The ability to provide the highest level of customer service with the greatest levels of efficiency is paramount for companies in the market for web based help desk software. With this in mind, there are a few key features managers should look for during the evaluation process.
Complete email integration. This is a feature in just about all help desk software, however as your evaluating make sure there is complete email integration that can support multiple mailboxes (if needed), a variety of mail server configurations, as well as key email features such as conversation threading and cc’ing.
Interaction Log. To prevent staff from having to sift through emails and note pads to recall the last interaction with a customer, all good help desk software will automatically log all interactions, those with the customer as well as those between staff members, related to a customer inquiry. If this is done in a logical, easy to use manner, it will allow any staff member (with the appropriate access) to get quickly up-to-speed when necessary.
Flexible categorization capability. To optimize the efficiency of your help desk operation you’ll want the ability to categorize each customer inquiry for later aggregate reporting where trends can be spotted and addressed in a more proactive manner.
For example, appropriate categorization and reporting could uncover a large number of requests around a refund/exchange process. In an attempt to reduce staff time spent on this type of common inquiry, you could use tools with your customer portal (outlined below), such as knowledge base or forums, to outline a process for quick referral.
Self-service customer portal. Your customer-facing help desk site should contain the following components:
- Customizable web submission form. Make sure you can collect the information you need, in the format you need it in.
- Request status checker. This should include not only the most current update but all other interactions staff have had with the customer.
- Easy to use knowledge base–more on the importance of this below.
- Customer forums for collaborative problem solving. In some situations, your customers can be the best resource for other customers with questions. Foster a collaborative community around your product/service with a managed forum.
These features should be bundled in a template-driven portal that allows for customization with the components you want in the same, familiar, look-and-feel of your site.
A user-friendly knowledge base. While many web based help desk software packages include some form of knowledge base–be aware that not all are created equal. To ensure this is a tool your customers and staff will be confident in using, look for a knowledge base that has a logical layout; avoid overly complex, deeply nested knowledge bases.