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Features vs. Affordability: The Helpdesk Dilemma

An online helpdesk is one of the best ways to implement a central point of contact between your support department and your customers. If you’ve been trying to convince your boss that your business would benefit from a Helpdesk platform you’re likely to be met with a bunch of jargon about costs, return on investment, and value.

These are all very valid concerns and a testament to financial responsibility within a company. However, there are a number of features offered through helpdesk platforms that are must-haves for a modern company, which are well worth their reasonable price point.

But what features transcend cost? What infuses your Helpdesk platform with value, making it a no brainer purchase for your company?

Here they are, in no particular order.

Automated Tickets

The ability to create automated support tickets is a game changer that will reshape the productivity of any company. This is the perfect topic to start off on because it’s one of the biggest time saving features of a Helpdesk system.

Helpdesk platforms have to improve the overall efficiency of business operations. That is their sole function. And one of the best ways in which it does this is through the automation of repetitive tasks that human employees are forced to grind through.

The main issue plaguing human beings when it comes to repetitive tasks is that the monotony makes the brain glaze over and mistakes are made. Following an interaction with a customer, a human representative might become distracted and move on to another task before inputting data from that conversation or creating a support ticket to move forward with a speedy solution to the problem.

That’s where the benefits of a Helpdesk come into play. A Helpdesk should be able to not only create tickets following a customer encounter, but also determine their priority. This takes a pivotal yet mundane task out of the hands of human representatives, granting them an opportunity to focus their efforts on other important areas.

Not only can your Helpdesk create these tickets automatically, they should also be able to auto-distribute them to the proper representative. If there is a customer who only speaks Portuguese, the system will identify that and forward it to a representative who is fluent in Portuguese.

Alternatively, if someone reaches out to the company in an irate manner, the system will be able to determine their tone from the content and escalate the matter automatically to someone who can address the customer’s concerns.

How does it do this? Through a smart distribution system backed by machine learning. This distribution of tickets should be based on what keywords the Helpdesk artificial intelligence was able to pull from both the interaction and the channel from which the interaction originated.

Event and time-based rules can also be applied to auto-generated tickets in order to trigger specific actions. For example, if you have not communicated with a prospect for, let’s say a period of two weeks, the system can auto-generate a ticket reminding the rep in charge of that prospect to make a touch call.

The end result of this system is improved productivity on the part of agents who can spend more of their paid hours assisting customers directly instead of wasting time organizing and distributing support tickets.

Self Service

Today’s consumers are remarkably self sufficient, and as such there are times where they want to be able to help themselves wherever and whenever it might be. Customers are demanding fast and reliable support and Helpdesk systems can provide that through reliable self service options.

If a customer has an issue at 2 a.m. they want to be able to report it and have the problem addressed at 2 a.m. Self service gives them that option thanks to the ability of a Helpdesk platform to be available 24 hours per day seven days per week. Now, customer requests can be organized and forwarded immediately, regardless of the time.

Self-service functionality is also needed to give customers an opportunity to help themselves. How can they do this? Account management access for one. Give customers the ability to take action on their own account. They will have more control over the product and need to call in to speak with a representative with far less frequency.

A good knowledge base page is another way in which a Helpdesk can aid in this regard. A knowledge base is a section of your site, accessed through the Helpdesk, where customers can look up information on issues that they might be having. This helps improve the chances that they might be able to solve their problems through self service, and not have to rely on customer support.

One way in which a knowledge base is worked into the Helpdesk process is through auto generated recommendations. When a customer submits a support ticket, the Helpdesk’s artificial intelligence analyses the content, gauges the meaning behind what the customer is saying, and responds with a number of articles that could help to solve the issue without the aid of support.

A Frequently Asked Question page should be set up as a final stop on the road toward support. Much like knowledge base articles, the artificial intelligence inside your Helpdesk should be well versed with these frequent issues and be able to assist customers with them without having to push their request to a human.

Integrating a chatbot into the website that can field common questions in a messaging style can also be a way in which these self service options are addressed.

There should also be a record of every interaction a customer has with the support department. Much like a business keeps data on the conversations that it has with specific customers, the customers should also be able to not only create support tickets, but view already established ones. This adds and extra layer of self service to the process along with an added jolt of transparency.

Omnichannel Service

Customers want options. But on top of the desire to have a hand in how they are served, customers also want to be able to access the same information through an interconnected web of platforms. A Helpdesk can do this by pushing you toward omnichannel support.

Omnichannel support allows customers to reach your company from multiple platforms. This can include the company website, email, forms, phone, and social media, among others. When a company embraces an omnichannel model, they are bringing all of these different platforms under one roof.

