Published on 2 June 2014
In the early days, managing your customer queries via email or telephone was probably a viable system. But here's the killer: the more successful your business, the less successful this down-home customer support interface will be.
Instead, you're going to need a custom-designed help desk package. In the first instance, you're going to 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 and Facebook. You need a help desk tool that facilitates all of these methods, 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. 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 the other 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 'round 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 fit to the average model, however, the most popular features might leave you 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.
This tool 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% office based, "send-to-client" type business, there's still a helpdesk solution that's right for you.