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Opvia (YC S20) Is Hiring a Founding Product Engineer (London)

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A Covid-19 Update: Trump’s Treatment, Vaccines, And The Challenge of Colder Weather

Diane talks to Pulitzer prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett about the state of the pandemic inside the White House, and across the country.

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Women and Finances: Secrets from the Battleground

The relationship between women and finances has always been shaky at best.  At most, it is definitely misunderstood.  To some, women will never live up to men in this area. However, history is full of real life examples of the fact that this is, indeed, not true. 

Since ancient times women have contributed to the incomes of their homes.  Whether by selling goods, investing, or offering a service.  These were the first women-owned businesses.  

 Women today run multi-million dollar companies and support other women in doing the same. 

Learn About Women and Finances from the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative Winner

According to Fundera, the United States alone has 12.3 million businesses owned by women.  These businesses generate $1.8 trillion a year.  In fact, 40% of businesses in the US have female owners. That’s just the United States.  Worldwide the numbers are even bigger, and growing daily. What’s changing? What’s causing the increase, and where are they getting the money to open these businesses? 

There are many answers, but the two main ones relate to education and financial support.  Women are more educated now than they have ever been.  Not only that, but they are training each other to do better.  In fact, many grant opportunities have popped up in recent years.  Most of them not only help women finance their businesses, but they also offer training and support along the way. 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing:  Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive. 

No one does this better than the Cartier Women’s Initiative. Since its creation in 2006, the program has helped more than 240 businesses owned by women entrepreneurs.  These ladies come from 56 different countries and their businesses have created more than 7,000 jobs.  During this time, the CWI has granted more than $3 million in funding.  This makes it one of the largest and most generous female-focused entrepreneurial competitions in the world.

It is our delight to get the opportunity to interview one of this year’s winners, Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen from Denmark, about women and finances.  Her business, Female Invest, is a women and finances double whammy.  Not only does it have female owners, but it’s main purpose is to help women with investing. Here’s what she has to say. 

Women and Finances: Inspirationfemales and finances Credit Suite

Credit Suite:   Where did your inspiration come from for both starting your own business and the business you chose?

Anna-Sophie:  Growing up, I didn’t know any entrepreneurs, so I never thought about becoming one myself. I also didn’t know any women who actively invested, but I always had a fascination with money, so I taught myself to invest at the age of 19. I quickly fell in love with it, but as none of my friends shared my passion, it became a lonely love affair. 

Puzzled by this lack of female investors,  I started researching the topic. I learned that women are falling financially behind. They earn less, save less and fail to invest their money. Among the key drivers of this problem is widespread financial illiteracy and a lack of targeted offers and role models.

I didn’t know how to solve this problem, until I started university and met my Co-Founder Emma Bitz. She shared my passion for investing and had been working as a certified stockbroker since the age of 20. We immediately bonded, and the idea to start Female Invest arose in our first-ever conversation. 

When we started Female Invest, we initially thought it would be a hobby project, uniting a smaller group of women with an interest in investing. However, we quickly realized that the demand was much larger than anyone could have anticipated. We then decided to take the leap, found a company and become full-time entrepreneurs. The rest is history. Today, Female Invest is Northern Europe’s leading financial educator targeting women. We have helped more than 25,000 women across 33 countries get started investing. 

Women and Finances: Influences

Credit Suite: Who were the female influences in your life and how did they help you in your business endeavors? 

Anna-Sophie: While I may not know many female entrepreneurs or investors, I know many women who are fierce and inspirational in different ways. Emma, Camilla and I often talk about how we find inspiration in different people at different points in time, depending on the challenges we are facing. We also use each other as role models within different areas, and I highly value that.

Women and Finances: Balance

Credit Suite:  What are your tips for work life balance? 

Anna- Sophie:  My best tip is to find a job you love, so you don’t live your life waiting for the weekend. The term “work-life” balance insinuates that work should be a separate entity. But in my experience, being truly passionate about your work makes it possible to build a harmonic life where work is not something to escape.  In our team, we are living for the mission to financially empower women and that passion doesn’t stop when the workday does. 

Women and Finances: Challenges

Credit Suite: What are the specific challenges women face when trying to get funding versus men? 

