If you want reliable free customer support software, the truth of the matter is, you may have to make some sacrifices. There is only one environment where such complex software can willingly be free, and that is the realm of Linux, or at least Linux-minded PHP. The thing is, though, this is all about the server, not the PCs at which users will work. The server is remote, and renders HTML and other live content to your browser or client, you don’t interact with Linux. That’s absurd.
So, for free customer service software, we’re going old school GNU today with some Linux-oriented software. Chances are, your server’s Linux anyhow.
There are a lot of them out there, but what’re the best ones? Well, we’ll narrow it down to the best pair that fortune 50 companies and governments use.
#1 – osTicket
This one’s built with customer service channel hybridization in mind. It seamlessly composites all incoming communication, including phone, email, web forms and anything else into one elegant streaming interface.
With an attractive, logical grid system and a GUI that can be customized, this is a powerful system to pay nothing for, so it’s worth a look.
Additional features include auto responders, auto refresh, captcha and alerts. To make things even easier, it comes packaged as a web installer with a very well-designed wizard to make it easy.
#2 – Request Tracker
You need to track data and tasks in customer support just as with any other department or industry. You need to track those incoming calls you get from osTicket as they’re addressed by agents. So, how do you do this?
Why, with Request Tracker, of course. This is a parallel task tracking system that itemizes tasks running in timelines or in units, typing them as pending, underway, or not accomplished. This allows for smooth tracking to see where first contact resolution fails, so you can tighten it up.
Request Tracker is compatible with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones with a sleek web interface and an attractive aesthetic. This is perfect for tracking your success and failure and debugging your support centers.
There are other systems out there like OTRS for ticket requesting, and Zentrack for issue and data tracking, but they’re a little less supported and a little less polished. If you want enterprise level free customer service software, and you don’t mind the idea of your servers being Linux, then this is probably the best way to go for you.
Remember one caveat with any free software though. When software is free, the tech support for it may be less then exemplary due to being underfunded or not funded to any level. This is a problem with freeware and GNU licensing. There needs to be a cheap but powerful support system they can all jump on for a few bucks a month, you know that?
Maybe some enterprising designer of free customer service software can step aside from their free philosophy to make a few bucks in helping their fellow free developers out. This would improve the Linux community, and maybe we’d talk about it more often then.