Let’s be honest, if we created a list of the “X Best Help Desk Software,” whatever we put on the list would be biased, unfit for the specific needs of business leaders, or both. And so instead, we created a guide that can help you decide what help desk software is best for you and your business. Whether you are looking for enterprise help desk software or something more fitting for smaller companies, this guide can help any growing business.
Help Desk Software: The What and The Why
One common confusion that arises when it comes to help desk software is its comparison to Customer Management Systems (CRM). Both valuable tools, these two solutions serve different purposes.
Think of CRMs as a filing cabinet, with all of the customer information stored in its folders. CRMs contain customers’ personal details, their interaction history with the company, phone, and chat transcripts, and much more. Help desk software then serves as a receptionist who takes out the files and uses them to assist employees and customers. It keeps all requests, both internal and external, organized and prioritized. It turns information into a collection of processes that ultimately support the company’s internal and external communications.
A well-fitting help desk solution can tremendously improve agent productivity within customer support teams. It can help them provide efficient and effective customer service. And that, subsequently, can raise the service quality a company provides.
Help Desk Software: Key Features
Various customer service help desk solutions offer different features. Every business owner decides which ones are an absolute must for his or her business, and which might not be so useful. Things like automated workflows, analytics, and ticketing tools play a role in determining the right help desk software fit for a company. Here are some key features to look out for.
Help Desk Ticketing
Email and web-form tickets comprise a large part of customer and internal employee communications. That is why it’s important to keep this key feature in mind when selecting the right software for your organization.
The help desk ticketing system automatically routes and assigns every ticket to the right person in the right department. It helps manage requests from any communication channel all in one place. It also maintains a detailed contact history throughout the entire resolution process. This allows agents to resolve support requests faster and more accurately than ever before.
Automations route tickets to the right person based on any attribute. Admins can specify triggers that automatically make updates to ticket status, priority level, and category. A good help desk ticketing system also fields incoming tickets from email, texts, web forms, live chat, and Facebook Messenger. This helps your support team to maintain a full, unified view of each contact’s history.
Customer requests can come through various channels. Streamlining all communication channels in a true omnichannel manner can help agents provide personalized service to customers. With an efficient help desk system, agents can easily manage, assign, track, and store support inquiries received by email, web form, live chat, social media messages, SMS/text message, or phone. Customer support tickets, customer ticket statuses, customer emails, and records of support sessions should all be part of the help desk collaboration software you select, all in one centralized place.
Whatever your business’ specific needs are, in the modern world, omnichannel engagement and support are a must. Customers expect the ability to contact your business through whatever means are most convenient to them at the moment. Providing them with such ability is one way to stand out among the competition.
Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave, you must be aware of the AI-powered tech movement that is making its way across all industries. As nostalgic as we might be for the good old analog times, AI in customer service is here to stay.
AI-powered features can empower faster response times to customer inquiries. They can automate repetitive tasks and ensure increased accuracy when it comes to inquiry resolutions. That, in turn, can improve customer experiences and bring cost savings to a business.
With AI-assists, customer support teams can eliminate chances of errors or forgotten and dropped communications. With AI-supported features, such as intelligent routing, help desk solutions automatically route every support request to the appropriate team member in the right department. These features can also provide assistance to agents when it comes to locating needed information and communicating it to the customers. (Faster service = happier customers.)
When selecting help desk software, pay close attention to its current and projected AI developments. This field of technological innovation is only going to grow, so think ahead.
Depending on the nature of your business, your agents might be required to handle sensitive information.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the security features of a potential help desk solution. Make sure the software has capabilities to securely transfer PCI, PHI, and HIPAA-sensitive information.
Any new software has to work with a business’ existing tools. After all, you don’t want to completely redo all of your operational practices, you simply want to enhance them. Effective help desk software will present opportunities for seamless CRM integrations, knowledge base, and other tools. So make sure to clarify any and all integrations when selecting a solution for your business. This will ensure better collaboration among your team and create custom workflows of daily tasks.
Any system that connects a customer to a business is a potential gold mine for customer feedback. Additionally, it’s important to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and productivity of your service team. So whatever software you choose, make sure it contains tools that allow admins access to this valuable information.
From First Call Resolution rates to customer surveys, a good help desk software will give you access to reports that will help you monitor the quality of service. This allows businesses to identify trends and pinpoint areas for improvement.
Support Portal and Knowledge Base
This might sound counter-intuitive, but having a self-service option can help both customers and employees get better service. An accessible database to accommodate user requests for self-service should be a part of the help desk solution.
First, a comprehensive knowledge base can provide answers to common questions, saving them time and energy and taking away the need to contact support. A tool that provides room for self-service content and FAQs is a must. It should contain questions and answers to the most common questions, allowing both customers and employees access to useful information in the knowledge database. Easy-to-read knowledge base articles in a user-friendly interface provide great user experience.
Additionally, a self-service portal both your agents and your customers can use to request help, access ticket information, and monitor inquiry progress all in one spot can ease even the most impatient mind.
Training and Onboarding
Training and onboarding is a common and valid concerns many businesses have when it comes to implementing new tech tools into their daily operations. And so, it’s important to understand what type of training and future support a software provider offers. Bringing your team up to speed on best practices, offering training, and providing continuous support should be a part of any help desk software package.