Anna- Sophie: Today, female founders receive less than 2% of venture capital funding.  That is despite performing better over time following funding. Research shows this might be because female founders are often held to different standards. This is seen as female founders are more likely to be asked about risks and to be judged on current achievements. Male founders are more likely to be asked about and judged upon their potential. At the same time, the venture capital world is heavily dominated by middle aged men, who may struggle to recognize the potential in products outside their own target group.

Credit Suite: There are aspects of our culture, certainly in America, where negotiating is the norm and not the exception. In the US, that’s particularly true for buying a house or a car, new or used, and for starting a new job or asking for a raise. At the same time, a lot of women aren’t taught to question prices. What sort of tips would you give to women who want to learn how to effectively negotiate?

Anna- Sophie: Women face a unique set of challenges when negotiating. Firstly, women are not taught to question prices/wages in the same way as men. Secondly, research shows that women are perceived differently when they do. This is a societal problem that women cannot solve alone. However, when navigating this unfortunate reality, my best advice is to base negotiations on facts rather than feelings. 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing:  Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive. 

Women and Finances: Lessons to Future Generations

Credit Suite: What sorts of financial lessons should we be imparting to our daughters and granddaughters? How do we help them become financially literate?

Anna- Sophie: We need to break the stereotypes around women and money and teach our girls that they are fully capable of handling their money. In order to do this, we need to change the way we communicate about money to girls. 

Following extensive linguistic research, money and personal finance is communicated very differently to men and women. Communication aimed at women tend to define them as “spenders” who need to limit their outgoings in order to save. 

By contrast, communication targeting men tends to portray them as skillful investors, highlighting the financial landscape as packed with opportunity rather than risk. Therefore, the first step to increase financial literacy among women is to give them confidence and make them feel capable. Because they are. In fact, female investors achieve higher average returns than male investors.

Women and Finances: More About Female Invest

Female Invest is run by co-founders Emma Bitz, Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen , and Camilla Falkenbert. They share the work equally and have a team of employees. More than 25,000 women have physically attended their educational events. In order to scale faster, they have now transitioned into a subscription platform with members in 33 countries.

Women and Finances: Funding

Anna-Sophie and the team at Female Invest got a great jump on funding and support with the Cartier Women’s Initiative.  However, grants of any sort are rarely enough for completely funding a business.  Often, there is a need to combine with financing and even other grants, crowdfunding, or investors to fully get the job done.  Let’s explore some of these options. 

Other Grants for Women Business Owners

It’s no secret that grant programs are highly competitive.  Still, they are usually worth the effort to apply.  You really do not have anything to lose except time, and maybe an application fee.  If you win, it’s free money.  Still, as I said above, grants are rarely enough to fully fund a business.  They are a fabulous option to supplement other funding types however. Here are a few more to check out.

SBA Women’s Business Centers

The SBA Women’s Business Centers not only help with loans.  They also help women entrepreneurs access other business funding options. Some lend money or award grants directly.  Others help connect women entrepreneurs with lenders.  Their website offers many resources and opportunities to find out more. 

Eileen Fisher Women Owned Business Grants

Eileen Fisher hands out $100,000 per year to 10 businesses owned by women. A woman must have at least 51% ownership.  Also, the business must be in operation for at least three years. Lastly, it must bring in less than $1 million per year in revenue and have a focus on environmental or social change.  

Amber Grant 

The Amber Grant awards $500 to $1,000 per month to a business owned by a female. One of the recipients also receives an additional $10,000 grant at the end of the year. Applicants only need to tell their story and turn it in with a $15 application fee.   


One way to reduce the amount of loans you need to start and run your business is crowdfunding.   It gives today’s business owners a new way to build a successful business. Of course, not everyone with a campaign on a crowdfunding site is successful.  Funding a business with crowdfunding doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work and a fair amount of luck. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t happen at all. To succeed at crowdfunding, you have to research what works, what doesn’t, and then cross your fingers. Truthfully, it may work, and it may not.

If you decide to go for it, make sure you have incentives ready.  This can be what makes or breaks a campaign. 

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms to use. Some work better for specific types of businesses than others.  In addition, some may have higher success rates for women than others. Research is key.

