What is helpdesk software?
Helpdesk or service desk software is a customer service tool that empowers contact centers to track, organize, and resolve customer queries from various touchpoints in one centralized location. Helpdesk solutions usually consist of a ticketing system, an inbox, an assignment mechanism for query routing, and a reporting dashboard. The main goal of helpdesk software is to enable businesses to offer the best possible experience to customers by allowing quicker resolutions, which improves customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Helpdesk software vs. ticketing system: what’s the difference?
Often, these two terms are interchangeably used in the industry, but these two solutions are different in terms of their functions, capabilities, and components. Here’s a quick comparison between helpdesk software and ticketing systems:
Top benefits of using helpdesk software
Customer expectations have been rising, and they expect contact center agents to answer their queries instantly on their preferred social channels. That's where helpdesk software comes into the picture. Let’s learn how.
Robust helpdesk software empowers contact center agents to resolve tickets faster and more accurately by collaborating with other agents, auto-routing the regular tickets to in-house experts, or quickly accessing product specs through the knowledge base. The software can also categorize tickets by priority or escalate them to the higher authority or supervisor — so the most urgent issues are resolved promptly. Faster ticket resolution translates to overall customer satisfaction.
Enhanced agent productivity
With the helpdesk ticketing system, you can automate ticket creation and convert customer emails, phone calls, and web chat requests into tickets and route them through the ticket management system. This eliminates the agent workload to create tickets manually and enables them to work on high-priority or urgent tickets — improving the agent productivity holistically.
Improved operational efficiency
When businesses use omnichannel helpdesk software, they don't have to follow up with customer interactions on different channels separately. They can easily track customer interaction history, refer the troubleshooting steps to the previous customer queries, and centralize and organize all customer service and support issues received in one unified platform. As a result, support teams can work more efficiently — cutting unnecessary back and forth between inboxes, phone call systems, and web chat applications.
Detailed team performance analytics
Reporting and analytics enable you to determine your team's busiest hours, average first response times, and resolution times. In addition, you can understand the number of customers who accessed knowledge base articles and each agent’s CSAT ratings. Using the insights, your business can understand the quality of customer support in objective terms.
When all customer information across channels is sorted in a unified place, there is a lesser chance of missing customer queries. Customer care agents respond to every customer request accurately and in an organized manner.
Types of helpdesk software
Based on the target audience, location, and method of deployment, helpdesk software is classified as follows:
Cloud-based helpdesk: deployed on your vendor’s server, cloud-based helpdesk software helps you get all the functionalities of a modern helpdesk solution without the need to set up and maintain the infrastructure yourself.
Self-hosted helpdesk: this works like a regular enterprise software purchase, where a business can buy the license for a helpdesk solution and take care of the entire deployment and maintenance process themselves, providing high data security.
Open-source helpdesk: as the name suggests, open-source helpdesk solutions are generally available free of cost, but you’ll need a dedicated team of professionals to build and maintain it.
Enterprise helpdesk: enterprise helpdesk software comes as a whole package, with advanced capabilities available right out of the box for large customer service teams.
How to pick the right helpdesk solution for your business
The ideal helpdesk software for your business will depend on many factors, including your target user size and business use cases. That being said, some fundamental capabilities and features make for a robust and disruptive helpdesk software solution for all types of businesses. Let’s discuss them briefly.
Effective ticket management
An agile helpdesk software solution enables contact center agents to organize, assign, manage, route, and resolve all incoming tickets. In addition to ticket management, it can also help improve agent experience by providing all the required data in a unified manner, making it much easier to resolve customer issues. From a supervisor’s perspective, it increases transparency over the team’s performance and helps them bridge gaps in customer service to improve quality and efficiency.
Efficient ticket management saves 2.6K working days for agents.
As a company grows, its customer support needs also grow steadily. That’s why any helpdesk solution needs to scale quickly to any user base size so that support operations can go on uninterruptedly. Without this, businesses will have to switch to a different provider or product every time they grow their customer base. Contact centers need helpdesk software that offers features like workflows and API access that will assist you in automating repetitive tasks as support volume grows.
Service level agreements (SLAs) are one of the necessities when it comes to customer support. Any modern helpdesk software must be able to configure multiple SLA policies, define business hours and working days, and even set up automations for ticket escalations.
Helpdesk software must be easy to integrate with other solutions such as CRM, marketing, and sales software to pull pertinent data quickly without switching windows and give visibility and context into your customer issues.
Broad channel coverage
No matter which channel your customer uses, your helpdesk solution should be able to cater to it. That’s why it makes sense to invest in an omnichannel helpdesk solution that allows your agents to track and handle inbound tickets on all the channels your customer prefer — from a single interface.
Your agents can work on complex or high-priority tickets or respond to customer queries faster if your helpdesk software has disruptive built-in collaboration tools. Features such as internal notes and tagging can be helpful for multi-member support teams. Using them, teams can quickly resolve customer issues and increase first contact resolution (FCR) without transferring them to another agent or department.
Your customer care agents shouldn’t need to invest too much time hunting for correct answers to customers’ queries. That’s possible if your helpdesk software has access to a robust knowledge base (KB). The KB compiles common customer questions and structures them into retrievable FAQs or how-to articles. It surfaces answers quickly to recurring customer queries with the help of automated triggers — which frees your agents to prioritize other complex cases.
Future-readiness (AI and innovation)
Helpdesk software backed by intelligent AI technologies (virtual chatbots, canned responses, automated categorization, prioritization, and intelligent routing) can future-proof your business and remove the manual overhead associated with high-volume, low-value service desk activities.
