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Introduction to Help Desk Software
Help desk software helps companies organize customer support requests and to organize information, streamline processes, and improves the ability to share information. Often, customer support software and help desk software includes links to a knowledge base to help support personnel find potential solutions and it may include extensive search capabilities to enable representatives to find similar tickets that may have occurred in the past.
As a company reaches a critical mass of customers, the number of support calls will increase as well. Help desk and customer support software help to ensure that the company is able to provide an appropriate level of customer service and to meet its time targets for ticket resolution. This type of software help to control costs by providing access to necessary information and improves efficiency by ensuring consistent flow and processes. Without help desk software, companies would find it difficult and expensive to support a large influx of customers.
Help Desk Common Features
Regardless of the software you choose, they will all be capable of handling the following activities:
- General help desk support
- Ticket creation and management
- Integrated email, chat and/or social media
- Knowledge base to store solution information
- Prioritization and escalation for issue resolution
These are the 9 best help desk solutions on the market for their pricing, flexibility, and functionality.
Zendesk is a well thought out, fully featured help desk application. It enables companies to customize the user portal to reflect its branding and it has predefined integrations to more than 100 other apps. Automated workflows with triggers help to streamline the support process and ensure timely escalations. Integrated survey tools provide timely feedback and a self-service user forum helps to build a sense of community and provides a user-generated picture of typical issues and concerns.
- Flexible pricing ranging from $1 per user per month to $195 per user per month, depending on the company size and included features -- plus a free 30-day trial
- Integrated analytics portal shows, at a glance, both the customers’ moods and how your team is performing
- Best-practice white papers and articles library available to provide guidance on set up and effective operations
What makes Zendesk stand out?
Zendesk adds new features every week, so the solution is constantly evolving and providing innovative capabilities. While this may mean that your help desk is always ahead of your competitors, it may also cause some confusion for representatives or customers, who may find the functionality differs every time they log in. There is also the possibility that at any moment, Zendesk will introduce the feature that always wished you had (be sure to suggest the feature in their forums for a better chance).
HappyFox is a feature-rich, robust solution that is available in 35 languages. They offer cloud deployment, a mobile app for help on the go, and offers both online and phone system integrations. It has the ability to evaluate the context of a help ticket and automatically assign the ticket to a particular group, department or individual with the defined skill set to resolve the issue quickly.
- Custom fields enable you to track unique requirements without writing code
- Pre-defined actions help to improve productivity by automating common tasks
- Low price compared to competitors
What makes HappyFox stand out?
While some of its competitors offer only online or chat interfaces, HappyFox can also integrate with phone systems, providing a complete picture of customer interactions across all channels. There is a free open-source mobile application platform available for iOS devices called HelpStack, which it can integrate with for enhanced mobile functionality. HappyFox has terrific online tutorials that guide users through the steps of infrequently performed processes that help minimize training and keeps your help desk performing well. It also includes built in performance metrics that automatically calculate performance against some of the most common service-level agreement KPIs.
SEE ALSO: How to find The Best CRM for Small Business
Freshdesk also provides its own integrated phone system, called Freshfone. You can buy a number and use it for support, regardless of which Freshdesk license model you select, integrating your help line and on line support without any of the usual technical hassles. Freshdesk also automatically generates timesheets so you can track customer service representative productivity, time by issue, or automatically generate invoices for payable services.
- Provides help line phone services in addition to online service to eliminate integration hassles
- Offers a “free forever” online option for up to 3 agents
- Android, iOS and HTML 5 solutions for complete mobile and device portability
What makes Freshdesk stand out?
Freshdesk includes multiple language portals, knowledge base and email responses for both customers and agents, supporting up to 21 languages. It also includes a unique time zone feature that enables you to specify hours for each of your helpdesk locations or teams, which comes in handy of your support centers specialize in specific products and you don’t offer 24/7 support. The integrated Freshfone service is included even with the free license, although you do have to purchase the number, which is an additional fee regardless of the licensing model you choose.
1CRM is more than a simple help desk application. It’s actually a full suite of CRM modules including sales force automation, order management, project management and inventory management tools. Help desk is part of the Service Contracts module, which enables charging costs to customer support contracts and billing for payable help services. 1CRM comes in three editions: Startup, Professional and Enterprise. Startup edition is free for up to five users. Professional and Enterprise are available on premise or in the cloud. On premise software requires a one-time user license ranging from 4270 to $360 per user; Cloud pricing is $35 or $45 per user per month. Both require a minimum of five users.
- Low one-time license fees for on premise users
- Full CRM capabilities
- Free download of startup edition for on premise deployment for up to five users
What makes 1CRM stand out?
In addition to being more complex than other solutions, 1CRM differs from traditional ticket-based help desks by offering service and support contract management. Users can change time to a service contract and it automatically generates invoices for billable time or tracks accumulated non-billable costs. It offers a one-time license fee per user for on premise deployment and a very low monthly per user fee for cloud deployment. Hosted on Microsoft Azure servers, the infrastructure is robust and secure.
Click to see 1CRM's profile in our Marketplace for more information.
