Find the Best Help Desk Software to Automate Customer Ticketing, Improve Self-Service Knowledge Base Management, and Maximise the Collaboration of IT Support Teams

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What Is Help Desk Software?

Help Desk Software

Help Desk Software systems are computerised platforms packed full of various tools that enable businesses to automate and manage their support processes. By utilizing helpdesk features such as automated ticketing management and self-service portals, Help Desk Software tools empower businesses to maximise the efficiency of their support processes to end-users and help to increase customer retention rates.

What Does Help Desk Software Do?

Help Desk Software is a digitized solution that sits at the centre of a business’s support and service processes. A helpdesk system provides IT teams and support agents with the right tools that enable businesses to deliver exceptional customer service and support to end-users.

Historically, support teams have had to choose between two types of support tools; help desk or service desk. One was geared towards providing support to external users such as customers, the other focused on supporting internal users such as employees. But, as cloud-based solutions evolved, both internal and external users now benefit from the typical features and functionality found in just one tool; Help Desk Software.

Acting as a single point of contact, Help Desk Software allows support teams to organise all communication channels and conversations into one centralized system. This helps to eliminate challenges caused by using shared inboxes, which can increase the chance of customer requests going unanswered.

Instead of a shared email inbox, a helpdesk solution enables businesses to build an easy-to-navigate repository of queries from all of their communication channels. That includes requests from email, live chat, phone, text, and social media. With 47% of UK customers using 3-5 types of communication channels, businesses must use automated tools to provide support on all fronts.

As well as streamlining support processes, Help Desk Software also provides the tools necessary to further enhance a business’s support protocols. Typical tools include:

Helpdesk tools can also benefit a range of different business types, sizes, and departments.

Help Desk Software for Small Businesses

In their early operational stage, small businesses will rely heavily on customer reviews and brand building. This can be achieved by offering and delivering exceptional service to customers.

But, as SMBs grow, they don’t typically have the resources to review their services and monitor all possible support channels. This makes the need for certain help desk functions essential, in particular the ability to automate processes.

With powerful automation, smaller support teams can focus on answering tickets and resolving issues. A medium-sized company will also require similar features, as well as prioritising a scalable model for their growing business.

Help Desk Software for Enterprises

Made up of different support teams and departments, enterprises require various help desk tools to provide efficient support on a larger scale. For example, they’ll need better collaboration between internal departments such as sales, marketing, and IT.

As well as having to manage agents in different countries, time zones, and languages. An essential function of Help Desk Software for enterprises is the ability to measure the performance of their support teams and agents. By doing so, they can identify gaps in their processes and implement different strategies to improve and streamline efficiency.

Help Desk Software for Human Resource (HR) Teams

The right helpdesk tool will not only prove valuable to a network of internal employees but can also empower a company’s entire HR team. One advantage of using an automated help desk tool is the ability to have all requests collected in one easy-to-manage dashboard. With this, HR teams can provide streamlined, efficient, and responsive support to their employees.

Help desk software for HR teams can also help to limit the number of requests from internal employees through the use of self-service functions, such as knowledge base management. This allows everyone in a business to be up-to-date on topics via internal communications, such as appraisals and vacations.

What Are the Benefits of Help Desk Software and Why Do Businesses Need It?

At the start of a business venture, customer interaction is minimal. There might be a few phone calls, some Facebook messages, and one or two emails. In this current state, the customer service process is manageable.

But, as a company grows, so does its customer base. Support personnel now become inundated across all communication channels with requests. Not just from customers, but from internal end-users too.

Most used communication channels in help desk software

With a good customer experience being the key brand differentiator above competitive pricing and product quality, businesses need to ensure that they’re providing an excellent level of service in a timely manner.

The solution? A cloud-based tool that helps to automate and streamline support processes. Namely, Help Desk Software.

The functionality of a cloud-based Help Desk Software application provides businesses with multiple benefits, including:

Essentially, the right Help Desk Software solution provides businesses with the functions to deliver an excellent level of service to end-users. Whether that be customers, employees, or a team of support agents.

