When it comes to large companies, it is pretty much a no-brainer that having help desk software is critical, despite the costs and necessity of staff training. For entrepreneurs who operate a small business, however, the issue is not quite as cut and dry. In fact, some small business owners may not even understand help desk software.
What is help desk software?
Help desk software is a tool or technology that helps customer service personnel manage and attend to customers’ concerns (such as questions, feedback, and complaints); it is intended to do exactly as the name suggests. It is where a customer calls to seek answers to questions, thus it is the initial point of contact when problems arise. Some software applications have a self-service features through which you can resolve the problem yourself via your system. This software provides an easy way for the customer service support team to organize the issues raised by the customer and thus speed up the resolution of the problem.
When a customer sends a support request to the service provider, a corresponding ticket is generated. This ticket is assigned a unique identifier, a category, and a priority level. The ticket is then routed to a help desk agent for resolution. The agent can track the progress of the problem resolution process by the unique ticket ID assigned and the customer will get a reference number that can be used in case there is a need for a follow-up.
Does my small business need help desk software?
Nowadays, business competition is tough, especially among startups and small companies. Thanks to globalization and the Internet, companies have more options than ever and thus have less patience when they encounter poor customer service support. A good product or a cheap price can attract new customers, but customers won’t stick around if you offer poor customer service support. In fact, almost all of the customers will leave if they get frustrated with your company’s way of handling their concerns.
Still, many small business owners are unsure if they should bother changing their customer service support provider. After all, most of them already have some sort of system in place – such as an email address or a customer service number – for handling questions and complaints, and that system kinda works. But is that enough?
Unless your small business is extremely new and only has a handful of customers, you DO need help desk software. In fact, even if your business is new, with only a few customers, you can still benefit from this tool. If every support request you send becomes several emails (initial and follow-ups), your customer service agents will have difficulty in prioritizing and responding to each request. Rather than pursuing an ad hoc solution like reminders, sticky notes, calendars, or email, help desk software clearly defines and prioritizes your requirements for resolution. The software is also able to track metrics such as customer satisfaction, ticket volume, resolution time, and each customer service agent’s performance.
The benefits of having help desk software is huge as it relates to tracking and prioritizing your email, helping you to provide help yourself, and monitoring the pulse and quality of customer service.
As your business grows, the number of customers and transactions will also grow. As your customer base increases there will likely be an increase in the number of issues and questions that will come up for resolution. Moreover, just because you don’t hear from your customers does not mean that they are happy with what you offer. Maybe they just find it a hassle to contact customer service support so they just quietly take their business elsewhere, while possibly telling others of their unsatisfactory experience with your company.
How can help desk software help my business?
Help desk software enables your customer to easily contact your support team for answers to your questions, and also allows them to attempt to resolve the issue online via data you provide on your website. It can also help you streamline your processes, organize information, and minimize or eliminate repetitive manual tasks. Simply put, help desk software can improve the customer experience while boosting your company’s productivity and efficiency.
Let’s dive deeper on how such a software can benefit your business.
It makes your company look modern and professional
Statistics show that the majority of companies use help desk solution software. Thus, the probability is very high that your existing and potential customers have interacted with businesses that use one. A consumer’s experience with other companies will affect how they see your brand. If other businesses in your niche use help desk software, you may appear anachronistic by not having it. Tech savvy customers may not feel very confident that your company can resolve issues in a quick and professional way. Conversely, if your competitors are still doing customer support the old-fashioned way while you are using a help desk solution, customers may see your company as more organized and modern.
Help desk solutions help your company maintain its appearance of professionalism by ensuring your team works together seamlessly. Agents will easily know if someone else is already working on a specific ticket. Without help desk software, multiple representatives might inadvertently work on the same request. Not only will this be a waste of time for your employees, it will also be confusing for the customer, especially if the replies conflict, which would make your company look unprofessional and disorganized.
It allows multi-channel requests to be streamlined
Currently, customer support requests come in through multiple channels—by phone, in-person visits, email messages, SMS, and different kinds of social media networks. Sometimes, customers even send multiple requests for the same issue through different channels. If customer support personnel has to switch back and forth to attend to each of the different channels individually, it will be inefficient and time consuming, not to mention confusing. It will be difficult to keep track of open tickets, which can lead to some messages getting overlooked.
With a help desk software, however, all the support requests end up in a centralized platform. This makes it easier for the support team to quickly see and attend to open tickets, as well as see which support channel(s) you and other customers use the most.
