Providing great customer service can make all the difference in creating a brand that people trust. There are plenty of examples of great customer service out there, from the supermarket who took advice about their bread from a three-year-old, to the LEGO employee who delighted a seven-year-old boy who lost a minifigure by writing a cool personalized letter.

As a company, your support system is the first step to delighting your customers, or at the very least, solving problems they have with your products. If you’ve ever tried using plain old email for customer support, you’ll know how quickly it can get out of control. A far better solution is to use one of the many support and help desk apps around. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ten customer support apps to browse and consider:

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Great news folks: AppStorm is back! After more than a year in limbo, the popular app review network has a new owner, a new team of eager writers, and a fresh new outlook.

As you may know, AppStorm closed shop back in January 2014. However, the network has now been taken over by business app discovery network, Nubera. We’ve been long-time admirers of AppStorm and the insightful reviews and useful advice it offers on Mac, Web, Windows, and mobile applications. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to continue the great work put in by previous owner Envato and its team of talented writers and reviewers.

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The topic of e-commerce is increasingly relevant, with mobile commerce transactions estimated to total $3.2 trillion in 2017. With this incredible growth, the process of owning and running an e-commerce store is becoming ever easier, with solutions like Magento and OpenCart eliminating some of the steps of getting started. However, an alternative comes in the form of one of the world’s most popular content management systems: WordPress.

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress, providing the tools to turn your blog into an e-commerce platform, just like over 171,000 other retailers already have. This article will take a look at everying that is WooCommerce: what it is, how you can use it and where to start with installation. We’ll also take a look at a few great plugins and themes for WooCommerce that you can pick up to get your store looking and running just how you’d like it! (more…)

As the owner of an e-commerce website, you probably already know all about the importance of providing the best possible support to your prospects and customers. Support via chat has long been a popular way to do so, but there was always one major stumbling block: You had to choose between live chat and virtual chat. Both options have their pros and cons, and choosing between them isn’t easy. Thanks to HelpOnClick, you no longer have to choose one over the other.

Live Chat – a great feature for any e-commerce site

People respond very favorably when they arrive on an e-commerce site and see that live chat is available. They know that they can get answers to their questions on the spot. Sure, email support and telephone support are options too, but they require users to expend extra effort. Let’s face it: People don’t want to be interrupted during their online shopping experiences. With live chat, they can get much-needed support without any disruptions.

Virtual Chat – an economical alternative

As great as live chat may be, it can be pretty expensive. The more live agents you have, the more you’re going to pay. Of course, you can always opt for live chat with a skeleton crew, but you’re sure to end up with long queues of people waiting for assistance. No one wants to be left waiting around like that, and you’re bound to miss out on many exciting opportunities. Virtual chat uses automated scripts to provide basic support, so it’s a viable alternative. The biggest issue is that there’s only so much it can handle, and many people are going to be left with unanswered questions.

What if you could have both?

Imagine if you could have live chat support to handle the bulk of your online inquiries but back it up with virtual support. You’d enjoy the best of both worlds. That’s no longer a mere pipe dream; such technology already exists, and it’s called HelpOnClick. The premise behind this cloud-based service is simple: It offers live support most of the time, but the live support is supplemented by virtual support during periods of peak activity.

Get it now, with a Special deal for AppStorm readers

Whether you’ve been relying solely on live chat or virtual chat or have been trying to decide between the two, you no longer have to make compromises. You just need to get a HelpOnClick account.

For AppStorm fans, HelpOnClick offers a special deal – Live & Virtual Chat software 50% off for the first year subscription. Get the special deal on HelpOnClick website. From this point forward, it will be smooth sailing for your online business.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Need a great way to find out more about your customers in 2014? Then you need to try out addpoll.com, our sponsor this week.

Addpoll.com is a great poll and survey tool that’ll make it simple than ever for you to create detailed surveys and more that work just like you want. It includes a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it simple to create the surveys and polls you want, with tools to include anything you want in your surveys — even a media gallery. You’ll then get real-time access to your poll data, complete with a geotracking map, and can export your form data in the formats you want.