For modern-day businesses, providing exceptional customer service and support is critical. Through the speedy delivery of problem-solving, businesses can reap the awards. Including increased customer retention rates and maximized efficiency across support teams.

The importance of providing support to end-users applies to all business types and sizes. For instance, the owner of a small online retail store knows the importance of receiving good customer service reviews. So they’ll go out of their way to provide the very best support to customer queries across all communication channels. Whereas an IT support team will prioritize self-service portals and knowledge base management to improve the efficiency of their service desk agents.

To maintain a consistent flow of efficiency within a business’s help desk processes, certain areas need maintaining. These include:

All of these tasks, when performed manually, can be overwhelming. But, that’s where a digitized helpdesk solution can relieve the pressure. The integration of automated cloud-based tools is so beneficial that over 52% of brands cited technology as the key difference in their ability to deliver better end-user support.

Common Support Challenges and How to Solve Them with Helpdesk Tools

Without the use of computerized tools to automate and streamline processes, such as Help Desk Software, support teams can struggle to provide the exceptional service that end-users have come to expect.

One area where businesses will feel the pinch of delivering poor support service is in their customer retention rates. With the cost of attracting new customers 6-7 times higher than retaining an existing one, ensuring high customer retention rates through good customer service is essential.

The key to ensuring the right level of support is delivered to end-users is for support teams to highlight the challenges in their current help desk processes. Common challenges include:

Manually Managing and Tracking Tickets

With 90% of customers demanding an immediate response to queries, time is of the essence when it comes to handling tickets. But, if support teams don’t have access to the right automated tools, they have no option but to manage service requests manually. Whether tracking queries in email chains or filling out spreadsheets, a manual approach can be time-consuming.

Solution: Automated Ticket Management

A key feature of any Help Desk Software system is the ability to automate the ticketing process. With this in place, end-user requests are captured across all communication channels both internally and externally. A ticket is then assigned to a support agent and placed into a centralized dashboard, where all support staff can see the status of the ticket and who is working on it.

Not Having the Answer to a Customer’s Queries

A major part of the customer service experience is being able to provide a solution to a problem, but this isn’t always the case. Without an automated ticketing system in place, tickets aren’t necessarily assigned to the most knowledgeable agents. If a support team member is presented with a query that they can’t answer, the ticket risks being left unresolved.

Solution: Knowledge Base Management/Team Collaboration

A major benefit of having a centralized help desk tool that is open to a business’s entire support team is the ability to build a detailed knowledge base. This allows support agents, who may not have the answer to a customer’s request, to access a shared knowledge base and quickly find a solution. Agents can also quickly collaborate and help to provide a solution to an open ticket.

Failing to Deliver a Seamless Customer Service Experience

Whether businesses provide support through email, social media, or telephone, providing a seamless customer service experience is essential. But, without team collaboration and automated functionality, this can discourage end users. Two-thirds of customers become frustrated when they have to repeat themselves to multiple agents.

Solution: Omnichannel Functionality

Having the ability to deliver an omnichannel experience not only benefits end users but also allows businesses to venture into more communication channels. An omnichannel functionality enables agents to raise a ticket on one channel, such as telephone, and then continue to manage that same ticket on another channel, such as email. This allows customers to pick up with one agent where they left off with another agent and eliminate repeating the process.

Essential Help Desk Features Needed to Meet Customer Service and Support Goals

Although a Help Desk Software solution can be purposely built to meet the specific support requirements of a business, various core features are common with all helpdesk and service desk tools.

Ticket Tagging and Tracking

Whether a ticket is generated from email, phone, live chat, or social media, all end-user communication is stored in one easily accessible system. This enables support managers to effectively manage and assign tickets to the right agents and track the progress of tickets. Support teams can also categorize, tag, and customize each ticket to help improve and simplify the workflow of support tasks.

Social Integration

With social media penetration reaching 67% of the UK population in 2019, apps like Twitter and Facebook are becoming a regular point of contact for businesses and their customers. This makes social integration essential, enabling tickets to be created straight from social media channels and tracked in a centralized helpdesk dashboard.

