July 9, 2015

Why Helpdesk Software is Fundamental to Running an Agile Business

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As your business grows, so does the amount of issues customers and employees face. Without a scalable way to track their problems and requests — technical, safety, personal, or other —  issues can easily slip through the cracks, go unnoticed, or fester silently.

As technology advances, people ask organizations for help through an increasing number of channels. These include:

  • phone
  • website
  • instant messaging
  • email
  • social media

Users need support from their office, home, and on the road, and often for multiple websites, accounts, or devices. Organizational issues are plentiful, which is why helpdesk software has become a staple for IT and customer support.

But the best helpdesk software goes beyond issue tracking— it can help your business stay agile. If your IT or customer support is a tangle of sticky notes, spreadsheets, and a prayer, then it’s time to consider a modern solution.

What is helpdesk software?

customer satisfaction metrics

Support is an integral part of your brand experience, and there’s a formula to deliver customer satisfaction. (image via Zendesk)

Whether you need to reset a password or return a pair of shoes, nearly everyone is familiar with help desks. As the name implies, they’re a beacon for guidance.

There are two ways helpdesk services are used:

  • externally, by customers who have bought goods or services from you
  • internally, by employees who need assistance

Though there are specialized solutions for each, both have the same core functions.

Helpdesk software provides a central platform for staff, network users, or customers to report issues through phone, email, live chat, or social media. These issues and requests become tickets, which are automatically logged and prioritized into a system. The ticketing system then reports issues to IT administrators, web developers, or customer service representatives. This centralization and automation saves time and effort associated with manual troubleshooting, increases employee productivity, and improves customer satisfaction.

Helpdesk software has always centered around ticket management, but as companies fight to gain a competitive edge, features such as reporting, analytics, and live chat are becoming increasingly important.

Additionally, helpdesk use cases now extend beyond IT. They are now regularly used for HR purposes, bug tracking, customer service, and more.

The Benefits of Helpdesk Software

Help desk software goes beyond ticket management and troubleshooting to include smart tools for automating resolution processes, such as:

  • Auto-assign features, which allocate tickets to specific technicians based on skills required or issue type
  • Shared macros, or predetermined fix actions auto-prescribed for a simple or recurring issue
  • Self-service resources for your staff and customers, which decreases requests and relieves the burden of troubleshooting
  • Reporting and analytics that offer valuable insight about your help center operations, such as average resolution times, trends in past tickets, and user sentiment

Check out our comparison post, Freshdesk vs Zendesk, to see how two leading solutions incorporate these features. 

Helpdesk software can change the way your business works (via ManageEngine)

Helpdesk software can change the way your business works (via ManageEngine)

So why should you care about these features?

Well, beyond making your customer service reps and helpdesk technicians happier, helpdesk software makes almost everything better. According to a ManageEngine user survey, respondents reported the following benefits:

  • 98 percent improved help desk productivity and attained incident management maturity
  • 95 percent saw a significant increase in end-user satisfaction levels
  • 71 percent were able to measure performance by identifying and tracking key metrics
  • 39 percent implemented a knowledge base for the first time ever
  • 20 percent use help desk software beyond IT in other departments such as HR, travel, and maintenance and facilities

Is your helpdesk helping, or hurting?

Many companies are bogged down by ancient helpdesk software or processes.

The scariest part?

They don’t even realize their agility is compromised.

Organizations that operate with an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality are missing out on the ability to improve resolution time, first-contact resolution rate, and support staff productivity. They’re also failing to increase customer and employee satisfaction, and spot developing problems.

Let’s examine the ways your current helpdesk system could actually be hurting your business:

  • Inefficient: Many old systems are incapable of identifying recurring issues or scaling as your business grows. Live chat and self-help portals or forums are necessary to keep your helpdesk streamlined. Additionally, helpdesks that aren’t optimized for smartphones and tablets frustrate users and hinder service rep and technician productivity.
  • Not focused on the customer: Nowadays, customers expect to get help through a variety of channels. Good helpdesk software can aggregate issues from whatever channel your customer prefers — email, Twitter, chats, and more — into one location, which ensures omni-channel issue resolution.

    With outdated systems, it can take weeks to get reports. Additionally, many businesses have no way of knowing if  customer issues were even resolved. Helpdesk software can now automatically contact customers to collect feedback about the support they received, which is then automatically included in reports. If your goal is driving customer satisfaction (hint: it should be), then you can set up workflows that act on negative ratings and continuously improve business processes.

  • Doesn’t provide self-service help: When an problem arises, many customers and employees try to fix the issue before asking out for help. Businesses can take advantage of this by providing a knowledge base or community forum where customers can search and answer their own questions. If your helpdesk doesn’t help users help themselves, it’s time to upgrade. A self-service knowledge base not only helps reduce service requests, but improves customer satisfaction and reduces employee frustration. 
helpdesk software self-service benefits infographic

via Salesforce Desk


Moving Beyond Old Fashioned Helpdesks

The biggest way helpdesk software can help you run an agile business is by shifting from reactive to proactive issue resolution. By analyzing incoming issues, resolve times, and inquiries per customer, help desk software can pinpoint recurring problems within the organization.

In fact, AdRoll did just that when they implemented Zendesk. They now use helpdesk data to inform decisions on everything from international staffing to product design. By tagging inbound inquiries for segmentation, they can proactively use customer service data to identify product improvements. This increases their ability to see the top needs of different customer sets, which helps them decide which features to implement. Now AdRoll can stay agile by shipping new products quickly and continuously improving both their service and their customers’ experience. This agility has helped AdRoll achieve a 97 percent retention rate across 15,000 customers in 133 countries.

Helpdesk software enables businesses to efficiently deliver high-quality support at scale, which translates to satisfied employees and customers. If you don’t use helpdesk technology to improve your business and stay agile, then your competitors will.