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Choosing the Right Helpdesk Software

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If your company is ready to ramp up its customer service efficiency and productivity, there can be no better way of doing so than by implementing helpdesk software.

Helpdesk software helps teams work more effectively, processes flow better and gives your customers the confidence that your business has their best interests at the forefront of its proposition. Sounds like a winning solution all-around!

There are only upsides to implementing and onboarding a helpdesk software. The biggest challenge for most businesses is choosing the right one. With so many different helpdesk software solutions available on the market these days, businesses are spoiled for choice.

It’s important to choose the helpdesk software that is right for your business and meets your business needs. To make the right decision, there are questions you must ask yourself about your business size, type, and its ultimate business goals – and that’s before even looking at the features of each software!

Choosing the right helpdesk software will influence the type of quality of customer service that your business is able to provide. That’s why we’ve put together this guide that will help you ask the right questions to choose the best helpdesk software for your business.

What is Helpdesk Software?

Helpdesk software is a tool that streamlines customer service into one centralised place, which can be accessed by all of the customer service agents in your organisation to make customer service processes run more smoothly.

Each customer query becomes a helpdesk ‘ticket’, entered into the system as an action item. The helpdesk centralises these tickets to ensure that every agent can see them and has historical information about the status of each ticket, including customer order information, past customer contacts and the current status of the ticket.

Helpdesk software makes customer service more transparent and helps move tickets along more quickly and efficiently, ensuring that customer problems are resolved promptly. Essentially, it’s the smart software tool you need when your business goals are to provide excellent customer service. And shouldn’t that always be the goal for any customer-facing business?

What Does Excellent Customer Service Mean to Your Business?

Before you start looking at feature lists, you need to start with more overarching questions about your business and its objectives. Doing so will help you navigate through all of the different helpdesk products on the market today to find the ones that are most aligned with your business needs and goals.

So start by asking yourself what excellent customer service means to your business? Perhaps it means responding to every customer in 24 hours. Or maybe for your business, a faster response time is the goal – 12 hours, or even 6 or 4 hours.

Perhaps your goal is to better manage the volume of customer queries you receive by logging relevant information to provide answer shortcuts or linking to knowledge base pages. Or maybe your goal is to have a more proactive customer service, providing customers with access to knowledge base materials from the first transaction.

Whatever your customer service goals are, identifying them first will help you seek out the helpdesk software that offers the right features to meet those goals. As you take stock of what’s most important to your company when it comes to customer service, here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What type of customer experience are you after?

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what would serve their needs best. Is email the best way of offering customer support, or should you incorporate social into your offering for support across multiple channels? Would an FAQ page on your website that offers answers to common questions and is signposted clearly across your content serve customers better? Also, pay attention to the feedback your customers have been giving. It can offer the best insights into their experience and ways in which you can make it even better.

2. What are your customers’ expectations?

One of the most important things a business can do is to know its customers. Obviously, you need to know your customers to target them for sales, but it’s equally important to understand your customers so that you can offer them the type of customer service they need most. Are you customers digital high-flyers who need answers instantly? Or are your customers more traditional and prefer to use less digital methods of customer support, such as phone support? Understanding this is important to being able to offer the type of service in the time frame and ways that your customers need them.

3. How can you best support your customer support team?

Improving customer service isn’t solely about the customers; it’s about giving your team the best toolkit you possibly can to keep them motivated and make it easy for them to do the best job possible. Spend some time thinking about your team’s greatest pain points and how you can solve them with the software you choose.

4. What boost does your current customer service offering need?

Be honest and identify the limitations of your current customer service strategy. What’s not working? What could you do better? Are all your agents working off one Gmail inbox that requires each person to log in and out of? Is the volume of requests becoming unmanageable? You may need to ask yourself some hard questions but be truthful with the answers. If some processes aren’t working, it’s best to identify what they are so that you can work towards a better solution.

Looking at the Options

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and identified which customer service issues your business needs to improve upon, then we can begin the fun part – looking at features.

Taking a look at the different features of helpdesk software, start writing down your must-haves. Perhaps your assessment led you to identify that offering multichannel customer service support is key for your customers. In that case, a helpdesk tool that can streamline multiple channels into place might be the right solution for your business.

Helpdesk Features

Each helpdesk software will offer different features. While these vary in type, generally, the features you can expect to see include:

Issue Tracking

This feature is where every customer query turns into a ‘ticket’ that can be tracked in the dashboard by all team members throughout its entire lifecycle. This way, there is full transparency between all agents around the status of each customer issue, ensuring that it is actioned every step of the way until it is fully resolved.

Collaboration

Often, multiple teams need to work together to solve a customer’s problem. This is where collaboration features come into play, allowing seamless collaboration between different teams, ensuring that tickets are resolved quickly.