Social Integration Help Desk Feature

Knowledge Base Management and Self-service Portals

Effective knowledge base management ensures that all useful and explanatory content is stored and available to support teams. Having access to a detailed knowledge base enables agents to find the solution they need and avoid any delays when replying to customers. Not only can this be useful for a business’s support personnel, but certain aspects such as FAQ sections can also be accessed by customers. Enabling users to solve their issues without having to contact a support agent – something that 91% of customers prefer.

AI, Chatbots, and Live Chat Support

Keeping up with trends and help desk advancements is important for businesses wanting to match or better rivals when it comes to customer service. A live chat feature has long been associated with good support service. 77% of customers choose to leave a website without a live chat function and go elsewhere. In terms of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) and customer service, chatbot features are proving a great way to instantly assist with end-user requests. Making them a popular and fast-adopted feature of modern Help Desk Software solutions.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management

SLAs provide a guarantee to customers that their request will be resolved in a certain time frame, setting a standard and expectation for both support teams and end-users. This requires a functional SLA management tool that allows businesses to set key performance indicators (KPIs) for support teams, while also tracking and being notified of the progress of open tickets.

Reporting and Analytics

Identifying the need for a Help Desk Software system is one thing, maintaining it and scaling it is another. With big data reporting and analytic tools, businesses can measure the performance metrics of support agents and identify trends. This helps to understand where a support team needs to improve and how.

How to Find and Compare the Best Help Desk Software for Your Business

Whilst there are similar core features and functionality to most Help Desk Software solutions, each tool can be built with your business requirements in mind. For instance, you may require a help desk tool that focuses more on automation and team collaboration. Whereas other businesses may prefer to focus on setting KPIs and tracking the support service of agents.

Below are five key factors that each business owner or support manager should consider when choosing the best Help Desk Software for their support processes.

Who benefits from using help desk software?

1. Identify and Review all Existing IT Help Desk Processes

Typically, businesses will go in search of a helpdesk tool only once they’ve identified a problem or an opportunity in their current processes.

For instance, you may have highlighted an opportunity to improve the level of service you provide to customers. Or, you may have noticed a rise in internal IT helpdesk requests, so you want to build a self-service portal and improve your knowledge base management.

A good place to start is to fully understand your current help desk and support processes. Otherwise, it’s difficult to identify any gaps.

An effective way to map out all of your existing helpdesk responsibilities is to question how your support team currently handle end-user support.

How Do You Track and Manage Customer Requests?

Requests will come in the form of questions, complaints, and issues that a customer may have experienced when using your product or service. They can also vary between different types of communication channels, such as:

It’s important to understand what channels your customers use. Although social media may seem more popular, 62% of users are still more likely to use email. But, unless you have an agent or team monitoring each line of communication, receiving requests across these channels can be overwhelming.

Not only should you consider how to manage each line of communication, but you should also consider how each request is dealt with. For example, do you prioritise requests based on severity or in order of time-received?

How Do You Provide Self-Service Support to End Users?

Ideally, end users want to resolve their issues without having to contact a support agent. This is achieved by building a knowledge base of common enquiries that users can refer to such as FAQs, automated live chats, and product/service documentation. Keep in mind, if you aren’t able to provide a quick solution for customers, you may eventually lose them to a more customer-friendly competitor.

How Do You Measure the Success of Your Customer Service?

The data you receive from a customer review measuring the success of your helpdesk support is valuable. It enables you to see if you’re hitting milestones and meeting KPIs. Having this information also allows you to highlight challenges and opportunities in your existing setup. As well as identifying the success and failures of your support team.

How Do You Manage and Prioritise Requests?

Having an effective support system available to end-users is essential for streamlining workflow and ensuring operations run smoothly. Internal requests can be made by employees, managers, or executives, and can differ in severity. So, it’s important to question how you handle them:

How Does Your Support Team Resolve Customer Queries?

