If customers are a company’s lifeblood, the help desk is its heart. This sometimes overlooked center of vital operations processes a seemingly endless stream of both internal and external customer support requests day in, and day out. We shiver to think where the modern businesses would be without the work of help desk agents.
But the service provided by help desk staff can only reach the high standards of quality, efficiency, and speed to which its help desk software is also held. The best help desk professionals in the world can only be so great as their supporting platform. In this article, readers will find a rundown of desirable help desk features and applications, as well as how to find the right help desk software for your company.
What is Help Desk Software?
A help desk supports both internal employees who are a troubleshooting network, as well as external end-users trying to address problems with your product. And help desk software helps help desk agents to do so.
The primary function of help desk software is to manage both internal and external incoming customer requests. Basic operations include assigning a request to a ticket, and assigning that ticket to a help desk agent. Tickets may be categorized by urgency, department, and the nature of the request — initial organization of customer inquiries does wonders for helping agent performance, and boosting customer service experiences, by ensuring that tickets are not forgotten or lost. [Read more: Omnichannel Customer Experience]
In addition, help desk software facilitates smooth operations by supporting staff across a range of responsibilities by:
- Recording relevant details from complaints and inquiries, allowing the issue to be monitored and referenced for future issues.
- Routing inquiries or complaints to the appropriate help desk agent, or directly to second or third-line support staff.
- Managing ticket statuses, allowing both agents and customers to check the progress of their inquiry.
This is help desk software at its most basic. In the next few sections, we’ll go over special features of help desk software which provide both staff and customers with a truly modern experience.
Help Desk Software Features
As is the case with most modern software [Read more: Customer Service Software], the specifics of help desk tech varies from product to product. Some will be jam-packed with industry-specific features, whereas others might opt for a more minimalist approach. No two are exactly alike, and your help desk requirements as a business will be a driving factor in which features are must-haves for you.
Common Features of Help Desk Software
Foundational help desk software features include:
- Points of contact: most help desk software opts to integrate multiple channels of customer contact, including phone, email, social media, self-service, text based customer service, live chat, and community.
- Ticket management: recording and organizing customer inquiries, making sure they go to the right place, and that they are not addressed more than once.
- Self-service: this will look like an FAQ page or a troubleshooting bot, and allows customers to attempt to fix a problem themselves before addressing the issue with an agent.
- Escalation: this enables difficult tickets to be passed to higher-level agents or supervisors.
- Automation: repetitive or routine tasks and requests are addressed or routed automatically. For example, most help desk software automatically converts email communications into tickets, which are then passed on to the appropriate agent.
- Customer satisfaction surveys: this gives your customer an opportunity to rate and review their service reception at the end of the transaction. It is an excellent tool for gathering data to be used in broader customer analytics.
Must-Have Help Desk Software Features for the Modern World
New philosophies of world class customer service enable modern features in help-desk technology. For example, Gladly believes in personalized customer support which centers the person, not just the ticket, during any service interaction. Contemporary help desk software puts people first. A people-centered customer service experience is the future of help desk platforms. These features include:
- Integrated social media – Your company can expect to get regular raw and honest feedback from customers on your various social media channels. An integrated social media allows you to garner data by keeping tabs on what your customers are saying about you.
- Built-in contact channels – Rather than tacking on a plethora of third-party communication channels, making all modes of contact native to the help-desk platform allows an agent to address communications from multiple sources on one screen, saving time and money.
- Customer-centered assignment – Requests are assigned to customer profiles, not faceless tickets, so that requests being made by one person across multiple forms of communication are addressed once, by one agent.
- Historic customer profiles – Agents are given context and customer history, allowing them to reference past conversations had with said customer, and enabling a more educated, thorough, and personal service.
- Unified knowledge-base – Informational content is published to both customer and agent knowledge bases, enabling more consistent and accurate answers to customer questions.
- Time tracking – Analyze efficiency and performance by measuring resolution rate per agent.
Types of Help Desk Software
Help desk software can be divided into three categories: basic, enterprise, and open-source.
- Basic help desk software offers the most bare-bones features, with more advanced innovations available for an additional cost. It’s major advantage is affordability, and capability for customization. This type of help desk software is ideal for small businesses and start-ups, owing to its low price tag and ability to grow with your company.
- Enterprise help desk software comes with all the bells and whistles attached. In addition to advanced features designed to handle higher volumes of inquiries, enterprise help desk software is capable of addressing internal issues, such as IT assets, SLA, and accounts. This level of help desk software is best for already well-established companies dealing with high-volume requests. [Read more: Zendesk Alternative]
- Open-source help desk software is totally free, but requires programming skills to modify code in order to customize or integrate processes. Vendors may offer fee-based services or by-feature customization. Tech startups or businesses with uber-specific customer service requirements may choose this type of help desk software.
Final Thoughts: Help Desk Software
If you want your help desk agents working at peak performance and getting the most out of their work day, it’s worth investing in a high-quality help desk software, designed to meet the exact needs of your business.
Are you currently looking for a new help desk solution? Check out our Help Desk Software RFP.