Technology permeates our workplaces, and with most staff relying on it to get their work done, their productivity is tied to their tech being up and running 24/7. Therefore, when a computer goes to the dreaded ‘Blue Screen of Death,’ employees call the all-knowing, all-fixing resource, better known as the helpdesk. Furthermore, helpdesk software also gets used at companies to support the needs of their customers.
With so much technology to support these days, from computer hardware, to mobile platforms, online portals, and everything in between, the helpdesk has its hands full. For them to keep track of all these tasks, they rely on job tickets, and they need the resources provided in helpdesk software to keep things organized.
We’ll take a look at some great choices in this space, that can serve the specific needs of supporting the helpdesk, which in turn supports the rest of us when things are not quite working right.
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Zendesk Support is a software package that provides organization to put a variety of customer support interactions in one accessible database. It has the features for an efficient workflow, including web widgets, the ability to search a customer’s history, and predefined ticket responses. Another standout feature is integrated surveys for customer satisfaction ratings, combined with analytics and performance dashboards to track ongoing performance. Zendesk support also works with other pieces of the Zendesk software family, such as Zendesk Talk, which is their call center offering.
A free trial is offered on the Professional Plan tier. Plans start at $5 (£4) per agent per month for the Essential Plan on annual pricing – and even more at $9 (£7) per agent per month priced month-to-month – but this only has a basic help center. To get the custom insight reports requires a step up to the middle Professional Plan, and the price rises steeply to $49 (£37) per agent per month annually – or $59 (£44) month-to-month.
Freshdesk is helpdesk software that has a number of features to foster efficiency of workflow based around the tickets created. These include a team inbox to manage incoming tickets from several channels to one location, the ability to designate and create custom ticket statuses that work for your organization, canned responses to common trouble issues, and a team huddle to bring in expertise on more complicated challenges. This software can also integrate information from multiple channels including email, phone, social media and chat.
There are trials for each of the tiers, and the lowest tier, Sprout, is available for free. The next rung up is Blossom, which goes for $19 (£14) per agent per month billed annually, and adds satisfaction surveys, time tracking and an advanced social channel.
Zoho Desk is the cloud-based, helpdesk software offering that focuses on being context aware. It includes features such as prioritization of higher importance or overdue tickets, dashboards to track quality metrics, and the support to create a Knowledge Base for simpler issues that can be self-serviced. Zoho Desk can be used by agents with mobile apps for iOS and Android. Support for using Zoho Desk is provided via a number of avenues, including active user forums, a webinar series, a self-service portal, a user guide, and blogs, but live chat requires the top plan, and no plan has direct phone support.
Unlike their competitors, a strong point of Zoho Desk is their simplified number of tiers which is only three, with the bottom being a free plan with a reasonable limit of three users, and the availability of free 15 day trials for the other tiers. Their most popular plan is the middle Professional Plan, which includes “Customer Happiness Ratings,” and cloud telephony for an affordable $12 (£9) per agent per month billed annually.
Even their uppermost Enterprise Plan, which adds custom ticket templates, role based access control, cross department reports and the previously mentioned live chat support option goes for a competitive $25 (£19) per agent per month billed annually, less than most other top tier plans.
Kayako is a helpdesk software offering that focuses on ease to use, and fosters a personal conversation with the customer. It is used by household name companies such as Airbnb, Toshiba, Peugeot and The Guardian.
Standout features include support for the creation of multiple help centers each with their own content (termed Multibrand), live chat support, canned responses for common questions, support for SLA’s, and the ability to automate the workflow with smart business rules. There is also dashboard to track quality metrics including customer satisfaction, and custom reports can also be created.
Pricing is based on a four tier model: Inbox, Growth, Scale and Enterprise with free trials available. The lowest plan, Inbox, starts at $15 (£11) per agent per month, billed annually.
Jira Service Desk, from Atlassian, takes a ‘modern approach’ to helpdesk software, with an uncluttered, and simple to use interface. Standout features include integration with over 600 other platforms such as Slack via available Service Desk apps. The Jira Service Desk can be used via mobile platform apps, and notable customers include Twitter, Sotheby’s and Spotify.
On the one hand, Jira Service Desk has the shortest trial of our offerings here, only seven days, and no available free tier at the lowest end. However, their bottom tier offering starts at a monthly flat fee of $10 (£7.50) monthly, and covers up to three agents, and the next step up covers up to 15 agents for $20 (£15) per agent per month, with a custom discounted price for 16 agents or more – with the same feature set across all the plans. For those looking to commit to a year long subscription, they will get two months of service for free making this an even a better deal.