Are you using a shared email inbox to communicate with your customers? Have you missed responding to certain emails? Do you find it difficult to make customers happy? If you’ve been searching for a solution for these problems, you’re sure to have come across the term help desk software and probably wondered what it means.

If you want to know how a help desk software can help you communicate better and improve your relationships with your customers, you are in the right place. This page is going to answer the following questions -

  • What is a help desk software?
  • What are the types of help desk software?
  • Who can use a help desk software?
  • How can a help desk software help my business?

What is a help desk software?

A help desk software streamlines customer conversations across channels into one place, keeps track of user requests, and enables you to communicate with customers more easily. Some businesses might even use a help desk system to manage internal IT-related requests.

A help desk software is also known as a help desk ticketing system, or simply a ticketing system because it records customer interactions as ‘tickets‘. Let’s understand how this works with an example. Let’s say a customer emails you or reaches out to you on social media. Here’s what will happen next:

- Your help desk software will record the incoming query as a ticket. 
- Each ticket is categorized, prioritized, and assigned to a support rep. (You can set up automation rules on your help desk software to automate these processes or do this manually.)
- The agent will view the ticket, get context of any prior interactions, and reply right from the help desk software. 
- The agent’s response will then be sent to the customer on the channel in which they raised the ticket.

What are the different types of help desk software?

Cloud-based help desk software

A cloud-based or SaaS-based help desk software is a help desk tool that is hosted and delivered over the internet, a.k.a the cloud. All you need is a laptop or a phone to log in and you can use the application from any server or location. With a cloud-based help desk solution, you don’t have to download any application or invest in hardware. 

The benefits of a cloud-based help desk software don’t end there. You’ll have a quick time to value, almost zero lags, and you don’t need to spend time and money on maintenance or security. Plus, you’ll have a lot more independence in terms of being able to customize your solution without any technical assistance. 

On-premise help desk software

Unlike cloud-based help desk solutions, self-hosted or on-premise help desk software are stored locally on your company’s server. The biggest benefit of using an on-premise help desk software is that you have full control over where you store data, and hence security is never compromised. 

However, most cloud-based help desk software today comply with international security standards, including HIPAA and GDPR guidelines. Plus, making changes on an on-premise help desk system can take a lot of time, and you could face frequent downtimes for upgrades or maintenance. 

Open-source help desk software

An open-source help desk software is an application that has its original source code available for modification. Enterprise businesses with specific, robust requirements typically prefer open-source help desk software. 

Open source software requires a village of technical specialists to take the help desk live. A cloud-based help desk solution is a reliable alternative to open source help desk software since the former offers a lot of flexibility and can accommodate specific requirements too. 

Who can use a helpdesk software?

Solopreneurs and small businesses

The main difference between a solopreneur and a small business is that a solopreneur needs a streamlined system to manage customer communication on their own, while small-sized businesses have a small team to offer support. However, both require a small business help desk software with automation capabilities that help them focus purely on answering tickets while the routine tasks are taken care of. Small businesses can benefit from a help desk that can -

Medium-sized businesses

Mid-sized businesses focus almost exclusively on growing rapidly. So they need everything a small business requires plus advanced capabilities that can help teams deliver fast, personalized service at scale. A good help desk tool will help a growing business - 

Enterprises

Enterprises require different teams to work cohesively together without impacting the customer experience. Enterprises need a way to measure their team’s performance and implement strategies to optimize costs and effort where necessary. An enterprise helpdesk software can help in the following ways -

Freelancers

A help desk software can help freelancers streamline all client communication into a unified inbox. With a help desk software, freelancers can keep track of updates in a single thread and prioritize their work better. Additionally, freelancers can also -

What are the benefits of using a good help desk software?

Support more easily

With a helpdesk system, your agents can respond to emails, answer phone calls and chat with customers from one place. No need to juggle various tools and logins.

Increase efficiency

A help desk management software can help automate most support tasks. Your team can dedicate all of its efforts towards tackling the customer’s problems instead of figuring out paperwork and maintenance.

Strengthen collaborative efforts

You can collaborate efficiently with a help desk system. With better visibility of who is responding to a ticket, which customers already have answers and which tickets still need to be answered, your team can support customers better together.

Provide better responses

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

Improve customer loyalty

A help desk software can streamline your customer support process so that it is easier to make customers happier. Happy customers mean loyal customers who will keep returning to your business.

Analyze and improve faster

Is your team’s responses fast and accurate enough? A good help desk software will provide the metrics you need to measure your team’s performance so you can learn when to improve and when to appreciate them.

How do you choose the right help desk software?

With a ton of options available, choosing the best help desk software for your business can get quite overwhelming. Here are five tips that can help you choose the right help desk software:

Channels of support

How do customers try to reach you? Do they get in touch with you via email, social media or phone? Or do they prefer to chat with agents directly on your website? Make sure the support software you choose fits your customer expectations and your style of support.

