Help Desk Software Buyer's Guide

2024 Help Desk Software Buyer’s Guide

Whether you need to provide your customers with a streamlined system of support and answers or create an internal ticket system where technical issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently, help desk software can help your business better manage communication and issue resolution.

What is Help Desk Software?

Help Desk software provides a centralized portal where customers or internal team members can submit questions or resolve technical issues efficiently.

Most solutions leverage a ticket system, that gives the customer or team member the option to select the type of support they need and submit their question using menus or free-form text boxes. Once this information is submitted, the system creates a ticket and moves the request into queue, according the nature of the request and which department should receive it to provide assistance.

Your staff can work through tickets in order of priority or submission to provide answers and support in a streamlined, organized fashion that is all tracked and stored in your system, creating a record of all the communication and work that took place from the time the ticket was opened until the issue was resolved. Using help desk software ensures that customer or team support requests are handled in a timely manner and gives your support teams the tools they need to work more efficiently. 

What is the Difference Between Help Desk Software and Contact Center Software?

While help desk software and contact center software solutions are both rooted in service, these two systems are typically used in quite different ways.

Help desk software is typically used by companies to provide internal technical support to their own teams or help track work done in certain releases and upgrades to their systems. It may also be used by companies who offer technology-based services, as a way to manage technical requests and questions. 

On the other hand, contact center software provides a full suite of multi-channel (email, phone, chat, etc) tools that are intended to serve customers and help them with questions, resolve issues related to products or services, or upsell them to other products. Contact center software tracks customer interactions and provides tools to analyze customer behavior and patterns with advanced analytics. A contact center may actually support many departments within a company, including inbound customer care as well as outbound sales and marketing.

What are the Top Help Desk Software Benefits and Features?

Help desk software provides a comprehensive ticket system for technical support issues, which can bring businesses both internal and external benefits such as:

  • Streamlined, efficient management of tech support requests and issues
  • Enhanced visibility into all open issues, for staff and customers, from the time a ticket is opened until it’s resolved
  • Improved agent and technical support productivity and organization
  • Fewer missed service or support requests
  • Simplified operations and more ease in meeting SLAs

While there are numerous help desk software solutions on the market that you can choose from according to your exact business needs, this software typically includes these key features:

  • Ticketing automation
  • Customizable ticket submission forms
  • Grouping of related tickets
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) management
  • Tags for organizing tickets
  • Customizable ticket pages by customer or employee
  • Customizable, individual ticket queues
  • Customizable ticket statuses (other than just “open” or “closed”)
  • Control of public and private ticket updates and actions
  • Inventory integration

How to Choose the Best Help Desk Solution

Choosing a help desk that is perfectly tailored to your business is key to maintaining a thriving customer base, but the process of finding and implementing your perfect system can be a bit overwhelming.

This guide will provide insight and tools for selecting the best Help Desk solution for your company.

How to Conduct a Help Desk Business Review

Planning and preparation are key to your successful help desk implementation, and this process ultimately begins with choosing the best system for your needs.

Make a list of the specific business needs that are driving your decision to implement a new help desk solution or upgrade your existing system. 

Many companies find it helpful to include company leaders and key partners in their decision-making process of choosing help desk software. You can include key people in your business, particularly in the customer service department, in your selection and planning process to make sure that all of your important needs are accounted for and your solution contains all the features and tools you must have to improve your customer interactions and service levels. 

What Questions Can You Ask to Guide Your Help Desk Software Business Review?

  • What communication gaps occur consistently in your support team, and what is their impact on your company?
  • Are your existing processes, tools, and systems outdated and cumbersome for employees to manage support and technical requests efficiently?
  • Are the costs of operating your existing manual processes or outdated technology outweighing the benefits you receive?
  • What help desk tools and features are must-haves for our company? Which features aren’t as vital?
  • How tech savvy are the employees who will use the system most?
  • What deployment method makes the most sense for our business and budget?
  • How many people will use your help desk system?

How to Build Your Help Desk Software Budget

After you’ve conducted a complete review of your business needs and have a strong understanding of what tools you need in your help desk, it is important to figure out the budget you can allocate toward purchasing or upgrading your system.
Using the list you prepared while reviewing your business needs, you can determine how much value will be created by using a help desk solution. Prepare your budget accordingly. You should give yourself spending limit as well as a range of pricing models including one-time installation costs or monthly fees. Depending on the size and needs of your company, one type of plan may make more sense financially over the other.