The Small Business Administration

Female business owners in the United States can benefit from the help of the Small Business Administration. Though not specifically for women alone, the SBA offers government backed loan programs.  

7(a) Loans

This program offers term loans up to $5 million. You can use them  for expansion, purchasing equipment, working capital and more. Financial institutions in partnership with the SBA process these loans and give out the funds. 

504 Loans 

These loans are also available up to $5 million.  They can buy machinery, facilities, or land. Generally, borrowers use them for expansion.  Private sector lenders or nonprofits process and disburse the funds, and they work especially well for commercial real estate purchases. 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing:  Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.  


Microloans are available in amounts up to $50,000. They work well for startup, equipment purchases, inventory purchases, or for working capital. Community based nonprofits handle microloan programs as intermediaries.  Unlike other SBA programs, financing comes directly from the Small Business Administration. 

Angel Investors

These are informal investors.  They generally invest in the start of a company, typically in exchange for equity.

The best way to find these kinds of investors is to ask. Try an angel investors website or an angel investors network. Also check out  Gust, which used to be Angel Soft. They keep a database of investors, companies, and programs. 

To land an angel investor, you are going to need an awesome pitch deck.  Do not just jump into a project like that.  Take the time to research what a pitch project involves.  It has to pop. 

Women and Finances: You Can Survive the Battleground

Anna-Sophie is a warrior.  She saw a need, seized and opportunity, and made it happen.  She didn’t do it alone however.  It took the help of her partners.  It also took here willingness to seek out and go after the funding necessary to run and grow her business.  You can be just as successful.  Find the help and support you need, find the business funding necessary, and make your dreams come true. 

The post Women and Finances: Secrets from the Battleground appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Use Instagram Live for E-Commerce Sales

Are you looking to boost your social media sales and get the most out of your digital storefront?

Updates to Instagram Live have made it one of the hottest sales trends right now, and Instagram’s e-commerce features plus the high success rate of social media marketing have made digital sales easier than ever.

If you’re ready to start using Instagram for business and start tapping into organic reach, we’ve got the strategy to get you started.

Read on to see how you can get the most out of Instagram Live for e-commerce.

Instagram Usage and E-commerce Stats

You’ve heard about Instagram for business. Maybe you’ve even started playing around with some of their sales functions. If you’re smart, you’ve already got an Instagram business profile and perhaps even a few product tags.

Is it worth all the hassle?

Let’s check out the numbers. According to Hootsuite:

  • One billion people use Instagram every month. 
  • Of those users, 63% log in daily and spend an average of 28 minutes on the app.
  • 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day.
  • Instagram is the second most downloaded free app in the Apple app store.
  • It’s also the 10th most popular Google query.
  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories every single day.
  • One-third of the most viewed stories every day are from businesses.
  • 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

What about Instagram Live?

Social media is about being seen. Instagram Live moves your content to the top Stories in your users’ feeds. Plus, followers get notifications telling them when you go live, meaning they’ll immediately be able to see your content in their Stories tabs.

Instagram’s co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, once said, On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram profile feed.” That means getting to the top of your users’ feeds should be a top priority.

Instagram Live also saw a 70% increase in views from February to March in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing e-commerce hubs on the internet today.

How can you start making e-commerce sales on Instagram?

Instagram Shop

With the launch of its online shop, Instagram has pushed further into e-commerce.

Instagram Shop has streamlined the way users can find products by making a designated “Shop” tab and other new features for businesses to generate sales.

The new Instagram Shop tab features a “Brand Collections” page that shows curated collections put together by Instagram’s @shop team.

instagram shop live ecommerce

With the addition of Instagram Checkout, US shoppers can simply tap “Buy on Instagram” to make a purchase without ever leaving the app. That means your conversions are quick, precise, and frequent.

Instagram has also been testing replacing the “Activity” tab with a “Shop” tab, which would mean even more daily clicks than before.

Like any social media selling machine, quality content and a killer Instagram following are essential. The best way to continue selling on Instagram is to make sure you’ve got a product people like and the right marketing strategy to sell it.

To get the most out of your e-commerce experience, Instagram suggests posting regularly, revealing the process behind your product creation, and showing variation in your products.

