In today’s extremely fast-paced business environment, even seemingly straightforward tasks like maintaining customer relations needs to be optimized for speed. In some companies, its customer support center may consist of just one or two people who answer the phones and handle all incoming problems. Of course, call volumes and customer expectations often exceed what the staff is able to deal with – ergo, the advent of automation of customer support through help desk software.
Technically speaking, a help desk software is a resource designed for consumers to contact a company when they are having problems with the product or services provided by that company. Help desks institute a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available. In layman’s terms, help desk software is a system that automates the management of customer support.
In the typical scenario of the past, a customer sends a support inquiry via email, never knowing what to expect or if they will receive any acknowledgment response at all. Perhaps, they try to get help by phone, only to end up being put on hold and shuffled through different agents. This wastes the time of both the company and the customer.
In some cases, when this process is disrupted, customers are left frustrated while the image of the business suffers a crucial blow. Problems like these are why help desk software was invented.
Before the era of telephone or computers, businesses mostly relied on face-to-face interaction to resolve customer issues. This meant that the customer had to visit a company’s store or office with the product to get their problem solved. With the invention of the telephone in 1876, and the telephone switchboard in the 1890s, customers began to have the option of calling the company about their problem.
The advent of the telephone increased customer support productivity, but it still had a long way to go. In the 20th century, companies started making use of equipment like dictation machines, typewriters, and dumb terminals with access to a mainframe computer to address customer issues.
Companies then started to set up call centers and train designated staff to receive and handle customer inquiries in an organized and efficient manner. When the technology of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) came, it was a huge boost to the nature of telephone customer service – which helped customers to perform basic transactions and receive assistance without even talking to an agent.
Still, this required companies to dedicate many employees and much more infrastructure to execute their customer service efficiently.
The 1990s saw the advent of the internet, email, and live chat. This development enabled US companies to outsource their help desk to low labor-cost countries like India and the Philippines.
The improvements in technology and infrastructure and the presence of an educated workforce in these countries who could articulately speak with international customers over the phone were the main reasons for the boom in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry which started in the late 1990s.
The next thing that happened when BPOs blossomed simultaneously with both communications technologies and software development was the grand entrance of help desk software. In the 2000s, companies started to use help desk software widely. Help desk software providers also started to pop up – like the early Manageengine.com, www.VisionHelpdesk.com, http://www.Jitbit.com/helpdesk. As the years went by, advancements and other offered features began to grow.
This decade also witnessed the growing popularity of social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The meteoric rise of social media platforms in 2008 onwards resulted in a new level of engagement and interaction between companies and customers.
Customers are now using tools such as Facebook and Twitter to provide feedback on products and services, with customer support staff quickly responding to their inquiries or questions. Recently, companies have also started using remote desktop software to access customers’ computers to find out details about the issue before suggesting a correct resolution.
Companies always compete with each other – and when their product or service features are deadlocked with their competitors, customers tend to favor the company that has the better customer support system.
In the current competitive era, earning customer satisfaction is the primary goal of any business enterprise and organization. It is a well-known fact that happy and satisfied customers can help business organizations unlock greater revenue opportunities, and make them stand far above their competitors. Quality customer satisfaction can also help in strengthening the brand image, which further influences customer loyalty.
Having a quality help desk software helps companies deal with customer support in the most efficient manner. Help desk software automates much of the customer support system.
As a start, the software pulls customer support emails from an email ID and lists them in a single place. This is part of the process is called Ticket Management, where a customer can file a “ticket” that will be received and read by a tech professional – or even just a program that’s carefully designed to manage tickets. It allows a help desk executive to answer calls from customers and log them easily.
The next step is now for a help desk coordinator to ensure that questions from customers are redirected to employees who’re capable of answering them satisfactorily. The automation program that the help desk software developer coded can iron out various company issues. It enables the coordinator to get notifications when a support executive hasn’t responded to a ticket, or when a ticket has been left unresolved for a significant (and professionally unacceptable) length of time
Finally, information about the ticket and the customer can now be read by managers, tech support, customer support, or other personnel. The thing is, all tickets are already sorted, organized, or even fixed even before they reach this end of the Customer Support system. As such, companies can deal with customer support concerns faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.
A help desk management solution functions as a one-stop solution for all customer support, queries, requests, complaints and assistance needs. It empowers a customer support team to handle all customer complaints and requests from one place without any hassle.
Help desk software also helps to create more efficient monitoring & tracking. Companies can efficiently monitor and track the current status of any complaint or service request raised by a customer using an advanced help desk management solution. As such, it allows companies to have a constant watchful eye on the complete problem resolution cycle, starting from the time of its registration to the final resolution.
