Help desks: The perks, features and software
Hey there! It sounds like you might be considering implementing a help desk in your company, but you still have some questions about what it is and whether it's the right choice for you. You might be wondering, what exactly is a help desk and how is it different from a service desk? And if you do need a help desk, what are the best practices to follow to ensure its success?
We reached out to our experts for some answers, and here's what they had to say:
So, let's start with the basics. A help desk is essentially the first line of support for both customers and employees. When customers have questions or need help with something, they can turn to the help desk for assistance. Similarly, when employees encounter technical issues or need access to new systems, the help desk is there to provide support. Whether it's troubleshooting a printer, setting up a new account, or resolving a software bug, the help desk is the go-to resource for many common issues.
The difference between service desks and help desks
When it comes to help desks and service desks, it can be easy to get them mixed up or think they're the same thing. But actually, they serve different purposes and have distinct focuses.
Basically, a help desk is all about fixing problems. It grew out of the IT world when mainframe computing was the norm. So when customers or employees have issues with their technology, they turn to the help desk for assistance. On the other hand, a service desk has a broader focus on delivering service to its customers or users. There's a greater emphasis on customer satisfaction and making sure their needs are met.
While both are important, service desks tend to have a more customer-centric approach than help desks. That being said, a help desk can be a great starting point for organizations looking to get organized and streamline their approach to solving customer problems.
The functions of a help desk
When it comes to a help desk, there are a few key things it should be doing to make sure it's serving its customers (both internal and external) well.
First of all, it should provide a single point of contact. Customers should always know where to turn when they need help, whether that's a self-service portal or a help desk agent. This can make things a lot easier for everyone involved!
Another important function of a help desk is answering questions. Customers should be able to get the information they need quickly and easily, whether that's by looking it up themselves or getting assistance from a help desk agent. This can save a lot of time and frustration on both sides.
A well-run help desk should also be freeing up time for everyone involved. By centralizing knowledge and providing guidance on workflows, the help desk can make it easier and faster to solve customer problems. This can be a big win for both customers and the organization as a whole.
Finally, it's important to measure customer satisfaction. Customers should have a way to rate the help desk and give feedback on how it can improve. This can help the help desk team stay on top of what's working well and what could use some improvement.
Different sorts of help desks
IT support help desk
An IT help desk supports internal staff, solving problems that range from a simple password reset to a network outage.
Customer service help desk
A customer service help desk focuses on the external customer, answering questions about and helping troubleshoot issues with products and services they’ve purchased.
Business help desk
Teams outside IT (such as HR, finance, and legal) can and sometimes do create and run a business help desk. HR can help employees do things like modify payroll elections or get employment verification letters. Legal can respond to contract review requests. And finance can field accounts payable and expense questions.
Common help desk roles
So, you might be wondering what kind of roles are involved in a help desk team. Well, first up is the help desk manager. This person is in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the help desk. They'll be responsible for hiring and training new agents, as well as creating support processes and tracking KPIs like agent productivity and customer satisfaction. They'll also need to keep an eye on the budget and report on performance to the higher-ups.
Next, there's the help desk agent. This is the person who responds directly to help desk questions from customers and employees. They might be helping with hardware issues, resetting passwords, or answering general inquiries. Help desk agents are also usually responsible for updating the company's knowledge base and finding ways to share their technical expertise with others. Depending on the size of the organization, there might be different levels of agents based on experience.
Finally, there's the help desk team lead. This person supports the help desk manager by coaching new agents and making sure everyone is delivering top-notch customer service while meeting their SLA goals. They'll also keep an eye on performance and provide feedback to managers on ways to improve support processes.
What’s a help desk software?
So, if you're wondering how most companies run their help desks, the answer is help desk software. There are a lot of different options out there, but one popular choice is Ariglad.
When companies are just starting out, they might rely on email for support. But as the business grows, it becomes more and more important to have a system in place that can handle support requests in a scalable way. If agents are struggling to keep up with the volume of requests and their inboxes are overflowing with unanswered emails, it's definitely time to consider using help desk software.
So, what does help desk software actually do? Well, it allows companies to manage support requests in an organized way. With a good help desk program, you can accept, track, and respond to requests more efficiently. Many programs also offer features like knowledge bases, self-service portals, SLA management, and reporting. The key is to choose the right software for your specific needs.
Top 4 reasons why companies require a help desk software
There are a few good reasons why using email for your help desk can be a major headache. For starters, it's not a great way to keep track of everything. When every help request is just another email in the inbox, it can be hard for agents to prioritize and respond to each one in a timely manner. That's where help desk software comes in - it can help organize your support queues and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Another benefit of using help desk software is that it gives customers a way to help themselves. A lot of times, people just need a quick answer to a common question. By creating an FAQ or knowledge base, you can provide customers with a simple way to find the information they need without having to contact an agent.
One of the most useful features of help desk software is the ability to prioritize tickets. Instead of relying on calendar reminders, sticky notes, or email chains, you can use the software to define ticket order, priority levels, and resolution time requirements. This can be a game-changer when it comes to making sure the most important issues get addressed first.
Finally, help desk software can give you a lot of insights into how your support team is doing overall. By tracking metrics like ticket volume, resolution time, and customer satisfaction, you can get a sense of how things are going and where there might be room for improvement. You can even monitor individual agent performance to see who might need a little extra coaching or training.
Common features a help desk software would have
- Email support: Instead of letting support requests pile up in your inbox, help desk software can convert emails into tickets and help you stay organized.
- Knowledge base: A knowledge base is like a library of common questions and useful articles. It can be a great way to provide customers with self-service options and reduce the number of support requests you receive.
- Self-service portal: The self-service portal is where customers can submit help desk tickets or find immediate answers via the knowledge base. It's a simple, intuitive way to get the support they need.
- Community forums: Some help desk software includes community forums where users can ask questions and get answers from other customers.
- Reporting and analytics: Help desk software can provide detailed reports on things like agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and support costs. This can help you improve your service quality and efficiency over time.
- Help desk automation: By automating common tasks, you can free up agents' time and ensure consistent actions. For example, you could automatically close an inactive ticket or notify a manager when a high-priority issue is created.
- SLA/SLO management: Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Service Level Objectives (SLOs) are contracts between businesses and customers that define expected service levels. Help desk software can help you manage these by setting goals and tracking performance.
- Customization: Most help desk software allows you to customize the look and feel of your help desk to match your brand. You can also build custom integrations to extend its functionality and better meet your specific needs.
Getting starting with help desk software
- Choosing the right help desk software depends on your specific needs, number of agents, and budget.
- When shopping for a solution, consider the following questions recommended by our experts:
- Which channels do you need to offer support on (web, email, social, mobile, etc.)?
- How many agents will be using the software?
- Does your company need a self-service solution/knowledge base?
- Does your company need automation for repetitive help desk tasks?
- What kind of reporting do you need?
- What is your timeline for implementing the software?
- What is your budget? Do you have any flexibility?
- How many resources can you invest in software setup?
- The answers to these questions should guide you as you choose the best help desk software for your organization.
How much does help desk software cost?
The cost of help desk software can vary widely depending on a few different factors, such as the size of your company, the size of your support team, and the specific needs of your business. Typically, the price is calculated based on the number of agents who will be using the software to resolve tickets.
It's tough to give an exact cost range because it can be so wide. There are free options out there that are great for small businesses, and there are also enterprise-level solutions that can cost thousands of dollars per month.
If you're looking for a flexible, customizable help desk solution, Ariglad is just what you need. With Ariglad, every team (from IT to HR to legal) can set up their help desk to meet their unique needs. Start by booking a demo with one of our product experts.