Why is help desk software useful? At the core of help desk software is ticket management, the ability to speed up issue resolution. Empowered with this capability, organizations can:
In this guide, you’ll learn more of the importance of help desk in your day-to-day operations. You’ll also touch on the key help desk software features and our recommended help desk software solutions that may match your needs.
First, let’s understand what this software is all about. Help desk software refers to systems and applications that track customer requests and handle customer care related issues. Together with asset management and IT service management, help desk software programs are under the umbrella category of service desk solutions but are specifically used when it comes to addressing customer queries. In line with this main function, help desk generally consists of three key components: ticket management, automation suite, and reporting and optimization.
Help desk systems are often used alongside customer service solutions to boost customer support, strengthen customer relationships, and provide optimum customer experience. Help desk is sometimes included as part of a complete CRM software package in order to build strong customer connection, retain customers, and sell more. Help desk software supports these goals by ensuring that customer problems and issues are properly addressed and resolved in an efficient as well as timely manner. Why is this important? A customer who is well attended to and satisfied is a happy customer, and that redounds to a lot of positive things.
One study found out that maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to raise revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%. In a survey of American consumers on how customer service affects spending, it was revealed that 70% of respondents are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service and, likewise, that one happy customer can translate to as many as nine referrals for your business.
The above statistics may already answer our query – why is help desk software useful? But what are particular features and benefits of help desk software which make them so relevant that more and more businesses are setting up this kind of system? Let’s tackle them one at a time.
Help desk software is designed to resolve issues and problems of your organization’s internal (employees) and external (customers) audience in an orderly and precise way. Customer satisfaction is the main goal to ensure the viability of your business. Why is help desk software useful? It’s because of its features and the benefits you can gain from implementing the system such as the following:
This feature is what keeps a help desk system and its ticket function running smoothly. Automation helps manage tickets through tools like agent collision, allowing agents to see and track who are handling what ticket to avoid duplication, and pull up contextual data to ensure no unattended ticket slips through. Automation and smart capabilities of help desk software take care of categorizing, prioritizing, and assigning of issues and tickets to the right agent or the relevant people in a service support team, in order that issues are resolved properly and quickly. It can even convert email inquiries into tickets to speed up query handling. Likewise, the feature can come up with pre-formatted auto replies to similar issues and automatically send out notifications and ticket follow ups to agents.
Imagine manually sorting and handling each day dozens or hundreds of customer queries from tickets coming in from emails, social media pages, your company website, and other channels, and you’ll realize how the power of automation puts sense and order in an otherwise chaotic situation. Not only does it reduce effort and workload on your agents, but the time freed up can be used by agents to multitask and do other equally important assignment which is quite helpful if you have a small team.
Although automation takes care of many ticket related tasks which we tackled in the preceding section, help desk software also offers customization and personalization functions to further facilitate ticket management. Since not all tickets are the same, a full-featured help desk solution brings with its several templates which can be customized to be loaded on command or combined if the ticket contains multiple questions. You can assign tags to the tickets which can be set to link with articles in the information hub or knowledge base for easy organization of tickets and quicker response or resolution times.
Help desk software also allows you to track and manage ticket status, informing you if a ticket is open, in cue, or closed. Anytime a status changes, like when a ticket is resolved, emails can automatically be sent to customers to inform them of the ticket status. Ticket submission forms can likewise have custom fields that customers can fill up if you want more information from them. You can also personalize ticket pages that ask customers how satisfied they are with your service, how many tickets have they submitted and have been resolved, and the like. In short, tickets can also be tools to gather customer information which can be very useful.
One of the biggest trends in cloud based solutions is the self service feature. It is being used in business intelligence, appointment and booking, billing and invoicing, payroll, and other software solutions. Self service is especially most conducive for help desk systems. It is simply an online portal that contains updated information such as documentation of the services or products your company offers, how-to pages, FAQs, community forums, and other helpful resources where customers can search for solutions to their issues and problems. Since it’s an online platform, customers or employees can conveniently access it anytime from anywhere on any device.