5. Desk by Salesforce
Desk.com is robust and clearly designed for cloud deployment. It enables user-defined escalation and business rules with a simple, intuitive UI. The universal inbox aggregates information from email, chat, and phone to provide a comprehensive view of customer interactions across all communication channels. It’s available in more than 50 languages and can route customer cases to the correct agent based on their fluency in a given language as well as their technical skills.
- Universal inbox simplifies interacting with customers across channels
- Integrated dashboards with key performance metrics and trends
- Robust functionality at a low per agent monthly fee
What makes Desk stand out?
Desk.com allows customers the ability to customize the application fully, unlike most cloud solutions. While many of the competitors allow personalization of branding elements, workflows and business rules, Desk.com goes even deeper allowing true mechanical tweeks. Their pricing model is tiered with the lowest tier, the Starter Plan, being limited to 3 agents at $3 each per month. The Standard Plan is $30 per month per agent and the Plus Plan is $50 per month per agent. If you need multi-language support, you will need to opt for the Plus Plan, but you also get expanded support hours and other additional features.
TeamSupport is designed for global support teams who need to work together to solve complex issues or problems. The “Watercooler” collaborative portal provides an easy way for employees to discuss potential solutions to knotty problems. TeamSupport also supports email, chat, phone and social media interaction with customers, and consolidates every interaction in a single location regardless of channel. Each user can have a customized dashboard showing the metrics that matter to them, and all reports are available in detail or summary form. TeamSupport puts a strong emphasis on the security of your data, touting its physical security as well as technical safeguards.
- Team collaboration utilizes the power of sharing experience and knowledge
- Embedded rights management software provides extra level of security
- Integrated screen recording for capturing steps and generating tutorials
What makes TeamSupport stand out?
TeamSupport emphasizes its collaboration tools on the philosophy that customer support will be better and stronger when you harness the power of the team rather than individuals. Its watercooler collaboration portal and social media integration encourages information sharing and are strong tools for building communities. When sharing is so fundamental, data security becomes a bigger issue and TeamSupport rises to the challenge with integrated rights management capabilities in addition to the typical gambit of security measures. Pricing is $30-$45 per agent per month, and the company offers a 14-day free trial.
VivaDesk is a complete customer service and help desk application with point and click customization for easy customization. It includes a knowledge document system that enables you to publish attractive, consistent solution documents to your knowledge base. The pro and IT Service Management versions allow you to license users on either a named or concurrent basis. VivaDesk has been around for over 10 years, so they have experience catering to their customers’ needs. Expect a well-though-out and tailored solution.
- SaaS or on premise licensing, with named or concurrent user pricing
- Bulk ticket updates saves time when multiple tickets address the same issue
- Conditional custom fields for tracking unique attributes and workflows
What makes VivaDesk stand out?
VivaDesk offers a drag and drop portal builder so you can customize not only branding elements, but also the entire user experience. It also allows you to have multiple portals in case you have multiple product lines or brands. VivaDesk offers flexible deployment and licensing ranging from $23 to $63 per user per month and offers a free trial. On premise and concurrent user pricing is by quote. Unlike its competitors, you can’t license the application directly from their website but must contact them by phone or email unless you are signing up for the free trial version, which requires a VivaDesk branded URL.
UserVoice creates tickets and sends customer service responses directly through customer emails. It pulls information from social media or your CRM system to let your representative know more information about the customer, using the email address as the link. It includes the ability to export information to Microsoft Excel or respond using pre-formed replies. Customers can provide feedback using their email address and without signing up for an account, making this solution more open to a wider array of feedback. It also includes survey capabilities and enables customer communication regarding new product ideas or features.
- Integrated with Google Analytics for fast, friendly graphical reports
- Custom contract terms and payment by invoice
- Available in 43 languages
What makes UserVoice stand out?
UserVoice goes beyond problem tracking and resolution, allowing customers to attach notes or documents with suggestions for enhancements and new products. Pricing ranges from free to $95 per user per month, depending on the feature selection and number of customer forums you need. UserVoice is one of the few cloud applications that will work with you on custom contract terms, and they make it easy to pay against invoices rather than a credit card.
As one of the first help desk applications in the cloud, Kayako has a sterling roster of tech-savvy customers and the experience to shine in an increasingly crowded market. The solution is available on location or in the cloud, and there are mobile applications for Windows Phone, Apple iPad and iPhone, Android phones and tablets and even Blackberry devices. Kayako includes built in rating and survey tools as well.
- Multiple out-of-the-box integrations including Drupal, WordPress and SurveyMonkey, plus a flexible API
- Cost conscious at $29 per month per user or $1,500 for 5 agents on premise
- Offers solution suggestions as you type
What makes Kayako stand out?
Kayako offers three separate solutions: Kayako Case for ticket management, Kayako Engage with chat and remote desktop support, and Kayako Fusion, which includes both products along with the core help desk functionality that all share. This allows customers to configure exactly the functionality and capabilities they require. Built-in mail rules automatically route help tickets to the correct party and manages workflow escalations and handoffs.
SEE ALSO: Manage social media engagement with these 10 Best Social Media Account Management Tools
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