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Best Free and Paid Customer Success Tools Every CSM Should Use

April 4, 2024 10 minutes read

Summary points:

Customer success managers have a lot of responsibilities. According to a recent study, 48% of CSMs surveyed said they have more than 10 major job activities. Among those activities, we can find churn prediction, expansion, customer onboarding, and customer support.

That seems like a lot, right? Unfortunately, the fact that over 83% of CSMs still only use basic tools like Excel every day adds to this struggle.

Lack of support from stakeholders and shrinking budgets are some of the reasons why customer success managers are still working with basic or outdated tools and platforms to solve so many job activities.

In this article, I want to show you various tools to help you with your CS activities without breaking the bank (or even spending a single dime).

Since I found many of these activities challenging while I was doing them with no tech stack, I believe that this list of free and paid tools for customer success can make your job a bit easier.

Let’s dig in!

Free Customer Success Tools

I’m going to start with the free tools. This list contains tools that are 100% free or come with a free basic version that should be enough for a CSM.

YouCanBookMe

If there’s something every customer success manager does every day is going into meetings. No matter if you are nurturing a relationship with a customer, explaining a new feature to a recent user, or establishing the next priorities with your team, your calendar is going to be filled with meetings. To avoid overlapping, I suggest using a scheduling platform like YouCanBookMe.

This is a free online meeting scheduling platform. It eliminates the back-and-forth conversations to decide on a date and time for the next meeting. You can simply share a link with your calendar in YouCanBookMe and customers can find your next available slot for a meeting. Also, you can tie it to your email account to receive notifications when somebody schedules a call with you.

Best features:

  • Automate event notifications
  • Embed scheduling on your site
  • Connect calendar

Pricing: Free version available. Premium features starting from $10.8 /calendar/mo

Zoom

Since we mentioned meetings, you are going to need a place to hold them, right? If you are not joining the meetings face to face, you could use Zoom. This platform allows you to talk to customers or your team members from anywhere. Its interface is easy to use and it works on different operating systems.

Zoom’s free version allows you to hold meetings with up to 100 people at the same time for up to 40 minutes. It also comes with a chat where people can ask questions to not interrupt the speaker.

Best features:

  • Whiteboard Basic
  • Team Chat
  • Mail & Calendar integration

Pricing: Free version available. Premium features starting from €139.90/year/user

Slack

Chatting with customers can help you provide real-time support. So instead of jumping on a call when both of you are available, you can keep the conversation going on a platform like Slack.

You can use this tool also for discussing with co-workers. This cloud-based team communication platform comes with various “channels”. You can look at them as groups where that you can split depending on department or activity. For example, you can add co-workers from the Sales team for better alignment.

There’s a free version available where your messages are saved for 90 days and you only have one-on-one huddles.

Best features:

  • Huddles
  • Channels
  • Slack Connect

Pricing: Free version available. Premium features starting from £5.75 per person/month

Trello

Organizing all of your daily and weekly tasks is another time-consuming activity on every CSM’s plate. Depending on your needs, there are a few project management tools that are highly praised by those with busy schedules. One of these platforms is Trello.

This tool is a great option if you work well with the Kanban organizing system. You can create different boards for a project, from “development” to “review” and “done”. Then, you simply move them from one stage to the other which gives you a clear overview of all the workload. It’s easy to assign tasks and collaborate with your customer success team effectively.

Best features:

  • Checklists
  • Kanban-style boards
  • Powerful integrations

Price: Basic version is free. Premium features starting from $5/user/month

Asana

Another good option for project management and collaboration is Asana. This platform comes with a different approach that focuses more on accountability. You can connect strategic goals and check progress in real-time.

Also, Asana allows you to create powerful automated workflows which can be especially helpful for busy customer success managers. For instance, once a task is completed by one of your team members you can set a trigger to receive a task for you to review it.