It helps you be proactive in solving problems
Help desk software can make it easier for your team to notice patterns that point to a problem. For example, if your customer service representatives see multiple support requests about a certain feature of your product that is not working as expected, they can investigate the issue further and prioritize its resolution before other customers start complaining about the same problem. If the issue cannot be immediately fixed, the service provider will at least be able to notify you and other customers that the company is already working on the resolution of the problem.
In addition, seeing all customer messages in one place helps the support team stay on top of your support requests. Any entrepreneur needs to understand that, due to the power, ubiquity, and virality of social media, any negative comments you post on the internet which is not quickly addressed can immediately escalate into a major backlash from other customers.
It boosts your customer support team’s productivity and efficiency
Aside from streamlining requests received through different channels, a good help desk support solution can increase efficiency and speed up productivity in your company. One way is through automation. The software automates repetitive tasks such as ticket prioritization, categorization, and routing. This lessens human error and frees up your employees to focus on more important tasks or to take care of related issues in batches, instead of jumping from one random task to another. Automating the routing of the ticket also helps ensure that the issues are addressed by the staff most qualified to handle them. Billing issues, for example, can all be assigned to one personnel while another employee is in charge of all product inquiries.
In addition, duplicate tickets can be merged while a ticket with multiple support requests can be split into several requests. Because all open tickets can be tracked easily, having help desk software also prevents any tickets from being lost or overlooked, even if the staff is busy. Moreover, because the tickets are sorted according to priority, the agents can resolve issues according to severity, by first addressing those issues that would have the biggest and immediate negative impact. With a traditional email-based support system, the agents will likely process support requests by the date received, which can lead to trivial issues being addressed first while serious ones are left waiting.
It provides useful feedback
You can’t improve on what you can’t measure. Thanks to the reporting and analytics feature of help desk software, however, measuring your customer service support team’s performance can be done automatically and accurately. The software can tally the number of tickets that have been processed and log the time it took for each support request to be resolved. This allows the business owner or manager to evaluate the team’s performance and see if the team is meeting its targets or if there is any area that needs improvement.
It can help customers help themselves
There are times when the best way to help customers is to empower them to help themselves. Help desk software has a feature that enables a service provider to have an array of online articles and FAQ’s that are available to customers who encounter problems but are willing to try to resolve it themselves.
This enables the user to resolve issues faster and, at the end of the day, feel a sense of accomplishment. This will in turn reduce the workload of the customer service team.
It makes customer service interactions more pleasant for your customers
To most people, having to contact a customer service agent over the phone for assistance is a headache and annoying, especially if you are placed on “hold” for a long time before talking to an agent. The annoyance is magnified if you have to follow up on the issue and the customer has to repeat numerous times. While it is sometimes necessary for your customer to contact support more than once if the problem persists, it is important that you stay calm and cooperative, despite any anxiety or anger that the customer may feel—it is important to de-escalate the situation.
Help desk software can help in alleviating some of the customer’s frustrations by making available to the customer service support agents the history of all the support requests that they have received from the customer. This information will provide the agent with adequate knowledge about the problem(s) as well as the back story. It is important that communication between your customer and the agent be very cordial and precise, especially if your customer is not tech savvy.
Which help desk software is the best?
When it comes to help desk solutions, there is no single “best” software. Even the most popular, expensive, or highest rated one is not necessarily the best for you. What you need is the one that is the best meets your business requirements.
If the software is too expensive, the economic value you derive from it might not be worth it. If the software is too complex, your customer support team might not be able to adopt quickly and maximize its use, and the solution might even cause more friction. You might also end up paying for features that you’ll never use. If it is too basic, however, it might not integrate well with your other software tools. Accept only the advanced features you need, or allow access to the channels that your customers use the most.
With help desk solutions, there are two major factors to consider: the positive impact on the efficiency of your customer service support team and the satisfaction you get from having a good customer service provider.
What if I have a tight budget or limited technical skills?
Don’t let complexity of the software and budget limitation keep you from trying out help desk software. There is a wide range of help desk software solutions out in the market. Some are specifically designed for large companies while some cater to small businesses. For a small business owner with a limited budget you should consider a software package which meets your business requirements, and which is affordable and user-friendly.
If cost is a key factor for you, there are help desk solutions that have minimal costs and some which are even free. However, cost should not be the only determining factor in chosing a particular software. Before you buy yoursoftware, ask for a free in-house trial period so that you can try out its features and better gauge whether it is the right software for your needs. The free trial will also help you better gauge the potential value your organization could derive from the tool.
While getting new customers is important when doing business, retaining your customers is equally important. To do this, your customer care team needs to be efficient and effective when handling customer issues. In the present time, a manual or chaotic system won’t cut it anymore – you need help desk software that will resolve issues quickly and satisfactorily. Customers simply won’t settle for anything less.