by Stephanie Miles
Published on 20 January 2014
Desk.com Review - A platform that encourages customers to resolve their own issues
A company is nothing without its customers. Desk.com understands this, which is why the web-based customer support application has upped its game in 2014 with some of the most innovative client management, reporting, and profiling tools on the market.
In this Desk.com review, I will take a close look at the application's most advanced tools and features. In an effort to provide context, I will then explain specifically how these features can used by business owners to improve customer service at their companies. I will also look at a few of the strategies that SMBs are encouraged to explore in an effort to get the most from their Desk.com accounts.
Since 2009, Desk.com has been building tools to help small businesses provide top-quality service to their customers. The company itself is designed around the idea that small and mid-size companies should have access to the same type of high quality support tools at their larger competitors, but at a price point they can afford.
Today, Desk.com serves thousands of small business clients. The company's platform provides support agents with powerful tools and operates in an entirely web-based environment. Relying on Desk.com for customer support allows businesses to take a hands-off approach. Customers are encouraged to resolve their own issues using Desk.com's self-service online center, which businesses can customize and easily integrate into their existing websites.
Desk.com offers dozens of support tools for its small business users. However, the platform's most popular features fall into a few main categories-universal inbox, case management, productivity, and customer profiles. Customer requests from every channel-including email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, phone, and forums-come through the universal inbox, allowing support agents to review and respond to requests without switching between windows.
When a query is too complex for a junior-level agent to resolve on his or her own, that case can easily be funneled to a more senior employee. Desk.com offers a number of case management features, which help agents track the status of cases and set priority levels to ensure the most important issues are resolved as quickly as possible. Productivity tools are another way that Desk.com works to speed up the dispute resolution process. Business rules help agents work faster, whether they're solving issues using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Future queries that come in from longtime customers can be resolved in even less time, thanks in large part to the customer profiles that businesses can create with Desk.com. Agents are able to access every piece of customer history for every case they work on. Thanks to Desk.com's Salesforce integration, it's especially easy for agents to offer consistent service to their most important clients.
Speed and simplicity are at the heart of everything that Desk.com does. Whereas other customer support systems rely on agents to handle all the heavy lifting, Desk.com encourages customers themselves to take on some of the work. Self-service support centers are designed in a way that encourage customers to find answers to their own questions. This frees up agents for more important tasks.
Desk.com has also managed to break down its advanced reporting tools to provide the type of strategy and analysis that small business owners can actually understand. Using the data generated by their customer interactions, Desk.com users can automatically access business insights and agent performance data. This information is then used to make smarter business decisions. For example, businesses can generate Overview Reports, Groups Reports, and Agent Reports. Toggling the tabs on various contact channels allows companies to pinpoint target metrics and review important data regarding customer handle time and outbound interactions.
Begin each day inside the Agent Inbox. This inbox is a "smart inbox," where you can find support requests from customers. Requests come in from all channels, including email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, and online forums.
Next, it's time to work on your first case. Click on the name of a case to view more information. On the Support Case page, you'll see the complete request from the customer. Quickly issue your response with macros. You can also review the customer's complete history within the case itself.
Working on your first case
Click on the Business Insights tab to generate detailed service reports. Using the data from your Desk.com account, you'll be able to track and measure information regarding your support volume and agent performance. See where your cases are coming from, how your agents are handling the volume, and how they can improve the service they're offering to your customers.
It should come as no surprise that an application offering customer service tools provides excellent support for its own users. The Desk.com Support Center is filled to the brim with useful articles and advice. Search through articles by keyword or browse by topic. Desk.com even has a list of the most common questions asked by new users. For systems information, check out the Desk.com blog or the Product Status page. If you can't find the answer to your question in Desk.com's Support Center, click the "Ask the Community" tab and post it yourself. Desk.com also gives you the option to email its support agents or call a hotline at any time.
Desk.com is priced for growing companies. For just $3 per month, companies can sign up for the Starter plan. At that price, users can add three agents, with reporting from the past 30 days. For unlimited agents and multi-channel support, businesses are encouraged to sign up for the Plus Plan. At $29 per month, the Plus Plan includes all the customer support features a business could need, including unlimited reporting and unlimited case management.
Desk.com stands apart from competing customer support applications because of the advanced features it offers. The self-service nature of Desk.com's platform encourages customers to resolve their own issues-a stealth business tactic that makes it possible for agents to spend more time working on the complaints and queries that are most difficult to resolve. Multi-channel support and cross-platform capability also make it possible for agents to work from outside the office. Desk.com's platform is accessible from virtually any web-enabled smartphone, which means agents can provide customer support just as easily when they're sitting in the office as when they're standing in line at a coffee shop.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 5/5