What is help desk software?
Help desk software creates an issue tracking system, allowing the help desk to track and document customer requests and help desk solutions. Common requests can then be cross referenced and addressed quickly. Many times these requests can be automated, reserving one-on-one phone consultations for more complicated matters. Web-based help desk software is designed to create a user interface that collects and organises customer feedback and simplifies communication.
How is it used?
The best help desk software has the ability to operate according to ITIL best practices. ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, the standard framework for selecting, planning, delivering, and supporting IT services. The ultimate goal of any help desk is to ensure that all changes are recorded, evaluated, authorised, prioritised, planned, tested, documented and reviewed in a controlled manner.
Ideally, a help desk should be able to address four business concerns:
- Service Catalog
Knowledge management reduces the time spent rediscovering previous incidents and problems. This is done through problem management, gathering information during an incident to help spot problems, identifying the root cause of frequently recurring problems, and capturing that information into a knowledge base. Help desk software should also operate as the keeper of user accounts and password resets. Finally, a help desk should be able to connect customers with the service catalogue with full pricing and service descriptions.
Who needs it?
Any business in any industry can benefit a help desk asset. Implementing help desk software, or help desk in the cloud, to any business helps reduce the negative impact of unexpected problems or change.
Data and information posted onto the company’s self-serve portals and external knowledge base allows business managers to evaluate customer feedback and plan change effectively in order to meet strategic goals. Responding quickly to customer questions and concerns can increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Companies large, medium and small need help desks to coordinate information between departments or individuals, to prevent unauthorised changes and to prevent the costly mistakes of low change success rates.
A help desk can help prioritise what needs to be changed based on customer feedback and ticket management creates accountability for those changes. It also ensures change occurs through a centralised point to avoid conflicting changes and potential disruption of service.
Differences between standard help desk and web based
A standard help desk performs multiple functions, generally through a call centre that employs some sort of issue tracking software. When a customer calls, the call centre employee uses the issue tracking software to generate a unique ticket number that can then be referenced and tracked.
This means that a traditional help desk relies on human intervention to document and categorise each customer interaction. The call centre then assists the customer or transfers the customer to the appropriate department. Once the customer has been helped the ticket is closed and remains in the knowledge base.
With a web based help desk, the process is very similar. However, the process usually begins online. Using a web based help desk application, a user submits a ticket through the web-interface or via email via a browser.
The company’s help desk team is then notified of the new ticket by email, SMS text, or notified directly through a system app. Once a team member responds to the notification, the team member essentially “claims” the ticket, interacting with the customer until the customer is satisfied. The ticket is then closed and entered into the knowledge base.
How do these differences affect business
Since a traditional help desk is usually built around a call centre, it requires a lot of labour. With a standard help desk each inquiry and complaint is routed through an operator no matter how minuscule or significant. This means call wait times can be long and frustrating for customers, unless of course, the business hires more operators, increasing training and labour costs. Due to this expense, small businesses usually can’t afford large, highly trained call centres.
Small businesses (and even many large businesses) often rely on online-based help desk software because web based software is often scalable and customisable, so a business can select the type and amount of services that best suits its needs. By automating common customer questions and concerns, most customers receive a prompt resolution to their queries. Online help desks can also reduce the number of calls to the call centre, making it easier for those with more complex issues to get through in a timely manner, improving customer satisfaction.
Finding the right help desk solution
There are a number of web-based help desk solutions. When shopping for the best solution for any business, there are some key factors to look for. Any browser-based solution should offer self-service options since customer service demands usually follow the 80/20 rule. In other words, a online help desk should provide a business with 80% of the benefits with 20% of the work.
These self-service options should be integrated with automated functions like satisfaction surveys and follow-up emails. An efficient web help desk should also configure to the existing business system, collecting the information a business needs to create actionable change.
Identifying your organisation’s needs
When selecting a help desk solution, a business first needs to be clear about its organisational needs, beginning with clear, realistic and quantifiable goals and objectives.
The business must first decide what it is willing to do to ensure customer satisfaction and support the retention of customers. Next, will the business be using customer feedback to identify additional business opportunities? Will the help desk be used to monitor service activities and service performance levels or identify service deficiencies? Will the company be analysing the data in order to optimise staff and other resources? Finally, a business will need to compare what it wants with what it can afford and decide what functions best suit its budget.
Getting the most out of web help desk software
Once a business has integrated a web based help desk software into their organisation, the success depends on whether the business maximises all the features and benefits of the online system. Help desk managers should ensure that all team members are fully trained and understand all the appropriate functions on their user dashboard.
Only a well-informed and fully-equipped service representative can translate that knowledge to their customers. And what’s core to providing excellent customer service is a quick, detailed and efficient solution. Every customer that comes across your online help desk has the potential to become your company’s biggest advocates, so ensure that your leveraging all the advantages of your web-based help desk.