If your business has an extensive customer database, you should look for a helpdesk tool that can accommodate bulk customer data across all channels and has the bandwidth to host content for the knowledge base, especially if your server capacity is limited.
What are the primary functions of helpdesk software?
There are quite a few basic functionalities that any helpdesk software needs to provide, irrespective of the industry or domain they are deployed in. These functions can be summarized as follows:
1. Provide a simplified, unified portal for customer issues.
When a customer wants to report an issue or get a query answered, they should have to look no further than your helpdesk portal. This way, users (internal or external) can easily reach you anytime they have any issues with the product and resolve it quickly.
2. Help resolve customer issues on their own or through agents.
Helpdesk software can resolve customer issues in one of two ways — by enabling them to easily find solutions via self-service tools or directing them to the right department/agent to resolve it. Both of these aspects are equally important to keep the ticket queue moving while also reducing the amount of manual effort needed.
3. Reduce workload for agents
Not all incoming tickets in a contact center need agent assistance, and it’s one of the important objectives of helpdesk software to keep the agents’ workload in check. This is crucial to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed, resulting in reduced quality of resolution and productivity.
4. Enabling collaboration on tickets among agents
Not all issues can be resolved by a single agent, and quite a lot of times, tickets require the assistance of multiple customer service representatives, either from the same team or even from different departments. In that case, the helpdesk solution must be powerful enough to enable easy collaboration and communication between agents to ensure the issue is resolved quickly.
The best helpdesk software for 2023 and beyond: what are the latest trends?
Helpdesk solutions are evolving constantly to cater to the needs of companies across the globe that want to improve their support strategy while constantly keeping the customer at the heart of their operations. Here are some of the trends that are expected to be observed in helpdesk technology in the coming years:
1. Deploying AI/ML to augment customer service efforts
Artificial intelligence has been finding its way into every industry over the past half-decade, and customer support is no exception. With advanced machine learning algorithms that can detect customer sentiment and intent, the work of support agents has been made much easier. In the coming years, this technology is anticipated to be much more prevalent as an out-of-the-box feature while also remarkably improving the capabilities that it brings along.
2. Advanced automation capabilities
Automation is increasingly becoming a necessity with customer support since it frees up agents and helps them focus on more important issues while repeated issues are being answered by chatbots and voice bots. In addition to resolution, automation will also play a bigger role in routing and assignment, and as mentioned above, intelligent ML algorithms will help dramatically improve the efficiency of ticket assignment.
3. Increased focus on providing better customer experiences
The emphasis on improving customer experiences has been on the rise, and it is expected to rightfully increase over the next couple of years. More and more companies are starting to realize support is a part of the customer experience journey, which will help shape their CX strategies toward delivering a holistic, continuous customer experience.
Sprinklr Modern Care — the only helpdesk software you’ll need.
We wanted to provide you with advanced AI helpdesk software that can analyze, detect, predict, and suggest actions from one unified platform — making your agents more productive, your customers happier, and your operations more cost-effective. With Care Lite, you can do exactly that and even more!
Offer omnichannel support by responding to customers’ queries quickly and accurately across all channels from a unified helpdesk.
Empower customers to self-serve by accessing a robust Knowledge Base and resolving queries instantly without staying on hold for a long time.
Use in-context guided paths at the right time to resolve customer issues at first interaction without any training.
Improve your agent productivity by automating 4x more manual tasks — with much less effort.
Automate your workflows and reporting for smart ticketing and improve your team’s performance.
Helpdesk software FAQ
1. What should I automate for service desk?
The most important service desk-related functions that can be automated are:
Ticket routing and assignment
Alerts and notifications (primarily for SLA management)
Escalation mechanisms for quicker resolution and crisis management
Canned responses for quicker response times
Periodic data backups, so that customer data is always available
2. How do you automate a ticketing tool?
With most modern ticketing solutions, automations are available out of the box. In case it is not available, you can use third-party automation solutions integrated with your ticketing tool to make your work easier.
3. What is the best helpdesk software for 2023?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all helpdesk solution that is available for any and every brand, since your requirements might be completely different from a brand in a different industry. However, a few criteria can help in deciding which would be the best helpdesk solution for your business:
Availability of AI/ML algorithms out of the box that help improve efficiency of your customer service operations
Scope for extensive automations to reduce manual effort in support processes
Capabilities that help you focus more on customer experiences to provide a seamless support journey across channels
4. What is the KPI for helpdesk?
Key performance indicators or KPIs are important to analyze the performance of any customer service operations. For a helpdesk solution, these are some of the KPIs that are widely accepted as an industry standard:
Customer retention rate
First response time
Net Promoter Score/Customer Satisfaction Score (NPS/CSAT)
First contact resolution (FCR) rate
5. Is helpdesk software a CRM?
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution might sound related to helpdesk software, but it is not. Helpdesk software helps you track and resolve customer issues, whereas CRM stores all important information about your customers, including purchase history and interactions.
6. What are the basic elements of a helpdesk automated system?
Some of the basic elements that any automated helpdesk system must possess are
Extensive ticketing management
Self-serve capabilities to enable customers to resolve issues themselves
Omnichannel coverage to unify your helpdesk operations
Advanced SLA configuration and management
7. What are the top qualities of a good service desk employee?
Here are some of the most important qualities that are required for a service desk employee at any level or domain:
Empathy towards the customer and their issues
Patience during interactions to identify the root cause of their issue
Active listening to understand their problems clearly
Great analysis skills in order to anticipate issues before they occur
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