (up to 100 surveys/month)
Customer.guru is a little different from the other Shopify customer service apps above. For starters, there is a free version – up to 100 surveys a month.
But it is also different in its scope. Essentially, it is a survey tool, allowing customers to rate their satisfaction with your service.
While this is certainly useful for most stores, enabling you to embed reviews and ratings on your site and use the data to improve the overall customer experience, it is a rather limited customer service app that has a narrow (rather than an omnichannel) application.
It integrates with the following apps:
- Google Analytics
- Google AdWords
- Facebook ads
Which Shopify customer service app is right for you?
Space limitations don’t allow us to review the scores of other Shopify customer service apps, but the above five are among the most popular.
They also provide a good overview of what’s available and should help you become clearer on the type of app you’re looking for, for your store.
There is no doubt that the trend towards an omnichannel approach to customer service has major benefits. It has the potential to optimize the user experience, improving service, increasing retention, and attracting new customers.
In this respect, Gorgias is leading the way, and should be on the radar of most Shopify stores out there.
Customer Service Cheat Sheet
Cheat sheet and 47 most common customer requests spreadsheet