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What is a Help Desk Software?
A platform used to streamline business communication by helping agents track, prioritize, and respond to customer tickets.
If you operate a business, you probably have come across the term help desk software in your dealings. With an online presence, most companies require to deal with customer issues immediately they arise. Having excellent help desk software comes in handy in ensuring efficiency in customer support.
This is a kind of software that is used to create and access a customer database from which arising issues can be resolved. It allows customer care agents to track the customer’s interaction with the business platforms, making it possible to identify where a hitch may have occurred.
The software affords a certain degree of automation in customer handling. When a customer reaches out to the customer care agent, a ticket is created that is then used to address the issue. The ticket is stored with the customer’s details and, once the problem is solved, the ticket is closed. It may be saved in the system so that it can be used in the future if a similar issue arises.
Help desk software may also be used to handle communication and resolution of issues within a business. When used in this way, it is said to be designed for ‘internal customers.’ These are usually employees in different departments. Typically, it is used by employees on the company network to seek resolution of their workstation computer issues from the IT department.
Generally, the software creates a profile for each customer once a request is made. Such a request can be automatic such as when the customer uses a web form to register an issue. The business may also create the same profile using details that are provided by the customer through phone calls, emails, etc.
With these details, the customer help specialist can access all engagements that the specific customer has had with the business. Similarly, the system can retrieve answers for the customer if they are having a repeat problem. The system may also group incidents that are similar so that they become easy to handle in subsequent requests.
Sometimes a customer issue may not be handled immediately for various reasons. In such instances, the help desk software allows the agent who is dealing with the problem to create a running ticket. They pick the issue from a drop-down menu and book it for later or continuous following. That way, even if the customer is disconnected, the business can get back to them through the ticket once the issue is solved.
For efficiency, once an issue is registered on the drop-down menu, the software automatically assigns it to the customer care agent who is best suited to handle it. The assigned user has a stipulated window during which they should handle the said problem and get back to the customer. If the issue is not processed within this period, the system will then re-assign it to someone else. Most systems are set up to re-assign the matter to the first assignee’s supervisor, with the assumption that the supervisor is better-placed to handle the seemingly complete issue. Some people, however, feel that this feature is meant to report them to their bosses if and when they don’t handle tasks on time.
While help desk software from different companies will carry varying features, some are generally common across the board. These include:
You might notice that the names of most help desk software features are self-explanatory. This is in line with a deliberate effort to create resources that are user-friendly and easy to understand. The self-service feature helps customers to seek solutions to their problems directly from the system without having to engage a customer service representative (CSR). The purpose of this is to ensure customers get feedback as quickly as possible by bypassing the wait to get connected to an agent. Similarly, this feature allows customers to seek answers round the clock, even during hours when there may be no one at the CSR desk.
With self-service, the customer uses a portal to seek answers. The system tries to understand what the customer is looking for from what is typed. It then offers solution suggestions based on past similar issues or content that has been fed into it. This feature can include various elements such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), user forums, and how-to blog articles.
This is a feature that allows technicians on the business end to access the customer’s computer remotely and try to troubleshoot any issues. The agent will ask the customer to allow access to their computer, then use the help-desk software to gain such access. Depending on the system and, sometimes, company policy, the agent then solves the problem or gives the customer instructions on how to go about it.
This feature that is gaining increased prominence allows the customer to speak to the CSR without having to leave the website homepage. To make users aware of this feature, many systems integrate with the site to produce prompts when customers log into the site. A message such ‘Welcome, would you like me to help you?’ gives a new customer landing of the site the feeling that they are dealing with a human platform.
Knowledge Management System
This is a sort of archive that stores data about problems that the system has handled before. It often works together with the self-service feature to grant quick answers to related questions that customers pose. In the same breath, it reduces the monotony of agents having to handle the same issues repeatedly. The benefit of this feature is that it grows richer as more and more issues are resolved, getting better with age like fine wine.
This is a management tool that enables the higher levels of the business to track the overall performance of the support department. It gives a report on the performance of both the system and the agents that operate it. It may reveal items like the number of issues resolved, speed of resolution of each ticket, the most popular issues that customers seek answers to, and how satisfied the solution-seeking customers are.
This feature is used to establish an agreement between the customer and the business of the duration it will take to resolve an issue. The customer can use it to flag the urgency of the issue form their end (e.g., critical or non-critical) or track a ticket that they feel is not being handled fast enough.
Mobile adaptation has been a key feature of all kinds of software in recent times, help desk software included. This feature allows customers to seek solutions from the comfort of their hand-held devices, as well as according agents the luxury to offer solutions in the same way. This means that CSRs can solve issues even when they are outside the office.
IT Asset Management Systems
This is a feature meant to monitor the health of the help desk software itself. It senses and stores any changes to the system software and hardware. This way, if the system has a problem, it can be quickly identified, its source established, and a solution found. Businesses that have a customer support system know that they cannot afford to have the system staying low for long, else customers will be breathing down their necks. This feature is essential in ensuring the speedy resolution of system issues.