Best features:

  • Time tracking
  • Automated workflows and triggers
  • Reporting dashboards

Price: Free version available. For premium features such as automated workflows, the price starts from €10.99/user/month.

ClickUp

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for your project management needs, then ClickUp might be an option for you. While it takes some time to figure out how to set it up for your projects, ClickUp is a customizable tool for doing all your work in one place. Since it is a bit of a learning curve, this tool offers 24/7 support even in the free plan.

Also, ClickUp comes with customizable automation options which will allow you to see what works for your team. I think that the calendar view provides a great overview of the entire workload of the team.

Best features:

  • Different views and filters
  • Customizable tasks
  • Customizable

Pricing: Free plan available. Premium features starting from $7/user/month

Mailchimp

One of the most important job activities of any customer success manager is to nurture the relationship with customers. Also, onboarding and constantly sharing educational content with users takes a lot of time without the right tools.

Mailchimp is an email marketing and automation tool that can assist customer success managers. For example, you can segment the customer base within Mailchimp based on various criteria such as user behavior or engagement level. This allows for more personalized communication.

This platform can be used to send educational content such as tutorials, tips, and best practices related to the product or service or to implement automated email sequences for onboarding new customers.

Best features:

  • Easy-to-customize templates
  • AI marketing tools
  • Customer base segmentation

Pricing:
Free tier available for a limited number of contacts and emails. $13/month for more than 1000 monthly email sends.

Canva

A tool that can also be helpful for customer success managers is Canva. If you have a low budget, Canva is a lifesaver when it comes to designing and creating various materials for customers.

For example, Canva can help you design customer education materials while following your company’s branding. This platform comes with templates and visuals that will make your job easier.

Best features:

  • Free templates and visuals
  • Easy-to-use
  • Drag-and-drop feature

Pricing: Offers a free version with limited access to templates and design elements. Premium content is available from $119.99/year/user.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk provides a unified platform for managing all customer interactions, whether they come from email, chat, social media, or phone. The platform’s ticketing system organizes customer queries into individual tickets, which can be assigned, prioritized, and easily tracked.

Also, if your product is easy to understand and use, Freshdesk is a good option for self-service solutions like a knowledge base, FAQs, and community forums.

Best features:

  • Centralized customer support
  • Customer analytics
  • Ticketing system

Pricing: Free plan available with limited features. Premium features are available from $15 /agent/month

HubSpot CRM


Another great option for managing communication and tracking all your customers’ issues is HubSpot CRM. This platform includes a universal inbox which provides a centralized view of every customer interaction to the whole team.

If you know that some situations are common in your customer base, you can use HubSpot CRM to create templates and canned responses. Also, HubSpot CRM provides in-depth reports with metrics on customer wait times and ticket volumes.

Best features:

  • Email template builder
  • SLA management
  • Live chat

Pricing: Offers a comprehensive free version. For more features, the starting price is €90/mo/seat.

Google Workspace

Google Workspace provides various collaboration tools including Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, and Google Meet. All of these tools are useful for any professional. Also, the fact that all of them are organically integrated makes it much easier to switch between them.

Google Docs allows you to collaborate with coworkers on training materials, while Google Meet provides a great platform for calls with customers.

Best features:

  • Collaboration
  • Multiple tools into one interface
  • Easy to use and implement

Pricing: Limited personal use versions (such as Gmail, Docs, and Sheets) are available for free. $6/user/ month for more features and tools.

ChatGPT

Let’s talk about the most popular technology at the moment: Artificial intelligence. While you probably heard of or used it before, I still suggest trying out ChatGPT. It’s a great tool for any professional because it can help with research. Also, it’s a good option for when you are trying to write more personalized emails without spending too much time.

For global companies, ChatGPT can assist in translating communications between CSMs and customers, breaking down language barriers, and improving understanding.

Best features:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Versatility

Pricing: Free version available. Premium version starting from

Otter.ai

Ever feel like you’re spending more time taking meeting notes than actually engaging in the discussion during your meetings? Otter.ai, another tool that uses artificial intelligence can become your personal meeting assistant.

