Helpdesk software for better and more efficient customer service
Do you use telephone and e-mail software for your customer service? Has it happened that customer enquiries have been forgotten or processed twice? Then it is time to keep track and switch to helpdesk software.
On this page we explain how helpdesk software works, what advantages it brings and how companies can successfully integrate it into their customer service.
What is helpdesk software?
Helpdesk is the generic term for software that can be used in customer service and is designed to solve customer enquiries efficiently. A core element of the helpdesk is the integration of a response management or ticket system in which all customer requests are managed. Intelligent functions of the software enable it to automatically prioritise customer enquiries, route them according to topic and assign them to the most suitable service agent. This eliminates a lot of manual work and the support staff can answer the customer faster and in a more targeted manner.
What are the advantages of helpdesk software?
Let's imagine for a moment: You run an online wine trade and offer a wide variety of wines in your online shop. So your customers will have questions about the wines, delivery quantities and dates, shipping, invoices and complaints. Customers don't just want to write you an email, they want to chat live with a support agent or interact via Facebook and WhatsApp. The customer expects you to be present on all communication channels you offer and to have short response times. To meet the expectations, a helpdesk system is a great help. Customer enquiries from the different channels enter the system centrally. The helpdesk maintains an overview across all channels. Enquiries can be processed faster and more competently. This increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Let's assume a customer enquiry is received in which a customer wants to know when a certain wine will be available in the shop again. Your employee answers that the wine will not be available again until spring (in 4 months).
- The helpdesk software saves this process. When the customer revisits the contact via social media after four months, the context of the transaction is immediately visible to every support agent.
- With this knowledge, you can solve the issue quickly and easily without the customer having to ask again.
- Both processes (CRM and social media) are recognised by the helpdesk system and merged in the contact history.
Industry suitability - who can use helpdesk software?
Helpdesk for SMEs
The customer service needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are similar. Both have a need for a helpdesk that promises the company automation of customer service without turning the implementation into a major project. SMEs do not want to get lost in time-consuming IT service management. They expect relief from the helpdesk software so that they can concentrate on their core business. Thanks to the helpdesk, customer service staff can concentrate on content. You score points with the customer through fast response times and technically supported comprehensive expertise:
- Helpdesk software creates clarity compared to outdated e-mail structures. Customer enquiries can be automatically categorised and prioritised. The assignment is based on the stored service description of the support staff member.
- Service levels to be maintained can be set up in a helpdesk software. This allows you to ensure that your support agents handle concerns and problems in a timely manner. If there is a threat of non-compliance, a request can be escalated immediately.
- A knowledgebase integrated into the helpdesk enables customer service to quickly and easily access all the information they need, as well as pre-formulated spell-checked answers.
- Intelligent mechanisms of the helpdesk software ensure that single requests are not processed twice. It also ensures that requests that are submitted twice are only answered once. Both ensure clarity and reduce the volume to be processed.
Helpdesk software for large companies
Structures of large companies usually have different teams that work in parallel but still cooperate to solve customer queries. In addition, large companies need tools to measure and manage the performance of the support teams. The helpdesk needs to be flexible in order to implement new processes to increase efficiency if necessary. A suitable helpdesk solution can support this with central features:
- In one place and expertise-oriented management of agents across regions, organisational units, time zones and languages.
- Interfaces to other tools used in the company, e.g. CRM or ERP solutions, shop or booking systems. Thus, every agent has all the information for a request at hand.
- Good data protection is indispensable for any helpdesk software to ensure that no personal data is misused. Therefore, make sure that the helpdesk provider of your choice guarantees data protection that complies with the European General Data Protection Regulation and that this also extends into its support structures.
6 benefits of helpdesk software that improve your customer service
All channels, one platform
Support agents can respond to all enquiries on one central platform. They can communicate with customers in real time via live chat, take calls and handle emails during quieter times. They save valuable time as there is no need to switch tools, including logging in.
Focus on customer support
By automating routine tasks and more complex processes, the helpdesk staff's entire focus is on customer service. This increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Overview despite several teams
In companies, several teams often work in customer service with a large number of support agents. Through the ticket and contact history, each stuff member is up to date on the current status of a case. This promotes smooth cooperation in the helpdesk and eliminates multiple processing as well as overlooking of tickets.
Optimisation through performance measurement
A helpdesk can provide information about the efficiency of the support team at any time with reporting and analysis tools. This gives you an overview of where there is potential for optimisation and where new processes need to be implemented within a very short time.
Good customer service - better customer loyalty
The better your customer service, the more satisfied your customers will be. The helpdesk software helps you to optimise your customer service. It enables you to offer the best possible support.
