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Top 3 Customer Experience Management Software Solutions

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What is the best customer experience management software?
The best customer experience management software is Zendesk. Businesses using our top pick will find in the core technologies of the application more than enough to meet their communication and ticketing requirements. With powerful analytics, expansive knowledge base and a price for any budget, it is difficult to see past this software when shopping for the best customer experience management solution.

When 87% of organizations report that traditional experiences no longer satisfy customers, the message is clear for businesses: either shape up or ship out. With customer experience management software solutions getting constant technological updates with barely noticeable price increments, there’s no better time to invest in any one of them. If you don’t have a clue where to start, consider starting with hard facts by conducting customer surveys. That should tell you which of your offerings are connecting with your current customers and allow you to map out future offerings. Invest in the platform with modern communication tools, powerful data analysis engine, access to the major social channels and native mobile applications. If pricing is a crucial factor, consider starting with the vendor that offers substantial ways for you to scale up later.

In this article, we shall compare the top 3 customer experience management software. Pay attention to how the three applications match up in terms of features, integrations, pricing, customer support and mobile support and other factors to consider when getting customer experience management software. You will probably put more weight on two or three of these factors, so note which of these vendors are able to satisfy the unique requirements of your company.

Top 3 customer experience management tools

Top 3 CX Management Software Solutions

While advances in AI solutions have been grabbing all the technological headlines, and justifiably so, at least in the customer experience management software space there is another crucial development that business owners should address if they want to stay ahead in the fiercely competitive markets: employee experience correlates strongly with customer experience.

In more specific terms, a recent study shows that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by a whopping 147 percent. When hiring the best talents is already proving to be a tough battleground for the best companies out there, it follows that keeping them happy should be a priority for companies. Finding out how to keep the best employees happy so they stick around is much akin to finding out what your leads and prospects want to keep them happy and loyal to your brand.

There’s a solution for just about anything nowadays; in the case of retaining employees and keeping them happy, you can find the leading HR management tools offer much in that direction.

If that sounds more a challenge to your right now, consider conducting employee satisfaction surveys and getting creative with incentives especially for the personnel fielding all the customer relationship tools at the disposal of your company.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk dashboard example

First on our list of the top 3 customer experience management solutions, Zendesk further ups the ante by turning its innovative CRM solution, aptly named Sunshine, as the bedrock from which businesses can draw understanding and intuition about their customers, engage with them on more individualized terms, and turn them into long-standing loyal advocates of your offerings. Their unique profiles and needs stay active in your database, deftly segmented along specific categories, which you can then retrieve at the push of a button.

With this powerful information constantly at the command of your agents, it’s much easier to pinpoint specific needs at any particular time and direct them to your products and services that matter. It’s all about upselling or cross-selling rendered more intuitively, and no matter the channel: live chat, messenger, email, social media or good old reliable phone. And it can be facilitated via desktop or iOS and Android mobile platforms.

If you want to investigate the features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for Zendesk free trial here.


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Zendesk won our Expert's Choice Award for 2018

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Beyond the free trial, you will find flexible pricing plans to perfectly match the size and budget of your business. The plans encompass such modules as chat, call center solution, customer experience, knowledge base or customer experience among others. As the pricing is fully scalable, you can start with a mix of features and pricing and remove or add features along your customer experience management journey. And bear in mind that it wasn’t too long ago that the leading knowledge base tools are the sole province of a few specialists, with their own price structures to boot.

Zendesk is a suite of customer support apps that helps transform your customer service into agents for customer retention and lead source. It has one of the most flexible plan structures, making it ideal for business of any size. It consists of customer experience, support, chat, call center solution and knowledge base modules that you can upgrade separately.

The Essential version at just USD 5 per agent per month bundles email and social channel, web and mobile SDK and interaction history so your connection with your client starts on the right foot from day one. Beyond the Essential bundle, Zendesk has a Team, Professional, Enterprise and Elite packages, with all the extensive features that you need to retain customers and gain new quality leads.

If you are operating an online store, the Zendesk Live Chat should let you optimize the opportunity of transforming visitors into high-quality leads that your marketers or sales teams could then nurture and turn into paying customers. There are many live chat solutions out there, but Zendesk already provides that right out of the box without paying extra.