Most customer queries will be repeated, meaning they’ve previously been resolved. But, without a knowledge base containing this information, your support agents will find themselves sifting through a backlog of emails, social media messages, and phone scripts. These processes can prolong the response time to your customer’s original request and result in a bad customer service experience.

How Does Your Support Team Assign Tickets?

Whether you have a single shared email inbox or a dedicated dashboard for each support team, effectively managing and assigning tickets is essential for offering a greater customer service experience. By managing help desk tickets, you’re able to:

2. Highlight the Gaps in Your Helpdesk Support Processes

Before beginning your search for the best IT Help Desk Software, it’s important to define how and why you want to improve your current support operations. By doing so, you can then highlight the core requirements and functions needed to meet your expected goals. This process is important, as many helpdesk tools can vary depending on user needs.

The advancement in modern help desk and service desk tools has allowed all types of businesses to enhance their customer service, from SMBs to enterprises. This has fuelled a competitive battle between rival businesses to provide the very best support. So much so, that 89% of customers said they preferred to do business with a competitor after experiencing poor customer service.

Most businesses will realise the need for a help desk tool as they experience harmful challenges in their existing processes. Such as:

Top Tip: If you’re struggling to find gaps in your help desk processes, there are two things you can try. One is to ask your team about the challenges they have experienced when interacting with customers. Another is to ask for feedback from end-users regarding their experience. This can be done either by using online survey forms or sending follow-up emails.

What Level of Support Do End Users Expect?

An effective way of identifying gaps in the way you provide support to end-users is by analyzing competitors and keeping up with the latest trends. By doing so, you gain a greater understanding of what users and support teams expect from you.

An example of the advancements in support services is how the introduction of social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, has shortened a user’s expected response time. Whereas the average expectation for an email reply is within 24 hours, 42% of customers expect a response within sixty minutes on social media.

3. Highlight the Essential Features You Need

Realising the need for Help Desk Software is important. But, finding a tool that offers the right features is essential.

No matter what helpdesk features you require, it’s important to be aware of the challenges and benefits that each one presents. For instance:

To identify what is needed to reduce the gaps in your IT helpdesk services, you’ll want to highlight your core requirements. These can be seen as the essential features that are going to make sure you meet your KPIs.

For instance, with 75% of shoppers expecting consistency across customer support channels, an essential feature needed to capitalize on this would be multichannel support.

Having an understanding of your core requirements allows for a more focused approach when it comes to shortlisting IT helpdesk products. Although the majority of features are designed to improve support operations as a whole, it’s helpful to know the features that may be better suited to a particular process.

4. Budget for the Right Help Desk Software Tool

As with all business purchases, it’s important to determine the value that a helpdesk tool can offer your support team. Keeping in mind that any tool you choose needs to be able to deliver your core requirements, too.

By mapping out different scenarios, you can begin to see the true return on investment (ROI) of a help desk solution. For instance, what would be the value of increasing support team workflow through improved collaboration and ticket automation? Or, how much can improved customer retention rates affect your bottom line by providing exceptional customer service?

Having the tools to improve your customer service and increasing customer retention by as little as 5% can lead to a 25%-95% increase in profit.

There are many reasons as to why building a budget is an essential step in your pursuit of the right IT help desk software, including:

To Fit Your Business Type

If you’re a medium or small business, producing a realistic budget is key. Most SMBs can’t afford to spend a large amount of money on help desk solutions when there are other areas of the business to invest in. However, most modern helpdesk tools are delivered as SaaS (Software as a Service) models, making them affordable for businesses that don’t necessarily have the resources for significant investment.

To Determine the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

By setting out to build a budget, you’ll decide on factors that will determine the value of implementing Help Desk Software. The idea of knowing the TCO is to focus on the long-term value of the product, as opposed to costs such as purchase price. Knowing the TCO will also prove a useful insight when working out the product’s overall ROI.

