Customer Service & Support Articles

A Fresh Look at the New Freshdesk – Online Help Desk App

by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 19 March 2012

Help desk software reviewMost help desk applications are crammed with features that promise to make life easier for customers. Whether they make life easy for agents is a moot point.

That's a pity really because the surest way to keep customers happy and coming back is delivering exceptional service. And providing this kind of service requires super-productive support agents. This week we look at a solution that promises to bring productivity into the other side of the support hotline - customer support agents.

We will review Freshdesk- an online help desk app that has recently upgraded its features. We will look at its new features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.

Why Upgrade?

We have already reviewed Freshdesk. Since our previous review, the solution has racked up major wins in terms of its growing customer base, and getting more funding.

However, the biggest win at Freshdesk is a major upgrade of the solution's feature set, one that the call company refers to as Freshdesk 2.0. Girish Mathrubhootham, CEO of Freshdesk, says the changes are geared towards providing a refreshing support experience to agents and customers alike. "In order to make sure that customers are happy and keep coming back, it is important that support agents stay productive and are able to keep a sharp eye on customer satisfaction." he says. "In short, the software must do everything it can to keep agents fresh."

Along with keeping agents fresh, the new features also shorten process- and time-cycles within the system.

Among the new features in Freshdesk, our favorites are:

  • Email commands - This feature lets agents manage, update and even assign tickets right from their email, along with a reply to a support ticket.
  • Email to knowledge base - This feature makes it easy for an agent to convert an email thread or a ticket reply into a knowledge base article, from the mailbox.
  • Time tracking and automatic invoicing- You can now track start and stop times for individual tickets, automatically generate time sheets and even assess billable and non-billable time spent.
  • Enhanced reporting- The reporting interface has been completely revamped and enables users to generate extensive and detailed reports.

From Refreshing Customer Experience To Productive Agents

Because emails are the most common form of correspondence in organizations, the crux of Freshdesk's changes revolve around upgrades to this form of communication.

For starters, you can generate and resolve tickets through emails. As with most other features in the system, this feature is fairly easy to set up and use. All you need to do is navigate to the admin tab and configure your support email IDs. Subsequently, any email sent to your help desk is logged as a ticket in the system. You can then configure Freshdesk to automatically categorize, prioritize and assign tickets to the right agent or support group. You can also configure appropriate system-generated notifications such as acknowledgement emails.

Keeping true to the focus on agent productivity, Freshdesk lets you reply to tickets and even modify or update status by just replying to the corresponding ticket email. Playing on the "Simon Says" game, you can update ticket information by just typing what you want Freshdesk to do within the @simonsays delimiter in your email. The benefits of this feature are tremendous because you can pretty much support customers on-the-go, through any device, without even logging into Freshdesk. All you need is access to your email.

Similarly, you can also add or update your knowledge base with customer correspondence by simply copying the relevant knowledge base email ID. The mail is saved as a draft within the system which can then be edited before being added to the knowledge base. By itself, this feature is great. However, it could do with more role-based permissions for editing draft ticket resolutions. This would ensure less chaos and more order in the system.

The time tracking feature is a good example of role-based permissions done right. With this feature, agents are able to measure time spent on the different support tasks they do. They can automatically assign themselves to tasks and start task timers. But admin supervisors can also add them and other agents to specific tasks, subtracting and adding time spent on ticket resolution. Data from time tracking can be rolled up to generate client invoices and payments. The interesting thing about the new invoicing roll-up feature is that you can automatically sync data from Freshdesk to other third-party applications. such as Freshbooks or Harvest.

Finally, the application has included a number of new reports to measure and track your time sheet data and systems. The good part about these reports is that they are generated free of cost as compared to other solutions where such reports are paid features. While data contained in these reports is extensive, another point of recommendation for these reports is the fact that they are visually appealing as well as flexible. This means that you can easily splice and dice available data by zooming in and out of the reports.

Help Desk Software Review

Helpdesk report generated with Freshdesk

Help Desk Software Review

Zooming in on tickets received versus resolved from the previous report

At a time when businesses are realizing the importance of keeping agents productive and responding to customer issues fast, Freshdesk's new features seem to be in the right place at the right time.

The new features are accompanied by pricing innovations to make the solution more affordable for small businesses. Freshdesk is now giving away the first agent in every plan for free. That means the majority of small business with a single-person help desk get to enjoy all the features for no cost. Freshdesk has also pioneered the concept of Day Passes. situations when you would need to temporarily rope in resources from outside your core support team, Day Passes enable you to add occasional agents for a single day. I thought this was an especially useful feature for small businesses because it enables them them to scale businesses at will. The advantages of these pricing changes become apparent when businesses face sudden spurts in customer activity during promotions or limited offer sales.

Is It For You?

Sreelesh Pillai, senior product marketing manager at the company, says that the focus on agent productivity in the current iteration of the software is already resonating well with customers. "We have been receiving a lot of feedback from customers and users since we released Freshdesk 2.0″, he says. "For example, many customers told us that three clicks on xyz is just one click on Freshdesk."

With their focus on agent productivity and more inclusive data regarding your business and help desk tool, the new features make the business case for Freshdesk even more compelling. So the answer is a resounding yes!


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