19 Must-have helpdesk software features for better customer service
July 31, 202311 min read
When it comes to helpdesk software, not all solutions are built equally. To be honest, the number of features of helpdesk software to pick and choose are mind boggling. It’s easy to be swayed by all the glitz and glamour and invest in software that overpromises but underdelivers.
We get you. That’s why, in this article, we have identified 19 helpdesk software features that you just can’t skimp on if you want to streamline your support operations, utilize your workforce optimally and eventually cut your support costs.
Let’s get started.
The importance of helpdesk software
Helpdesk software can empower your business to meet your customers' needs and help provide a positive customer experience. It’s a single platform to manage your incoming and outgoing tickets, analyze your product issues and address customer concerns with speed and agility.
In the realm of customer support, helpdesk software can be used by your customer support teams to view their tickets, log action items and make notes to maintain context. Your supervisors get a bird’s eye view of all tickets and their real-time status, along with reports about team and agent productivity.
In a nutshell, helpdesk software is more than just a customer support solution; it is an integral component of any forward-thinking business.
Choosing the right helpdesk for your support team
To find the right helpdesk software, you must first understand the needs of your customer support vertical and whether your team is equipped to fulfil these needs:
Determine your customers' expectations vis-a-vis what channel (social media or email) they prefer to contact your support team.
Understand the skill set of your employees and choose a helpdesk platform that helps empower them and perform their jobs.
A higher price does not mean it is a better solution. Go for helpdesk software that meets your needs and falls within your budget.
A helpdesk solution with multiple features may not necessarily be the best for your business. Rather than the number of features, assess software basis business-critical features that add value to your team and customers alike.
Essential helpdesk software features you should look for
As discussed, you need to be very objective in your feature selection. Don’t be swayed by bells and whistles that eat into your budget but don’t do anything for your support quality and experience. Below are 19 such vital helpdesk software requirements:
1. Ticket automation
Ticket automation helps improve and streamline customer response times by tagging and routing tickets to suitable customer service agents. You can process customer requests, manage tickets, notify your customers and smoothen the workflow with the help of helpdesk automation.
Important automation workflows include:
Converting emails to tickets
Assigning tickets automatically
Chatting and commenting on the tickets,
Sending notifications and reminders, to name a few
2. Workflow automation
Automating your workflow enables your agents to respond quickly by suggesting step-by-step guidance for solving basic queries. Using automated workflows, you can send automatic alerts when minor changes occur or when certain milestones are met.
💡Bonus tip: Invest in advanced helpdesk software that comes with a customizable rules engine that allows setting business rules to automate your internal processes easily. It should also allow you to add visuals to your workflows, which helps guide rookie agents in complex processes.
Keen to learn more about workflows? Read this 5-minute article.
3. Reporting & analytics
Your helpdesk software should offer granular reporting and analytics that helps you set measurable goals at agent and team levels. You will be able to tailor agent coaching programs and build a culture of accountability. On top of that, it should allow you to create visual dashboards that can be exported and shared with external stakeholders with ease.
While there are countless customer support metrics to track, here are some metrics your helpdesk software should not miss:
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): It measures the total profit earned by a company from a given customer.
Churn rate: It identifies the number of customers and reasons for stopping business with your company.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): It measures customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand and products. This is done by assessing customers’ willingness to recommend your company’s products and services to other people.
4. Service level agreement (SLA) status information
With Service Level Agreement status information, your support teams understand a ticket's urgency and its priority concerning how soon it should be resolved. When your helpdesk software is configured to raise automated alerts for tickets approaching SLA, your agents can swoop in with timely help and minimize SLA violations.
💡Bonus tip: If you cater to multiple channels, ensure that the helpdesk software you choose allows you to customize SLA policies for each channel separately. For example, social media SLAs are usually shorter than email SLAs. Tools like Sprinklr offer advanced compliance management so your customer support teams meet customer expectations everywhere.
5. Canned responses
Canned responses help save time, allowing you to compose messages beforehand for repeat queries and routine messages (like welcome messages, T&C for refunds/returns etc).
An AI-powered helpdesk solution will allow you to pre-create email templates or messages that can be customized for each customer with a few clicks. With these templates, your agents would not need to rewrite the same information on multiple threads, saving them tons of time and frustration.
6. Multilingual support
Multilingual support has become a critical ticketing system requirement for global brands that want to engage with customers in their local language.
A ticketing system that supports multiple languages makes communication easier and more personalized. While it might not be an immediate requirement, you can consider looking for this feature to scale operations in the future.
Helpdesk software should ideally allow you to scale up and down dynamically as your support volume evolves with time. It should serve as an omnichannel solution where you can add channels as needed, with high speed of deployment. With a single unified solution for all your channels (email, chat, social, phone) you will be able to deliver a seamless, unbroken experience to your customers and agents.
So, consider the cost of potential scalability and upgrade when choosing the right helpdesk software. For instance, determine if the vendor charges on per-seat or pay-as-you-go or ticket volume basis.
You can easily estimate the cost of adding a new seat, but things get tricky if you are charged based on ticket volume, especially during seasonal spikes. So read the fine print on your buyer’s agreement and ask questions before signing on the dotted line.
Security is one of the crucial helpdesk software features since it helps build customer confidence in your brand. We just can’t downplay the cost of data breaches and compliance irregularities to a company. Hence, protecting your customer data should be top of mind when you’re evaluating helpdesk software features.
Your helpdesk software should allow you to host data in the cloud where it is constantly monitored by the service provider team. In addition, it should allow you to regulate role-based permissions for added security.
