With an IT help desk platform, your organization can resolve tickets faster, centralize information, and improve efficiency. But how do you know if a particular software platform is worth using? And how do you compare different platforms?
Help Desk Software: An Introduction
According to Go Genuity, help desk software can take many forms, but it almost always has a few core features in common. The purpose of help desk software is to facilitate better interactions between users of a given platform or system and service agents appointed to help them resolve issues. These are some of the most important features for this goal:
1. Ticketing/issue tracking
When a new user raises a complaint or asks a question, a ticket is created. This digital ticket serves as an official record of the inquiry and can be conveniently managed on the back end. This is also useful for issue tracking, whether you’re interested in analytics about your customer service efforts or are more focused on improving issue resolution speed.
2. Internal and external communication
These platforms also facilitate both internal and external communication in most cases. Customer service agents can chat with users, ask questions, and gather more data. They can also work internally to clarify any misconceptions they have, gather more information, and/or help the end user in different ways. All of these communications are logged, so users and their supervisors can review the interactions at their discretion.
3. Features for project/task management
There are also some features for project and task management, giving people more tools and resources they can use to do work faster. For example, users can adjust the priority of different tickets, assign tickets to different agents, track the progress of tickets, and make comments and updates when necessary.
4. Recordkeeping and reporting
Help desk software also functions as a centralized database for all tickets and issues related to a given system. Therefore, it usually has recordkeeping and reporting functions available for its users.
How to Evaluate Help Desk Software
So what exactly makes a help desk software platform worth using?
These are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
1. Core features
We listed some of the most important and most common features of help desk software in the previous section, but you may be interested in a platform with even more robust functionality. What goals are you trying to achieve with your help desk software and will this platform help you achieve them? Are there features for everything you need on this platform? Are there too many features, making the platform cumbersome and harder to use?
What is the usability of this platform? Chances are, you have a full team of people who will be using this platform on a daily basis. It’s important that this application is designed in a way that makes it intuitive and easy to use. After a brief training session, your employees should be able to seamlessly access the most important core features of the platform – with minimal attrition. This is important not only for productivity and efficiency but also the morale of your team.
3. Flexibility/customization options
For some business owners, it’s important to find a help desk software platform that has significant flexibility or options for customization. For example, you may want to integrate this platform with other platforms your business is currently using. You may also want to update the design, add or remove certain features, or tinker with the exact nature of its core features. More flexibility is usually better, but this may not be a priority for you.
4. Ongoing support
How much support does this platform have? Is the development team constantly pushing new patches and updates, rolling out new features and improving security? Is there a road map to make this platform better in the future? If you have a question or a problem with this platform, is there a convenient avenue for you to reach out to a representative?
Finally, you’ll need to think about price. You might find a platform with literally everything you need – one that’s highly functional, intuitively usable, and seamlessly integrated with your other existing platforms – but if the price is too high, it may not work with your budget. On some level, you get what you pay for, but you also need to be conscious of what you’re spending.
Here are some additional tips to help you in the decision-making process:
1. Compare many different options
There are hundreds of different help desk software platforms out there, each suited to different niches. If you only look at one or two of them, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s important to shop around, experimenting with many different options before making a final choice.
2. Compare apples to apples
It’s sometimes hard to compare different platforms because they operate so differently. If they have completely distinct sets of features, it may be hard to determine which one is the superior fit for your organization. Try to objectively compare apples to apples, so you can make a cleaner analysis.
3. Get your employees involved
Employee feedback can be incredibly valuable when trying to figure out whether or not a help desk software platform will work. Your employees are the ones who will be using this platform on a daily basis, so if they strongly like or dislike it, take heed. Incorporate them into the decision-making process as best you can.
4. Take advantage of trials and demos
Most help desk software platforms offer limited free trials, or at least demos, so you can see and feel how the platform operates. Take advantage of these whenever possible; there’s no reason to buy a platform when you haven’t spent any time actually using it.
Almost any competently developed help desk software platform can help you achieve your help desk goals. But not all platforms in this niche are equally valuable. Be discerning, do your research, and only make the final decision when you’re truly ready.