Usability

A support software with intuitive and approachable UI means your agents can start supporting immediately without needing special training. Higher prices do not automatically mean a better help desk, and a complicated UI does not necessarily imply feature-rich.

Price

Do you have to pay per ticket or user, and which will be more feasible? Will the pricing be sustainable in the long run? Shop around, compare features, read up reviews and then decide which help desk software fits your business workflows better. A higher price is not the guarantor of quality, and if you are starting out, even a free help desk software can be more beneficial than just email.

Scalability

Will this help desk software scale as your business grows? Can your help desk help you manage large volumes of tickets across channels with multiple automations, agent groups, and SLAs for meeting deadlines?

Flexibility

Can the help desk software support your unique business needs? Can you integrate your entire tech stack and set up workflows based on data flowing in from other tools? If you want to use the help desk software for IT support as well, how easily can you differentiate between customer and internal support requests? 

What are the essential features of a help desk software?

Every help desk software or ticketing system is different. Some provide a basic platform that requires you to set up a lot of integrations and plugins before it is support-capable. Others need you to log in to talk to your customers. Some require you to integrate with reporting suites to analyze your performance, while others have AI crunching your numbers. Whatever the individual capabilities may be, you will need these six essential features in your help desk.

Omnichannel support

An omnichannel help desk software can streamline tickets from multiple communication channels into one place. This way, support agents can communicate across channels like email, social media, chat, phone, web, and messaging apps from a single inbox. Unlike multi-channel support, where agents have to juggle logins and passwords, an omnichannel help desk improves visibility and transparency by providing a single, unified view for all agents. 

Ticket List Ticket List

Collaboration

A good help desk software will help teams collaborate better by increasing visibility between them. By keeping agents proactively informed of ticket owners, responses and priorities, a good help desk software can keep your global team on the same page with no extra effort so they can just focus on supporting customers.

Collaborate better with freshconnect Collaborate better with freshconnect

Automations

A powerful help desk software is one that reduces the agent effort required in making a customer happy. With powerful automations, support software can automatically handle day-to-day tasks based on time-based and event-based triggers. You can create custom workflows to adapt these automations into your business workflow so that tickets are routed to the right agent for the fastest response.

Scenario automations Scenario automations

Knowledge management

Customers today prefer to find answers on their own, so a help desk software that helps you document FAQs in a self-service portal is a must-have. Having access to advanced features like customer portal customization can help you extend your branding to your knowledge base as well. Plus, a good knowledge management module will also enable you to build an internal knowledge base for your teams to refer to and use.

create an extensive knowledge base 2x create an extensive knowledge base 2x

Reporting and analytics

You cannot progress if you do not know where you are. Every good customer support software suite will have robust in-built reporting features that let you analyze your performance metrics and let you know where you and your team need to improve. These analytics can also help you understand how and where your team needs to improve.

Reports-Helpdesk in-depth Reports-Helpdesk in-depth

10 best help desk software for 2022

If you're looking for a help desk software for your business, you might be baffled by the number of options available. To simplify things, we've put together this list with key features, so you can compare help desks and pick the best help desk software for your business.  

#1 Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a help desk software trusted by 50,000+ businesses of all sizes. In addition to offering top-class help desk ticketing management capabilities, Freshdesk’s intuitive UI, flexible pricing, and always-on support will gear your business up for success. 

Here’s a quick overview of the essential features that Freshdesk offers:

Omnichannel view - Manage customer conversations across email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and your website from a single, unified view.
Self-service - Launch self-service options and help customers find answers on their own.
Workflow automations - Automate routine, time-consuming tasks to improve team efficiency.
SLA Management - Ensure customers get responses and resolutions on time by setting up SLA reminders and escalations.
Agent productivity features - Enable agents to perform at their level best with canned responses, custom ticket views, scenario automations, and in-app notifications.
CSAT - Track and manage customer satisfaction with feedback forms.
Collaboration - Enable your team to collaborate with each other and resolve customer issues faster.
Reporting - Get insights on customer service performance and KPIs with reports and live dashboards.
Marketplace - Leverage flexible APIs and integrate with over 650+ apps on the Freshdesk Marketplace.
Mobile app - Support on the go with the Freshdesk mobile app available on Android and Apple/

Pricing starts from: $0
Free trial period: 21 days
 

Freshdesk Freshdesk

#2 Zendesk

Zendesk is a help desk software that competes with the likes of legacy help desk software like Salesforce and Oracle. 

