Help Desk Software Guide

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Helpdesk Software Buyer's Guide

You can use Helpdesk Software to keep track of the various stages of the customer support cycle, starting at the time of the customer's initial report regarding a problem, to the time your Helpdesk personnel finds and administers the proper solution to the customer's problem. Good Helpdesk software should be able to access inventory data, and present complete ready-made solutions for problems common to your specific industry or line of business.

Remember that your Helpdesk is often the contact point of your customer and your company, and the customer's perception of your company may be deeply influenced by his experience with your helpdesk, positive or negative. Keep in mind that you are not just selecting a supplier - you are looking for a partner who will have significant influence over your customer satisfaction. Check whether you are dealing with an authorized reseller. If not, it can affect your warranty and access to support and parts.

The best information about a specific Helpdesk package or a specific vendor can come from references, specifically from businesses comparable to yours. Ask them specific questions about what works and doesn't work with the vendor, what is the support level, and how good is the training.

Quality Training

It is essential to evaluate your Helpdesk Software provider's ability to administer an effective training program for your Helpdesk's personnel to ensure optimal use of the software you are planning to buy. Is the training program conducted in your company's location, or do you need to get to the provider's location?

Robust documentation is also essential for smooth Helpdesk Software operation, specifically in the case of complicated and feature rich packages. Good documentation can help you reduce the need for on-going assistance from your Helpdesk software provider's staff.

Does your software provider have a 24 hour toll-free hotline? Is there someone readily available to answer your questions at all time for questions and crisis management? Make sure your provider's support hours match your business hours to ensure you can get help when you need it. Also, understand what level of support is provided. Do not simply purchase the lowest price deal - seriously consider the ongoing service you will receive.

These three basic elements, training, documentation and helpline, are crucial for the success of your helpdesk team, and should be checked for every potential software provider before using any Helpdesk solution.

License

When buying Helpdesk Software, one should decide on the desired license for the software. In general, there are four types of licenses available:

  • Named Seat License: This type of license guarantees individual access for each Helpdesk team member.
  • Concurrent License: This type of license limits the number of people that may access the software module at the same time.
  • Site License: This type of license is generally used by larger companies, so that access to the software is not limited to a specific person or a maximum number of users.
  • Application Service Provider (ASP) license: In this type of license, the software is not installed on your company's servers. It is installed on the provider's servers, and you pay a monthly subscription fee to access the application.

Make sure that the license you are buying includes everything you need - attractive pricing that is asterisked with "additional fees may apply" should be thoroughly investigated before you sign up.

Helpdesk Software Uses

Your helpdesk may be required to handle various tasks, and respond to different types of calls. You should be sure that your Helpdesk package is flexible enough to allow easy use for these tasks. Such tasks may include:

  • Taking orders for your products
  • Customer service
  • Tech support and problem solving
  • Qualifying potential leads
  • Answering service/messages

Basic software packages should at least include capabilities for call management, call tracking, knowledge base management, problem resolution, remote control and self-help. When selecting a software package, focus on what matters. Sales pitches can be full of flashy features and technical lingo that obscure the basic facts about the system. Keep your focus on the features that matter to your business.

Outsourcing

Sometimes the volume of calls to your helpdesk may increase significantly, so substantial capital investment is needed to keep up with the call volume, such as buying an expensive software package, or hiring and training new team members. This is the point when you should consider outsourcing your helpdesk activity to the hands of a specialized helpdesk management company. This may lower your costs (software, training and salaries), and can improve your customer's experience with your helpdesk.

If you have in-house help desk software, make sure that your software package is connected to your provider's system, so you can easily exchange data. Real-time connection is, of course, much easier if your provider uses the same software as you do, allowing you to see updates as they happen.

Evaluation Period

Most Help Desk Software vendors will provide you with a free 30-day evaluation period to try out their system. Here are some points to keep an eye on while installing the system:

  • Is it user-friendly?
  • Does it include an installation wizard that takes you through the install process step by step?
  • Does it feature all of the applications that you need for your help desk solution?

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