Product Showcase

Top 5 Features of ThriveDesk v2.0 (Helpscout Alternative)

13 min read
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Introduction [00:00]

ThriveDesk is an emerging player in the customer support software market, offering a cost-effective alternative to established solutions like Zendesk and HelpScout. This article delves into the top features of ThriveDesk v2.0, exploring how it provides approximately 90% of the functionality of its more expensive counterparts at just 10% of the price. We’ll examine its key features, including e-commerce integration, knowledge base creation, live chat capabilities, mobile app functionality, and reporting tools. Additionally, we’ll discuss some potential shortcomings to consider before adopting this budget-friendly support solution. Whether you’re running a bootstrapped startup or managing an e-commerce brand on a tight budget, ThriveDesk might be the answer to your customer support needs.

Sync your Ecommerce Site [01:45]

One of ThriveDesk’s standout features is its ability to seamlessly integrate with various e-commerce platforms, providing a unified view of customer interactions and order history. This integration is crucial for delivering efficient and personalized customer support, especially for online retailers.

How to Connect Your Store

  1. Navigate to the App Store: In the lower left-hand corner of the ThriveDesk dashboard, you’ll find the App Store option. This is your gateway to connecting various services and platforms to your ThriveDesk account.
  2. Choose Your E-commerce Platform: ThriveDesk offers integration with multiple e-commerce platforms. In this example, we’ll focus on WooCommerce integration, but the process is similar for other supported platforms.
  3. Install the ThriveDesk Plugin: Once you’ve selected WooCommerce, you’ll need to install the ThriveDesk plugin on your WordPress site. This involves logging into your WordPress dashboard, navigating to Plugins > Add New, searching for ThriveDesk, and then installing and activating the plugin.
  4. Connect Your Store: After activating the plugin, go to Settings > ThriveDesk in your WordPress dashboard. Click on the “Connect” button to link your WooCommerce store with ThriveDesk.
  5. Configure Settings in ThriveDesk: Back in ThriveDesk, you’ll be prompted to name your store and select which inboxes you want to connect to the store. This allows you to organize customer communications based on different aspects of your business.

Benefits of E-commerce Integration

  • Contextual Customer Information: When a customer contacts support, you’ll have immediate access to their order history and previous interactions, allowing for more informed and personalized responses.
  • Streamlined Order Inquiries: Support agents can quickly look up order statuses, shipping information, and other relevant details without switching between multiple systems.
  • Proactive Customer Service: With access to order data, support teams can anticipate potential issues and reach out to customers before problems escalate.
  • Improved Resolution Times: Having all customer information in one place enables faster problem-solving and reduces the need for back-and-forth communication.

Real-World Application

To illustrate the power of this integration, imagine a scenario where a customer emails about a delayed order. With ThriveDesk’s e-commerce sync:

  1. The support agent receives the email in their shared inbox.
  2. They can immediately view the customer’s order history and details of the specific order in question.
  3. The agent can quickly determine the order status, any shipping updates, and previous communications about the order.
  4. This comprehensive view allows the agent to provide a detailed and accurate response without needing to consult multiple systems or departments.

By centralizing customer and order information, ThriveDesk empowers support teams to deliver faster, more accurate, and more personalized customer service, which is essential for building customer loyalty and maintaining a positive brand reputation in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

Knowledge Base [03:21]

A robust knowledge base is an essential component of any customer support strategy, serving as a self-service resource for customers and reducing the volume of support requests. ThriveDesk offers a powerful knowledge base feature that allows businesses to create, organize, and publish helpful content for their customers.

Setting Up Your Knowledge Base

  1. Access the Knowledge Base Feature: Click on the book icon in the ThriveDesk dashboard to access the knowledge base functionality.
  2. Create Your First Document: Click on “Create your first doc” to begin building your knowledge base.
  3. Configure Knowledge Base Settings: Give your knowledge base a name, choose which users can edit and manage the content, and decide whether to make it public or private.
  4. Create Articles: Once your knowledge base is set up, you can start creating articles. The article editor in ThriveDesk is user-friendly and feature-rich, allowing you to create comprehensive and visually appealing content.

Key Features of ThriveDesk’s Knowledge Base

  • Rich Text Editor: The knowledge base editor supports various formatting options, including headlines, tables, alert boxes, images, and embedded videos. This versatility allows you to create engaging and informative content.
  • Collaboration Tools: Multiple team members can work on knowledge base articles, enabling you to leverage the expertise of your entire support team.
  • Custom Domain Support: You can set up a custom domain for your knowledge base, ensuring a consistent brand experience for your customers.
  • Search Functionality: The knowledge base includes a search feature, making it easy for customers to find the information they need quickly.