Social Media Integration
Many businesses today are embracing social media platforms as a way of engaging with their customers. Usually, the help desk is the one that deals with social media comments and offers the required advice. To make this interaction more professional, many help desk software companies are creating models that can integrate a company’s social media profiles with the support system. This feature allows different comments to be quickly grouped into categories of similarity. This way, employees are saved the pain of having to sift through vast piles of comments trying to find meaning. The system may also employ a bot-like response to give automated answers to simple issues.
Any business has two focal points: Its human resource (employees) and its customers/clients. To succeed, the business needs to ensure that these two groups are well taken care of. Help desk software offers many benefits to that end.
It Improves the Speed of Issue Resolution
Whether you think of an internal or external customer help desk, having a great software will help to solve any arising issues with speed. With the various levels of automation, customers seeking answers for different queries do not have to wait until there is an available CSR to deal with their issue. The archiving feature ensures that future similar issues have ready answers.
The categorization of issues means that questions can be quickly sent to the people who are best placed to answer them- billing, content management, etc. This way, no one has to grapple with solving issues they are not familiar with.
Reduces Operational Cost
Without a customer support system, the number of employees required to respond to arising issues would be enormous. Think, for example, the IT department serving internal customers. In the event, there is a hitch about malware that can affect the entire organization, one IT specialist can deal with it by engaging all customers in the system. Without software, the company would require perhaps an IT guy for every other employee in the institution.
In the case of external customers, there is no telling when they will come seeking responses. Having a system means that they can get some form of help at any hour of the day, eliminating the need to have CSRs standing by 24 hours a day.
Supports Business Improvement
The archiving ability of help desk systems make it easy to identify the issues that are a persistent bother to users. Each customer who makes an approach for a solution creates a profile that is saved. In social-media integrated systems, it is easy to get feedback about how customers are feeling about the business. This information is a valuable tool that a company can use to make improvements and spur growth.
Customer and Employee Satisfaction
In the age of doing things online, there has been a notable decrease in patience levels among product users. Customers do not want a system that takes ages to resolve their issues. Many will dump a dilly-dallying company and go for a better alternative (and there are many competitors in every industry). With a good help desk software, customers are guaranteed satisfaction. This is great for the business as such customers keep returning and are likely to give good reviews and recommendations to their peers.
Systems save employees working on the customer service desk a lot of pain. For one, they do not have to handle the same issues over and over again because of the increased automation. Such monotony could deal a blow to their enthusiasm. Secondly, they do not have to handle as many customers as they would need to without the assistance of software. Honestly, some customers who reach out to the CSR in search of help can be a bit overbearing; it is a good thing to not have to handle each and every one of these customers personally.
Makes Management Easier
When customers generate tickets, they are assigned to specific handlers. If they are not handled in time, it is easy to know who is sleeping on their job. Additionally, the management can be able to track how fast issues are getting resolved and how fast they are being handled. With these tools, there won’t be workers who pass on responsibility or lag behind the collective performance. Employees can also assess each other and will therefore not cite unfairness for actions taken by the management.
These are just but a handful of the benefits brought about by help desk software. Getting to use it in your business will reveal even more advantages.
The help desk software landscape keeps changing as new Information trends emerge. It is continually trying to embrace new inventions and innovations to improve the experiences of both the CSRs and the customers. The same goes for internal and external service software.
The social media space has become a fertile ground for business interaction. More and more businesses are advertising on social media and having potential customers respond through the same channels. It is, therefore, necessary that businesses keep track of what is happening in these areas. Relying on CSRs to keep up can be a bit impractical. It is for this reason that companies are seeking help desk software that incorporates their social media handles. Statistics support this move, too, given around 47% of active social media users are using these channels to make requests to customer care. The majority of these users fall within the 18-24 years’ age bracket.
Artificial intelligence has been around for a while, but it has not taken complete root. It is only now that many help desk software companies are incorporating it, and businesses are getting to use it. Mostly, there is the use of bots in handling customer queries. These bots chat with customers as if they were real people when contacted. In its early stages, this tool was underwhelming, with bot reported to have problems listening or completely misunderstanding requests. There has been a lot of improvement in this area, and their use is expected to keep growing in the near future.
Customer support can be a pretty thankless job, with different issues and customers of different personalities lined up every day. As such, there has to be a lot of creativity by management to maintain motivation in this area. Gamification is a popular tool used in this effort.
Gamification is a way of trying to create healthy competition among the employees working in customer support. The CSRs often have a sort of leader board on which they accumulate points. These points may be accumulated through the number of issues resolved, speed of resolution, customer rating, etc. the business may then offer rewards for the best-performing workers in a certain period.
The outlook of software providers will depend on whether a business is looking for internal or external support software. Some companies specialize in one model, while others handle both models.
Internal customer software providers mostly deal with IT needs, allowing the agent to solve technical issues that may arise on workers’ computers. Others may also be modified to deal with human resource queries to help employees connect with HR for matters like leave application, benefits inquiry, etc.
The external customer software is more detailed, since it both handles a more significant number of queries and a wider variety. Such software is almost crucial to modern businesses. It is what most development companies concentrate more on, and it is more expensive to buy than internal help desk software. Still, it is a wise investment for any business.
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