How to Choose Help Desk Software for Your Business
Now that we’ve reviewed some key features of potential help desk software, the question remains – how does a business owner choose what’s best? When it comes to this important choice, create a comparison table for yourself. This table should contain comparable information on the most important things.
The features discussed above are just a glimpse of the variety of tech tools available throughout the various help desk offerings. Identify your business needs and pain points. Speak to representatives of each service provider about them and see how their offerings can troubleshoot and fulfill those needs.
Available tech support
As per that last point above, it’s always good practice to communicate with a human representative when selecting a service. This can give you a taste of the customer service that the company will provide. You may have questions about implementation and integration. You might face technical problems that require troubleshooting as you embark on your new adventure with a help desk tool. Make sure there are people standing by, ready to help.
Certainly not the least important point, pricing definitely plays a role. Compare, compare, compare. But don’t forget to keep in mind all that is included with a software package. Ask lots of questions. Inquire about future developments (the ever-evolving AI capabilities, for example) and software updates. Discover how the company handles price increases and beta-testing of features. This can help you with future resource planning as well.
In a competitive field of customer support software offering, the customer always wins. You don’t have to buy before you try. And in fact, you shouldn’t. Before signing up for a paid version, find a provider that offers a free trial and extends it to a reasonable length of time. You must be able to try out the software to ensure a positive experience. Track progress. Perhaps, even try several products. Give it enough time to see the results and the effectiveness of it on your customer base.
Best Practices for Help Desk Solutions
Once you make your selection, it’s important to understand and communicate to your team the best practices for using the tools. You might seek tips on how to handle customer support interactions efficiently or how to provide personalized customer support.
We’ve created a Best Practices guide for help desk software. It touches on a few points, from ways to assess your processes to finding a balance between human and automated support services.
Help Desk Software: How to track the success of your help desk software implementation?
- Define clear goals and objectives: Set specific and measurable goals that you expect to achieve with the help desk software implementation. These goals might include improving customer satisfaction, reducing response time, increasing first-call resolution rate, or streamlining ticket management processes.
- Assess user feedback: Gather feedback from your help desk staff, as well as from end users who interact with the software. Regularly review user satisfaction surveys, support tickets, and direct feedback to understand how well the system is meeting their needs and if any improvements are required.
- Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs): Identify and track essential metrics to gauge the success of your help desk software implementation. Common KPIs include average response time, average resolution time, ticket backlog, customer satisfaction scores, and ticket escalation rate. Regularly analyze these indicators to assess the system’s overall performance.
- Conduct periodic system audits: Perform periodic audits of the help desk software to ensure that it aligns with your organization’s needs and requirements. Review its configuration, customize settings if necessary, and check if any system updates or enhancements are available to optimize performance.
- Measure time and cost savings: Evaluate the amount of time and effort saved by your help desk staff after implementing the software. Calculate cost savings by comparing the expensesbefore and after implementation, considering factors like reduced overtime, decreased training time, or lower outsourcing costs. This can help determine the software’s impact on productivity and efficiency.
- Track user adoption and engagement: Monitor the level of adoption and engagement with the help desk software among your staff. Keep track of how often they use the software, if they are properly trained, and if they are taking advantage of all its features and capabilities. Low adoption rates may indicate a need for further training or system improvements.
- Compare performance against benchmarks or industry standards: Research industry benchmarks or standards for help desk performance and compare your organization’s results with these benchmarks. This can provide valuable insights into how your help desk software implementation is performing in comparison to similar organizations.
- Analyze customer feedback: Analyze customer feedback and satisfaction ratings to understand how the help desk software is impacting their experience. Monitor the number and types of complaints or issues raised by customers to identify any potential areas for improvement.
- Conduct regular check-ins with stakeholders: Schedule regular meetings or check-ins with key stakeholders, such as help desk managers, IT staff, and end users, to gather their input on the software’s performance. This can provide valuable insights, identify challenges, and help you make necessary adjustments.
- Continuously improve and iterate: Use the insights gathered from the various tracking methods to make necessary adjustments and improvements to your help desk software implementation. Regularly assess and reassess your goals and objectives, and make necessary changes to ensure ongoing success and alignment with your organizational needs.
Remember that tracking the success of your help desk software implementation is an ongoing process. It requires continuous monitoring, analysis, and adaptation to ensure that the software is effectively supporting your help desk operations and delivering the intended benefits to your organization and its customers.
Help Desk: Should it be outsourced?
As discussed, help desk software can serve as an irreplaceable tool in a business owner’s toolbox. However, sometimes circumstances and resources do not alight for a company to invest in a help desk solution. In that case, a business might still rip the benefits of the tool without purchasing a software package or training in-house staff.
Outsourcing help desk services can be a viable option that saves business money, while not putting any additional weight on the company’s resources, human or otherwise.
Help Desk Software: Solution to Business Communications
When it comes to support, whether it’s internal or external, sometimes it can feel like the requests fly in faster than a pitching machine. A good service desk software system can help manage requests from any communication channel all in one place. With it, a business can resolve support requests faster and more accurately than ever before. Shop around. Compare features, support availability for your help desk team, and pricing. Then find the best fit for your business.