Improved customer relationships come with the effective use of help desk software; by providing top-quality customer support and assistance, (due to improved efficiency and quickness) your business can earn quality customer satisfaction without any complications. It also further allows companies to maintain healthy and profitable relationships with new and existing customers.
Any advanced help desk management solution also simplifies various complex and time-consuming day-to-day processes. This allows for better problem resolution and timing as it enables customer support teams to save crucial time and effort spent on handling customer complaints and requests. Minimizing total time spent on resolving a problem is always a result of a simplified system – one that can be provided by help desk software.
Finally, an advanced help desk management solution allows businesses to improve the quality of assistance and support provided to the customers. With various tools and features, companies can assure their customers will be able to get complete and accurate assistance with all their problems and questions in mind.
Help Desk Software has ushered in an era where companies have a chance to be more efficient and effective with their customer support systems. It is exactly as its name implies: software that acts as a virtual help desk.
Technically, a Help Desk, in the context of Information Technology (IT), is a department inside an organization that is responsible for answering the technical questions of its users. Most major companies have set up help desk software to respond to questions from their customers.
The company’s response to their clients’ concerns is usually transferred using email, telephone, website, or online chat. This is done through a “ticketing” system – customers submit a ticket, whether it’s a simple inquiry or an actual satisfaction report, and the software ”decides” where the ticket should be submitted to. Then, the appropriate team members try to solve the problem, and eventually respond to the ticket with their recommended solutions.
Additionally, there are internal Help Desks aimed at offering the same form of help, but only for the employees within the organization.
Furthermore, a helpdesk ticketing system has the ability to assist customers with technical problems, such as installing and using computer systems, troubleshooting network connections, installing entertainment systems and resetting passwords.
For example, Help Desks at financial institutions may assist customers with online banking and trading, while those at cable companies may troubleshoot audio and video problems. A small business usually has a single centralized help desk, while a large company may have several interconnected.
Then again, if you own a company or a business enterprise, why would you bother to implement a Help Desk solution? Why not just hire additional employees for tech-support or set up a deal with a call center agency?
There are many different reasons, making help desk software’s far and above the best solution for scaling your customer support.
The main advantage of help desk software – and its primary goal as a part of a customer support system – is to improve customer satisfaction. Companies provide products or services to customers, by either offering the lowest price or the best product or service. However, when the competition between companies comes to a point of near deadlock, customers begin to seek other invaluable features or bonuses to aid them in their decision of what service or product to choose. Customer support is definitely an invaluable feature that customers pay attention to; and if your company’s customer support service is good, customers will surely favor your company over others.
Furthermore, customers know exactly where to go for information because the contact information is clearly visible on product brochures and company websites. Some companies outsource their help desk services to offshore companies. However, studies suggest that this strategy may not work if customers begin to experience poor service, such as long wait times and poorly trained staff. Since Help Desk solutions are generally automated and process customer questions much faster, they have the upper hand.
Help desk software is always flexible. Different types of companies have their own needs, and different types of customers always have their own unique requirements. A customer for a telecommunication company may prefer a fully-digitized customer support area while a customer for a food box delivery subscription might just want to be talking to a human at some point. When it comes to ensuring both customer satisfaction and a company’s ease of use, help desk software can easily adjust.
Help Desk Software is also extremely customizable on the micro-level. For example, ticketing systems can be modified in such a manner that it requires a lot of details. A company can choose to have its help desk software include custom fields such as department, building location, floor number, and customer preference – virtually anything is possible! This creates more ways to serve customers or easier ways for employees to narrow down ticket solutions.
Help desks can contribute to the improvement of the quality of a company’s products or services. When customers call a help desk, specialists typically fill out problem reports describing the call. Companies can use software to tabulate and track these reports from initiation to resolution. Since these reports can be tracked and recorded, the information you can get from trends and data can obviously help immensely in your company’s quality improvement procedures.
Developers and project managers can review these problem reports and begin to implement improvements to their product or service. If several customers call with the same problem, the help desk might alert quality control and possibly senior management so that the company can fix the problem quickly.
A help desk is typically a one-stop-shop for the whole of a company’s customer support system. Most help desk systems include a holistic platform that provides a single place for users – be it the customer or the tech professional – to create tickets, view the status of open issues, and close out tickets once they’re resolved. A portal can also be used to relay important information to users, such as announcements or press releases. All this can aid a lot in making processes much faster and more productive.