Contact histories help to clarify the context
The helpdesk software stores all transactions in a customer database. The more context you accumulate for individual customers in your database, the more helpful support agents can provide. The processes are also saved across channels on the central helpdesk.
Choosing the right helpdesk software
Every helpdesk solution has specific advantages and disadvantages. Read here which basic aspects you have to consider.
Choice of communication channels
Make sure you know in advance which channels you want to use to meet your customers now and in the future. Do you want to communicate with your customers via email, telephone, live chat or social media? When choosing a helpdesk, make sure that the communication expectations of your customers can be mapped, even if you might start with only one channel in the beginning.
Cloud solution or on premise IT
The industry standard nowadays is to run helpdesk solutions in the (private) cloud. This is practical when IT resources are scarce or non-existent in small businesses. But beware: not every helpdesk provider can meet the high requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), e.g. if the systems are maintained from outside Europe. Alternatively, for medium to large companies, operation on their own servers behind the firewall is an option. There are also providers for this who can also maintain the systems remotely and thus relieve your IT.
The motivation and efficiency of your employees is promoted by an intuitive and appealing user interface. If rights-dependent only required elements of the helpdesk are displayed, this reduces the amount of training required. Involve your support agents in the decision-making process at an early stage. Draw up a catalogue of requirements and let the provider show you the helpdesk software. Ask for a test access to familiarise yourself with the workflows before making your decision. A complex user interface does not necessarily mean more functionality, and higher prices are not always an indication of better quality software.
Get information on functionality and price
Don't go for the first helpdesk software that comes along. Do your research and get quotes from different providers and tools. See which helpdesk is best suited to your company individually. Keep in mind: Your company is unique and usually follows a European understanding of meaningful customer service. For the software, therefore, the subsequent customisability plays an important role. Interfaces to hundreds of apps are one possibility here, but they won't help if the tools and industry software used in the company are left out.
User licence: The licensing of the helpdesk software is usually done per user. It should be noted here that "unproductive" users, i.e. employees who are not deployed in customer service or only at peak times, require an account. This is unfavourable if your helpdesk is staffed to varying degrees seasonally. And of course, team management, supervision, workforce managers, IT administration and, if necessary, external service providers must also have access to the helpdesk.
Moreover, the licensing of the helpdesk regularly takes place in three to four levels, linked to the scope of functions included. Here the providers are often difficult to compare with each other or functions are missing in individual licence levels or superfluous ones are also paid for.
Volume licensing: In contrast, solutions that are based on the average volume of enquiries to be processed offer advantages. The latter opens up the possibility of working with temporary workers, students, service providers without additional costs; even departures and arrivals in the core team do not play a role.
The wealth of functions offered by the helpdesk systems on the market is impressive. It is advisable to analyse your service processes with an experienced consultant. In this way you can determine the features of the software solution that are important for your company. The following functions of a helpdesk are indispensable, regardless of the size of the company or the industry:
A helpdesk solution should enable your customers to make enquiries via any communication channel. From classic email to chat or social media, you can meet your customers. All requests are stored in a central place across all channels, so you always have an overview. The support employee only logs on to one platform and can still access all customer enquiries. Of course, this also works for several clients, brands and portals.
Automation relieves your staff and carries out defined tasks and processes as if by magic. Functions such as routing, prioritisation, push allocation, personalisation, reply suggestions and automatic messages are indispensable. Macros, triggers, variables, but also data exchange with third-party systems save a lot of time and costs.
The KnowledgeBase implemented in the Helpdesk stores all necessary information. This gives your staff the knowledge they need to provide the best possible customer service. This can even be used across channels and offers the additional option of helping customers to help themselves, thus relieving your staff. A functioning editorial system for the knowledge database is important and decisive. Otherwise outdated texts would be offered too quickly and the benefit would be lost.
With a good analysis tool and the corresponding key figures, you can gain a detailed picture of your customer service in a very short time. This enables you to make the right decisions and implement new processes to optimise your customer support. Check which core indicators (KPI) are essential and which ones complete the picture. With the help of report profiles, you can design cyclical reports and transfer them to third-party systems via export functions for consolidation.
To provide the best possible customer service, your helpdesk software will sooner or later need to interact with third-party systems. Many helpdesk solutions offer hundreds of app integrations. But the sheer number of possibilities says little about the achievable benefits. Consciously choose a helpdesk that is capable of interacting with your apps. In order to determine the need for individual adaptations, a team of developers at the helpdesk manufacturer is very valuable, who - in your native language as well as professionally - can understand and advise you.