by Niamh Lynch
Published on 2 June 2014
You came, you saw, you sold. Your clients have questions, and they want answers fast. In the early days, managing your customer queries via email or telephone was a viable system. But here's the killer: the more successful your business, the less successful this down-home customer support interface will be. In other words: your business has grown too big for its britches.
You're going to need a custom-designed help desk package. You need a tool that can provide an interface via which your customers can make support requests, ask questions, and report problems. At the same time, this system must deliver these requests to the right people, manage their response, and return the answer to your client in a timely, efficient manner. In theory, it sounds great. But there are hundreds of these help desk management apps on the market. How do you choose the one that's right for your business?
Before you start looking for help desk software, consider these four points:
If you've been around for years and your clients are traditional types, they'll often contact you by phone and email. If you're a younger business, however, you might communicate via Twitter, Facebook or even Snapchat. You need a help desk tool that facilitates all different forms of social media, funneling them down to a single point of contact.
If your help desk software doesn't allow you to add personalized messages, you're missing an opportunity. As I'm sure you know from sales over the phone, there's no need for your company help desk to be bland, cold and forgettable. Leverage the opportunity by making sure you can add a personal touch.
Now is a good time to consider another part of the equation. Sure, your clients can tell you when they have a question, but it's up to you make sure they get an answer in return. An integrated ticketing system (whereby a query is automatically converted into a support request) isn't always the first thing that pops into your head, but for all around service, it's essential.
If a help desk tool is the most popular in its category, that means the majority thinks it's great. If your business doesn't follow the typical model, however, the most popular features might leave you in the cold. Think outside the box by investigating smaller options carefully, and checking out reviews to see what real users think are the strongest features.
To get you started, here's a brief introduction to six top help desk solutions. And don't forget to check out the full help desk software category.
This powerful software, which manages both the help desk and ticketing ends, makes simplicity a major priority. It's robust, flexible and completely straightforward, with a seemingly minimal learning curve. If you need a wash-and-go solution for a larger environment, this could be your tool.
Remember the different methods of contact I mentioned above? Well, Desk.com has this covered. It's designed to integrate with Google Docs and, by virtue, Gmail, as well as Twitter, Facebook, chat apps and more. As part of your Google account, it's easily integrated and keeps employee acclimatization time to a minimum.
If you're a small business owner looking to make a first foray into an automated help desk system, take a look at HappyFox. It covers all the basics - and turns emails into tickets - but is perfect for smaller teams, with mobile access and quick integration. Users also point out that it's great value for money, which is always a good thing.
What do Adobe, Quiksilver, and Roku all have in common? They all use LiveChat to handle their customer service. Despite being the choice of some big players, Livechat can scale down as an option for small businesses. Livechat has an efficient and lovely design and offers features such as a daily summary of the analytics delivered to your email, lots of customization via templates, and works on PC, Macs, Android, and iOS.
Freshdesk is another mid-priced all-rounder. It scores highly on the basics - it supports multiple request routes, automatically creates tickets, and is simple to incorporate into your business. A standout feature is the ability to support multiple products and brands on one system, perfect for more complex businesses and different facets of your company's personality.
Before you make any decisions, it's a good idea to take a look at the leading software in a category. Zendesk might not be right for you (see point #1, above), but it's always a bonus to understand what makes an app so popular, and if that's a feature you can benefit from.
To see how help desk software can fit into a service-based business, rather than a product-based one, take a look at Mhelpdesk. This one is specifically designed for businesses who provide field technicians. Granted, your particular business might not do call outs, but rest assured, even if you don't deal with a 100 percent office-based, "send-to-client" type business, there's still a helpdesk solution that's right for you.
Do you use a help desk solution in your business, particularly in a non-traditional business area? We'd love to hear what you use, and how it works for you. Compare any of these solutions with others in the help desk software category.
Article last updated: 12/5/2015