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Best CX tools for 2021: customer experience software for business feedback

Best CX tools for 2021
(Image credit: oatawa / Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best Customer Experience software (also known as CX, CXM or CEM) allows businesses to collect, track and organize customer feedback to help optimize sales and customer relations.

They are equipped with diverse capabilities like content management, contextual help, customer analytics and, of course, customer feedback. Of course, they are also an important part of content marketing in general as part of customer communications for actionable insights.

In recent years the number of tools available in the market has increased rapidly, so we’re here to help you spot which ones can work best for you. 

As such, here are our picks of the best CX tools currently available.

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(Image credit: Zendesk)

1. Zendesk

The popular CX tool

Reasons to buy
+Flexible platform+Live chat+CRM function+Analytics and reporting

Zendesk is one of the best and most popular CX tools available. It enables support for products-led customer conversations that flow seamlessly across all channels. You can choose to build your own CX solution with Zendesk Sunshine, the company's open and flexible CRM platform. Built on AWS, it lets you seamlessly connect and understand all of your customer data wherever it is stored. 

Overall, Zendesk offers four products in one package: support, guide, chat and talk. Between them, they let you do everything from overseeing customer support to giving employees a smart self-service knowledge base. It also offers live chat, a sales CRM function, and analytics and reporting.

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(Image credit: Salesforce)

2. Salesforce Service Cloud

Sales-based CX software

Reasons to buy
+Effective for insights+Productivity tools+Omnichannel

Salesforce describes its service platform as a "time-saving, joy-boosting, relationship-building machine”. It’s not far off the mark - its CX platform is effective when it comes to giving agents the insights they need to understand customers and their cases. They can be resolved using a suite of powerful productivity tools that give agents a complete, shared view of every customer and interaction. 

The platform also provides the ability to reach customers on any channel - whether that’s through mobile messaging, web chat, or social media. Salesforce’s AI-powered chatbots, which are native to its platform, help to reduce reliance on human intervention.

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(Image credit: Hubspot)

3. Hubspot Service Hub

The integrated customer services hub

Reasons to buy
+Many tools+Omnichannel communications+Hubspot CRM+Customer context

Hubspot knows that today's customers have more control, more options, and higher expectations. That’s why the company has tailored its nifty Service Hub to give company agents all the tools they need to keep customers happy. The tools in the Hubspot Service Hub are designed to help you build a frictionless customer experience, starting with the Conversations Inbox. 

It brings all communication channels - from email inboxes, live chat, forms, and Facebook messenger - together into one universal inbox. Each conversation is enriched by the HubSpot CRM, providing contextual information about the customer's history with your company.

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(Image credit: Adobe)

4. Adobe Experience Manager

Combined digital asset management

Reasons to buy
+Content management system+Personalization+Manage experience+Automation tools

Adobe Experience Manager combines digital asset management with the power of a content management system. Adobe Experience Manager Sites ensures that your content is consistent and personalized for each customer. What’s more, it lets you create and manage your digital experience across all channels with automated tools designed to make scaling effortless. 

Added to this, Adobe's Assets feature provides the automation and smart tools needed to rapidly source, adapt, and deliver assets across audiences and channels.

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(Image credit: Qualtrics)

5. Qualtrics XM

For customer insights

Reasons to buy
+Extensive channels+Meaningful touchpoints+Analytics

Qualtrics XM is customer experience management software that delivers insights that can prompt (and lead to) action across an entire organization. It provides three distinct aims, the first being to hear and understand customers at every meaningful touchpoint. Conversations can be started with anything from email to SMS, web, mobile apps, wearables or IoT devices. 

Once they’ve taken place, feedback is automatically analyzed by Qualtrics iQ to uncover trends, patterns and make powerful predictions about customer behavior. Tailored insights and recommended actions are automatically generated and delivered, allowing employees to focus on actions that will drive customer satisfaction, spend, and loyalty.

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(Image credit: Genesys)

6. Genesys Cloud

Cloud contact center solution

Reasons to buy
+Easy deployment+Omnichannel+Workforce optimization

Genesys Cloud is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution that connects phone, email, chat and social through one easy-to-use tool. By placing everything in one place, it empowers agents with a 360-degree view of customers. The software can be deployed in minutes while meeting compliance requirements and configured with redundancy for maximum reliability. 

Its main features include Outbound Campaigns, which execute dial modes and campaign tactics that keep agents productive. Additionally, its workforce optimization capabilities include multi-channel recording, quality management workforce management, performance monitoring and more.

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(Image credit: Medallia)

7. Medallia

AI-powered experience management platform

Reasons to buy
+AI pattern recognition+Text analytics+Deep learning recommendations+Risk scoring

Boasting more than 1 million active users on its platform in a single month, Medallia is an AI-powered experience management platform that brings AI to the cloud. It detects patterns, anticipates needs and predicates behavior using multiple advanced techniques. They include text analytics, which helps agents understand the ‘why’ behind scores, helping to uncover themes, sentiment and underlying satisfaction drivers across unstructured data. 

That’s complemented by Suggested Actions, which retrieve recommendations based on deep learning and automatic discovery of actionable suggestions that drive the most impact. Finally, its Risk Scoring technique identifies at-risk customers while helping to understand the drivers behind their behavior.

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(Image credit: SAS)

8. SAS Customer Experience

CX for financial services

Reasons to buy
+For financial services+Holistic viewpoint+Analytical marketing+Customer journey optimization

Are you a company working in the financial sector that’s looking to improve customer experience with real-time, contextualized interactions? If so, then SAS Customer Experience wants to chat. 

It provides the ability to gain a holistic view of the customer experience and accelerate the value derived from AI and finch technologies to boost customer profitability, streamline operations and foster loyalty. It does so using analytical marking, customer journey optimization, and real-time customer experience techniques.

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(Image credit: Delighted)

9. Delighted

Survey-based customer feedback collection

Reasons to buy
+Net Promoter System+Single-question survey+Real-time feedback

Delighted uses the Net Promoter System (NPS) to gather real feedback from your customers quick sharp, with no technical knowledge required. It works by inviting customers to take a single question survey. 

They then rate your product or service and provide feedback in their own words, with feedback instantly appearing in your dashboard. You can choose how customers will take surveys, whether that’s by email, SMS or a web link - and you can also invite your website visitors to participate directly from your home page.

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(Image credit: SurveyMonkey)

10. SurveyMonkey CX

Personalized surveys for feedback

Reasons to buy
+Personalized surveys+Powerful solution+Multiple channels+Industry benchmarks

SurveyMonkey CX lets you capture actionable insights to grow your business. One of the best CX tools for turning customer insights into action in less time, it’s a turn-key NPS solution with powerful features that’s used to collect, understand and act on customer feedback. 

Its features include the ability to trigger personalized surveys through multiple channels that reach customers when they are most receptive; and the platform makes it easy to identify improvement areas using advanced analytics - from key driver analysis to industry benchmarks. Finally, insights can be shared with team members quickly using custom reports, data exporting, or integration with your system of record.

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.