In other words, customers need not contact your agent or representative every time a problem crops up to be resolved. If in case customers can’t find the right solutions, a form is usually made available in the portal where customers can write drown their problem and send it as a ticket. Again, the self service feature that help desks employ reduces the cost of manpower and saves time and resources spent on your support system.
This system refers to an information hub, resource center, or knowledge base with explanations to common solutions of typical problems or issues about your product or service. It may also carry descriptions of past issues that have been resolved. The information center can be part of your company website (usually under the “Support” or “Resources” section) or a page in your self-service portal open to your visitors or accessible by your customers with accounts. It may also be a private repository accessed only by your CSRs, agents and technicians for their ready reference and internal use. Knowledge management centers are normally equipped with advanced search tools, filters and autos-suggest features to assist users – customers, employees, team members – with finding the right solutions or answers to their queries.
One of the many capabilities of help desk software is creating and managing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which define the service’s quality, scope, and responsibilities. It may be between two companies (one providing supplies or services to another), one department to another department in an organization, or a company to its customer or client. An SLA outlines what is expected from the two parties and is the standard to hold the service provider accountable in case provisions in the agreement are not met. In such instance a discount or cash payment is usually given to the customer.
Creating and managing SLAs, especially if you have dozens of clients, can be a complicated, full-time activity. Help desk software is designed to assist you in this task. The software can help structure and customize agreements; has “pause” features to hold SLAs in abeyance during weekends or holidays; customize service hours or specify product options; display violations; and clone SLAs if you need to make minor adjustments to an existing one. SLAs in help desk solutions are usually tied to ticket management, quantifying how quickly a ticket can be responded to or resolved. For instance, an SLA may state that XX number of tickets received in a day will be acted on within XX number of hours. This creates timelines and targets for support teams to meet, further driving productivity.
Some help desk solutions are equipped with tools to handle assets and IT issues. It often automates the process of discovering and reporting on IT assets, simplifying IT inventory tracking as well as managing purchase order, billing, parts, and other related tasks. Robust help desk software offers asset management functions that can monitor changes to your software and hardware configurations, and assess the health of your computer servers or other network components you are using. These functionalities can be built-in components of the software or separate information technology service management modules that can be integrated with your help desk system.
While asset and IT management functionality falls under the internal type of help desk solution to address IT queries by employees within the organization, there are many cases where the solution also support various information technology concerns of external customers. Furthermore, it is within the scope of asset and IT management where SLAs are extensively used to ensure the quality and quantity of deliverables. With help desk system, IT professionals are able to categorize requests, prioritize issues, and streamline tasks, allowing them for instance to work on several similar issues with a single visit to the server room instead of going back and forth attending to every single task.
Reporting is often an overlooked feature but this is also among the most important. It will provide you crucial information on your customer support performance (from your agents to your system and processes), your customer’s satisfaction level, and the market situation, among others. Help desk software’s reporting and analytics let’s you monitor agent productivity and service desk performance. You can be provided metrics on vital areas such as average resolution times; number of open tickets; resolved tickets categorized by agent, shift or date.
Help desk solutions can extract information not only from tickets but also from other help desk channels such as phone calls, emails, chat and social media, where you can learn if your customers are satisfied or not with your service. Some advanced help desk utilize business intelligence that analyzes data and lets you discover market trends, consumer preferences, and other relevant insights. These help you make adjustments in your support strategies, fine tune your help desk system, and make overall informed decisions.
There are numerous help desk solutions out there that you’ll be hard put to pick one. If you’re a startup or SMB, you can start by checking this list of top 20 help desk software solutions for small business which has been specially compiled by our editors. To further narrow down your choices, you can consider the leading solutions below which have links to full product reviews.
Freshdesk is an intuitive and feature rich help desk software that is the choice of over 150,000 businesses worldwide, for good reasons. It allows you to keep track of conversations, resolve issues as a team, automate repetitive help desk tasks, provide customers self-help experience, measure and improve efficiency, customize workflows, and unify and manage all support-related communications from multiple channels on a single platform, among others. With its features and capabilities, Freshdesk is our top help desk product and #1 in other software categories: customer service, customer support, and help desk and ticketing. You can easily sign up for a Freshdesk free trial here.
