How To Choose The Best Help Desk Software For A Mid-Size Business?

What are the ways to choose the best help desk software for mid-size business? To ensure that your help desk software can manage your expanding customer base, the following key points are worth a look:

  1. What kind of customer service do you want to provide?
  2. List the most important features you want.
  3. Know your budget.
  4. Decide on the deployment model.
  5. Is the ticket management robust?
  6. Prefer an ITIL compliant solution.

All businesses regardless of size and type put a lot of stock in the consistent and speedy resolution of both customer and employee support concerns. Such is the reason why conducting proper research of help desk software rankings is critical to businesses of all sizes. However, the things that mid-size businesses need to consider before committing to such platforms are different from those of their bigger cousins.

Small and large businesses have always dominated the limelight, leaving mid-size organizations neglected in a sense. The irony is, even as they have opportunities for growth, mid-size companies face challenges that hinder growth. These obstacles include pricing pressure, increased costs, and consolidation.

However, mid-size companies are up to the task, many of whom are expected to take steps to pursue growth as reflected in a survey conducted by The Economist. These growth drives pursued by mid-size companies include profitable expansion, organic growth, venturing out into the global market and staying flexible and customer-centered. At the heart of these businesses’ plan to expand their customer base is something that many often overlook: better customer service.

Of all corporate efforts, customer service still stands out as the major driving force behind business growth. It is how organizations attract and retain customers. The 2018 “Serial Switchers” report by NewVoiceMedia revealed bad customer service results to revenue loss. In 2018, businesses lost $75 billion a year – a $13 billion increase since the last report in 2016.

So what’s the best way to improve customer service? Help desks have been known to do the job. In this article, we will outline the ways to choose help desk software for a mid-size business. Features to look for, pricing considerations and platform evaluation methods will be discussed.

Features and Benefits of Help Desk Software

Help desk platforms usually involve any system that organizations utilize to immediately and effectively address consumer inquiries and complaints. These tools, depending on a business’ needs, may contain functionalities like help desk, CRM and point of contact and ticket management, lead extraction and tutorial builders. 

With all these functionalities come benefits that can help companies not only boost customer service, but increase bottom lines and create growth opportunities. Among these benefits are customer service automation, better asset management, infrastructure scalability, minimal investment and improved view of customer data. 

Of these benefits, scalability has got to be the greatest and most important for a mid-size business. This is because it helps users save on costs by purchasing only the features that they require. Now in the event of growth, businesses can simply upgrade their existing system, eliminating the need to invest in new software or disrupt critical business processes. Simply put, these tools grow as businesses do.

How Mid-Size Businesses Should Purchase Help Desk Software

It is a known fact that mid-size businesses do not have the kind of money that their larger counterparts do. This is why these companies can greatly benefit from Software-as-a-Service platforms as these cost far lesser than on-premise products. Another thing is the fact that SaaS solutions do not entail hefty management costs, which mid-size companies cannot comply with in the first place owing to the lack or total absence of IT personnel. This is apart from the fact, that such platforms can be operated by staff who do not have extensive technical knowledge. Here, we outline ways by which mid-size businesses should choose help desk software.

1. Know What Kind of Customer Service You Wish to Provide

When shopping for a help desk solution, it helps to know why you need one. Choosing the right software does not mean picking the best as there is no such thing. What you should purchase is that which allows your company to provide effective customer service every time. To determine the kind of customer service that you want to provide, you should know what support your customers’ need, the experience that you’d like to give your clients and potential improvements in your current customer support setup.

2. Create A List of Help Desk Features That You Need

The ideal help desk software is one that offers everything that you need and then some. You should keep an eye out for a solution that could significantly improve your customer service. Do not get all too excited  by additional features, stick to what you need and you’ll never go wrong. To do this, you should consider if a feature can get the job done, what legal and technical requirements they entail and if there is the potential need for additional products.

3. Know Your Financial Capability

This is crucial not just because it can help you purchase cheap help desk tools. Knowing one’s purchasing power can likewise land you a software that will enable you to provide excellent customer support. A good lot of vendors offer their products at reasonable pricing plans. Truth be told, the best help desk software for mid-size business do not necessarily mean the expensive ones. What’s sad is that many mid-size organizations often sacrifice help desk in favor of traditional technologies such as email and phone, thinking that these tools are enough to offer robust support. This could not be further from the truth as using a help desk solution could increase profits and ultimately lead to growth.

4. On-Premise or SaaS?

Help desk software have two deployment methods–on-premise and Saas–with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. An on-premise platform comes with a server where the solution is installed. This hardware is separately sold, resulting in additional investment. Aside from this, such systems need long-term management by an IT staff.

SaaS or cloud-based software, meanwhile, relies heavily on an Internet connection, without which it cannot be operated. Security concerns over information storage in the cloud also comes with this type of help desk deployment. However, given that vendors of such systems take security seriously, often manning them with dedicated personnel, information safety is most of the time ensured. Taking these into consideration, medium-size businesses are most likely to benefit from cloud-deployed apps.

5. Robust Ticket Management

As effective ticket management is the key to quick and effective issue resolution, it is deemed an important feature of a help desk platform. With this functionality, your system should be able to set assignments, priorities and track alterations in status. By signing up for free trials or using free evaluation versions, you will be able to determine if a piece of software has these capabilities.

7. Is There a Knowledge Base?

Knowledge bases are basically information databases that are updated whenever support agents encounter new problems and their corresponding solutions. They serve as information sources for agents and in many cases even for customers, allowing them to resolve simple concerns by themselves. What’s good about this feature is that some solutions allow both customers and employees to search these data repositories 24/7 from virtually anywhere. In some cases, they can even be searched with the use of social media such as Twitter or Facebook.