To Help Get Buy-In From Stakeholders

Getting buy-in from the company’s decision-makers is critical for the approval and integration of your Help Desk Software system. Stakeholders will want to know the reasons behind the need for the tool and what ROI they can expect. Although pitches can differ depending on the stakeholder, whether that be the CFO or CIO, you’ll want to focus on points such as:

5. Shortlist, Compare, and Evaluate Help Desk Software Solutions

With core requirements in mind and a definitive budget set, your search for the right Help Desk Software solution has now become a detailed and focused approach. Using these three tips, you can start to put together a shortlist of help desk software options:

At the end of your comparison and evaluation stage, you’ll be left with the perfect help desk tool for your support and service operations. But, to get to this stage, you first need to compare and cross-reference each product and vendor on your shortlist. To do this, we recommend creating an in-house evaluation team.

How to Build a Help Desk Software Evaluation Team

If you’re a medium or small business (SMB), your evaluation team may only include yourself. But, for larger organizations and enterprises, your team should consist of a mix of personnel that will be affected by using a help desk tool.

Ideally, the evaluation team you put together will be made up of:

What to Look For When Comparing Help Desk Systems

Once you have an evaluation team assembled, it’s time to compare and evaluate your list of help desk options:

What to Look For When Comparing Help Desk Software Vendors

As well as comparing each help desk tool, we recommend comparing the vendors too. This helps to understand the experience that each vendor has in the Help Desk Software market, as well as ensuring your support goals are aligned with the services they provide.

Does the Vendor Provide Support and Training?

Although the product you choose is simple to use, you and your team will still require some basic training. This could be webinar tutorials or even in-person lessons. It’s important to look at the support that each vendor offers as well. This could be either 24/7 live chat support or video tutorials. Not only will this help with short term issues, but it also indicates how quickly a vendor will resolve future problems.

Do They Fit With Your Industry?

Helpdesk software can be incorporated into various types of industries and markets. So, to better understand how well they can support your needs in the future, it’s worth understanding how well they know your industry. Question each vendor about their previous customers and how they have handled problems that can also relate to your business.

Can You Access a Free Trial or Live Demonstration?

All vendors should provide a free trial or live demonstration of their product. If not, get in touch with a salesperson and they’ll be sure to guide you through the system. If the vendor still won’t provide a sample of their product, that is a sign that this isn’t the right tool for you.

Can You Find Testimonials From Previous or Current Users?

Although a product may tick all the boxes and be within budget, reading vendor testimonials is highly recommended. Testimonials are an insightful first-hand look into previous customers’ experiences. Each one regards how the vendor has either positively or negatively dealt with issues.

How Long Will the Vendor Take to Implement Their Help Desk Product?

Before implementing a help desk system, it’s useful to know how long the installation and migration process will take. Most cloud-based and web-based tools will be available from the moment of purchase. But, keep in mind, that if you are migrating data from another system, this may incur hidden costs. As well as taking some time to complete – meaning the tool may not be available to use right away.

What Are Their Prices and Plans?

Finally, and most importantly, always check the vendor’s pricing plans. You’ll want to know if there are extra fees for storage limits or implementation. As well as subscription and monthly payment options. Knowing the price is also crucial for understanding the value of the product concerning your goals and milestones; “is it worth it?”.

Experts Guides to Help Desk Software

What Is a Help Desk: The Benefits, Nuances, and Key Components

To provide exceptional support to internal & external end-users, businesses need a help desk. But what is a help desk & why is it essential?

What Is ITSM: Defining Service Management Processes & Tools to Benefit IT Teams

Understand how IT teams can benefit from efficient & productive gains in their end-to-end delivery of IT services, as well as comparing the differences between an effective IT Service Management tool with a Help Desk and Service Desk solution.

Why Multichannel Support Is Essential for Businesses and Customers

Acquiring new customers can be costly and time-consuming. So, here’s 5 ways a multichannel help desk solution can improve your customer retention strategy.

Why Live Chat Is Key to Winning the Customer Service Game

With 77% of visitors leaving a site without a live chat function, live chat support is an essential form of communication for both customers and support teams.

What Is an IT Service Desk: The Capabilities, Benefits & Distinctions

An IT Service Desk takes a more proactive approach in support tasks when compared to ITSM & Help Desk. But how beneficial is it for IT organizations?

