Help Desk Software 101: What it is And How it Can Help Your Business
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.
How It Basically Works
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 Standards Help Desk Software Should Implement
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:
- Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
- Computer or Software consultations
- Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems
- Problem escalation procedures
- Problem resolution
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:
- Knowledge Management – A Help Desk should have a system that improves operational efficiency by reducing the time spent to rediscover previous incidents or problems.
- Problem Management – A Help Desk should have a system that gathers information during incident management to help spot problems. This system identifies the root cause of frequent recurring incidents by capturing information in a knowledge base.
- Access Management – A Help Desk should act as the keepers of the user accounts along with password resets. Single ownership by the Help Desk ensures quicker response time for end users with user or password problems.
- Service Catalog – A Help Desk should have a published service catalog, ideally with pricing information included and with detailed service descriptions.
The Benefits of Implementing Help Desk Software
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:
- Efficiency in working: Because employees can easily submit issues and get their tech issues fixed faster, everyone can spend more time being productive because of the time Help Desk software saves. IT professionals also waste less time on unnecessary manual processes, freeing up valuable time for more important work.
- Customize to meet needs: At the entry-level tier, a Help Desk ticket should include a title and description of each issue. For more detailed information and better categorization, a company can opt its Help Desk software to include custom fields such as department, building location, floor number, and customer preference – virtually any customization requirement is possible. This creates more ways to serve customers and easier ways for employees to narrow down ticket solutions.
- Help Desk, a One-stop Shop: Most help desk systems include a user portal that provides a single place for users 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 planned downtime), which can reduce unnecessary tickets.
- More control and more accuracy in due date management: Setting, tracking, and communicating changes to issue due dates are easy with a help desk. This would be extremely useful – and unfathomably more efficient – for both the IT professional addressing the issue and the employee who submitted it. Due dates can be automatically or manually assigned, and help desk technicians can sort tickets based on date projects need to be completed.
- Multitasking anywhere, anytime: Help Desk systems allow IT professionals to be able to quickly and more easily categorize and prioritize issues. As a result, IT professionals can schedule and sequence much better as they consider which issues to prioritize. As such, a tech might want to handle multiple similar issues in a single trip from the server room, making better use of their time.
- Improving Workflow by Trend Analysis: Because help desks can help track metrics such as average time spent resolving tickets, IT managers can run detailed reports to discover trends. For example, if a certain tech is very good at a specific task, management might want to give all related tickets to them for maximum efficiency.
- Help Desk assignment Automation: The advanced and top-notch help desk software can analyze tickets and automatically assign issues based on specific criteria. For instance, department leads can send all hardware issues to Employee A (who happens to be the superior hardware expert) and all software issues to Employee B (who specializes in software solutions).