Benefits of a Well-Structured Knowledge Base

  • Reduced Support Volume: By providing easily accessible answers to common questions, you can significantly reduce the number of support tickets and inquiries.
  • 24/7 Support: A knowledge base offers round-the-clock support, allowing customers to find answers even outside of your regular support hours.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: Empowering customers to find solutions on their own can lead to higher satisfaction rates and a more positive perception of your brand.
  • Consistent Information: A centralized knowledge base ensures that all customers receive consistent and up-to-date information about your products or services.

Best Practices for Knowledge Base Creation

  1. Organize Content Logically: Structure your articles in a way that makes sense to your customers, using clear categories and subcategories.
  2. Use Clear and Concise Language: Write in a straightforward manner, avoiding jargon or technical terms that may confuse your audience.
  3. Include Visual Aids: Incorporate screenshots, diagrams, or videos to illustrate complex processes or concepts.
  4. Keep Content Updated: Regularly review and update your knowledge base to ensure all information remains accurate and relevant.
  5. Encourage Feedback: Implement a system for customers to rate articles or suggest improvements, helping you continually refine your knowledge base.

By leveraging ThriveDesk’s knowledge base feature, businesses can create a comprehensive self-service resource that not only reduces support costs but also enhances the overall customer experience. A well-maintained knowledge base demonstrates your commitment to customer success and can be a valuable asset in building customer loyalty and trust.

Live Chat [05:43]

Live chat has become an essential feature for modern customer support, offering real-time assistance and improving customer satisfaction. ThriveDesk’s live chat functionality, referred to as “chat assistant,” provides a powerful tool for engaging with customers instantly while leveraging your existing e-commerce data and knowledge base.

Setting Up Live Chat in ThriveDesk

  1. Create a Chat Assistant: Navigate to the chat assistant icon and select “Create New Assistant.”
  2. Name Your Assistant: Give your chat assistant a name that reflects your brand or support team.
  3. Select an Inbox: Choose the inbox where chat conversations will be stored and managed.
  4. Customize Appearance: Personalize the chat widget’s appearance to match your brand aesthetics.
  • Choose an icon or upload a custom one
  • Add text to accompany the icon
  • Select brand-appropriate colors for the background and action buttons
  1. Connect Your Knowledge Base: Integrate your previously created knowledge base to allow customers to search for answers within the chat widget.
  2. Link E-commerce Data: Connect your e-commerce platform (e.g., WooCommerce) to enable order status checks directly from the chat widget.
  3. Install the Chat Widget: Copy the provided JavaScript code and add it to your website, similar to installing Google Analytics.

Key Features of ThriveDesk’s Live Chat

  • Branded Appearance: Customize the chat widget to align with your brand’s visual identity.
  • Knowledge Base Integration: Allow customers to search your knowledge base directly from the chat widget, promoting self-service.
  • E-commerce Integration: Enable customers to check their order status without leaving the chat interface.
  • Mobile App Support: Manage live chats on the go using ThriveDesk’s mobile app.
  • Inbox Integration: Seamlessly manage chat conversations alongside other support channels in a unified inbox.

Benefits of Implementing Live Chat

  • Instant Support: Provide immediate assistance to customers, reducing frustration and improving satisfaction.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: Engage with potential customers in real-time, addressing concerns that might otherwise prevent a sale.
  • Efficient Problem Solving: Resolve issues quickly by having immediate access to customer data and order information.
  • Reduced Support Costs: Handle multiple chat conversations simultaneously, increasing agent productivity.
  • Proactive Customer Engagement: Initiate conversations with website visitors based on their behavior or time spent on site.

Best Practices for Effective Live Chat Support

  1. Set Clear Expectations: Communicate expected response times and availability hours to manage customer expectations.
  2. Train Your Team: Ensure your support agents are well-versed in using the chat system and have access to necessary information.
  3. Use Canned Responses: Prepare pre-written responses for common questions to improve efficiency while maintaining a personal touch.
  4. Monitor Chat Analytics: Regularly review chat performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and optimize your support strategy.
  5. Integrate with CRM: Connect your live chat system with your customer relationship management tool to maintain a comprehensive view of customer interactions.