For clients on the query end, a knowledge base, help center and online community are within your grasp, housed in a customer portal that would allow your clients to skip the personal lines and try to help themselves instead. For their ultimate convenience, an artificial engine simply called Answer Bot helps them find the relevant resources and resolve their queries faster than before. All of these you will find in the Guide module.

What is Qualtrics CX?

Qualtrics CX dashboard example

Think of Qualtrics CX as a platform for digging into measurable quantities about customers and collecting them into unified data. From there, it unleashes the power of computational intelligence to make sense of the data, turning them into deep insights previously inaccessible to humans alone. At the final count, you set the course of your business while grounding your decisions and actions based on solid information rather than unrealistic assumptions.

At the heart of this platform that doubles as your business intelligence solution are the dynamic data collection tools like transaction and pulse surveys to facilitate the measurable quantities. The surveys should let you resolve the net promoter score (NPS), which reveals the true value of customers by their receptivity to spreading a positive word about your brand. It’s directly linked to your ROI, and Qualtrics CX is all about the crucial tools to ensure you get only the high end of the numbers to your advantage.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for Qualtrics CX free trial here.

Starting on the right foot with your leads or customers through these crucial pieces of information, your agents should find engaging with them more efficient, fun and rewarding. As their last interaction with the client is safely stored in the IQ Directory, you can monitor each customer experience over time and keep engagements by any agent aligned to your business objectives.

Numbers don’t lie, and they can also tell you what your clients are up to next. Qualtrics CX will dive into both text and voice data for trend analysis and reports, sentiment scores and automated alerts before things get out of hand with your clients and leads. You can look into customer behavior and act from timely alerts through Predict iQ. You can go further with the numbers using Stats IQ which gives you more options to extract insights from every critical aspect of your customer experience data.

Given the options at your disposal, Qualtrics CX needs to know your specific needs to determine the price just for you. To do that, you have to contact the vendor and request a quote.

What is Contactually?

Contactually dashboard example

Contactually is all about tapping into every piece of opportunity presented by old and current contacts. To accomplish the goal, the customer experience management software connects email accounts, automatically syncs contacts and communication history and tracks and prioritizes contacts based on predetermined filters applied to your conversations.

Once Contactually determines that the time is right to contact a lead or customer, it will prompt you to connect with them. For your message content, Contactually comes with templates that you can customize for more personalized messages. Once you have just the right messages figured out, you can set up Contactually to send them automatically on predefined conditions.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Contactually free trial here.

Contact segments in Contactually are called buckets and you can create the buckets as you continuously interact with your contacts. You can share contacts and buckets with your team members for a well-coordinated effort to nurture and drive the interactions to a fruitful conclusion. This is made easier with Contactually providing a comprehensive library of nurturing content and the analytics and reports that let you put your fingers on performance metrics accomplished and those that need further effort from your teams. Lead nurturing content is usually identified with marketing solutions but with Contactually you get the module included in your plan.

Your premium entry into Contactually starts at USD 59 per month for a yearly plan, or USD 69 for a monthly plan. Two other plans exist: the USD 119 Accelerator plan and the USD 599 Concierge plan. The elevated pricings offer more advanced features, great for businesses that are seeing growth at a fast clip.

Comparison of Features

Zendesk, Qualtrics CX and Contactually take noticeably different approaches to winning the hearts of customers and enhancing their experience with companies.

For its part, Zendesk takes both the essential and advanced approaches, based on its extensive customer service and CRM core technologies. Agents using the customer experience management software will have more than enough communication and ticketing tools at their disposal, along with a robust knowledge base and automation tools to make life easier for both staff and customers.

Communication with customers is facilitated by Live Chat, email, web, phone, messaging and social media modules, giving users just about every tool in the book to follow leads and customers on any platform and channel of their choosing, and engage with them as they see fit.

Agents can draw from Zendesk’s powerful analytical and reporting engine and the enhanced CRM software to have all the crucial lead or customer information before they even get to start interacting with them. With customer needs and preferences identified from the start, agents can deliver promptly while leaving customers with stories to tell about their rewarding experience with the staff and company.

Setting up macros with Zendesk tickets saves agents time

While Qualtrics CX comes with a full arsenal of communication, ticketing and knowledge base tools, what it really does best is power those tools with more insights about the leads and customers so businesses can deliver the products or services that better match the needs of the people on the other end of the lines.

The value of Qualtrics CX starts with the raw data that you can generate by conducting customer satisfaction surveys. From this data, you proceed by scoring accordingly and fine-tuning your business initiatives based on the insights gleaned from what your customers really value about your brand.