A central help desk department also means customer support calls or tickets come to the same people. This enables staff members to build on their skills and become experts in several technical areas, which in turn leads to faster problem resolution in the future.
Since Help Desks are often part of corporate information technology departments, they have a direct effect on the enhancement of process efficiency. For example, if a customer needs help using a particular software function, the help desk specialist could ask his software designer colleague for clarification. As a result, the customer’s concerns are addressed promptly, the specialist adds to his knowledge base and the software designer finds out how customers are using their product. Help desk employees can share technical information, which enables them to learn from one another and resolve problems faster.
Customers have different preferences as it relates to how they interact with customer support representatives – some customers would prefer email while younger generations may be more inclined to use social media.
Using a help desk software solution that can accommodate these preferences demonstrates to your customers that you truly care about them and want to make the support process as easy and painless as possible. This helps foster good customer relationships, which in turn can boost company growth.
Satisfactory response from consumers can lead to better customer interaction, which ultimately leads to the increased satisfaction of customers. Customers tend to invest more in organization that values customer satisfaction. In turn, this can greatly and dramatically improve the rate of income for your business.
Help desk software which has a simplified and quick implementation equates to your IT team spending less time and effort in making the tool work or answering a complaint. IT professionals, in turn, waste less time on unnecessary manual processes, freeing up valuable time for more important work.
Your help desk acts as your primary tool for customer requests. Keeping this system up and running and ready to respond rapidly to customer issues is critical to establish confidence in your IT department’s capabilities. As such, maximizing the contribution of the IT department can help make a successful business.
One final note: downtime or bugs within the customer support system can also hurt productivity rates and ultimately reduce system effectiveness. Thus, it is vital to ensure you use only a high-quality help desk solution since they have reduced downtime, a huge factor in quality management when client-related engagements are on the line.
Since its inception, help desk software has made huge strides in improving customer support for both companies and their consumers. Now, with the addition of recent advancements, help desks have become far better and more efficient to use.
Help desk software is a resource designed for the users of virtually any product to contact companies when they are having problems with their service. Typically, help desks aim to institute a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach – this can be mainly done by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available to answer consumer questions.
Generally, helpdesk software consists of at least three main parts: Ticket Management, an Automation Suite, and Reporting & Optimization. In order to actually consider software a quality Help Desk software, it should be masterful in all these aspects. Together, these three functions essentially form the crux of a helpdesk operation.
Implementation of this multi-tiered support varies widely within companies. In one company, it may be one person with a wealth of knowledge carrying a cell phone. It may also be several people who perform some of the support in house and several people from another company that are contracted for additional support. In still another company, it may be a multitude of people within their own company performing all levels of support. The approach might be different, but the idea is always pretty much the same.
Help Desk software’s work starts and is hinged on how it is able to pull customer emails from their initial email and organize them in a single place. This is how “Ticket Management” basically works. It allows a help desk executive to answer calls and emails from customers and log them easily as individual “tickets”. It also allows customer support executives to listen and respond to customer feedback on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Automation Suite, meanwhile, allows a help desk coordinator to ensure that questions from customers are redirected to employees who are capable of answering them satisfactorily. This is the next step that most help desk software follows. It enables the coordinator to get notifications when a support executive hasn’t responded to a ticket, or when a ticket is taking too long to get resolved, among other several possible cases.
Lastly, the Reporting and Optimization section constitutes the most important function of customer service: it pulls and assembles pertinent information about all the critical aspects of the helpdesk. Managers and leaders can then understand service elements such as load on the helpdesk team, turnaround time & resolution rate of each executive, etc. Metrics like these give managers a quick perspective on how things are faring and allows them to make changes for the better.
The most strategic method of implementing Help Desk is to follow the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices. A Help Desk must include the following if it wants to be credited for best practices:
The following are listed as best practices for Help Desk. These are all outlined in the Service Management best practices section of ITIL version 3:
A Help Desk system is all about ease of use. At its best, a Help Desk software automates an issue resolution workflow, centralizes information, and keeps everyone in-the-know with email alerts.
Instead of having to track down or phone-call someone from tech support to get help, consumers can simply submit a ticket to the helpdesk team through email or a website-based form. The help desk software can then receive, log, and assign issues to the appropriate help desk technicians automatically, making the process more convenient for all parties involved.
Not only do help desks streamline communication, they also keep detailed records of all submitted issues, making it easier to track updates and report on what work has been done.
Aside from its main function, there are other ways on how Help Desk software can help a company, even in the littlest of ways: