Help Desk Software Guide

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How to Select the Right Helpdesk Software for you

Helpdesk software is essential for a growing company. Every business needs automated helpdesk software to help keep their customer, website, and inventory management relationships running smoothly. The bigger your business grows, the more Information Technology (IT) staff is needed, and the more money needs to be budgeted to keep the helpdesk running smoothly. So, how do you find the best helpdesk software for your company?

Cost versus Quality

When searching for the ideal software for your helpdesk, the process is a matter of cost versus quality. Helpdesk software runs the gamut from basic ticket logging to top-of-the-line CRM systems. In order to find the best software for your helpdesk, you need to have the company's needs and services clearly defined, preferably in print. If you are running a small or medium-sized business, it is likely that costly helpdesk software with the most sophisticated and numerous features will be too complex for what your helpdesk needs right now, and would put an unnecessarily large dent in the company's funds to purchase, implement, and support. On the other hand, the least expensive, most basic software might not offer all of the features your helpdesk requires to run successfully.

The most basic, core help desk software should be able to assist your helpdesk track, log, and resolve support incidences; respond to users more quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly; and reduce all administrative resource requirements. On the other hand, the créme-de-la-créme (aka expensive) of helpdesk software is usually designed with your company's specific needs in mind. In order to figure out which vendors may offer that software, you should talk to people who work in other companies similar to yours to find out what worked for them. It is also advisable to get in touch with the local chapter of The Help Desk Institute, a global organization that can inform you about recent help desk technology tools and trends.

Some common questions to determine before looking for software include:

  • What is the budget?
  • What are the needs of the helpdesk team?
  • Is this for external, internal, or general support?
  • What functions are you seeking? (i.e. help tracking tickets, or full automation.)
  • Are you willing to purchase software that requires a third-part application?
  • What features are you looking for in an interface?
  • Do you want customers to be able to input their own service tickets?
  • Is it important for customers or employees to be able to see the status of their problem?
  • How complicated is set-up and use? Are you willing to train IT staff and employees?
  • How is the system maintained? Will technicians be relied on to input a great deal of information?
  • Will the software suggest resolutions?
  • Does the software keep track of and remind technician of scheduled follow-up calls?
  • What type of reports can be run? Does this include time tracking or service fees?
  • How is the time per call tracked, and what features allow the technician to know the status?

Request for Proposal

Now that you've defined your helpdesk software needs, you should draft an RFP, or Request for Proposal. This is an invitation specifying all the requirements of the software you want that suppliers selling a range of software will ideally respond to with detailed proposals. Once vendors have responded to your RFP, rate them in order of preference. Find out whether their helpdesk software needs to be installed or is accessed through a browser. Discover whether the software is fully self-customizable or requires hiring a programmer for certain functions. Can the software be modified for use within various departments within your company?

If none of the software offered in response to your RFP is suitable for your company, or within the budget, you can also buy an out-of-the-box version, or hire someone to develop it for you.

Easy. Fun. Quick. These terms are applicable to instant pudding-not buying helpdesk software. Be aware it is a delicate process and can be overwhelming if you don't know 1) the IT department's needs, 2) your budget, and 3) the pros and cons of each software within your budget. Hopefully, this article helped clarify the process, and allow you to begin your search with confidence.

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