Need help building your budget? Get pricing from leading Help Desk Software vendors now!

How to Determine Which Type of Help Desk Technology Will Best Suit Your Needs

Help Desk software vendors typically offer an array of different technologies and deployment methods to best meet the size, budget, and needs of your company. While cloud solutions are swiftly gaining popularity, particularly among small and medium companies, larger business still often choose to go with an on-site solution, so they can create a more customized and proprietary solution. Here’s a closer look at the main technology options available on the market:

Cloud-based technology is becoming increasingly popular for all types of business software, and help desk software is no exception. Cloud technology functions through a third-party platform that is powered by the internet, which supports business mobility and remote system access that a flourishing company needs.

Cloud systems are also more affordable, which gives more companies the opportunity to embrace help desk software earlier in their business.

On-premise, or on-site solutions are systems that are built on-site in an office building or other physical location. On-premise solutions require hardware and ongoing updates and maintenance, which makes implementation more expensive than cloud solutions.

How to Think About the People in Your Company Who Will be Using Your Help Desk System

For your help desk solution to be a success in your business, your employees will need to embrace it and use it to its full potential. If your system is cumbersome or confusing, many employees may become frustrated and not use it as much as they should. This can hinder your growth, so it’s important to pick a software that suits the needs of everyone who will using it.

As you think about the users in your company, think over these questions to find the best fit for your teams:

  • How many users will be using the system?
  • What data sources need to be integrated with this system? Will it interrupt day to day business for my teams? For how long?
  • What levels exist in your users? (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • What are the needs of each group of users?
  • What type of support will users need as they learn and use and maximize the potential in the software?
  • What training will my employees need?

What to Look for in Your Perfect Help Desk Software Vendor

As you meet with various help desk vendors that you’re interested in working with, you should do some due diligence in researching their reputation before you commit to purchasing their services. 

Some of the key things you should look for in your perfect vendor are prominence, reviews, and support.

Industry prominence and popularity
While you should not choose a vendor based on popularity alone, industry standing can signal what you can expect from their services. Make sure that the vendor you select has prominence in the industry and is popular among other companies with similar needs as yours.

Reviews from current or past system users
One of the best ways you can easily research a vendor you’re considering is to look for reviews given by current or past users. Reviews from current companies using their software can give you great insight into how the vendor treats customers and how companies value their services and features. Past reviews can establish a history of service values and give you a snapshot into how the vendor handles business over time as well.

How to Plan Your Help Desk Integrations and Customizations

Choose a time when implementing new help desk software will not impact your core business hours or seasons, if possible. Choosing a time when your company is not as busy can help you avoid the negative impacts of the system downtime that is part of switching to a new software. 

How to Learn What Type of Support is Offered by Help Desk Software Vendors

Support is a vital component that all vendors will offer. However, the types and degree of support will vary from provider to provider, so make sure you know what level of support your team will need, and then ensure your selected vendor can easily fulfil those support needs.

How to Understand Your Hardware Needs (On-Site Help Desk Solutions)

If you choose to implement a cloud-based or hosted solution, then you will not require any hardware to get your help desk up and running quickly. But you’ll need to carefully consider all your integration points and know how your help desk solution will tie into your other business systems to fully understand any hardware you may need.

However, if you’re going to be implementing your help desk on site, you’ll need to plan on investing upfront for hardware, installation, and ongoing maintenance on your system.

How to Research and Compare Multiple Help Desk Software Vendors

Once you have a firm grasp on all the things you need and want from your help desk solution, and understand what you must invest, then you can begin researching and comparing vendors.

There are many excellent vendors on the market, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find your perfect system if you take a bit of time to really look into what each vendor offers and compare your top choices against one another to determine which is best for you and your business. As you compare your options, make sure to keep your list of key business needs and required features handy so you can reference them and keep yourself on track as you absorb all of the information and create a short list of viable options.

How to Set up Demos and Get Pricing from Help Desk Vendors on Your Short List

Once you’ve created a short list of three to five solutions that best meet your needs, it’s important to take your preparation and research one step further and get in touch with each one. Most providers will happily set up meetings to discuss your requirements and can demonstrate all the key features for you.

Before you participate in a meeting or demo with a vendor, make sure that you refresh your memory on all your business and feature needs. It is also a great idea to provide your lists to the vendor prior to meeting, so they can put together the custom options and pricing they have available that will meet your needs. This will make your time much more efficient, and also give the vendor a clear understanding of exactly what you require.

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