This differs from a multichannel approach, wherein different branches of a company act independently under the same umbrella. In the case of a multichannel operation, a company’s physical locations and website would work completely separate from one another with different promotions and different bodies overseeing them.

In an era where consumers want multi platform support, you can see why this becomes problematic. That’s where a Helpdesk comes in. A Helpdesk provides your company a centralized location where messaging and requests can come in, regardless of what platform they originated from. It can then autoroute those messages to the proper departments instantly.

When looking for a helpdesk, first determine which platforms are most important to your audience. Then, make sure that the helpdesk software you’re looking at has support for all of them.

You can also use the Helpdesk to gauge the effectiveness of the platforms that you are using. You can generate activity reports to determine where most of your requests are coming from and take extra steps to make the highly trafficked points of contact more efficient. This will improve the overall customer experience.

We live in a digital age, so effort has to be put into digital communication. Businesses need to be able to create tickets, route them, and monitor their success or failure regardless of which channel they come from.

Interdepartmental Communication

Large companies may have issues conveying information between departments. Such gaps can leave gaping holes in productivity. Everyone needs to be on the same wavelength in order to provide quality service across the board.

After all, it won’t do if the marketing department and sales department are telling customers two different things. This leads to increased frustration on the part of the customer and could cause sales to fall off or established customers to abandon your service in the event of a huge miscommunication.

Luckily, Helpdesk platforms make collaboration easy.

Let’s say a service representative needs the input of someone in the sales department. They won’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of time explaining the issue to their co-worker. Instead, the sales rep can just log into the company’s free online ticketing system, where they can see all of the issues that are surrounding the ticket in question, including all of the customer’s previous interactions with the company.

If the customer has already been offered a particular solution that didn’t work, that is communicated in the data. It ensures that when a customer bounces from one department to the next, everyone remains on the same page.

Helpdesks also make it easier for executives and supervisors to monitor the service that their employees are giving in order to see where something went wrong. This can be used for better coaching later on. If a salesperson has been struggling. Reviewing their recent customer interactions can help a supervisor zero in on the issues they are facing.

The ability to allow departments to intermingle adds value to the helpdesk because it creates faster resolutions by reducing the number of times calls are transferred and customers have to explain themselves all over again.

Mobile Functionality

Mobile functionality should be a no brainer in terms of importance. Mobile internet usage is skyrocketing year by year. In fact, 63.4% of all mobile users are connected to the internet. In 2018, mobile internet use was responsible for more than 52% of all internet traffic.

A Helpdesk also needs to be available via mobile. Most of the best Helpdesks have an app which allows your employees to access the system while on the go.

This is particularly helpful for employees who are working out in the field. They need to be able to see and review tickets no matter where they might be and mobile functionality gives them that opportunity.

Your employees also need the ability to take action on tickets when they’re not sitting in front of a computer. Mobile settings should allow for real-time updates to be made to the Helpdesk, so your customer support will never be stifled.

Mobile functionality increases the value of a Helpdesk because it allows tickets to be resolved away from a desktop computer, resulting in less wait times and improved productivity. This leads to increased customer satisfaction which improves the overall customer experience. That in turn leads to retention of existing customers.

Customer Journey Mapping

The customer journey is a map of the steps your prospective customers take from their initial awareness of your product all the way through a purchase and beyond. Customer journey mapping is one of the key functions of a Helpdesk, injecting accuracy into your marketing efforts in an attempt to understand your customers and provide them with a more personalized marketing experience.

To achieve that, you’ll need to be able to see a unified view of the customer journey in order to determine exactly how people are going from awareness to conversion. It is also important to examine the journeys of customers who don’t convert, or who fail to make another purchase after their initial conversion. You need to find out what is making them fall off.

A Helpdesk can do this by examining the behaviors exhibited by your prospects and customers across many different platforms. It can use all of that mined data to accurately piece together a map of the customer journey.

You can use that map to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing approach in order to make improvements that will serve your purposes.

Improvements to the customer journey start with improved customer support. This is one of the most critical elements to running a successful business. If your support staff are upsetting customers then you’re likely to see massive abandonment.

Thanks to customer journey improvements, you’ll enrich the customer experience and promote increased retention.

In Conclusion

It’s normal to be wary of the value of any new service you’re implementing within your company. But it’s also important to recognize opportunities to improve your business and make it more functional and efficient.

Efficiency leads to good reviews, which in turn creates more awareness. More awareness leads to more business, and efficient customer support will ensure that the majority of that business will repeat.

Suumit Shah
Suumit Shah
Suumit is the serial entrepreneur, a digital marketing expert with more than 8 years of experience in running a successful digital marketing agency by the name of Risemetric. To know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter


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