The numbers and figures help you understand your most loyal customers while showing you the way to streamline your customer acquisition programs. Each data is a potential goldmine of insights, all of which you can leverage by delivering what the customers expect to receive from your end.

Contactually foregoes help desk features for pure contact optimization based on email interactions. The intent is noticeable right off the bat with the built-in MailChimp integration. Seamless integration with other third-party applications is possible, however, with the inclusion of Zapier in the program.

By gathering all your email conversations from any desktop or mobile device, Contactually does the rest syncing communication history and contacts so you have the latest information about any lead or customer wherever you happen to be or at any time. It dives into your conversations and prompts when certain events require your action.

Contactually’s workload is accomplished via a powerful analytics engine, which not only organizes your contacts after extracting them from multiple sources but also provides the message templates that you want to send to your targets. You define the recipient, the content and Contactually sends them according to your own predefined automation rules.

Verdict: With its comprehensive communication features backed by a powerful insight-generating analytics engine, Zendesk covers all that you need to provide the best brand experience for your customers.

Comparison of Integrations

Third-party software integration not only allows businesses to keep their existing inventory of other applications, but also extends their shelf life and usefulness in tandem with the recent software investment. Modern business software developments recognize that users need freedom in their software selection and that is true with Zendesk, Qualtrics CX and Contactually although to varying degrees.

For longtime customer experience management software veteran Zendesk, it has gained what is decidedly the most number of partners throughout the years. The sheer volume and types of software categories, from ecommerce tools to CRM applications, telephony and SMS, among many others, mean that businesses gain all the room they need to select the best combination to accomplish their objectives.

That Zendesk has its own application market supports its leading role in the customer experience management software marketplace. That software partner market currently lists a mammoth 755 applications in total, headed by such applications as Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, MailChimp, Shopify and Zoho CRM among many others.

Zendesk’s vast integration ecosystem is made possible by its support for more than a hundred APIs, including the widely recognized REST API.

Integrations for Qualtrics CX are provided right out of the box for Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics and Zapier among others. For other applications not included in the package, any business can proceed with its choice of integration via the API that comes with Qualtrics CX. The API also makes it possible to automate tedious processes.

Qualtrics CX is integrated with Microsoft Dynamics by default

Contactually offers a dedicated developer hub to help with successfully integrating any external application. An API is included and Contactually is currently on alpha stage for its webhooks.

You only need to head to the developer hub, however, if the external application is not listed in the tens of applications that Contactually integrates with. These third-party applications include Adwerx, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, InfusionSoft, MailChimp and Zapier among many others.

Verdict: With a virtual who’s who of third-party applications and hundreds of APIs for good measure, Zendesk wins this category hands down.

Comparison of Pricing

Pricing for Contactually, Zendesk and Qualtrics CX follow the pay-per-usage, subscription-based model typical of cloud-based applications.

Pricing for Qualtrics CX is quote-based, so you will have to contact the vendor to negotiate the features that you’ll need as well as the responses you’ll gather, out of which Qualtrics will determine how much it will charge you. Pricing for academic institutions is lower than for business organizations. There’s a free plan without time limit but it is limited to one survey at a time, 100 responses for all surveys, and a total of 10 emails sent across all surveys.

Contactually offers three pricing packages: Professional, Accelerator and Concierge. The Professional plan is rated at USD 59 per month if you opt for the yearly subscription or USD 69 for the monthly. It includes daily bulk messaging, native iOS and Android apps, Zapier and MailChimp integrations and the best-time-to-send email module.

In addition, you also get personal automated campaigns, deal management workflow, contact relationship insights, as well as the vendor’s email and text template library. There’s an onboarding and product training service that comes with the plan to ensure you hit the floor running with your software investment.

The Accelerator plan is either USD 99 or USD 109 for the yearly and monthly subscription. On top of the Professional plan features, you get prioritized support and lead nurturing content.

The Concierge plan is either USD 399 or USD 599 for the monthly or yearly subscription, giving you a 33% saving for the yearly subscription plan. The plan adds integrating lead sources, following up to stay in touch and ask for referrals system, executing outreach campaigns, and developing and maintaining your communication strategy on top of the Accelerator plan.

