Software as a Service July 13, 2020

What customer support platform do you use?

Manuel Frigerio @manuel_frigerio

As a bootstrapper, what customer support tool do you use and why?

Intercom is crazy expensive, especially for early stage startups. HelpScout looks good but I’m curious what else IndieHackers use.

  1. 5

    We use Crisp. They have a generous free offering.

    1. 1

      Looks really promising. Might try it for Tresor One!

    2. 1

      Do you manage all your customer support through CRISP? If no, what else do you use?

      1. 1

        Yes. All Crisp.

      2. 1

        Crisp is awesome. I'm using the 95€ per month version and it's definitely worth it.
        Main features I love are:

        • Live debug (you can access the javascript console from a user)
        • Screen sharing + videoconference
        • Automations based on events
        • 95 € per month, whatever the number of seats or contacts !

        The thing about Crisp is really the attention to details in every feature they have. It's well finished. I'm a really happy customer :) Hope this helps

        1. 1

          Hi Conrad, thanks for chipping in. If you couldn't use Crisp, what would you use instead?

  2. 2

    We used https://tawk.to until we recently out grew it and switched to Intercom $$$ 😭. Tawk.to is a little rough around the edges but honestly got the job done. We relied on it for over 4 years. She was good to us, be good to her 🙏

    1. 2

      Using Tawk.to as well for the past 4 years for live chat. Their iPhone app is a little buggy but it works and gets the job done.

  3. 2

    I am using product I have built: https://www.plummapp.com

    1. 1

      @Manu66 check out Plumm. Super affordable and does exactly what it says on the tin.

      I've used Intercom with companies that are ARR $1.5mn and we all still said Intercom was too expensive. They are creeping those prices up and up so be wary.

      1. 2

        Yeah I feel the pain! I will chekcout Plumm.
        What do you like about it?

        1. 1

          It is straightforward and does the job you need to be done right now. As much as I like to have a bunch of tools, most of the time it is overkill and all you need is a clear and simple live chat that captures messages and lets you reply.

  4. 2

    Hey @Manu66 - I’m currently building something for indie bootstrappers that combines Help Docs, Changelogs, Roadmaps, Feedback voting and blogs under a single app. We won’t launch with live chat, but will add ability for your customers to send a basic contact email. I believe email support for new apps is better anyway, as we aren’t usually about 24/7 for live chats.

    If you are interested, we have a signup form on the site - https://astrolahq.com - hope to have things ready for launch in a month or so.

    I’ve a demo here of the article area so far - https://docs.space.bio

    I’m building Astrola out of frustration with the cost of all these apps!

    1. 1

      Hey Scott, interesting. That's a lot of features :) Why are you adding all these things from the get go?

      1. 1

        Thanks! Every new SaaS app I was working on over the years would require these features to help me grow and work out what customers want next. The problem I found, was that these features took a while to build, or it cost too much to pay for other tools. Having them all combined let’s me integrate features together. For example, linking to help documentation directly on the blog, or automatically adding customer suggestions to the roadmap when it’s being worked on.

        When it’s ready, the idea is you can whip up all these features for your app in a short space of time at a fraction of the cost!

        1. 1

          make sense.

  5. 1

    Hey @manuel_frigerio
    I don't know the full details of your needs, but I would recommend you to go a step above your competitors and take all your customer enquiries through email.

    After you get to that point, you will use Dwebox to filter between emails. You can be strategical about it such as dividing between groups of "premium customers" that paid for faster support & groups of unpaid customers.

    Take a look here:
    https://www.dwebox.com/how-it-works/

  6. 1

    We keep it simiple - a contact form inside our platform that simply emails us, we then talk to the customer directly over email.

    We take the approach of we've got more important things to focus on than setting up fancy support desk software. Everyone knows email so until we're at a point where we have a need for a dedicated solution it does the job just fine.

  7. 1

    At Weekly Stocktip we use Intercom, it's super easy to use, but the plan I'm using has no bots, canned replies or auto responses which is VERY frustrating and wastes a lot of time.

    I really want to switch to https://www.crisp.com/ but it's just too expensive at $95/site

    For Intercom we can use the same setup across multiple sites for less.

  8. 1

    At Opalstack we're using Enchant - it's affordable, lightweight, and does everything we need. Their own support is very responsive when we need them, which isn't often.

    We're also running a community forum with Flarum as a public/U2U support channel.

  9. 1

    HelpScout is a great combination of all the features you need, simple to use, and reasonably priced. Highly recommend!

  10. 1

    Don't think anyone has mentioned Userlist yet.. I'm not a user, but I've been following their journey and think the product looks like a great alternative to Intercom. Plus it's bootstrapped too, so good to support likeminded IndieHackers.

    https://userlist.com/

  11. 1

    I got a lifetime deal on Helpwise.io, it's pretty solid!

  12. 1

    I built Letterbase as a customer support platform designed for bootstrappers. Here's why it's different than the others:

    1. You don't need to learn and use a new tool. It forwards messages directly to your email address, and you can reply directly in your email app.
    2. It's not live chat. So there's no mental burden of keeping a live chat window open at all times just in case someone contacts you. It also prevents your users from being disappointed when they don't get an immediate response (which is what they expect from live chat).
    3. It's the only privacy-friendly customer support tool out there. It doesn't store your conversations or track your users. It's fully GDPR + CCPA compliant with no cookie banner needed.
    4. It's super fast. Intercom and Crisp are 100s of KB and slow down your website. Letterbase doesn't.
    5. The pricing is simple and affordable - only $9/month.
    6. You'll get top tier customer support, as you might expect from someone running a customer support platform.
    7. You'll be supporting a fellow Indie Hacker!

    Happy to talk more about it if you'd want :) Just shoot me a message or reply here.

  13. 1

    Hey @Manu66—I'm a Co-founder of www.outseta.com. We offer a tech stack built specifically for Indie Hackers. The help desk includes support tickets, knowledge base, and chat. It's free to start and then $29/month for unlimited users. Happy to show you around if interested!

  14. 1

    We settled on helpscout.com for our SAAS business after a lot of review. It is simple, no nonsense and has the features we needed including documentation, ability to search/index tutorials, mailbox management for emails/tickets etc. I feel like lot of other tools are more marketing focussed and try to mix marketing and support together which works for some but not for us.

  15. 1

    Hi Manuel,

    I am from LiveAgent.com and even though we aren't true indiehackers, we are biggest solution that's bootstrapped on the market.

    I am happy to provide some free credit for you that might last for few months and provide you with help + we have also reasonable prices and free plan as well if you need to start off slowly.

    Good luck choosing the best one!

  16. 1

    We use Help Scout, which I really really like.

    1. 1

      what do you like about it?

  17. 1

    I want to use https://www.emetti.com/ - but just like intercom, it's a bit too expensive for early bootstrapping.

    1. 1

      why do you want to use Emetti?

      1. 1

        Like the designer in the team, and I really like their idea of having a support and roadmap/changelog blog outside the product. So you can always use it, regardless of any issues the product might be having.