How to choose the right help desk software solution

help desk softwareFew people who run an online business would claim that they do not mind a small customer base. Trying to grab the attention of more and more people, for positive reasons, is something that many strive for. No matter how hard a company may work to gain attention, it means nothing if they cannot keep their customers happy.

Websites, no matter what they are for or who runs them, may sooner or later run into problems. For example, the web provider that is hosting the site could experience some down time. There could be an error that causes a certain product to become unavailable for a short time. However, not everything that happens is a result of the overall site experiencing an error. In some cases, customers may simply be confused about a certain page or feature on the site. With such a narrow and individual field, help for this customer can be difficult to tackle, making both the company and customer unhappy in the long run.

How can a business give their customers quick and easy assistance without cutting into the productivity of their employees? The answer sits with IT help desk software. With knowledge base software, all a company needs to do is install it, and the support software will help customers when needed. A worker that has to spend most of their time answering phone calls and emails is less likely to be productive for the well-being of the company. With something else to handle it for them, they can get back to what is important for them to accomplish.

Selecting the right software solution will take time and the decision should not be taken lightly. However, there are several points that any company, regardless of its size or budget, should consider prior to settling on a solution:

  1. Decide whether a cloud-based or self-hosted solution is right for you – For smaller organizations and those on tight budgets which need a solution that works right out of the box, a cloud-based system is usually the best choice. Companies with dedicated IT support staff who can handle the implementation and management of new software and hardware will be able to freely choose between the cloud and self-hosted systems.
  2. Set a budget – The cost of a help desk varies widely and can range anywhere from $0 to well over $1,000 per agent. Set a budget and allow it to guide the purchasing decision. Be sure to pay close attention to how each solution prices its services; some services charge monthly fees, while others charge one-time-only fees.
  3. Make a list of required features – Each help desk solution offers a wide variety of features and it is vital to a company’s success to choose a solution that offers every function that is essential to running a successful support desk. Gather the support team and have a discussion about the current challenges they are facing. Be sure to ask them what they need to overcome those challenges and streamline the support process.
  4. Figure out how much storage space you need – When creating a database of articles and other support materials, it is important to choose a solution that offers more space than you think you actually need. This will ensure that the help desk is able to grow with your company. Fortunately, there are solutions that offer unlimited storage space to all of their customers.
  5. Check for compatibility – Ensure that any solution you choose displays correctly on the Internet browsers that are used at your company and by the majority of your clients. Also check that the email submission system works with your current email server.
  6. Choose the right ticket management features – All ticket management systems are not created equally. While some offer automatic ticket assignments based on rules, the ability to close and reopen tickets at will, and unlimited access to a full history of every ticket that has ever been created, others do not. Never settle for a solution that fails to provide the level of control your company needs.
  7. Always be branded – Branding your help desk is crucial to clients recognizing and trusting that their requests are reaching your company. Find a solution that allows you to easily add your logo, color schemes, and fonts to the help desk’s layout as well as to email templates.
  8. Opt for security – Dealing with support issues often requires clients and companies to exchange private and sensitive data with one another. Find a system that uses a secure connection, such as SSL and other encryption forms, for all communications and data transfers.
  9. Think about using a Web interface – Some ticketing systems allow clients to create tickets via email and a Web-based system, while others do not. Take some time to consider which submission systems will benefit your clients and company before settling on a help desk.
  10. Consider deployment – While some help desks require dedicated staff with advanced levels of technical knowledge to create and maintain them, others can easily be maintained by nearly anyone who knows how to use a computer and the Web. Think about who will be deploying the help desk for your company, what equipment may be needed, and how long the deployment will take. For quick and easy deployments, choose a system that does not require any HTML, CSS, or JavaScript coding knowledge.
  11. Take a test drive – Most, if not all, help desk software companies will allow you to take a video tour of their software or use the software in demo mode for a limited period of time. Never spend a penny on any software solution until you’ve tried it or seen it in action.

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