Zendesk offers multi-tiered modules, all of which depend on the technologies you want to prioritize. The Support module, for example, ranges from USD 5–99 per agent per month depending on whether you opt for the Essential (USD 5 per agent per month), Team (USD 19 per agent per month), Professional (USD 49 per agent per month), Enterprise (USD 99 per agent per month) or Elite (USD 199 per agent per month) bundle.

There’s a Zendesk Suite for omnichannel support at USD 89 per agent per month, Guide bundle that ranges from free to USD 29, a Chat module from free to USD 59, Talk plan from free to USD 89 and the Sell plan from USD 19 to USD 119.

Verdict: With Zendesk’s transparent multiple modules and carefully structured pricing tiers, you know exactly what you are paying for, with clear scaling paths at every turn as your needs change with your business.

Comparison of Support

Your choice of software vendor is determined not just by the kind of features brandished on the literature but also on behind-the-scene considerations, among which is the reputation of the vendor in providing a hand when you need it the most. The expertise level of the people on the other end of the line or screen, their disposition towards customers and their professionalism are all significant. You want to deal with people you can approach and trust, not push you through another number or line whichever the case may be.

Contactually provides both email and phone support, with prioritized, upgraded support for the subscribers of both Accelerator and Concierge plans. All three premium plans allow for onboarding and product training, which should ensure that your staff would be able to efficiently handle the application when you finally decide to go live with it.

Qualtrics CX provides email, phone and live support, along with an efficient ticketing system that the vendor of such reputation could provide. Qualtrics CX provides training and all the help for users of its immense survey library, from customizing to administering them. The vendor has a dedicated support page where you can see topics categorized for easy browsing. If the topic you want is nowhere visible outright on the page, you can use the search bar instead. The knowledge base page is convenient if you want to skip the lines. Moreover, Qualtrics has an active community of users who are willing to share their experiences with the application, along with some tips and other pointers to get your personnel up and running with the application quickly.

Qualtrics CX has an extensive knowledge base that covers both the basics and complex issues.

Zendesk enjoys one of the best reputations in the market for the quality of its support. Friendly experts make it easy to deal with any issue or you may skip the human option and head over to the vendor’s knowledge base instead. Here you will find a vast library of information to just about every topic related to the product.

Verdict: Zendesk and Qualtrics CX are well respected in their market for good reason: they both have strong products backed by two of the best customer support systems in the software industry.

Comparison of Mobile Support

In keeping with the times, SaaS applications typically support both Windows and Linux desktop systems and the iOS and Android mobile platforms. It ensures that workers on the go and on remote assignments stay on top of their projects and tasks, along with the people that they need to be in constant communication with.

Both Contactually and Zendesk have native iOS and Android applications that you can easily access with your account.

Contactually’s mobile application lets users keep up with their phone calls, texts or emails. You can bucket contacts and never worry about your desktop systems getting real-time updates. There’s voice call and text logging, search and follow-up reminders so you be anywhere fully confident that you will not miss on closing deals with clients at any time.

Zendesk has a number of specialized mobile applications depending on your specific plan. The Zendesk Support, for example, allows you to provide support while on the go. You can have the application give you a snapshot of your ticket views to review volume or demand so you can determine which ones need to be prioritized. Customer insights are fully supported, along with creating new tickets and continuing an ongoing conversation.

Much like Zendesk, Qualtrics gives you a number of mobile applications to choose from depending on your license and plan. Once you log in to the Qualtrics XM app, for example, you will find role-based dashboards with personalized views of top measures (NPS, CSAT, for example) from customers and employees. To find insights quickly, you simply turn to the page-level data filters—and easily share the insights via email or social channels. Immediate notifications from real-time customer data ensure you do not stay behind on customer information that may prove vital to your business.

Verdict: Let’s call it even: while Zendesk and Qualtrics appear to have more features in their mobile applications, Contactually covers all the grounds essential to their users’ expectations of the application.

Final Verdict: Why Zendesk Takes The Cake

There you go, our top 3 customer experience management software. Three different customer experience management solutions, three different approaches. Each one is designed to attend to your most pressing business requirement, but Zendesk more or less overlaps with Qualtrics CX and Contactually in terms of their characteristic features. For that, Zendesk takes the nod of our experts in this discussion.

While you most likely have your own special reason for choosing either one, consider taking that last step before you make your purchase: sign up for the free trial offer, which should give more flesh to your expectations of the software. In the case of our top choice, you can sign up for Zendesk free trial here.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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