Zendesk offers: 
- Email, Twitter and Facebook tickets
- Automations
- Reporting
- Apps and integrations
- SLAs
- Customisable agent workspaces
- Third-party data storage

The biggest flexibility that Zendesk offers is its pricing - a pay-as-you-add module that charges you for the features you use. However, the unforeseeable expenses can also be disadvantageous to some businesses.

Pricing starts from: $19
Free trial period: 14 days
 

Zendesk Zendesk

#3 Help Scout

Help Scout is a help desk software that could be an ideal choice for businesses offering customer support solely through email and chat. 

Help Scout offers:
- Shared inbox
- Knowledge base
- Reporting
- Live chat and proactive support
- Workflows
- Integrations

It’s important to note that Help Scout does not have in-built social media customer service capabilities. You’ll need to either manage support directly on Twitter and Facebook or use third-party integrations to provide support on Help Scout.

Pricing starts from: $20
Free trial period: 15 days
 

HelpScout HelpScout

#4 Hiver

Hiver is a Gmail-based help desk software that’s great for businesses that don’t want to let go of the comfort of using a shared inbox. You can sort your inbox, assign work, and collaborate with your team. 

Hiver offers:
- Email delegation
- Email tasks
- Notes
- Collision detection
- Templates
- Automations
- Analytics
- SLAs

Businesses that offer support only via email are most likely to evaluate Hiver. However, most customers want to reach out to a business on other channels, including social media and mobile messaging apps. So you might need to invest in a social media help desk software and a knowledge base software to improve your customer experience.

Pricing starts from: $10
Free trial period: 7 days
 

Hiver Hiver

#5 HappyFox

HappyFox is a help desk tool that can also be used by multiple teams including HR, Marketing, Sales, and Facilities teams too. 

HappyFox offers:
- Ticketing
- Knowledge base
- Canned actions
- Automation
- Reporting

It is known for its essential features, such as ticketing, automations, self-service, and reporting.
However, a cluttered UI might make it challenging for teams to navigate through the app and set up workflows.

Pricing starts from: $29
Free trial period: 14 days
 

HappyFox HappyFox

#6 Kayako

If you need an on-premise help desk management system, then you can give Kayako a shot. 

Kayako offers:
- Ticketing
- Live chat
- Social media
- Collaboration
- Self-service
- Integrations

However, if you have a remote team or a distributed team, then you can try Kayako's cloud-hosted help desk which is apt for SMBs. 

Pricing starts from: $30
Free trial period: 14 days
 

Kayako Kayako

#7 Gorgias

Gorgias is a help desk platform that might come in handy for eCommerce businesses that receive small volumes of support tickets. 

Gorgias offers:
- Email, social media, and live chat
- Voice and SMS
- Automations
- Self-service
- Intent and sentiment detection
- Reporting 

Based on the plan you pick, the platform allows for only a certain number of tickets to be created per month, and you will have to bear an additional cost if you exceed the monthly quota of tickets. 

If you don’t mind the added expense, then you can check out Gorgias for their shared inbox, live chat, and knowledge base capabilities.

Pricing starts from: $50
Free trial period: 7 days
 

Gorgias Gorgias

#8 Zoho Desk 

Zoho Desk is ideal an help desk software for small and medium businesses who want to offer support on multiple channels, provide self-service, and generate reports. If you're already using many products from the Zoho ecosystem, then Zoho Desk might be a great fit for your business.

Zoho Desk offers:
- Ticket management
- Chatbot powered by Zia
- Self-service
- Automation
- Reporting
- Integrations

Although Zoho Desk is highly customizable, a steep learning curve can affect your go-live date since it might take long to get your account up and running.  

Pricing starts from: $0
Free trial period: 15 days
 

Zoho Desk Zoho Desk

#9 Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce is a popular brand in the CRM and customer service space. Their help desk software solution, Salesforce Service Cloud is a legacy solution that is a go-to for enterprises with complex workflows.

Salesforce offers:
- Ticketing
- Self-service
- AI for customer service
- Automations
- Call center management
- Reporting

However, the tool can be hard to adopt and get familiar with, and this can affect the deployment time. You might even find it challenging to use the tool even after deployment because of its complicated UI.

Pricing starts from: $25
Free trial period: 30 days
 

Salesforce Service Cloud Salesforce Service Cloud

#10 Freshservice

Freshservice is a modern help desk software or IT service desk that can help you streamline your internal support requests. While this list has been majorly catering to customer support help desk software, we still wanted to include a IT help desk software in case you were looking for one. 

Freshservice offers:
- IT ticketing
- IT service management or ITSM (indecent, service request, problem, change management) 
- Asset management
- Automation
- Reporting

Freshservice is big on automation - right from automating tasks related to sorting and assigning to tasks involving collaborating with multiple teams, Freshservice can help you improve agent efficiency.

Pricing starts from: $19 
Free trial period: 21 days
 

Freshservice Freshservice

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