A beginner’s guide to a helpdesk

When customers are asking a lot of questions, do you find it difficult to respond? Did you just hear someone referring to the word “online customer support software” to improve their support and have no idea what they are talking about? Do you want to know how a support software will help your business? Or are you looking for tips on how to make your customers happier after a sale? You are on the right page. Here’s what we’ll be looking at:

What is a customer support software?

What is a customer support software?

Let’s say you are an e-commerce site and you sell your products online. Your customers probably reach out to you for help all day with questions about how to use your products, how to get a refund, regarding shipping and other charges, when they can expect their order to get delivered and so on. They may not just email you but also reach out on Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes, they may call you directly or just prefer to chat on your website. Whatever be the mode of communication, they expect you to be there and they expect you to have a response to their questions. If a customer talks to you on the phone and later reaches out on Twitter regarding the same issue, they expect you to connect the dots and have the answer ready. That’s where a customer support software (also known as a helpdesk software) comes in.

So, what does a customer support software do?

A customer support software helps you keep track of user requests, communicate with customers, and deal with other customer support related issues better.

For example, if you are an e-commerce provider, you will be able to store all these incoming queries from multiple channels in one place, identify how to respond to each customer, categorize and prioritize their problems and then respond as necessary.

Let’s say a customer emails you asking about when a product is going to come back in stock and you assure them that it will be available 3 months down the line. If the customer asks you on Twitter three months later, the helpdesk software you use will provide context of the earlier email conversation so you know in advance what the customer is going to ask. Your helpdesk software will also combine those two different conversation threads, Email and Twitter, into one so you can respond easily from one place but the customer will get your responses through the channel they want - which is Twitter in this case.

A quick look at how online customer support software can help you

Ease of Use

With a customer support software, your agents can reply to emails, answer customer calls and chat with customers from one place. You don’t have to juggle between various tools and logins.

Better Communication

Communication is easier and answers are better when you have more context. You can always access past interactions with any customer on any channel from a single, unified customer database.

Stronger Collaborationn

An online customer support software helps your team collaborate efficiently. Cloud-based helpdesk software can increase visibility of who is handling a ticket, who has already responded to a customer and which tickets still need answering.

Analyze Team Performance

Find out if your teams’ responses are fast and accurate enough. Learn how good your team is at helping customers with their problems. A good B2B helpdesk software will provide the data you need to improve your team’s performance.

Increases support efficiency

A helpdesk software can help automate most support processes. You can dedicate all of your team’s efforts towards tackling the customer’s problems instead of figuring out paperwork and maintenance.

Improved Customer Loyalty

With a helpdesk software streamlining your customer support process, it is easier to make customers happier. Happier customers are customers who will keep returning to your business, increasing their loyalty to your brand.

Who can use a customer support software/helpdesk software

Helpdesk for small businesses

A good helpdesk software will ensure that your focus as a small business remains on responding to customers by automating all the routine work.

  • A good helpdesk software will automatically categorize, prioritize and assign tickets as well as maintain logs of queries received and responded.
  • A helpdesk software can provide better context than supporting via email inboxes. Context such as customer interaction history, purchase history and other relevant information will ensure your agents have everything they need to respond to customers.
  • Support helpdesk software can set SLA policies and ensure your agents honor deadlines for solving customer problems. They will also escalate tickets to senior support managers if these problems aren’t solved on time.
  • With good support software for customer management, you can ensure multiple agents don’t work on the same query and don’t spam customers with different responses.
Helpdesk for enterprises

If you are an enterprise business, a good helpdesk software will help your support work at scale without losing the personal touch and also let you execute great customer experiences by enabling collaboration across your company.