Freshdesk elevates your customer support to the next level with features that include team inbox to track and manage incoming tickets from various sources; agent collision detection, SLA management; custom ticket status; scenario automation; email to ticket conversion; email to knowledge base conversion; automatic ticket dispatch; smart ticket assignment; real-time data and dashboards; analytics and custom reports; customer portals; and many more. In addition, you have five affordable plans to choose from, starting with a free version that can be used by unlimited number of agents, and paid packages that run to only double-figures a month.
Zoho Desk is a help desk software you can use to address all your customer service needs. It helps you manage your tickets, increase your agents’ productivity, and monitor your team’s performance. It has solutions specified for your customers, managers, and agents. Moreover, it gives you insights on trends and patterns that will guide you to improve your workflows and resolve bottlenecks. The Zoho Desk app is available to download on iOS and Android devices so your agents can stay connected and collaborate even when on the go.
Zoho Desk is loaded with features for ticket management, automation, agent productivity, and customization. Something unique to the product is its artificial intelligence solution, Zia, that helps your support team by conducting sentiment analysis, conversing with customers, and auto-tagging tickets. Its packages are affordable for any business size. In fact, it has a forever-free plan for small teams with only 3 agents. Meanwhile, you can explore its premium features when you sign up for Zoho Desk free trial here.
Freshservice is a cloud-based customer service platform built to modernize IT and other business functions. It is a widely-used cloud customer support solution designed to enable companies of all sizes to provide optimum customer service. It provides plug and play ITIL that is compliant with best practices and everything you need for extending reliable and efficient IT support to your customers. Its key functionalities include a robust ticketing system, accessible knowledge base, asset discovery, engaging gamification for your agents, support for multi-channel sources, CMDB, and more. The best way to appreciate its features is to try them; you can quickly do so when you sign up for a Freshservice free trial here.
The software brings with it capabilities such as vendor management, incident management, problem management, change management and release management. It can likewise automate routine tasks, let your team collaborate, record and keep all issues in a database, and offer a service catalog designed like a modern portal where your IT teams can easily add, remove, and edit service items.
TeamSupport is a complete customer support suite that allows you to communicate and collaborate more effectively, streamline relationships between all departments, and manage resources and clients for accurate and faster customer support response and issue resolution. The software is equipped with several advanced functionalities to help you streamline collaboration between agents and departments, evaluate ticket engagement, capture agent performance, transform data into operable intelligence, enable customer self-service, and integrate all necessary systems and applications. With its capabilities, it is able to improve visibility at the customer level, keep track of customer issues, as well as deliver timely support. TeamSupport is ideal for small businesses and startups with no service delivery experience since it provides one of the best-designed and intuitive interfaces, and is offered in two low-cost subscription plans. Why not sign up for a TeamSupport free trial here so you can explore its features further?
Zendesk is another top ranked customer support platform that consists of support, chat, call center, and knowledge base modules that you can acquire separately. Even if you start with only the support module, it already includes the basic versions of chat, call center and knowledge base, so that you can be quickly up and running with your support system.
The flexible setup is designed to help you scale you operations starting with initial help desk functions you need and upgrading to more comprehensive feature sets when your business’ support requirements expand. The unique offering of Zendesk is that it is more than just a powerful ticketing and support system. It includes CRM tools to transform your support staff into customer retention experts and lead generators, letting them organize processes and workflows to track customer engagements. The cloud hosted platform offers a wide range of subscription plans to cater to any type of users – from small beginning businesses to large established enterprises.
If you want to level up your customer support in order to provide the best customer experience and satisfaction, you can’t go wrong with using help desk software. Its usefulness is obvious with the above features, functions, and capabilities we’ve dissected. And all other reasons compel you to have one – it reduces cost with self-service tools, helps you quickly identify and resolve issues, gives you better transparency and visibility over customer service requests, improves staff productivity, and enhances operational efficiency. In addition, help desk products are available at budget-friendly prices; hence it can be a sound investment with solid returns. Today’s businesses are powered by business and productivity solutions, and help desk software is a must-have if you are serious in that crucial area that can affect your revenues and bottom line – taking care of your customers.
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