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What is help desk software?
Help desk software lets organizations respond to users more efficiently. These systems help answer technical and functional questions by providing improved methodologies for ticket tracking, IT management, and customer service support.
By integrating these elements, help desk software improves customer service departments' ability to provide fast and effective support to employees, end users, and customers. Help desk system also facilitates the flow of new information from users, contributing to an organization's existing knowledge base. Help desk software is also known as IT ticketing systems.
The benefits of help desk software
- Increase customer satisfaction. High satisfaction leads to a better overall product, increased customer loyalty and retention, and more revenue. One of the key ways to achieve customer satisfaction is improving your overall customer service experience. Help desk system helps ensure that customers receive focused, tailored support and that their issues don't fall through the cracks.
- Improve employee productivity. When used as an internal IT support tool, help desk system can ensure more uptime for in-house technology systems and help your IT team better track and manage incoming requests for help. Research shows that help desk systems impact ticket resolution time, agent productivity, and agent job satisfaction.
Typical features of help desk software
- Knowledge base management: A searchable repository of common questions/issues and previously resolved problems that can be publicly available to customers or reserved for internal use.
- Ticket/issue tracking: Tracks interactions and automates the issue resolution process.
- Alerts/escalation: Automated email or SMS alerts ensure urgent issues are communicated promptly, while escalation allows reps to advance issues to managers.
- Self service portal: Allows customers and employees to track their own tickets, solve issues themselves via the knowledge base, and communicate with service agents.
- Service level agreement (SLA) management: Creates, tracks, and applies the correct service level agreement to the right customer or site.
Capterra's help desk software directory lets you filter by feature(s) to only view options that meet your business needs, which can help you narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing help desk software
- Integration with existing customer tools. If your company already has a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place, make sure any help desk system you consider is compatible with that system. If the systems can't integrate, not only will you duplicate effort, but you may also lose data when toggling between systems.
- Try before you buy. As with any software purchase, take advantage of trial periods and free training before making a monetary commitment. Many help desk packages are entirely cloud-based, allowing an easier test drive.
- Be realistic about your budget and the total cost of ownership. As far as business software goes, help desk software is not particularly expensive (comparatively speaking). But don't let that lull you into thinking it's cheaper than it is. Our research found that help desk software buyers actually spent $1,200 more on average in a year than they expected. Be sure to research the total cost of ownership before committing to any system.
Relevant help desk software trends
A large portion of the changes and advances happening within the customer service and support industries are related to help desk software. Here are some help desk technology trends to understand to future proof your purchase:
- Conversational user interface and help desk chatbots. Alexa and Siri have popularized the idea of a conversational user interface - using your voice and natural language to control a computer or retrieve information from one. While customer service teams are already experimenting with chatbots and other time-saving tools, expect to see more support for voice-based UIs that help customers solve their own issues and access knowledge base resources. According to our research, 68% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are using or plan to use conversational user interfaces within the next one to two years.
- AI and "anticipatory customer service." AI and machine learning are hot topics in just about every industry right now, and have some intriguing applications in the help desk technology realm. As an example, machine learning algorithms trained on customer data and service tickets could enable anticipatory customer service, letting you resolve a customer's issues before they even know there are any. According to a Capterra research, 53% of SMBs are using or plan to use AI technology within the next one to two years.