What Is a Help Desk Ticketing System & Why It’s Essential for Customer-Focused Businesses

Improving support efficiency & increasing customer retention; Discover why a help desk ticketing system is essential for any customer-focused business.

What Is a Knowledge Base & Why It’s Important for Streamlining Support Tasks

Need to improve support agent productivity and customer satisfaction rates? Here’s why you need a well-managed and maintained knowledge base with your help desk system.

Why Customer-Focused Small Businesses Need Helpdesk Solutions

Discover the importance of help desk software for small businesses & how managing your support processes can enhance your customer service.

Why Building Customer Retention Strategies are Essential for Businesses

Businesses spend 5 times more on acquiring new customers than retaining existing ones. Utilise your help desk tool & start building a customer retention strategy.

Help Desk Software FAQs

What Is the Best Help Desk Software?

Finding the best Help Desk Software for your support and service processes can depend on several different factors. But, one thing to keep in mind, is that the term “best help desk software” is subjective. For instance, what might be the right choice of helpdesk software for one company, may not suit your service and support tasks.

Factors to consider when finding the best help desk software for your IT and support teams include:

  • The size of your support staff and team

  • The number of tickets and requests you receive daily

  • What features you require to achieve your goals (knowledge base, mobile support, a self-service portal, etc.)

  • How many lines of communication you need to monitor (social media, phone, live chat, emails, etc.)

  • The type of software you require (cloud-based, mobile, open-source, enterprise, etc.)

  • How much budget you have to deploy a helpdesk tool

What Is IT Help Desk Software Used For?

Essentially, the purpose of deploying an IT Help Desk tool is to automate a large number of different service and support processes that can become overwhelming for a business owner or support team manager. By deploying an effective software solution and automating otherwise time-consuming manual tasks, businesses can reap the benefits such as:

  • Reducing the time it takes to resolve a support ticket

  • Better organisation across all communication channels (Facebook, Twitter, email, live chat, etc.)

  • Maximising customer retention rate and satisfaction

  • Limiting agent interaction through self-service portals

  • Increasing collaboration between agents and departments

Can a Help Desk Ticketing System Manage Tickets From Social Media Channels Such as Facebook and Twitter?

Replying to requests on time is crucial if you’re looking to retain customers, attract new customers, and build your brand. For years, help desk and service desk tools have provided the necessary integrations to increase the efficiency of your customer response through ticketing systems. This is a valuable feature for identifying and answering requests across communication channels such as Email, phone, live chat, and SMS.

But, with 47% of customers preferring to contact businesses via social media channels, the majority of customer-focused companies will require a social media integration with their help desk software solution. Not only will this improve customer service experiences, but it will also make sure that comments and messages across social channels do not go unanswered. By not responding to customer requests, you risk damage to your brand and reputation. As well as repelling potential new customers.

By choosing a platform with a social media integration feature, you’re able to collect tickets raised across channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Tickets can be set up to detect direct messages, comments, and tags. This works by having social triggers, where the system automatically detects a request from your social media channel and turns it into a ticket. Tickets are then placed, along with all your other tickets, in your dashboard. Here, you can assign them to a specific agent and choose whether to prioritise them or not.

When you choose to integrate your social media channels into a ticket system, be aware of the different factors that customers will expect when compared to other channels. For example, 12% of customers will expect a response within 30minutes. And 25% of customers will expect a response later the same day.

Can an IT Help Desk System Replace a Shared Email Inbox to Improve Customer Service?

As the owner of a business that relies on its customer base, providing great customer service is crucial. This particularly applies to owners of small or medium businesses (SMBs).

Replying to queries with valuable answers promptly is one way to achieve exceptional customer service levels. With 62% of customers using a business’s email support channel, you must offer the best email support service you possibly can.

Handling two to three emails a day with an email system is fine. It’s easy to organise customer requests and queries. As well as track your support agent’s answers and replies.

But, as your business continues to grow, so does your customer base. With this growth, comes more questions and queries via email. Sooner or later, your email system will become near impossible to manage the uptick in customer requests.

