Help desk software is useful for companies of all sizes that need to help customers (internal or external) with incidents, from tech issues to order status updates to other troubleshooting issues. This software can keep your customer service or tech department organized in answering queries and solving problems, as well as keep your customer base happy by decreasing the time between complaint and resolution.

Internal support departments receive 492 tickets per month on average.

Source: Zendesk

91% of support desks plan plan to offer more self-service options

Source: SDI

The help desk software market is expected to be valued at $11 billion by 2023.

Source: Transparency

Help Desk Software Buyer's Guide

What is Help Desk Software

Help desk software is employed by businesses that need to resolve incidents for their customers, whether they're internal (employees) or external (product users). One help desk software may be more geared toward internal tech issues and another toward external order tracking. So, making an informed decision about which you require will help a great deal in the success or failure of your implementation.

Help desk software uses an issue tracking system to track interactions and automate the issue resolution process. It also stores customer info in a searchable database, making it much easier to see the progress of an issue.

Who Uses Help Desk Software?

Businesses of all sizes may employ help desk software to assist with internal and external customer service or IT-related requests. There are a few types of teams that offer help desk services and may employ this software, including:

large buyers

IT help desk

This is likely the type of department that comes to mind when you think about help desk software. The IT department has an internal ticketing system employees can use to report problems or ask for assistance.

Business help desk

A business help desk is for other teams who need to solve issues for their "customers." This could be a legal department that must review contracts or a Human Resources department that has to respond to inquiries about payroll or PTO.

small and medium businesses
industry specific

Customer service help desk

A customer service help desk assists external customers with the products or services offered by your business. This could be assistance in tracking an order, product registrations or general questions relating to your business relationship in whatever form that takes.

Common help desk Features

Some of the typical features of help desk software are:

IT asset management

Help desk software can integrate with other tools your customer service or IT department uses. IT asset management (ITAM) tools can help track inventory, hardware and software configurations, and network monitoring tools will help to keep an eye on the server health and various components of the network.

Remote support

This feature allows users to remotely diagnose a problem by taking control of a customer's computer. The technician can then find the root of the problem and provide a solution with minimal back-and-forth with the customer.

Reporting tools

With this feature, you can track agent and service desk performance and productivity using key metrics your company specifies. You can also see the total number of open tickets to understand your team's workload and track overall customer satisfaction rates.

Self-service portal

The self-service portal is helpful for both internal IT help desk and customer-facing external support scenarios. Employees can access the self-service area with instructions on everyday issues like password resets, company VPN access and usage of company apps. And external customers can get help with things like product registrations and shipping statuses. Some help desk software solutions allow this portal to connect with your company's marketing automation or customer relationship management systems to market relevant products to your customers.

Top Benefits of help desk software

Help desk software has numerous benefits for companies, including:

Automated tasks

The self-service portal available with most help desk solutions saves busy customer service reps and technicians time on small tasks such as password resets, instructions on adding a phone, app downloads and more, since customers or employees can access these themselves.

Single point of contact

Rather than receiving emails, calls, texts or online form requests, there is just one place where your IT or customer service team can expect to receive important help desk notifications. Additionally, your customer base and employees know exactly how to get in contact to receive help with their issues.

Improved customer relationship

Quick response time and fast resolution of problems improves your team's customer service ratings and customers' impression of your company. Since happy customers are likely repeat customers, this feature may even help your business boost its revenue.

Increased efficiency

Being able to monitor key metrics such as response time, ticket volume, customer satisfaction and agent performance can help keep your team on track. The reporting features included in help desk software solutions show where your strengths and weaknesses are so you can improve your team's efficiency and effectiveness.

Better performance

With the ability to keep track of common issues and automate some easy fixes, help desk software can improve the overall performance of your IT infrastructure. It can help track recurring issues, alert you to problems before they create work lags, and quickly address and solve IT crises.

How to Choose Help Desk Software

There are many help desk software solutions available, all with different features, purposes and levels of customization. Before you purchase your help desk software, it's important to research what's out there and decide what's best for your business. We've outlined a few important steps below.

1

Know your company's needs

Before you start shopping for help desk software, consider what it is your company wants to solve by implementing this solution. Audit your current help desk process to see where it could be improved and create goals you'd like to achieve based on your learnings. From there you can create a list of help desk software features that are "must-haves" and features that are "nice-to-haves."

You'll also want to make sure that your IT department and top executives are on board with implementing a help desk software solution.

2

Create a shortlist

Once you've established your goals and objectives for a help desk software solution, you can create a shortlist of vendors that best fit your needs. We recommend using your must-have features as well as your nice-to-have ones to help you select vendors with solutions that best match your company's requirements.

In addition to features, you'll need to consider the vendor's deployment options (e.g., on-premise, cloud), implementation processes and customer support.

3

Contact vendors

Once you've established your shortlist of vendors, it's time to reach out to them. Explain what your objectives are and what features you require in a solution. You'll also want to request a demo of the software with real-life scenarios if possible. Vendors typically offer virtual demonstrations, but ask if a vendor is willing to meet with you at your office. Another way to test the software is to participate in a free trial if there is one. Most vendors offer a 14-day or 30-day free trial.

You'll also want to compare the different price quotes you receive. We explain more on pricing in a separate section below.

4

Conduct due diligence

Once you've selected your top two or three vendors, ask for references from their current or previous clients. While the vendor will likely give you the clients with the most glowing recommendations or experiences, ask to speak to clients that are in the same industry or are the same size as your company. It's important to see not just the positives of the solution or vendor but any issues clients have experienced as well.

Pricing

One of the most important factors in selecting help desk software is pricing. Prices can vary depending on company size, customization, implementation and deployment.

Here are a few questions you should consider about pricing.

  • Is there a clear plan to judge return on investment?
  • What is our budget for implementing/hosting/purchasing help desk software?
  • How many help desk software features do we really need?
  • How many users will need to access the software?
  • What compliance and security features are included?

Help desk software vendors typically use subscription hosting plans (cloud). This type of plan allows users to access the solution from anywhere   smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets. The nature of help desk means that most users won't be on-site when they need to access the software.

Businesses that deploy help desk software in the cloud will only need to pay a monthly or annual subscription cost based on the number of accounts. Subscription-based help desk software solutions are typically priced per user and include tech support and help for implementation. Users can simply log in through a web browser, enabling access to the software from anywhere.

Costs of most help desk software solutions can range from about $1 per month to $149 per month depending on your business's exact needs. Some vendors offer rates at an annual fee, like ServiceDesk Plus ($99/year) or LogMeIn Rescue ($199/year), while a handful of vendors charge a one-time fee, like WebTracks ($295) and Web Help Desk ($695).

A great way to try out some of these help desk solutions is to take advantage of a free trial or use a free version of the software to see if it's worth investing in the full version. Some help desk solutions that offer a free version include Web Help Desk, ServiceDesk Plus, WebTracks, Agiloft and Mojo Helpdesk.

small and medium businesses

Challenges of Help Desk Software

Although help desk software can be extremely beneficial it may present challenges, like:

Getting buy-in

Adoption of your new help desk software is crucial to its success. Top execs and IT might have concerns about the cost compared to the return on investment or security if the software is hosted by a third-party vendor.

help desk challenges

Only needing a few features

After figuring out its goals, a company may decide it doesn't need an all-encompassing help desk software solution. Perhaps it only needs a few features that are included in a free version or manageable with features from your CRM.

help desk challenges