By implementing ThriveDesk’s live chat feature, businesses can offer a modern, efficient support channel that meets the expectations of today’s customers. The integration with e-commerce data and knowledge base content ensures that your support team has all the necessary tools to provide quick, accurate assistance, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Mobile App [08:38]

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the ability to manage customer support on the go is crucial. ThriveDesk’s mobile app addresses this need, allowing support teams to stay connected and responsive even when they’re away from their desks. This feature ensures that customer inquiries are handled promptly, regardless of time or location.

Key Features of ThriveDesk’s Mobile App

  1. Access to Unassigned Messages: Quickly view and respond to new support requests that haven’t been assigned to a specific agent.
  2. Live Chat Management: Handle real-time customer conversations directly from your mobile device.
  3. Multiple Inbox Support: Switch between different inboxes to manage various aspects of your support operations.
  4. Ticket Assignment Visibility: View tickets assigned to other team members, facilitating collaboration and workload management.
  5. Comprehensive Ticket Processing: Perform a wide range of actions on support tickets, including:
  • Flagging important messages
  • Adding tags for better organization
  • Leaving internal notes for team communication
  • Replying directly to customers
  • Assigning tickets to other team members
  1. Cross-Platform Availability: The app is available on both Android and iOS devices, ensuring accessibility for all team members regardless of their preferred mobile platform.

Benefits of Using ThriveDesk’s Mobile App

  • Improved Response Times: Address customer inquiries quickly, even outside of regular business hours.
  • Enhanced Team Collaboration: Stay updated on ticket statuses and team communications while on the move.
  • Increased Productivity: Make use of downtime or travel time to manage support tasks.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Allow team members to handle urgent issues without being tied to their desks.
  • Seamless Experience: Enjoy a consistent support management experience across desktop and mobile platforms.

Best Practices for Mobile Support Management

  1. Set Clear Expectations: Establish guidelines for after-hours support and response times when using the mobile app.
  2. Prioritize Effectively: Use the mobile app to triage and address urgent issues quickly, leaving more complex tasks for when you’re back at your desk.
  3. Leverage Internal Notes: Use the app’s internal note feature to communicate important information to team members who may be following up on tickets later.
  4. Regular App Updates: Ensure all team members keep their mobile apps updated to access the latest features and security enhancements.
  5. Mobile-Specific Training: Provide training on efficiently using the mobile app to maximize its benefits and ensure consistent quality of support across all platforms.

Real-World Application Scenarios

  • On-Call Support: Team members can easily manage urgent support requests during off-hours without needing access to a computer.
  • Event Management: Support staff at trade shows or conferences can provide real-time assistance to customers or attendees.
  • Remote Work: Facilitate seamless support operations for distributed teams or during unexpected office closures.
  • Executive Support: Allow management to stay informed about critical support issues and intervene when necessary, regardless of their location.

By leveraging ThriveDesk’s mobile app, support teams can significantly enhance their responsiveness and flexibility. This not only improves the overall customer experience but also contributes to a more efficient and agile support operation. The ability to manage support tasks from anywhere empowers teams to provide exceptional service, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Reporting [09:32]

Effective reporting is crucial for understanding and improving customer support operations. ThriveDesk offers a comprehensive reporting feature that provides valuable insights into various aspects of your support team’s performance. These reports help managers make data-driven decisions to enhance customer satisfaction and team productivity.

Accessing and Using ThriveDesk’s Reporting Feature

  1. Navigate to Reports: Click on the report icon in the ThriveDesk dashboard to access the reporting section.
  2. Select Inbox and Time Frame: Choose the specific inbox you want to analyze and set the desired time frame for your report.
  3. Explore Different Report Categories: ThriveDesk offers four main categories of reports:
  • Conversations
  • Productivity
  • Happiness
  • Agents

Key Reporting Categories and Metrics

Conversations Report

  • Total New Conversations: Track the volume of new support requests.
  • Conversations per Day: Understand daily fluctuations in support volume.
  • Resolution Rate: Measure how effectively issues are being resolved.
  • Unique Contacts: Identify the number of individual customers reaching out for support.

Productivity Report

  • Response Time: Measure how quickly agents are responding to customer inquiries.
  • Resolution Time: Track the average time taken to fully resolve customer issues.
  • Interactions per Resolution: Understand the efficiency of issue resolution by measuring the number of interactions required.

Happiness Report

  • CSAT Score: Customer Satisfaction score based on post-resolution surveys.
  • Survey Response Rate: Track how often customers are providing feedback.
  • Trends Over Time: Analyze how customer satisfaction is evolving.