This tool listens in on your conversations and transcribes them in real time, allowing you to focus on the conversation rather than frantic note-taking. Whether you’re in a one-on-one chat or a large team meeting, Otter.ai captures and organizes your discussions, turning them into searchable, shareable notes.

Also, you can add video or audio recordings and Otter will transcribe them for you. Unfortunately, you might need to make some edits as it is not always accurate.

Best features:

  • Real-time transcription
  • Shareable meeting notes
  • Integrations with video conferencing apps
  • Advanced search functionalities

Pricing: Free version available. Advanced features and more transcription minutes start from $8.33 per month when billed annually.

Hotjar

Understanding your website visitors can sometimes feel like trying to read minds. Enter Hotjar, the tool that lets you see your website through your visitors’ eyes. Hotjar offers heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys, providing a visual representation of what visitors do on your site and why they do it.

These insights help you identify pain points, optimize user experience, and increase conversion rates. You can see Hotjar as your website’s therapist because it uncovered the underlying reasons behind user behavior.

Best features:

  • Heatmaps showing where users click, move, and scroll
  • Session recordings for real-life browsing experiences
  • Conversion funnel analysis
  • Feedback polls and surveys

Pricing: There’s a free version for basic needs. More robust analysis and features start from $39 per month.

Google Analytics

In the vast sea of online data, Google Analytics is your lighthouse. This powerful tool sheds light on how visitors find and interact with your site, providing essential insights that drive informed decisions.

From tracking website traffic to understanding user behavior, Google Analytics helps you measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns and tailor your strategies to meet your audience’s needs. With custom reports and dashboards, it’s like having a data scientist dedicated to unlocking the potential of your digital presence.

Best features:

  • Detailed traffic and user behavior analytics
  • Customizable reports and dashboards
  • Integration with Google Ads
  • Real-time analytics

Pricing: Google Analytics is free for most users, with premium features available through Google Analytics 360.

Typeform

Imagine turning the boring task of filling out forms into an engaging conversation. That’s the magic of Typeform. This tool reinvents online forms and surveys, making them interactive and enjoyable. With customizable templates and an easy-to-use interface, Typeform creates a more personal and human-centric experience for gathering data, feedback, or registrations. It’s like chatting with your customers, one question at a time.

Best features:

  • Customizable, user-friendly forms
  • Logic jumps for personalized pathways
  • Integration with various platforms
  • Detailed response analysis

Pricing: Start for free, with more creative and analytical power starting from $25 per month.

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey takes the pulse of your customers, one question at a time. Whether measuring customer satisfaction, researching market trends, or gathering employee feedback, SurveyMonkey provides a straightforward, intuitive platform for creating and distributing surveys.

It’s not just about asking questions; it’s about uncovering the answers that drive actionable insights. With SurveyMonkey, you become the expert on your data, making informed decisions based on the voices of your audience.

Best features:

  • Diverse question types for comprehensive surveys
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • Custom branding for professional surveys
  • Integration with other tools and platforms

Pricing: There’s a complimentary version for basic needs. More sophisticated features and analysis start from $25 per user/month.

Zapier

Want to connect these tools to avoid looking for a piece of information in 10 places? Zapier is a tool that enables automation between over 6000 web apps and services including many of the tools I shared in this article.

Zapier allows you to create automated workflows, known as Zaps, which can move information between different apps. You can even automate the customer onboarding process by integrating tools like your CRM, email platforms, and project management apps. For instance, when a new customer is added to the CRM, Zapier can trigger a welcome email series from your email marketing tool and create a new project for that customer in your project management tool.

Best features:

  • Automated workflows
  • Over 6000 integrations
  • Data synchronization

Pricing: Free version available. More features and capabilities start from $20/mo/function (Zaps, Tables, or Interfaces)

Best paid tools for customer success managers

If you are looking for more support or premium features, here are a few paid tools that are invaluable for customer success managers.