Then, the best part of addpoll.com is its great integrations with other web apps you likely already use. You can integrate it with Mailchimp, Salesforce, Google Docs, all your favorite social networks, and web hooks to integrate it into your own apps. That way, you’ll be able to bring in all of your data and keep up with your survey responses in the apps your team is already used to. Then, with custom CSS, your own domain, and more customization tools, your surveys and polls will look perfectly consistent with your branding. And with a Pro account, you’ll even be able to accept payments from addpoll.com forms, so it can be your one app for all your data processing needs.

Try out addpoll.com today!

Addpoll.com makes creating polls and surveys incredibly simple, and it’s priced so nicely there’s no reason to not try it out. You can get a free addpoll.com account and create unlimited polls and surveys with up to 250 responses per month for free. Then, you can get a Pro account starting at just $15.95/month for 5000 responses, or an Extra account for $29.95/month for unlimited responses. That makes it affordable for your company to make all the polls and surveys you want, no matter your size!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Getting Things Done, as a concept carved by David Allen in 2001, has aged fast. Users of the method have been shaping its recommendations to fit their needs, but, most importantly, they did so to catch up on how technology could help them get things done with less friction. Apps have also developed their own ways to support some sort of easy path to achieve productivity and the starting point from Getting Things Done soon deviated into several personal methods.

As a Mac user, I’m very familiar with the dispute between Omnifocus and Things, being a previous user of the latter and considering the jump to the previous until I reached out for the web and found Nirvana, which felt like a better deal coming from Things, which manages tasks with Next Actions and Today lists, rather than Omnifocus with its Forecast and the reliance of due dates.

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The notion that social media is the next big thing in sales seems to have fallen flat on its face. Virtually every study conducted has shown that Facebook and Twitter campaigns only increase brand awareness. As far as driving traffic to your website and converting visitors into customers, email is still king.

A recent study of companies that used a dedicated email marketing client, good newsletter content and personalisation for each reader reported open rates of over 30%, with similar click-through rates – leading to above average conversions. This kicks Facebook’s ass.

Now, the guys behind the industry favourite ‘Mail Chimp’ have been working hard on a new product. It’s called Mandrill and solves many of the nagging issues of traditional email marketing. They claim it trumps the competition by a long-shot. Let’s take a look.

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Last month, I was loafing round the house with my phone wondering how cold it was outside. Being the ridiculously technology-glued person I am, I started searching for a weather station that integrates with the Web, tablets, and smartphones. (Obviously, stepping into the sun was out of the question, because I’m a vampire [they’re real]). After a few clicks, I found the Netatmo, a very slick looking solution to checking the weather when you’re not in a walking mood.

The very idea of this may sound ridiculous, I know. However, there is a purpose for everything and I decided to give Netatmo a try. After all, Wired and Time wouldn’t feature it unless there is something more than the basic weather station. Or so I thought. (more…)

Of all the major forms of digital communication, email is, perhaps, the most flexible. Yet, for the website owner, it still can’t be relied on, in its purest form, as the sole method of communication. Visitors still like the reassuring guidance of specified text fields, and in some cases, pre-defined options can make for a better user experience, not to mention more streamlined correspondence.

It is for this reason that form builders are as popular now as they’ve ever been. Veteran Wufoo has held the top spot for many years, thanks to its drag-and-drop design suite and elegant output. Other platforms — Gravity Forms (WordPress only), for example — carve out their own market share by providing special features, such as payments and multiple-input guards.

However, one new form-building service, named Formbakery, wants to keep things simple. It, too, offers drag-and-drop design, as well as a form-by-form price. But can it match up to the long-established giants of form creation?

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Retail is a seriously competitive game. Even the giants need to make use of every possible marketing advantage and every possible route to a sale. Nowadays, that includes mobile e-commerce, which is, by some distance, the platform that is seeing the fastest growth in sales and revenue.

As with all cutting-edge technologies, however, it is the big boys that have been making the most of this new retail territory, which is a shame, given the struggles many small businesses are having to cope with.

But, finally, help appears to be at hand. Dashsell, a company that has thus far concentrated on providing a simple way to list items for sale online, has now launched Shops — a beta, self-service, mobile store app builder. With plans starting from free, and with web, iOS and Android versions available, it looks ideal for the small retailer. But is this the killer platform that will open a new frontier? Or is it just another cookie-cutter app studio?

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