Agents Report

  • Individual Performance: Measure each agent’s workload and effectiveness.
  • Resolutions per Agent: Track how many issues each team member is resolving.
  • Response Times by Agent: Identify which team members are the most responsive.

Benefits of ThriveDesk’s Reporting Feature

  • Performance Optimization: Identify areas where your support team excels and where there’s room for improvement.
  • Resource Allocation: Use data to make informed decisions about staffing and workload distribution.
  • Trend Analysis: Spot patterns in support volume and customer satisfaction to anticipate future needs.
  • Goal Setting: Establish clear, measurable objectives for your support team based on historical data.
  • Training Needs Identification: Pinpoint specific areas where additional training may be beneficial for your team.

Best Practices for Utilizing Support Reports

  1. Regular Review: Set a schedule for reviewing reports, such as weekly for team leads and monthly for higher management.
  2. Contextual Analysis: Consider external factors that might influence your metrics, such as product launches or seasonal trends.
  3. Team Involvement: Share relevant metrics with your support team to foster a data-driven culture and encourage self-improvement.
  4. Actionable Insights: Use the data to create specific, measurable action plans for improving support operations.
  5. Benchmark Comparisons: Compare your metrics against industry standards or your own historical data to gauge progress.

Customizing CSAT Surveys

ThriveDesk allows you to customize the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys sent after ticket resolution:

  1. Navigate to Inbox Settings: Go to the manage section for the relevant inbox.
  2. Access Satisfaction Ratings: Find the option to configure satisfaction surveys.
  3. Toggle and Customize: Turn the feature on or off and adjust the language used in the survey to align with your brand voice.

By leveraging ThriveDesk’s reporting capabilities, support teams can gain valuable insights into their performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall customer experience. Regular analysis of these reports, combined with strategic action plans, can lead to significant improvements in support efficiency, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, business success.

No 2FA [11:08]

While ThriveDesk offers a range of powerful features, it’s important to note that as of the time of this review, the platform does not offer Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). This absence of an additional security layer is a significant consideration for businesses handling sensitive customer data.

Implications of Lacking 2FA

  1. Security Vulnerability: Without 2FA, accounts are more susceptible to unauthorized access, especially if passwords are compromised.
  2. Data Protection Concerns: For businesses dealing with sensitive customer information, the lack of 2FA may not align with best practices for data security.
  3. Team Member Access: In a scenario where support team members are spread across different locations, ensuring the security of each account becomes more challenging without 2FA.
  4. Compliance Issues: Depending on your industry, the lack of 2FA might pose challenges in meeting certain security standards or regulations.

Mitigating the Absence of 2FA

While the lack of 2FA is a notable shortcoming, there are steps you can take to enhance security:

  1. Strong Password Policies: Implement and enforce strict password requirements for all team members using ThriveDesk.
  2. Regular Password Changes: Establish a policy of frequent password updates to reduce the risk of compromised accounts.
  3. Limited Access: Carefully manage user permissions, granting access only to necessary team members and features.
  4. Secure Network Practices: Ensure team members access ThriveDesk only through secure, trusted networks.
  5. Education and Training: Regularly train your team on best practices for account security and the importance of protecting login credentials.

Future Considerations

As ThriveDesk continues to develop, it’s possible that 2FA may be added in future updates. Regularly check for platform updates and feature releases, and consider reaching out to ThriveDesk support to express interest in this security feature.

Workflows is in beta [11:32]

ThriveDesk’s workflow feature, while promising, is currently in beta. This means that the functionality is still being developed and refined, which can have both advantages and limitations for users.

Current State of Workflow Feature

  1. Limited Triggers: The beta version offers a restricted set of triggers for automating workflows, which may not cover all scenarios users are accustomed to in more established platforms.
  2. Potential Instability: As with any beta feature, there might be occasional bugs or inconsistencies in performance.
  3. Ongoing Development: The feature is likely to evolve rapidly, with new capabilities being added based on user feedback and testing.

Implications for Users

  • Reduced Automation Capabilities: If you’re transitioning from a platform with advanced workflow automation, you might find ThriveDesk’s current offerings limited.
  • Need for Manual Processes: Some tasks that could be automated in other systems might require manual handling in ThriveDesk for now.
  • Opportunity for Input: Beta users have the chance to influence the development of the feature by providing feedback and suggestions.

