In 2018, a digital help desk is no longer optional. Regardless of your industry, your audience expects answers to common questions and problems, and they expect them quickly.
A manual intake and ticket management system is simply not enough to manage these types of demands.
But how can you actually accommodate this demanding audience? A wide range of help desk software solutions promise exactly what you need. And yet, all of them are different, with a shift in focus and functionality that can fundamentally change your value proposition.
To cut through the clutter, a strategic approach is necessary. If you truly want to find the top help desk software for your company’s needs, consider asking these eight questions.
1) What Channels Do You Support?
First, and perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure that the ticket inflow actually matches your audience needs. Simply put, they should be able to let you know exactly what is wrong in their preferred method of communication.
In the modern age, that means more than just calls and emails to generate tickets. Ideally, a top help desk software also supports social media, live chat, and a number of other integrations that make it easier for your audience to log a problem.
2) How Does Your Ticket Workflow Function?
The channel of intake, of course, is only the beginning. What happens once a ticket has entered the system? Where does it go from there, and how much influence do you have over its journey? All of these are important questions to consider as you look for help desk software that fits exactly what you’re looking for.
Here, customization is key. Every organization functions differently. You should be able to create custom criteria that help your tickets automatically flow to the right person and department. The more you can automate the process, the more time and resources you will save on answering complaints and questions.
3) Do You Offer Escalation and Prioritization?
Some problems can easily be resolved by the first person who takes a look. Others, however, require more complex processes. Does the help desk platform you’re considering account for these variables? How easily can you both escalate a ticket to someone with more authority, and prioritize especially significant issues?
Ideally, both aspects of this functionality should be integrated naturally into the software. They are a vital component in making sure that your customers’ problems get answered timely and appropriately.
4) How Does the Software Maximize Productivity?
Another crucial component of solving tickets in a timely fashion is the productivity with which your agents work on the software. Especially routine tasks can quickly become excuses for distractions, and collaboration on more complex issues can become tempting.
In both cases, you need software that combats our natural tendencies. For instance, an internal chat tool can help your employees exchange thoughts and assign tasks. Meanwhile, gamification in the form of achievement levels keep everyone motivating, particularly when small rewards are attached to individual achievements.
5) Is Remote Access Possible for Help Desk Agents?
What happens when the one person who can solve a customer issue is traveling? How about a computer breakdown that requires your agents to work outside of their regular stations? Or an organizational system that has built-in remote work to begin with?
All of these scenarios require remote access. Make sure any help desk software you choose offers that access, from any type of device. In the age of smartphones, that also means accessibility in the form of a mobile platform or app.
6) What About A Self-Service Portal for Common Problems?
The best type of solution is one that can be standardized. No matter the types of complaints you get about your product or service, some of them will probably appear more commonly than others. Rather than tackling each of them on their own, it makes sense to create a resource that includes tutorials and other walk-throughs for solutions.
Not all help desk software offers this feature, which makes this question especially pertinent. If you can find a platform that does, you can save your customers and your agents valuable time, and ultimately make your entire operation more efficient.
7) Can You Track Data For Future Improvements?
Put simply, don’t sign a contract for any software that doesn’t allow you to track data. We live in the age of analytics, where everything online is trackable. Taking advantage of that fact means being able to optimize your operation over time.
Possible data points may include average ticket close time, most frequently asked questions, most popular channels, and more. The best help desk software will allow you to use that data in order to make valuable decisions that help your business improve.
8) What About Paid Possibilities?
So far, all of the above questions apply to all types of help desk options. However, depending on your business, your needs may go beyond simple tickets as well. Especially larger SaaS companies may charge for improvements and consulting advice. Can your help desk platform account for that fact?
If you want it to, your software needs to account for either ticket or time-based billing. It should also include tax calculations, time tracking, billing package creation, billing reports, and a payment gateway. Asking this question early is absolutely vital to avoid running into problems later.
9) What About the Price?
Finally, and importantly, no research about the top help desk software for your needs should be complete without understanding whether the pricing actually works for your budget. How much will you be expected to spend, and how flexible is that price compared to potential future growth plans?
Here, the options will range widely depending on your needs. Pricing is commonly per user/agent, but you might be able to get package deals. Inform yourself about the possibilities before making a commitment at a given price range.
Understanding that you need a help desk should only be your first step. Finding the top software for your area of need is at least as important. By asking the above nine questions, you can make sure that any solution you choose actually fits your needs, satisfy your customers, and helps your business grow.