Service desk agents need to respond to a constant stream of end-user queries regarding IT issues, product information, and installations. And it's just as important to keep track of every issue/incident as it is to solve them.
Manually entering requests in a system, categorizing them, and creating support tickets wastes a lot of time and resources. Help desk software helps automate most of the steps in this process, allowing faster resolution of immediate needs, incidents, and technical issues users.
Help desk tools allows support agents to consolidate tickets from multiple channels (e.g., email, live chat, calls, self-service portals). Managers can access key information such as workload, incident turnaround time, and resolution rate.
Help desk software often integrates with customer service, customer relationship management, contact center, and knowledge base software to facilitate better customer service and support. This buyers guide explains what help desk software is and what to look for to find the best help desk tool for your business.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is help desk software?
Help desk software helps businesses and support teams accept, manage, organize, automate, respond to, and report on customer questions or issues. These tools centralize information and support management to automate the complaint resolution process. Help desk systems can be used for external customer service or internal IT support within an organization.
Some customer relationship management (CRM) software offers help desk functionality. Help desk software can often integrate with CRM software or other tools to access customer data and facilitate customer service.
Interaction tracking in Zoho Desk software (Source)
Common features of help desk software
|Knowledge base management
||Facilitate virtual conferences that connect multiple people remotely over the phonCreate, store and share information, FAQs, and support articles in a central database. Employees or customers can self-navigate through the knowledge base to find answers without waiting for a support agent.
||Consolidate and track all end-user issues from different sources (phone, email, chat, request forms, etc.) and convert them into tickets.
||Send notifications to support desk agents about ticket prioritization.
||Add notes, conversation history, and actions taken to each issue/incident. This helps service desk agents keep track of tickets, reference past issues, identify repeat incidents, and more.
||Analyze customer support performance by tracking average response time, ticket volume, request/ticket sources, and more.
||Allow end-users to answer their own questions without support agents by browsing knowledge base articles, using self-service forums, and easily contacting support to follow-up on past requests.
|Service-level agreement (SLA) management
||Document an agreement between the provider and end-user that identifies services required and expected level of service.
||Change, adjust, and configure your workflow based on business needs and user-defined rules to help automate repetitive and manual tasks.
||Give end-users the option to submit requests via multiple channels such as email, live chat, text, voice, online forms, and social media. This reduces customer wait time and speeds up the issue resolution process.
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing a help desk solution, you should assess what kind of a buyer you are. Most buyers fall into two categories:
- Buyers serving external customers: Buyers in this category directly serve customers and handle customer-generated queries. Help desk software for these buyers allows customer service teams to create support tickets to track customer issues and solutions.
These buyers should look for help desk tools that offer live chat, social media integration, multi-channel communication, call center management, alerts, and reporting capabilities to provide service desk agents with a holistic view of all tickets, allow them to organize tickets, and improve customer satisfaction by providing faster support.
- Buyers serving employees: Internal employees often need support regarding IT, HR, and admin-related issues. Buyers in this segment need help desk software that includes internal ticketing, a knowledge base, and the ability to assign/route employee-generated tickets to relevant staff.
These buyers should invest in a help desk system that provides employee self-service options, live chat, reporting and analytics, automated routing, and email management functionalities. Ideally, these buyers should also look for features such as IT service management and incident management so staff can easily check on ticket status and progress.
Benefits of help desk software
- Better customer support: Help desk software organizes communication in a central location so businesses can quickly respond to customers. Automated ticket routing and multi-channel communication capabilities can help support staff prioritize tickets and avoid duplicate tickets.
- Improved productivity: Help desk software automation features reduce the amount of manual administrative and organizational tasks agents need to complete. These tools can automatically route tickets to team members who specialize in specific issues and complaints. The ability to add notes to a conversation and respond to common questions with saved replies can also help boost productivity.
- Better decision-making: The reporting capabilities of help desk software provide key insights regarding ticket resolution times, customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and customer experience so businesses can understand how things are working overall and make decisions to optimize.
- Easy-to-use interface: Choose a tool that has a shorter learning curve for employees and an intuitive interface. Look for help desk software that provides a free trial, demo sessions, and training videos so employees can get up-to-speed as quickly as possible.
- Scalability: As your team continues to grow, so will your needs. Finding a solution that grows with your business is important. Look for a cloud-based solution or web help desk platform that can support a large volume of customers and adapt to different use cases and issues.
- Customer expectations: Before buying a help desk tool, it is important to know how your customers would prefer to interact with you? Do they prefer self service tools, emails, chat services, or a mobile-friendly knowledge base? Make sure to invest in a help desk platform, after considering your customers’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Market trends to understand
Cognitive automation of help desk software: Advancements in machine learning technology have prompted help desk service providers to add cognitive automation to their tools. This technology can help extract key phrases from employee or customer requests, categorize them, create support tickets, and route them to specific groups. Help desk providers that integrate cognitive automation into their software can help businesses save more time and money as employees have even fewer manual tasks to complete.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.