Here are a few more easy tips for marketing your Instagram content.

Instagram Expands Live Shopping, Making It Easier to Shop and Sell

Instagram marketing is a powerful tool. With engagement rates going through the roof, it’s time for your brand to get on board and start making sales with the added ecommerce features across the platform.

Instagram Live Shopping

This feature allows you to make sales while in the middle of a live broadcast.

Instagram Checkout

If you’ve set up your Instagram Shop, you can start promoting and selling your products directly from your video stream with the Instagram Checkout tab. Featured items will appear at the bottom of the screen, and viewers can simply tap to purchase any of the items shown.

Desktop Compatibility

Instagram Live broadcasts can now also be viewed on desktop, making them more accessible and wide-reaching. This feature allows you to take center stage and grab your audience’s attention. It can also help you tap into new markets and expand your content’s reach.

How do you get started?

  1. Determine a purpose for your video. Otherwise, your audience won’t have a reason to keep watching.
  2. Promote your video on your social accounts beforehand so you’ll have someone to sell to once your live video starts rolling.
  3. Upload your products. You can add up to 30 products to a collection. Be sure to do this before you start because Instagram needs to approve your products before you go live.
  4. Pin one item at a time to your video feed when you start broadcasting.

When you’re on Live, you’ll be able to display your products through some of Instagram’s built-in features, which we’ll talk more about down below.

Why Use Instagram Live for E-commerce?

Live videos are great for forming honest and personable audience interactions. This unedited, raw content can help you connect with your audience and build brand integrity.

Instagram Live also lets your audience submit comments and questions in real time, allowing for natural and immediate interaction on an otherwise one-sided platform. This kind of audience connection enables you to gather feedback straight from your customers.

Using the Instagram Live feature can also help your discoverability, as users will be notified when you go live, and your video will be featured at the front of their Stories tab.

Instagram Live videos stay on your page for 24 hours after you end the broadcast, ensuring more people can see your content in more places.

The benefits of using Instagram Live for e-commerce range from increased brand integrity to real-time sales possibilities, and beyond. We’ve seen more and more brands gravitating towards this platform in recent years because it works.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to connect, convert, and curate content, Instagram is the place to be.

Live Shopping Features

Instagram Live has completely changed the ways brands communicate with their audiences online.

With new, customizable features and add-ons, there are many ways to connect and convert.

Multiple Broadcast Hosts

If you’re interested in tapping into influencer marketing, or if you want to leverage a brand ambassador’s following, you can invite co-hosts to join you in your live broadcasts.

Video Customization

You can also impose filters, stickers, and custom content directly onto your live video. You can either use Instagram’s presets or create your own branded versions and upload them to your live settings.

Still Images and Videos

You can share images and videos on screen while you broadcast. This allows you to showcase product images or show the product in action, making the purchase more appealing to your audience. You can even add multiple videos and create a slide show while you present.

Audience Interaction

You can add comments and questions directly to your video broadcast. You can also pin them to the screen for all of your viewers to see. This way, you can let your audience know you’re listening and make them feel seen.

All of these features make your content more inviting and exciting for viewers, increasing the possibility for conversions as you dive into Instagram Live for e-commerce.

With a little bit of skill and a whole lot of personality, your brand could be the next big thing on Instagram Live.

How to Use Instagram Live Shopping to Drive Sales

When you use Instagram Live for e-commerce, you can forge connections with your customers, create lasting sales funnels, and boost your online conversions while staying true to your brand.

If you’re going to go live, make sure you do it right and attract people to your products beforehand. No one wants to go live to an empty audience, right?

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Promote Your Instagram Live Stream Beforehand

Promoting your content will ensure people have time to plan to watch you and make sure you get the most out of your live experience.

One way to do this is to share Instagram Stories that tell your audience the details of your Instagram Live experience. You could even use an Instagram Stories countdown sticker to mark the event. This allows others to share the countdown as well, expanding the reach of your audience.

Maintain Instagram Live Focus

Avoid directing traffic to anything that isn’t relevant to your content. Promoting your website instead of a product page is an excellent example of this. You must ensure your audience can easily find your products and purchase quickly. This will increase your chances of selling once you go live.