When Is It Time to Swap a Shared Email Inbox for Help Desk Software?

Ahead of social media and live chat, email support is a preferred point of communication for your customers. Only phone support is used more than email.

So, when your email system starts to become overwhelmed, it’s important to know when is the right time to switch to an IT helpdesk.

Be sure to watch out for signs such as:

  • A ticket has been left open and forgotten about

  • You’re using memory to search and find requests

  • A customer sends a follow-up email to their original query

  • You receive a bad review about the quality of your email support

  • You’re not responding to questions within a day of receiving them

A timely response is important to improving your customer service levels. Keep in mind that over 80% of customers expect a response within one day. While 30% expect a response within one hour.

What Are the Benefits of Moving Away From Email?

Switching to an IT helpdesk solution will allow your support team to deliver a more efficient level of customer support. The benefits of using Help Desk Software instead of an email system include:

  • Assigning team members to individual tickets

  • Categorising tickets in order of priority

  • Setting alerts and notifications to keep within response deadlines

  • Analysing metrics such as agent response time to improve your processes

  • Receiving tickets from other channels in your inbox such as Facebook and Twitter

Is Help Desk Software Right for a Small Business With a Small Support Team?

Help desk software is designed to streamline a business’s service and support processes by ensuring easy manageability. Although this may seem like it is angled more towards a larger organisation that receives thousands of requests a day and has the support team to handle them, it is also a valuable tool for a small business.

As a small business, staffed with minimal employees responsible for various tasks, you’ll need an efficient way to handle your customer requests. It’s important that you do so, as building a good customer base is crucial for a small business.

Unlike larger companies, you’ll most likely have only a handful of employees that deal with your customer support. In some cases, that may also be you – making it hard to prioritise work tasks and meaning customer requests may go unnoticed and unanswered. This can also be an issue if your business is offering customers multiple lines of communication such as email, phone and SMS, as well as social media. With so many channels that need maintaining, a limited application such as Outlook or Gmail just can’t cope and may end up exacerbating your service issues.

There may be some factors holding small business owners back when it comes to purchasing a help desk tool. Such as these three examples:

  • The Price

    It’s common to believe that a feature-laden software tool such as a help desk will take a chunk from your bottom line. But, that’s not the case. The majority of help desk solutions are available as SaaS and can be purchased via a manageable monthly pricing subscription. Not only is this great if you’re working with a small budget, but many vendors provide the option to cancel at any time.

  • The Training

    You may be worried that your employees simply do not have the time and resources to be trained in a new system. If you’ve gone through the process of finding the right help desk for your needs, hopefully, you’ll have a system that is already familiar and easy to use. But, if you’re still unsure about the ins and outs of the tool, vendor’s will provide relevant training in the form of videos, online webinars and documentations. Not to mention offering 24/7 support and live chat.

  • The Instalment Time

    Contrary to older systems and on-premise models, modern help desk solutions can be implemented and deployed instantly. With cloud-based and web-based programs, it’s as simple as downloading an app or accessing a login page. Compared to bigger companies that may have large amounts of data to migrate, you should be able to integrate external programs and enter relevant data within the same day of purchase.

What Is the Difference Between a Service Desk and an ITSM Solution?

When searching for tools that best enhance your service and support activities, you will come across various terms of IT jargon and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) definitions. Three products you’re most likely to have seen are help desk, service desk, and ITSM (IT service management).

While there are not many distinguishable differences between these programs, especially service desk and help desk systems, choosing to implement one over another depends on factors such as organisation size and business needs. So that you’re aligned with what is right for your service and support operations, it’s best to know the difference between the three.

What Is ITSM (IT Service Management)?

IT Service Management, known as ITSM, is how your IT team manages the end-to-end process of IT services to customers. It is a program that designs, creates, supports and delivers your IT services. Often misconceived as just IT support, an ITSM tool oversees the vast majority of Information Technology-related areas in the workplace. Including laptops, servers, and critical software applications.