Lastly, it should be compliant with various international, national and industry regulations. For instance, if you’re in the healthcare industry, HIPAA-compliant helpdesk software is a must.
9. Ticket tags
If your helpdesk software facilitates ticket tagging based on keywords and issue types, there’s nothing better than that. Tagging helps organize tickets and identify common issues quickly. For example, your agents can quickly find messages by filtering tickets based on issues like status updates, repairs, demo requests, etc. if they are tagged and grouped as such.
Definitely. Your supervisors can create dedicated teams for each ticket group to track team performance and issue frequency.
Tagging can also be done basis issue severity so high-stakes tickets are not overlooked and escalations are avoided. Lastly, if you pick helpdesk software that uses AI, it will be able to filter engageable and non-engageable tickets as they arrive and tag them so. This way, your agents needn’t devote their time on addressing tickets that don’t warrant a response.
10. Customizable ticket templates
One of the key helpdesk ticketing system requirements is the ability to create and customize templates. In addition, these templates can be loaded as and when needed, which helps lower customer response times significantly.
11. Individual ticket queues
Having individual ticket queues helps organize tickets by priority, urgency and difficulty. This allows your agents to manage their cases and time more efficiently. In addition, the manager gets a helicopter view of their agent occupancy and step in if someone requires help.
12. Customizable ticket status
Do not be limited by a helpdesk system that only allows you to open and close tickets. Instead, go for one where you can customize status options per your business needs. Moreover, the system should be configured to send emails or messages to customers whenever their ticket status changes.
13. Comprehensive customer profiles
Customer profiles is one helpdesk feature that will make your agents’ lives easier and your customers happier. Using it, your agents will be able to view information on the customer’s satisfaction score, ticket history, distress index score and more – in one glance.
Having access to all relevant customer information in one place enables agents to provide context-rich answers and quick resolutions – leading to high customer satisfaction and happiness.
14. Related or similar tickets
Any helpdesk agent who manages tickets knows how often one receives similar and repetitive requests and the arduous task of answering each ticket one by one.
Helpdesk software that aggregates related tickets in one group, enabling your agents to solve them as a batch in one go. Easy peasy!
15. Ticket deflection
Your helpdesk tool should be able to deflect basic queries to customer self-service tools like chatbots, online customer communities and knowledge bases where pertinent solutions can be found without agent involvement. Integration of these tools within your helpdesk platform makes your agents’ and customers’ lives easier, and your voice call volumes leaner.
Learn more: What is customer self-service? Definition & tips
16. Automatic ticket assignment
One of the key helpdesk software features is automatic and “intelligent” ticket assignment. Manual ticket assignment is error-prone and time-consuming task and often leads to delays in resolution.
But when your helpdesk software is able to route tickets by pre-defined logic such as agent availability, ticket type and agent skillset, you can bypass all these chokepoints. Moreover, by even case distribution, you ensure tickets are managed efficiently and no one is being overworked.
💡Pro tip: The best helpdesk software possess smart routing by which tickets are assigned based on the skill and expertise of agents. For instance, a Spanish-speaking customer is automatically routed to a Spaniard agent or an agent adept at Spanish so they can interact easily and close the case quickly
17. Customer feedback
A great helpdesk solution will come with built-in customer surveys to capture customer feedback on your product/service and support quality. After every interaction, the customer is served with a short and engaging CSAT survey to understand their sentiment in real time.
Ensure that the software offers many types of surveys to gather quantitative and qualitative information that you can use to improve your customer support.
18. User-friendly interface
One of the most underrated helpdesk software features is a simple, user-friendly interface that navigates intuitively and works without lags. If your helpdesk software is too cluttered or complicated, your teams might find it too challenging to use effectively.
Last but not least, the interface should be persona oriented. That means it should show features, reports and widgets that are specific to the persona using it at a particular time. This way, you save your team from cognitive overload and unnecessary stress.
19. Knowledge base integration
As explained, easy deflection of customers to your knowledge base is one of the most useful helpdesk features. In your knowledge base, you can collate and organize repetitive queries into FAQs that are searchable by keywords.
So, make sure your helpdesk software is compatible with your knowledge base even if it’s on a third-party platform. This way, your agents spend less time on calls and more time on solving queries.
Finding the ideal helpdesk software
The search for an ideal help desk software need not be challenging. And it will not be if you figure out a few fundamental questions right at the outset.
What kind of support do your customers expect?
What is the industry benchmark for support SLAs on all your active channels?
Do you need multi-language and multi-channel support?
What should be the availability and business hours for your team?
Once you have clarity on the above, create a list of good-to-have and must-have features required for delivering the expected service and experience.
It's prudent to test your short-listed helpdesk software to compare their usability, features and challenges. Last, do not neglect the solution's scalability and integration with your existing tech stack.
Choosing the best helpdesk software for your business
As the world gets smaller and more connected, providing good-enough support will not make the cut. You need to provide great support to cement customer retention and loyalty. And that’s where the right helpdesk software can make all the difference.
Traditional helpdesk platforms were reactive and single channel. Advanced helpdesk software like Sprinklr Service sense customer needs before they even arise by leveraging the power of AI. We provide an unbroken, omnichannel support experience with a platform that:
Automates ticket assignment
Manages your workforce smartly
Assists your agents with suggested responses, macros and templates
Complies with national and international data protection rules
Integrates seamlessly with your self-serve tools
All in all, Sprinklr helpdesk software is your go-to tool when you want to bring down your support costs, streamline your ticketing and improve your agent productivity.
Still not convinced?
Try Sprinklr for FREE for full 90 days and see the results for yourself. Help your agents, help yourself!