Live Chat

This can be a helpful feature that allows customers to have their problems actioned in real-time using artificial intelligence (AI) bots that provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Knowledge Base

Nearly every helpdesk has a feature that enables you to create a knowledge base composed of FAQs, videos and how-to articles. These can be extremely useful to customers seeking immediate help at any hour of the day and help cut down on the volume of repetitive customer service queries, thus freeing up your team’s time for other valuable tasks.

Templates

Many helpdesk software solutions allow you to create and use templates within the dashboard, which are pre-prepared statements to common questions and issues. Templates are great because they help your team work more quickly by removing the repetition associated with having to type out the same reply over and over to multiple customers.

Reporting and Analytics

One of the most important parts of helpdesk software is providing the reports you need to see how your customer service strategy is paying off. Useful reports can be customised to show you the information you need to know. For example, how quickly it takes your team to resolve customer issues on average or days when the volume of tickets is highest. Having access to useful analytics will help you better plan and strategise just how your business does customer service.

Working out the Type of Helpdesk Software Your Business Needs

Now that you’ve had a think about features, you’ll also want to consider the type of software to choose based on how each one fits your specific business needs. There are four common types of helpdesk software, and here’s how they differ:

Enterprise helpdesk software

If your business is a large organisation with hundreds of employees and multiple locations, it’s safe to say that you’re an enterprise. Large companies like yours need advanced features to support the business. Helpdesk software geared to enterprise needs will often include features such as multi-brand support, enterprise-level reporting, and IT asset management. Because these are powerful solutions built for scale, they are typically pricier than other solutions on the market. However, as a large enterprise organisation, you’ll be assured that such software will not let you down since it is built with your organisation’s needs in mind.

Web-based helpdesk software

A web-based (often known as ‘cloud-based’) helpdesk software won’t be hosted locally on your own servers but rather on the vendor’s servers. You’ll pay a subscription fee to use it. The subscription may be monthly or annual. It can be beneficial because you don’t have to worry about cyber security or data backups since everything is in the cloud and managed by the vendor.

On-premise helpdesk software

The opposite of web-based software, on-premise solutions means that your company purchases a software license and installs the software on its own servers. It also means the company is responsible for its own data storage, cybersecurity and general maintenance. Although this is the more expensive option, many companies prefer this to the web-based option because they have total control over their information privacy.

Open-source helpdesk software

This is a solution for those who know what they’re doing and have savvy developers on hand. Open-source software provides developers with the source code, meaning that they can modify and customise the software. This means you can add more features and make changes to the software to specifically suit your team’s needs.

Other Factors to Consider

In addition to software type and available features, there will be other factors to consider when choosing the helpdesk software that’s right for your business. Here are a few other considerations that should not be overlooked.

Scalability

How much do you expect your company to grow in the coming years? Are you a niche or boutique ecommerce business looking to stay roughly the same size, or are your business growth plans ambitious? The answer to this question will be critical to the type of helpdesk software that is right for your business.

If increased customer volume is your goal, you’ll want to ensure that you choose software that can grow with your business and offers the features that can expand to fit your needs as the business grows.

Feedback from your team members

Since it’s your customer service team that will be using the helpdesk daily, you want to make sure that they are comfortable with the software interface and that its features truly make their jobs easier and not more cumbersome.

This is where a free trial can come in handy. Many helpdesk softwares offer a free trial period, where your team can familiarise themselves with the software by working with it hands-on. It may be worthwhile to take advantage of this and try out a few helpdesk softwares to see which help your team be their most productive.

Budget

Of course, we can’t forget to mention the budget! Regardless of company size, every company has budget considerations to adhere to. You certainly don’t want to skimp when choosing helpdesk software, but a lower-priced software is not always the right solution, even for budget-conscious companies.

You need to ensure that the product you purchase will truly meet the needs of your company. Otherwise, what you save in software fees may end up costing you in productivity. Additionally, when signing on with a helpdesk software, you also want to ensure that you’re not hit with hidden fees or secondary costs (e.g., needing to hire more IT staff to help with implementation).

Finally, many software vendors offer discounts for annual billing (as opposed to monthly billing), so do ask all prospective vendors if this is an option, as it may result in savings.

Final Thoughts

Deciding to implement helpdesk software is a big deal. That’s why you want to make sure you take all the steps necessary to get it right.

While it is an investment, it’s important to remember the benefits it can bring to your company, including time saved, a more productive customer service team, and a better experience for your customers. All of those factors can add up to pay dividends when it comes to securing your company’s bottom line.

Book a demo to learn more about how eDesk’s helpdesk solution can help your eCommerce business deliver an excellent customer experience every time.

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