Offer Live Streaming Quality Content

It’s also important to focus on the quality of your content. If your audience members find your stream boring or uninteresting, they might move on to the next piece of available content. Make sure whoever is hosting your video is practiced, inviting, and uses a breadth of exciting features to keep your audience watching.

Keep it Short

When using Instagram Live for e-commerce, shorter videos work better. Audiences like easy-to-consume content. You can even post multiple short videos to keep your audience coming back for more.

Keep it Simple

Once you go live, speak slowly, speak clearly, and don’t make things too complicated. Like any spot on the internet, Instagram content has fierce competition. If you want to maximize your Instagram Live e-commerce possibilities, you need to be able to hold your audience’s attention for as long as possible.

Using Instagram live for e-commerce, you can position yourself at the top of your audience’s feeds and keep their attention longer.

The more you use Instagram’s built-in features, the better chance your brand will have of ranking on the platform.


If you haven’t figured it out yet, using Instagram Live for e-commerce opens up many new possibilities in the world of social media sales.

Instagram’s latest Shop features let you sell your products directly from the app, instead of fighting for placement in user feeds.

What’s more, e-commerce updates to Instagram Live have paved a whole new way for brands to engage with consumers and get their products into the market.

By tapping into your live-streaming market, you could not only drive conversions, but you’ll have a chance to speak to a bigger, less saturated audience.

Get creative, get live, and start converting!

Have you had success with Instagram Live marketing for e-commerce? Share your tips in the comments.

The post How to Use Instagram Live for E-Commerce Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.

The Best Help Desk Software (In-Depth Review)

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Unorganized support teams are a nightmare for everyone involved. 

From two agents wasting time on the same request to customers or employees sitting around for hours waiting on an answer, things can get really hectic without the right tools and software. And it could even damage your reputation forever. 

You don’t want that and I don’t want that for you, either. 

However, choosing the best help desk software for your team isn’t an easy task. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from. 

So to help make your life a bit easier, I looked at dozens of the top options on the market and narrowed it down to my top six recommendations. 

From small customer support teams to IT services and mobile field support, this guide covers it all. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly which help desk software is right for you, regardless of your situation. 

The Top 6 Options For Help Desk Software

  1. Freshdesk – best for small to midsize businesses
  2. Hubspot – best all-in-one customer service CRM
  3. Zoho Desk – best for fast-growth businesses
  4. Freshservice – best for IT service management
  5. Happyfox – best for mobile and field support teams
  6. Cayzu – most affordable help desk software

How to Choose The Best Help Desk Software For You

Before we dive into my top recommendations, let’s talk about what makes these tools great and what to look for when deciding which help desk software is right for you and your team. 

There are tons of options to choose from, so don’t forget to keep these considerations in mind as you go through the process. 

Your use cases

Help desk software exists for a number of reasons, like internal employee support and external customer support. Furthermore, different tools include varying features depending on your use cases. 

So, it’s essential to consider how you plan to use the software before making a decision. 

Number of agents

How many support agents do you have? Most help desk software charge by the agent, so you need to have a good idea of the number of seats you need.

Some providers also impose agent limits on specific plans, so you’ll have to upgrade to a higher tier if you need to add more agents to your account. This upgrade can be extremely pricey, especially if you’re not expecting it. 

So, make sure to choose a plan that offers a bit of breathing room as you grow. 

Ticket management

Tickets help you organize, route, and store help desk inquiries. So, you should make sure your software includes basic ticket management systems to help make the process faster and easier. 

Furthermore, some software includes ticketing features for a wide variety of support channels, including email, live chat, social media, instant messaging, SMS, and more. 

An efficient ticketing system is crucial, from automatic ticket creation and organization to smart routing and everything in between. 

However, some of the options on this list limit the number of tickets you can create daily or monthly, which may be too limiting for large teams. And you may be better off choosing an unlimited plan instead. 

So, keep this in mind as you make your final decision. 

Support channels

What channels do you use to provide support? 

Internal support teams may use instant messaging, live chat, or email while customer service teams may utilize social media, SMS, and phone calls. 

Regardless of the channels you use, it’s crucial to implement software that handles everything you need. 

If you already have systems in place, make sure the help desk software you choose plays well. And if you don’t, consider where your customers/employees hang out and the communication methods they’re most comfortable with. 