Strategies for Working with Beta Workflows

  1. Start Simple: Begin with basic workflows and gradually increase complexity as the feature matures.
  2. Regular Testing: Frequently check the performance of your workflows to ensure they’re functioning as expected.
  3. Feedback Participation: Actively engage with ThriveDesk’s development team by providing constructive feedback on the workflow feature.
  4. Backup Manual Processes: Maintain manual processes for critical tasks until the workflow feature is fully stable and comprehensive.
  5. Stay Updated: Keep an eye on ThriveDesk’s release notes and updates to leverage new workflow capabilities as they become available.

They are a startup [11:58]

ThriveDesk’s status as a startup is an important factor to consider when evaluating the platform for your business needs. This characteristic brings both unique advantages and potential challenges.

Startup Dynamics

  1. Rapid Development: Startups often iterate quickly, releasing new features and updates at a faster pace than established companies.
  2. Flexibility and Responsiveness: Smaller teams can often be more responsive to user feedback and adapt their product more quickly.
  3. Potential Instability: As a newer company, there might be occasional bugs, downtime, or changes in direction that could affect users.
  4. Limited Resources: Compared to larger competitors, startups may have constraints on support, documentation, and feature development.

Specific ThriveDesk Considerations

  • Frequent Updates: Users may notice regular additions of new features, but these may not always be fully polished upon release.
  • UI/UX Inconsistencies: There might be occasional spelling mistakes or non-functional links in the interface.
  • Data Export Limitations: Currently, ThriveDesk lacks a comprehensive data export option, which could be a concern for data portability.

Strategies for Working with a Startup Product

  1. Embrace Innovation: Be prepared to adapt to new features and changes, potentially benefiting from cutting-edge capabilities.
  2. Provide Feedback: Take advantage of the startup’s likely receptiveness to user input by actively providing constructive feedback.
  3. Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates and new feature announcements to make the most of the evolving platform.
  4. Have Backup Plans: Consider having contingency plans for critical processes in case of unexpected issues or downtime.
  5. Evaluate Regularly: Periodically reassess whether the platform continues to meet your needs as both your business and ThriveDesk evolve.

Key Takeaways

ThriveDesk v2.0 emerges as a compelling alternative to more expensive customer support solutions, offering a rich feature set at a fraction of the cost. Here’s a summary of the key points to consider:

  1. E-commerce Integration: ThriveDesk’s ability to sync with e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce provides a unified view of customer interactions and order history, enabling more efficient and personalized support.
  2. Knowledge Base: The platform offers a robust knowledge base feature, allowing businesses to create, organize, and publish helpful content. This self-service resource can significantly reduce support volume and improve customer satisfaction.
  3. Live Chat: ThriveDesk’s chat assistant functionality provides real-time customer engagement, integrating seamlessly with the knowledge base and e-commerce data for comprehensive support.
  4. Mobile App: The availability of a mobile app for both Android and iOS enables support teams to manage tickets, respond to inquiries, and collaborate on-the-go, enhancing responsiveness and flexibility.
  5. Reporting: Comprehensive reporting features offer valuable insights into support operations, helping teams optimize performance and make data-driven decisions.

While these features make ThriveDesk an attractive option, especially for budget-conscious e-commerce brands and startups, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Lack of Two-Factor Authentication: The absence of 2FA is a notable security concern, particularly for businesses handling sensitive customer data.
  • Beta Workflow Feature: The workflow automation capabilities are still in development, which may limit advanced automation compared to more established platforms.
  • Startup Status: As a newer company, ThriveDesk may experience more frequent updates, occasional instability, and limitations in some areas like data export options.

Despite these challenges, ThriveDesk’s value proposition remains strong. It offers approximately 90% of the functionality of more expensive alternatives at just 10% of the price, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to balance cost with feature-rich customer support software.

For businesses considering ThriveDesk, it’s crucial to:

  1. Assess your specific support needs and evaluate how well ThriveDesk’s current feature set aligns with them.
  2. Consider the trade-offs between cost savings and potential limitations or growing pains associated with a startup product.
  3. Stay engaged with ThriveDesk’s development, providing feedback and staying informed about new features and improvements.
  4. Implement additional security measures to compensate for the lack of 2FA if handling sensitive information.
  5. Be prepared to adapt and evolve your support processes as ThriveDesk continues to develop and refine its offering.

In conclusion, ThriveDesk v2.0 presents a promising solution for businesses seeking a comprehensive yet affordable customer support platform. While it may not yet match every feature of its more established competitors, its combination of essential functionalities, integration capabilities, and cost-effectiveness makes it a worthy contender in the customer support software market. As ThriveDesk continues to grow and refine its product, it has the potential to become an even more formidable option for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their customer support operations.

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