The incorporation of IT technologies in business operations has become a global phenomenon. Companies belonging to almost all sectors resort to myriads of IT technologies and software to run their operations. In fact, thousands of business use helpdesk software applications to improve customer service levels across the world. Using such software also brings those companies many other benefits. However, picking the most fitting help desk applications is seldom simple or easy. Every vendor selling such software tries to demonstrate how its product outshines all others!
Getting the basics right- before you start shopping and comparing helpdesk tools
Before you start looking for helpdesk applications and compare them, it is important to analyze the priorities for using such tools. The best helpdesk application is the tool that enables your support team to cater to customer needs in the best possible way, minus hassles. You need to analyze a few aspects, in this regard.
- Type of your customers and support they need – Not all companies have same set of customers. Some companies sell services/products targeted at urban affluent youth while some others target working women. There are companies selling products for the toddlers and elderly lot as well. Not all customers will prefer same type or mode of support. Tech savvy younger customers prefer live chat and support portal while older customers may still like phone based support.
- The features- vital and not so important ones – A helpdesk tool may have oodles of features in it. However, you need to analyze which of these features are actually required by your venture. What is the point in buying costly IT service desk software that has tons of features but most of these will not be used for your company’s support operations!
- The areas of improvement – If your company is already using a Help desk tool, you need to see what improvements can be brought by replacing it with a new application. For example, you may switch to a new application if it streamlines ticket handling or reduces complications in embedding special media profiles.
Listed below are the must have features in an ideal help desk solution:
- Ease of setup and usage – this is the first thing you need to check when buying a helpdesk solution. If the deployment is tedious or lengthy and that causes disruption in workflow, the solution is not ideal. Besides, such software should not have steep learning curve. The UI should be aesthetic and customizable and employees should be able to learn its nuances minus hassles.
- Integration with other software and cloud services – In most businesses, using third party software has become mandatory. The companies use different types of accounting software, database apps, office productivity solutions and security software, for example. Some of these software applications are cloud based. The helpdesk tool you but should be compatible with these software solutions. While some helpdesk tools can be linked with such third party software directly, some others require using extensions or API.
- Dashboards for monitoring – Most of the latest IT help desk tools have several dashboards which are useful for monitoring activities. These can be used to track activities of all the agents, progress of ticket resolution, and customer feedbacks etc.
- Social media integration- Regardless of the type of your company and its target customers, it is impossible to ignore the importance of social media. A section of your company customers are likely to be social media addicted. To ensure, they are not left out your chosen helpdesk solution must support solid integration with top social media services. This makes things better for both the support agents and such customers. They can interact with each other any time minus hassles.
- Self service portal- The helpdesk solution you choose should have good provisions for creating a self service portal. Nowadays, a section of customers prefer using such portals and they dislike typical support modes like phone. This also helps in mitigating workload on the support agents. The software should have embedded knowledge base creation options. In fact, some help desk tools let users create and maintain more than one support portal.
- Mobile friendly app/service- whether you opt for a cloud-based helpdesk service or a traditional software based one, Mobile compatibility is a must. You cannot overlook the fact a majority of the customers use mobile devices for all online access needs. They will contact the helpdesk using mobile devices too. The software, if it is cloud based, has to be compatible with major web browsers, for the same reason.
- Robust ticket management- This is a vital feature in a helpdesk solution. The customers register their queries and grievances in form of tickets online and the entire process is handled by the helpdesk solution. Ideally, such software should have flexible tickets management policies. It should have options to let agents create tickets directly. Besides, options for auto conversions of email and social media posts should exist in the software too. Some of the popular customer support solutions have filters using which you can set conditions for automated tickets generation and handling. These software applications also have filters to assign tickets to agents automatically based on certain parameters.
- Report generation- It is important for a company to take stock of activities in customer support department. Analyzing workflow, ticket handling and agent performance becomes necessary. This can be done when the helpdesk solution comes with robust analytics and reporting features. Some such software let users generate customized reports and exploring these
- Security features- A help desk tool is used by plenty of employees in an organization. The application is also accessed by thousands of customers all over the year. Besides the software is linked with CRM database. So, the solution must have good security features embedded. Modern IT help desk solutions have options to define access for various types of users. These solutions also come with password protection as well as multi level user authentication.
- Alerts and notifications- the help desk tool you buy should have useful alert and notification features. This comes in handy in detecting things that can lead to service quality issues later. For example, some of the popular help desk tools have inbuilt alert mechanisms that get activated when ticket handling gets haywire or delayed. These tools have provisions to customize the notifications too.
- Time saving features- Nowadays, the help desk tools are laden with features that help users save time and evade hassles. Some such tools, for example, come with inbuilt agent Collision detection feature. This prevents two agents from dealing with same ticket. These tools also come with templates to revert to common client queries in fraction of seconds.
Summing it all up
You should not buy a help desk software solution in hurry. Analyze the suitable software with main parameters and then compare them. It would be a good idea to try out a few such solutions to understand feasibility of each for your venture. Most helpdesk vendors offer their products on trial mode for the users. You may surely check out the online reviews on these software solutions prior to investing in one. The pricing policy also needs to be evaluated. Most IT helpdesk vendors offer discounts on annual pricing for their products/plans.