  • An enterprise helpdesk will intelligently manage available customer support agents across shifts, time zones,languages spread across geographic locations to ensure tickets reach the right agents for the fastest responses.
  • You will have the option of extending the helpdesk’s capabilities by connecting with different platforms like CRMs, billing tools, payment solutions, and other internal & third-party tools.
  • Support is a function which requires collaboration across your company and it always works in tandem with other teams like product, sales and marketing. Your enterprise helpdesk will enable you to bring in people from across your company and set context, so the request can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
  • Any good helpdesk needs to be compliant with industry standards for data protection like TRUSTe, ISO 27001:2013, SSAE - 16 & HIPPAA, SOC I, II, III and so on. Pick a helpdesk software with data centers across the globe as well as enterprise class in-product security features to help you manage your data security challenges.

Choosing the right helpdesk for your business

Support Style

Do you prefer to chat with your customers live? Or do you prefer supporting over just email and phone? Or would you rather just write comprehensive knowledge base articles? Or is it a combination of all of them? Make sure the customer support software you choose fits your style.

Usability

A support software with intuitive UI will ensure even new agents can start supporting customers immediately without requiring in special training. Just as how higher price does not equate to more features, a complicated UI with a certification process to use it does not necessarily mean a powerful or feature-rich helpdesk.

Price

Higher price does not always equate to more features in a helpdesk software. Make sure you shop around, compare features and read up reviews before deciding on a helpdesk software. If you are looking to provide B2B support, sometimes even a free helpdesk software will suffice.

Choosing the right customer support software for your business

Find out how much Freshdesk can help you save. Try out the helpdesk ROI calculator

Essential Features of a helpdesk

Not all customer support software have the same features. Some provide a basic platform and require a lot of plugins before you talk to your customer while some others just let you login and get started. Some have basic reporting features and require you to integrate with other reporting suites while others have AI intelligently crunching your numbers out of the box. Whatever they are capable of, these six basic abilities are a necessity in any good helpdesk.

Multi-Channel Ticketing System

With a free helpdesk software, you can upgrade to a ticketing system that is a much more robust than the standard email inbox that drives most customer support teams. This helpdesk software can streamline multiple communication channels like Email, Phone, Chat, Social Media etc. into one, so you won’t have to juggle various websites, passwords and tools just to talk to your customer.

Learn more about multi-channel support
A Multi-Channel ticketing system

Collaboration

Collaborate better with a unified cloud-based support desk. If you get a helpdesk software meant for small businesses, ensure it has agent collision prevention features to prevent multiple agents from working on the same ticket or repeating someone else’s work. A good enterprise helpdesk software will also let your global team huddle together right next to the ticket to discuss possible solutions and answers.

Learn more about collaboration on your helpdesk

Automations

With a powerful helpdesk software, customer management and interaction management can be automated based on time-based triggers or event-based triggers. Create workflows with these automations so incoming customer questions and calls are routed intelligently to the right team or the most appropriate agent for a more efficient and faster response.

Learn more about using automation to streamline your support
Automation in helpdesk

Reporting and Analytics

Make sure you have the data you need to help your agents improve, as well as to ensure you have the right paperwork to bill your customers for support. If you are looking for a B2B software or enterprise helpdesk, then powerful reporting features are an absolute necessity. If you wish to use a different reporting suite to analyze your helpdesk data or if you choose a free helpdesk, make sure the software is open and allows you to integrate reporting suites without holding your data hostage.

Learn more about using reporting to monitor your team’s performance
Reporting and Analytics in helpdesk

Customization

Approaching a business for help can be a bland and boring experience for the customer. With enterprise support software, you can instead customize your helpdesk fully to make it a continuation of your brand and make their support experience an extension of your own brand. Some free customer management software have these features as well so make sure to look around.

Learn more about how customizations can help you support better
A sample report in the CRM system

Want to try a customer support software?

Freshdesk is a cloud-based helpdesk software which helps small businesses deploy scalable solutions to support customers and grow easily. Freshdesk is also versatile enough so enterprise support teams can build powerful workflows to team up across the globe to provide a cohesive support experience to customers no matter where they are. If you are looking for a easy-to-use, intuitive helpdesk software we’re here.