As defined by ITIL, ITSM has many core processes. As well as providing activities that match the IT support market, ITSM also includes processes that aren’t found in basic IT support models. Such as:

  • Change management

  • IT asset management

  • Problem management

What Is Service Desk (or IT Service Desk)?

In relation to a help desk, a service desk is a more strategic tool that offers a broad scope of services to keep all IT tasks running smoothly. ITIL defines a service desk as “the single point of contact between the service provider and the users. A typical service desk manages incidents and service requests, and also handles communication with the users.”

Whereas a help desk focuses more on the support experiences of end-users, a service desk will reach beyond answering requests and handle a range of IT-related tasks. For example, it will perform processes such as:

  • Tracking SLA compliance

  • Acting as SPOC for all IT-related areas of the business

  • Managing ITSM tasks such as change management

  • Managing entry-level ticketing services

With a Help Desk System, I Can Build a Knowledge Base – How Useful Is This for My IT Support Team and End Users?

A knowledge base is a great way to improve the productivity and efficiency of your service team while also enhancing end-user satisfaction. Keeping in mind that without the use of a knowledge base you’ll run into risks such as inconsistent support, lengthy phone calls and dissatisfied customers.

Although a knowledge base can come in many different forms, the overall aim is to provide the end-user with the information to help resolve issues without the need to contact a support agent. Types of knowledge bases include:

  1. Articles

  2. FAQs

  3. Technical documentation

  4. User guides

  5. Videos

Whether you run a small business with just one or two support members or a larger business with multiple support teams, there are many benefits to building a knowledge base:

  • Improve Your First-time Fix Rate (FTFR)

    Over time, your knowledge base will continue to grow and become a useful repository of solutions to end-user questions. This allows for a quicker, easier and less stressful process for your agents as they look to resolve numerous customer queries as quick as possible.

  • Reduce Incoming Ticket Volume

    Depending on the size of your support team, responding to an inflow of tickets can be stressful. This is especially true if you’ve got tickets coming from multiple channels. But, with a knowledge base, end-users can find a resolution to their issues without the need to create a support ticket. This lessens the number of tickets created and relieves stress from your agents.

  • Avoid Duplicated solutions

    As end-users continue to create support tickets, you’re more than likely to come across similar enquiries. These questions require you to respond with the same answer over and over again. A great way of using a knowledge base in this situation is to create an FAQ document. End-users are then able to consult your FAQs and find a fix for a common issue.

Which of My Support Processes Can Be Automated With Help Desk Software?

The automation of support and service processes is a desirable feature in modern help desk software tools. Having access to a powerful help desk automation allows your support team to do more with less. Which effectively reduces the agent effort required while also increasing end-user satisfaction.

By automating help desk actions, a vast majority of your support and service processes will be based on triggered and time-based events. You can even create custom workflows that streamline incoming communication. While helping to increase the productivity of your IT support team.

4 key help desk processes that can benefit from software automation include:

  • Processing Queries and Tickets

    On average, it takes a business 24.2 hours to provide their first response to an open ticket. But, by automating this first stage of end-user support, you can avoid these delays and improve your customer interaction rate. Setting up trigger-based events will automate incoming tickets, instantly categorising each request and re-route them to the right support agents.

  • Providing Automated Solutions

    When an internal employee or customer wants to act but needs help, they will contact a help desk support agent with their question. This then interrupts the workflow of an agent, disrupting workflow and productivity. But, with automated features, you’re able to integrate an AI platform. This can then scan a knowledge base or self-service portal to find the correct answer to the end user’s question. This helps to avoid the need for an agent to break their workflow and attend to an incoming enquiry.

  • Get End User Feedback

    Although there are many factors to measure the performance of your service, nothing quite matches up to an end-user testimonial. As opposed to creating and sending individual surveys to each customer, you can automate the process. Doing this means each end-user will automatically be sent an email. Along with an option to review their ticket, once their ticket has been closed.

  • Measure Agent Productivity

    Instead of manually collecting data regarding the workflow of your IT support team, you can automate the data collection. You’re then able to instantly and easily analyse data regarding each agent. Such as average answering time, the number of service requests received, and their resolution percentage.