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As software becomes more advanced and feature rich, it is increasingly difficult to make sense of. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. GetApp’s Buyers Guide for help desk and ticketing software provides answers to questions that are top of mind for anyone in search of a help desk solution.
What are the deployment options for help desk and ticketing software?
What are some common features for help desk and ticketing software?
What are some important help desk and ticketing software integrations?
What relevant help desk and ticketing software trends should I be aware of?
Help desk and ticketing software, which falls under the umbrella of IT service management (ITSM) software, helps organizations resolve support requests and incidents. This might include operating a support desk for a product your company sells, or providing internal support to employees within your organization. Help desk and ticketing software should help your IT department better manage and more quickly resolve user problems.
Help desk and support software can be purchased as a subscription service that is hosted in the cloud and maintained by a third-party or as a self-hosted (on-premise) deployment that requires manual maintenance. For most users, cloud-based ITSM software is the best choice. While on-premise software allows data to be self-hosted on company servers and can be less expensive at massive scales, the costs and complexity associated with deploying and maintaining these solutions is prohibitive and often unnecessary for many organizations.
Gartner's Hype Cycle for Software as a Service (SaaS), 2018 states that the SaaS model has become essential for software vendors, having gained acceptance across organizations of all sizes and multiple industry segments. In 2018, for example, 85% of CRM software was purchased, not built, and over 70% was deployed as SaaS. Given help desk software is responsible for managing and prioritizing customer issues and complaints, stability and reliability are of utmost importance. It isn’t advisable to host your own ITSM software unless maintaining full control over the system and the data that it houses is a top priority for your business.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the differences in cost for each deployment option you offer?
Below are the primary help desk and ticketing software features offered by products available on the market today:
Ticket management: Allows organizations to track open complaints, assign work based on skills or need, and monitor overall trends in help desk requests.
Ticket management in Freshdesk
Knowledge base management: Enables companies to create a repository of common or previously resolved problems, as well as a record of solutions that may be helpful for troubleshooting. By making this information searchable, organizations can enable self-service options for users and cut down on ticket volume. Additionally, a robust knowledge base can help service agents find tested solutions to common user problems.
Knowledge base management in Freshdesk
Reporting and analytics: Allows organizations to track and aggregate data to gauge performance and productivity, as well as identify trends. This may include some form of data visualization that can be exported as a report to share with others.
Reporting and analytics in Zendesk
Self-service portal: Gives internal or external users the ability to search for solutions to problems on their own (see “knowledge base management” above).
Self-service portal in Serviceaide
Alerts/escalation: Keeps support staff up-to-date about relevant ticket progress and escalates certain tickets to a higher priority based on predetermined criteria.
Ticket progress and escalations in SolarWinds Service Desk
Integrating help desk software with other software used throughout your organization is essential to getting the most out of your purchase. Not only can integrations save workers time, they make sure support staff has access to important information that enables them to provide better service.
Communication channels integration: If you are setting up help desk and ticketing software to provide customer support for a product, consider integrations with email marketing and social media. These channels can help with filling out contact profiles, reducing duplicate data entry, creating a more complete view of customer interactions with your company, and allowing customers to reach out through their preferred channels. If your help desk will serve internal employees, consider integration with common communication tools people use at work.
CRM integration: Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps businesses implement and maintain customer-centric strategies that optimize profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction. CRM software also contains large amounts of customer data that can inform your help desk team as they field user issues and complaints. Integrate ITSM software with your CRM to ensure support team members are aware of past interactions between your company and your customers.
Bug tracking software integration: For companies that operate in the tech space, it is essential to have an integration between help desk software and any platform used to track bugs. This can help with prioritizing bug fixes depending on the extent of user impact, identifying problems more quickly, and keeping support staff current on the status of known issues. Integrate your help desk software and issue tracking software so both the support staff and the engineering staff are on the same page about outstanding problems, their impact on users, and the progress of a resolution.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: What [select all that apply: communication tool, CRM, or bug tracking] integration(s) are available with your software, and what are the resource requirements for maintaining them?
As artificial intelligence (AI) evolves it will have a huge impact on understanding customer behavior and improving customer interactions. Gartner research states that by 2021, AI will handle 15% of all customer service interactions—representing a 400% increase from 2017 (full content available to clients). Advanced AI will lead to improved predictive capabilities, uncovering trends buried in data, and will be able to use learning abilities to provide a more sophisticated level of support to customers.
According to a survey of Gartner Research Circle members, the top applications for AI technology are about customer experience and include customer engagement, call center service/support, and digital marketing platforms. However, the same survey found that just 6% of respondents had AI in use. This is an obvious trend to keep an eye on as the ITSM software market evolves and AI continuously improves.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: What features do your product offer that leverage artificial intelligence? Do you have plans to include [choose one or more: chatbots, virtual customer assistants, or conversational AI] in future software updates?
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The following sources were used for this document:
China Summary Translation: 'How to Use AI to Improve the Customer Experience'