8. ITIL Adoption

A widely-used approach to IT service management, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework for best practices that numerous large companies employ. The framework offers guidelines to key business technology processes, which include Configuration, Incident, Change, Release and Problem management. Despite ITIL’s suitability to large enterprises, mid-size organizations can likewise benefit from the streamlined processes that the framework offers. To determine if ITIL is right for you, it is best to take evaluation versions of such solutions for a spin first.

What Are Examples of Help Desk Software?

1. Freshdesk

Cloud-based help desk platform Freshdesk is designed to cater to businesses of all sizes. It comes with a plethora of features such as self-service portals, multichannel capability, integrated game mechanics and multiple SLA policies. More common features, on the other hand, include ticketing, a community platform, and a knowledge base. If you want to try the features at no cost you can easily do so when you sign up for a Freshdesk free trial here.

Freshdesk makes ticket management a lot easier for support agents, enabling them to convert emails into tickets. This significantly cuts down response times and boosts support accuracy. The system can seamlessly integrate with third-party CRM and multimedia products like YouTube, Google Apps, and Slideshare. It supports iOS and Android devices, making the app accessible anytime, anywhere.

2. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a cloud-hosted support desk platform for all business sizes. As part of the Zoho productivity suite, this tool offers robust functionalities that can boost productivity and improve overall customer support operations. It provides users with a ticket management system, a call center application, and social support solutions in one convenient platform. Moreover, the platform allows users to build personal knowledge bases and forums so that they can provide their customers with self-service options. To learn more about what this product has to offer, you can sign up for a Zoho Desk free trial here.

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In addition to its fully integrated help center interface, Zoho Desk also comes with built-in reporting and productivity monitoring tools. This is great for checking the performance of your customer support operations as it allows you to pinpoint and address the bottlenecks in your workflow quickly. The system even comes with a mobile browser, allowing users to access the solution even on the go.

3. Zendesk

A popular help desk solution, Zendesk is a cloud-deployed platform that is highly recommended for small and large enterprises. It is known to help organizations slash costs and boost staff productivity and consumer satisfaction. Ticket management is among the app’s key strengths as it is able to manage thousands of tickets in a day. It can also integrate quite easily with chat, email and social media platforms, allowing users to track and deliver support.

The solution is ideal for SMBs because it can be accessed via computer or mobile devices. With Zendesk, users are given access to knowledge bases, online forums, and service portals 24/7. It is highly-customizable, helping businesses retain their brands while improving the company and product image. In addition, the app’s reporting and analytics functionalities allow businesses to benchmark customer satisfaction and team performance against corporate targets.

4. LiveAgent

LiveAgent is a powerful help desk software that is suited to businesses of all types and sizes. The product is equipped with customer support tools that come in the form of integrations with live chat, email and social media applications. It is quite easy to learn, all it takes is a few hours of training and you’re ready to go. Want to try the features before committing to a plan? You can easily do so when you sign up for a LiveAgent free trial here.

The app’s vendor assures customers, big and small, of excellent customer support as all of its pricing models come with identical support packages. With the platform, users are not only able to reach out to existing clients but to prospects as well. LiveAgent has the ability to store emails, by way of a single inbox, with tickets automatically sent and stored, along with customer requests. And because it has all the information needed to evaluate support responses, it can quickly address requests.

5. Freshservice

Freshservice is a cloud-deployed help desk platform that has the ability to boost any organization’s customer service program. Notable features include ticket management, asset recovery, a knowledge base and CMDB. It can automate just about any customer support-related task there is. The app’s ticket management feature can be customized using field templates that can provide all that a company requires. Automatic notifications are also sent out, along with proactive notifications, escalations and service levels. You can sign up for a Freshservice free trial here.

The software comes with a plug and play IT infrastructure library that enables users to observe best practices. Customers can likewise access a self-service portal to resolve concerns without assistance from an agent by raising tickets and accessing the knowledge base. Its native mobile app provides users with access to the product anytime, anywhere. And because the solution is deployed via cloud, maintenance and data security are effectively carried out.

6. Relay

Relay leverages the power of AI to boost efficiency of customer support teams. Its smart chatbots are able to quickly address common technical concerns and create a customer profile for more personalized future interactions. It also utilizes machine learning to improve its capability over time. All in all, it drastically decrease work volume and allows your team to concentrate on more complex and pressing inquiries.

Relay features an omnichannel structure that unifies all requests across all communication channels into a single queue. Essentially, this effectively streamlines distribution of workload and ensures all customer needs are effectively addressed. The platform also allows users to share each ticket to their peers so they can collaborate privately or publicly on how to better resolve various issues and concerns.

Searching for the right help desk solution need not be a complicated undertaking for amid-size business. All that you need to do is to find out what your support requirements are, search products for such features and try them out if possible. If you feel that you need to know more options besides the top choices above, this top 20 help desk software guide will give you more, many of which suit a mid-size business. 

Christopher Robinson

By Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson is a senior productivity research analyst who specializes in optimizing online collaboration and project management using Scrum and agile approaches. In his work, he always emphasizes the need for distributed work training and the formation of efficient work habits. His work was mentioned in various business publications, including Entrepreneur and InfoQ. He’s a strong proponent of the GTD model. He has been cooperating with the FinancesOnline team for 5 years now, and his publications always focus on practical aspects of productivity tools that can have an actual, transformative impact on a company.

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