Furthermore, you should also think about internal communication tools. One agent may need to pass an inquiry on to someone else, or they may need help answering someone’s questions. 

So, it’s important to think about how your agents communicate with each other and how you plan to share information from one department to another, as well. 

Other features

The best help desk software includes a variety of helpful features beyond ticketing and communication. And it’s essential to consider which features you need to streamline and optimize your support systems. 

Some typical features and extras include:

  • Knowledgebase and self-service support
  • Escalation levels to the right people
  • Automated workflow creation
  • Open API integrations
  • Internal chat software
  • Cross-department collaboration
  • Client and contact management
  • Analytic dashboards
  • Role-based access
  • Ticket sorting
  • Time tracking

It’s also crucial to consider the specific features you need for your use cases. 

Internal teams need different things than customer support teams, so keep this in mind as you go through the decision-making process. 

Analytics and reporting 

Data helps managers and owners understand how your service agents perform and what your customers are asking. Advanced ticket tagging and categorization can also help with the latter. 

From there, you can optimize your support process and work on building a self-service knowledge base or in-depth how-to guides to quickly and efficiently answer common questions. 

This frees up agents and gives them more time to handle less-common requests. 

Furthermore, reports and data visualization help display information in a way that’s easy to understand. This can give you a birds-eye view of your support system and may even help you know how to better serve your team and customers. 

The Different Types of Help Desk Software

There are several different types of help desk software. The best type for you depends on various factors, including the size of your business, your budget, customization, and security requirements. 

Cloud or web-based — this is the most common type, and it’s often referred to as a SaaS tool because the user pays a monthly subscription to continue using the software. 

Furthermore, everything is stored on the cloud or the provider’s server, so the user doesn’t need additional infrastructure or dedicated IT. Plus, the vendor is in charge of managing and maintaining the software, making it an easy and affordable option for businesses of all sizes. 

All of the recommendations on this list offer a cloud or web-based solution.

On-premise — unlike cloud or web-based software, on-premise systems are installed on the user’s servers. Typically, the end-user purchases a license for the software and they’re in charge of management and maintenance. 

While they’re harder to install and manage regularly, they tend to be more secure and customizable. So, it’s an excellent option for high-security industries and anyone interested in a hyper-customized solution. 

However, this means a dedicated team is required to update and maintain the infrastructure.

Enterprise-grade — these are built specifically for extremely large businesses. They come with a ton of hyper-customizable features and solutions to suit the needs of enterprise businesses with massive budgets. 

Enterprise help desk software comes in all shapes and sizes, from single-location businesses to international conglomerates operating worldwide. 

For most users, this type of software is 100% overkill. 

Open-source — this type of software is best for developers or companies with knowledgeable IT departments because you get access to its source code. This means you can modify how the software works to meet your unique requirements. 

Essentially, it’s a more affordable way to get a highly customizable solution, as long as you have the skills and know-how to make it work for you. 

#1 – Freshdesk Review — The best help desk software for small to midsize businesses

If manual email and social media customer service are becoming too much for your team to manage, Freshdesk is a great way to ease the burden.

Its ticketing system is straightforward to use, and it comes with numerous helpful features.

Plus, it’s incredibly affordable, and there’s a limited free forever plan with unlimited agents to try it out before you invest a single penny. 

With Freshdesk, you can streamline conversations across channels in one place, create contextual conversations with anyone, automate repetitive processes to save time, automatically share solution articles, and easily monitor your team’s performance. 

Furthermore, you also get access to countless support features, including:

  • Multi-channel team inbox
  • Agent collision detection
  • Custom ticket statuses
  • Scenario automations
  • Canned responses
  • Shared ownership and huddles
  • Linked tickets
  • Time tracking
  • Scheduling dashboard
  • Event and time-based automations
  • AI-powered chatbots
  • Knowledge base capabilities

On top of that, they also offer several educational courses and a fully-staffed customer support team to help you and your team get the most out of your new software. 