Custify

A customer success platform is an invaluable resource for a customer success manager. Custify is an all-in-one customer success platform designed to help SaaS businesses manage and improve customer relationships. The platform offers a comprehensive suite of features including customer health scores, lifecycle management, automated tasks, and personalized customer insights, enabling teams to proactively address customer needs and reduce churn. With Custify, you manage your customers from onboarding to renewals.

Best features:

  • Customer health scoring
  • Lifecycle management
  • Automated workflows
  • Customer 360-degree view

Pricing: Contact sales for more details

Monday

As I’ve mentioned, project management is a crucial part of any professional, especially a customer success manager. If the free tools don’t have enough features for you, then this platform might be the right option.

Monday.com is a versatile project management tool that helps streamline collaboration and workflow among team members. It is designed to improve team productivity and project tracking with a highly intuitive and customizable interface. You can create workflows, assign tasks, set deadlines, and track project progress in real time. The platform supports integration with various third-party apps and services.

Best features:

  • Workflow automation
  • Time tracking
  • Multiple view options (Calendar, Kanban, Gantt, etc.)
  • Various integration

Pricing: Free version available for up to two users. Paid plans start from $8 per seat/month, offering additional features and capabilities.

Hiver

Hiver is an email management tool designed primarily for customer support and team collaboration within Gmail. It turns Gmail into a help desk platform, allowing users to manage shared email accounts like info@ or support@ from a familiar interface. It provides features for email assignment, tracking, and analytics to ensure timely responses to customer inquiries.

Best Features:

  • Shared mailboxes
  • Email tags and categories
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Automated workflows

Pricing: No free version. Pricing starts from $19 per user/month with essential features for email management and collaboration.

Userpilot

Did you know that poor onboarding ranks as the third most important factor leading to customer churn, following wrong product fit, and lack of engagement? This stat definitely shows the importance of providing an amazing onboarding experience. However, this can be challenging without the right tools.

Userpilot is a user onboarding and engagement platform that helps SaaS companies increase user adoption through targeted onboarding flows, in-app experiences, and feedback collection. The tool allows for the creation of interactive walkthroughs and segmented messages to guide users to feature discovery and proper product utilization.

Best features:

  • Customizable onboarding flows
  • In-App surveys and feedback tools
  • User segmentation and analytics
  • A/B testing

Pricing: Available upon request. Generally, it is based on the number of active users and includes different tiers tailored to business needs.

Raaft

Some churn is inevitable, but there are measures you can take to avoid most of your customers churning. For instance, using a tool like Raaft.

Raaft is built to assist companies in keeping their customers by presenting alternatives to deleting accounts. Instead of the standard option to “delete my account,” it offers customizable options that tackle the reasons behind a customer’s decision to leave, aiming to increase customer retention.

Best features:

  • Custom cancellation flows
  • Retention insights and analytics
  • Personalized retention offers

Pricing: No free version is available. Pricing is based on the volume of users and starts from a base rate.

Upgrade your customer success tech stack

Being a Customer Success Manager is no walk in the park – it’s packed with different tasks that can get overwhelming. That’s where the list of tools we talked about comes into play. From organizing your calendar with Calendly to managing big projects with Monday.com, these tools are lifesavers. They’re here to take a load off your shoulders, whether you’re looking to start for free or ready to invest a bit.

The main takeaway? With the right tools in your toolkit, you can spend less time sweating the small stuff and more time focusing on what matters: keeping your customers happy and your team on track. So, dive in, try out these tools, and make your life as a CSM a whole lot easier!

Irina Vatafu

Written by Irina Vatafu

Irina Vatafu is the Head of Customer Success at Custify. As an ANC Certified Trainer and a Customer Success Manager, Irina uses her technical background to better understand SaaS businesses and drive them to success.

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