As an IT leader, you know your team is only as capable as the IT help desk software you use. Without this critical tool, managing requests can feel like bailing out the Titanic with a shot glass — grossly ineffective, annoying and a sure-ﬁre way to kill your team’s morale.
That’s why, when it comes time to choose a solution for your organization, you’ve got to make sure you’re investing in the best IT help desk software for your needs and budget. It’s not good enough to grab the ﬁrst help desk tool you stumble over in a half-hearted Google search. Instead, you have to carefully compare your options and make sure the software you choose is designed to address your company’s unique challenges.
Unfortunately for whoever has the task of narrowing down options (and since you’re reading this post, I’m assuming that’s you), there are a lot.
To help you sift through the available help desk software solutions more effectively, we’ve compiled a list of the top must-have features small businesses can’t do without.
1. Mobile-Friendly Features
Have you ever spent a workday out in the ﬁeld or worked on a project away from your workstation, and returned to an avalanche of new tickets? It’s frustrating — especially when you realize you could’ve solved many of them remotely. The rest of the world has gone mobile, so it only makes sense that your help desk software does too. Whether it’s a separate mobile help desk app or features designed with mobile service reps in mind, if software isn’t mobile-friendly then it isn’t worth your investment.
When evaluating options, make sure the software is not only mobile-responsive but also offers a clean and simple UX that won’t slow you down when you’re handling a request from your mobile device.
2. Cloud-Based Software
In a perfect world, your workloads would never ﬂuctuate, users would never need your assistance after-hours, and you’d never need to backup data or protect it from cyber threats. But, as you know, that’s not the nature of IT. Not even close.
Unlike on-premise software, cloud-based help desk software gives you the ﬂexibility you need in this not-so-perfect world. Having a help desk hosted on remote servers means never having to worry about overloaded support portals, and having the freedom to access the software anytime (from anywhere with an internet connection). A cloud-hosted help desk also means continuous, automatic backup and more advanced security.
3. Customization Options
For a user, it can be confusing to click on your company’s help desk and end up on a ticket submission page that’s entirely devoid of your organization’s branding. They may even feel apprehensive about using the tool at all — which means giant headaches all around. Instead, make sure you invest in small business help desk software that reﬂects the look and feel of your website, including your logo. (Bonus points if the software also allows you to add a knowledgebase and chat to your user portal.)
Additionally, opt for a solution that allows you to manage the ticket form so you can easily remove irrelevant form ﬁelds. The simpler you make the process for your users, the better the experience for you both.
4. Ticket Tracking and Visibility
How much time has elapsed since a ticket was issued? What’s the current status of each open ticket? How do you make sure you’re able to address the highest priority tickets ﬁrst? If you can’t answer these questions, your help desk is virtually useless. (Harsh, but true.)
The best small business help desk software allows you to set up notiﬁcations for speciﬁc events and ticket types, quickly identify and rank ticket priority, track time on open tickets and determine the status of individual tickets at-a-glance. Having advanced visibility will help you better manage you and your team’s workload, and keep users satisﬁed.
5. Chat Integration
Often, you and your reps need to gather more information about a request to solve the issue, tap another team member for help or even remote-in to take control of a user’s desktop. You’re probably able to do these things using a variety of programs, but wouldn’t it make life easier if you could do all of the above without leaving the help desk portal? Unless you prefer to click in and out of multiple systems for fun, live chat integration is a feature you don’t want to forego.
6. Ticket Routing and Grouping
When you’re managing a team of IT reps, and their workload, it’s essential you can assign tickets based on two critical factors: availability and experience. Advanced ticket routing features give you the ability to route tickets directly to reps, or add them to speciﬁc queues handled by a select group of reps specialized in ﬁxing that type of issue.
Additionally, you may sometimes receive multiple tickets for the same issue. Instead of wasting time handling each ticket individually, choose help desk software that groups identical tickets and allows you to update them all at once.
7. Service Level Agreement Management
When you and your team are facing a windfall of tickets, you have to deﬂect some to address the most time-sensitive concerns. But the last thing you want to do is inadvertently violate a service level agreement (SLA). The best help desk software will give you the ability to see SLA information within the portal, group tickets by priority and stop the SLA timer if a rep is awaiting a response from a customer. It also allows you to run help desk reports and ensure your team is meeting client SLA goals.
There’s no doubt about it: choosing the right help desk solution for your team can be a pain. But given so much of your team’s success rides on the power of this software, it’s not a decision you can afford to take lightly. Using the above criteria can help you narrow down your options and choose the right product to keep your IT machine chugging.