Freshdesk has five different help desk plans to choose from, including:

  1. Sprout — Free with limited features
  2. Blossom — $15/agent per month
  3. Garden — $35/agent per month
  4. Estate — $49/agent per month
  5. Forest — $99/agent per month

You can start with the free plan to try it out, but I highly recommend upgrading to a paid plan when you can justify it to gain access to more of their advanced features. 

Each plan comes with a free 21-day trial to test the waters before making your final decision.

#2 – Hubspot Review — The best all-in-one customer service CRM

If you need a full-blown customer relationship management (CRM) tool to go along with your help desk software, Hubspot is a smart choice. 

And the best part? You can get everything you need to get started for free. 

With their free Service Hub, you get ticketing, meeting scheduling, reporting, a team inbox, live chat + chatbots, email templates, and team email connections. 

So, it includes everything you need to start optimizing your customer support process. 

But you also get several other features like tasks and activities, email tracking, contact website activity, contact management, custom fields, and more. 

While Hubspot’s free plan is excellent, their paid plans offer a fantastic suite of amazing features you can use to improve your entire support system further. 

Each pricing tier adds more advanced features, but their most affordable plan ($40 per month for two users) includes:

  • Eight hours of VoIP calling and recording
  • Conversational bots to create and route tickets
  • Simple open and close automations plus internal notifications
  • 1,000 canned responses for frequently asked questions
  • Up to 1,000 email templates
  • Ten reporting dashboards
  • 1,000 documents
  • Conversation routing
  • Two ticket pipelines
  • Up to five currencies

So, it’s quite a step up from Hubspot’s free plan. However, if you meet those limits, you have to upgrade to a higher-tiered plan. The next tier starts at $320/month, so it’s quite pricey. 

Alternatively, you can opt for their Starter Growth Suite, which includes the starter plan for Hubspot CRM, the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, and all the service features above. 

It starts at $50 per month, so it’s a super affordable way to get access to a ton of different marketing, sales, and CRM features if you need access to all of them. 

Note: this is special COVID-19 pricing with regular rates starting at $112.50 per month. 

#3 – Zoho Desk Review — The best help desk software for fast-growth businesses

Zoho provides countless business tools to businesses of all sizes in every industry you can imagine. 

All of their software is fantastic, and their help desk software is no exception. 

From affordable plans at every level and a robust free plan to incredible support features, you can rest assured that Zoho Desk has the ability to scale alongside you as your business grows. 

At its core, Zoho Desk is a multi-channel ticketing system. So, you get top-of-the-line ticketing features that let you organize and streamline support inquiries, whether they’re coming from email, social media, live chat, phone, or an online form. 

And as your business grows, the need for a self-service knowledge base increases. With Zoho Desk, you can quickly turn support requests into knowledgebase articles in just a few clicks to continuously grow your database. 

On top of that, you also get access to a wide variety of features designed to help improve and consolidate your support processes. Some of the most popular features include:

  • Zia, an AI-powered digital assistant
  • Help center tools to design and create your knowledge base
  • Several ticket views and automatic ticket organization/prioritization
  • Advanced response editor with canned snippets
  • Visual process automation builder
  • Customization via APIs and built-in integrations
  • Dashboard headquarters for analytics and reporting
  • Custom field options for web forms

With that said, it’s important to note that lower-tiered plans don’t include every feature. So, be sure to look through each plan’s features before choosing one. 

And keep in mind that you may have to upgrade to a higher plan to get what you need. 

Zoho Desk plans include:

  1. Free — For up to three agents with email ticketing and limited features 
  2. Standard — $12/agent per month with social channels, workflows, and dashboards
  3. Professional — $20/agent per month with BPM, time tracking, and ticket sharing
  4. Enterprise — $35/agent per month with Zia, live chat, and advanced customization

Sign up for a free trial to see which plan is right for you and your team today.

#4 – Freshservice Review — The best for IT service management

If you’re looking for a better way to handle IT support, Freshservice is one of the top options on the market. Like Freshdesk, it’s a Freshworks product, so you have a massive brand behind the software. 

However, it’s built specifically for IT teams, rather than customer service. 

With more people working from home, strong IT support is more critical than ever before. And you may even see an influx of inquiries coming through as people adjust. 

Which… is where Freshservice comes in and saves the day. They offer everything you need, including multi-channel support, hardware and software records, contract management, and a top-rated mobile app for iOS and Android. 

