What is Help Desk Software?
The help desk on your website is generally the first place customers and employees go when they’re trying to solve a problem. Help desk software powers the process and directs the customer to where they need to go. It also allows help desk employees to methodically process and resolve service and support issues for internal or external customers through opening support tickets. It then routes and escalates those tickets as needed to help employees address customer concerns.
Who Needs It?
In short, any company with a large customer base and good web traffic needs an internal help desk. It will help minimise downtime and improve the performance of internal business processes. Additionally, firms that offer branded products and services need help desk automation to record customer issues and ensure their prompt resolution.
How Does it Benefit Businesses?
Businesses benefit from well-run help desks in several ways, such as:
- The evaluation of help desk performance for the purpose of employee training and development (and assessing help desk performance versus contractual service level agreements).
Determining Your Help Desk Needs
While help desks are important, different organisations have different requirements for their help desk. In many ways, the success of your help desk depends just as much on your processes used to select, evaluate, buy and deploy your software as it does on the software itself. Work closely with your project manager to create a collaborative, structured, organised and timely system for selecting a software package. Get input from all internal and external stakeholders to make sure your team has the support they need to successfully implement your new software. The following tips will help you know what to look for when selecting software for your help desk.
Finding the Best Software for Your Help Desk
Regardless of your business model, your help desk package should have some essential features to help you meet the expectations of your customers. You shouldn’t consider buying a software package that doesn’t have these basic characteristics:
- Task automation. Your software should give employees the ability to automate repetitive tasks, using macros or other simple programming capabilities. By automating tasks, your team can improve service by increasing the speed and accuracy of their service.
Before shopping for a help desk solution, you should carefully assess the mission of your help desk and the types of issues it manages. Next, review the procedures your help desk uses to service its customers. When you understand what your help desk does and how it accomplishes its purpose, you can use your knowledge to identify the features your software must have now and in the future. These additional features ride atop the core features of your software and will help you rule out many incapable software products. When you find some suitable choices, you can narrow the list down based on your budget.
Software Comparisons and Reviews
Online comparisons can help you evaluate various software products. These pages provide a hands-on way to see what products offer the features you need. Product reviews provide in-depth accounts of a software testing process or testimonials offered by companies who have used the software. These studies can help guide the product selection process by giving decision-makers a sense of the strengths, weaknesses and ease of use of a help desk solution.
Don’t get too fixated on the price of your software package. Instead, make your priority finding software that will appropriately and professionally equip your help desk. Even if the price tag on available packages shocks you, remember that the improved efficiency and effectiveness gained from the new system can quickly pay for itself through increased productivity and profitability. As part of the purchasing process, make sure you evaluate the scalability of each software package and the cost of expansion via the addition of users, clients, and customisations as your operation grows.
When you’ve identified several software packages worth consideration, obtain evaluation copies or trial licenses so your help desk can test the software on actual cases. Make sure you provide your prospective vendors with a list of required features, so they can give you access to all the features you’d want if buying their product.
For each software product that passes your evaluation, you should use the operational data you obtained from the trial period to calculate the potential return on investment for each option. You also need to gather data from your test and vendor to estimate the total cost of ownership of the software over a three to five-year period. The total cost of ownership should include the cost of installing or implementing the software, training costs, learning curves, and any computer and networking hardware and supporting software required to use the system.
Getting the Most from Your Software
Before going live with your new software, make sure you schedule training for your entire help desk team. In many situations, the vendor can send a trainer to your location to introduce your team to the new system. Follow up training gives your team the practice they need to operate the system under simulated conditions. If necessary, you can gradually phase-in the new system and phase-out the old system to minimise the effects of mistakes, delays and data losses on daily operations.