Helpdesk software is a program or collection of programs used to manage a company’s helpdesk. A helpdesk is a central point for customers to turn to in case of a problem or enquiry. It may be used by the customer to gain information before making a purchase, or after the purchase if the customer experiences difficulty with the product. In today’s technologically driven world, helpdesk software is an essential component of the service industry’s customer relations function.
Traditionally, the helpdesk of a business was accessed over the telephone. This structure has many inherent weaknesses. For example, customers generally have to wait a long period of time for an operator to come on the line. In the Internet era, however, helpdesks are reachable every hour of every day through email or Web forms. This has eliminated the need for companies to continually expand their telephone management systems.
Large helpdesks are usually organized into levels. Level 1 typically deals with simple problems or enquiries. These are the types of question that are usually found on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet. Level 2 and above usually handle more complex, detailed issues. Helpdesk software is usually organized in a similar fashion.
A helpdesk software package assigns each user request a unique ticket number. The ticket number is also known as a Local Bug Tracker (LBT). Every ticket has details of the user’s problem.
If the problem can be addressed at Level 1, the helpdesk software closes the ticket. The ticket is also updated with documentation of the solution to be referenced by other helpdesk technicians. If, however, the problem cannot be solved at Level 1, the helpdesk software updates the ticket accordingly and dispatches it to Level 2.
There are several characteristics a company should look for when purchasing helpdesk software. Customization is possibly the most important characteristic, because every company’s helpdesk needs are different. Therefore, helpdesk software should conform to the company’s specific requirements. If, for example, the company’s helpdesk is for customers within its organization, the company may require question logging and personal computer (PC) auditing from its helpdesk software. If the company is providing services to external customers, on the other hand, its helpdesk software may need to support contact logging and building a knowledge base.
Compatibility is also essential in helpdesk software. Ideally, it should be able to integrate easily with existing hardware and software. It should also be compatible with the current operating system and email system.
Flexibility is also important in helpdesk software. Various departments within a company’s organization may have specific needs. The helpdesk software should be able to accommodate these needs – from adding special fields in forms, to building separate databases, to compiling specialized reports.
Helpdesk software should also feature scalability. If it is restricted to certain specifications, it can hamper the growth of the business and may make it necessary to purchase another helpdesk software package. Problem management helpdesk software capable of working with multiple database systems is usually the ideal, most scalable solution.