Furthermore, you can automate agent assignments and approval workflows to help streamline the process. Plus, you also get access to powerful features like:

  • Incident, knowledge, and SLA management
  • A user-friendly service catalog
  • Self-service portal and knowledgebase
  • Internal contextual collaboration
  • Problem, change, and release management
  • Project dashboards and analytical reports
  • Asset and inventory management
  • Lifecycle management
  • Asset auto-discovery
  • Interactive visualizations

And you can easily integrate any Freshworks software with Freshservice, along with tons of other third-party software integrations as well. 

So, it’s an excellent choice if you already use or plan on using any of their other business tools. 

Freshservice offers four different plans to choose from, including:

  • Blossom — $19/agent per month with essential features
  • Garden — $49/agent per month for growing teams
  • Estate — $79/agent per month for large teams
  • Forest — $99/agent per month for enterprises

These prices indicate annual pans paid in advance. They also offer monthly plans for a higher fee, except for the Forest plan. 

Try Freshservice free for 21 days to see if it’s right for you!

#5 – Happyfox Review — The best for mobile and field support teams

Field agents have a unique set of challenges vs. support teams in the office or one set location. As such, you need a specialized tool that adapts to meet your needs. 

Happyfox is a field service software designed to help you track agents, schedule work, and leverage real-time communications with a fully-featured mobile interface for seamless use on the move. 

When agents are continuously traveling from one job to the next, they must have an easy way to share and track status information from one agent to the next. 

And the good news is that Happyfox does just that, with a wide range of features like:

  • Ticket ques, statuses, and categories
  • Multi-channel ticketing capabilities
  • Ticket threads and attachments
  • Canned actions and responses
  • Searchable and customizable knowledgebase
  • Agent collision detection
  • Built-in asset management
  • Auto-assignments and smart rules
  • Simultaneous routing rules
  • SMS support

And dozens of other helpful features specifically for mobile teams. 

Unlike the other options on this list, Happyfox doesn’t display their pricing online. But they offer standard per agent pricing and special packages for unlimited agents, making it suitable for field service teams of all sizes. 

For agent-based pricing, they offer four plans with varying feature sets. 

And each plan automatically includes SSL security, unlimited tickets, smart rules, knowledgebase capabilities, multilingual support, rich text formatting, and mobile applications. 

However, their unlimited agent plans cap the number of tickets you can have in a year. So, you have to decide which option makes the most sense for your situation. 

Schedule a live demo to see if Happyfox is right for you and your team today!

#6 – Cayzu Review — The most affordable help desk software

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly cloud-based help desk software, Cayzu is exceptionally affordable with paid plans starting at $4 per agent per month. 

It’s also straightforward to use. With that said, it’s not the most feature-rich option, but you sacrifice some of the advanced features for an incredibly affordable price. 

At just $4 per month, you get access to all the essential features you need, including:

  • Secure data protection
  • Automatic backups
  • A mobile application
  • Unlimited customer support
  • Ticketing system
  • Canned responses
  • Knowledgebase capabilities
  • Email ticket creation
  • Multi-language support
  • Open APIs and rest APIs
  • Support widget

Or you can upgrade to one of the higher plans for just a few dollars ($9 per agent per month) and get time tracking, assignment rules, basic automations, due dates, custom SSL certificates, and more. 

And they also offer a freedom plan (up to 70 agents) if you’re interested in an easy way to get all of their features. It starts at $469 per month, but it’s probably overkill for most users. 

Plus, over 20,000+ companies (including Verizon, Yahoo, and PBS) trust Cayzu with their help desk needs. So, you’re not alone and you’re in good company when you sign up.

Sign up for a free trial to see if Cayzu’s right for you today!

Wrapping things up

Freshdesk, Hubspot, and Zoho Desk are my top recommendations for most users. They all offer numerous powerful features at affordable prices for businesses of all sizes. 

However, they’re not perfect for everyone. Different situations call for different solutions. 

So, don’t forget to use the criteria we talked about as you sort through choosing the best help desk software for you, your team, and your customers. 

What’s your go-to help desk software?

The post The Best Help Desk Software (In-Depth Review) appeared first on Neil Patel.

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