2019 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.
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.
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.
Help Desk Software Vs. 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.
Help Desk Software Benefits and Key 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
Help Desk Software Trends to Watch in 2019
Business trends and software trends have a symbiotic relationship much of the time, innovation in one area always drives change in the other. To stay current and competitive in your industry by embracing all the best tools for your business, you should regularly study trends surrounding the software solutions you use in your company.
Cloud-Based Help Desk Software Systems
Over the past few years, cloud-based software systems have been growing quickly with adoption surging in companies of all types and sizes, and help desk software is no exception. Cloud software is more affordable and provides companies with increased mobility and efficiency, so the majority of new software implementations or upgrades are trending toward the cloud. This trend is expected to continue in 2019, as more companies realize the benefits of cloud software.
Increased Service Expectations and Demands
The level of service that customers and internal employees expect has increased substantially thanks to the conveniences and speed of technology and how it supports service today. Help desk software will continue to innovate along with this trend to ensure that solutions offer all the tools that a company needs to provide superior support and keep pace with the demands that puts on staff.
Support and service is becoming more popular on social channels, and many consumers will seek help, advice, and support through social channels. This means companies must not only have a strong social presence to be competitive, but they must also prepare to support any questions that filter through social media. Help desk software (along with other software solutions) are becoming more robust in how they integrate with social channels and will continue to provide tools to support this trend.
Choosing Your Perfect Help Desk Solution
Conduct a 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.
Questions to Ask to Guide Your 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?
Build Your 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!
Determine Which Type of 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.
Not sure what technology or deployment is for you? We can help!
Think About the People in Your Company Who will be Using Your 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?
Know What to Look for in Your Perfect 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.
Plan Your Integration 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.
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.
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.
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.
Set up Demos and Get Pricing from 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.