Every passing year, organizations get more dependent on their IT infrastructure to keep their business going, and on IT departments to ensure that everything works as it should. Thus, communication is key to addressing issues on the fly and guaranteeing the best possible experience. In this context, help desk software is the perfect ally to channel all that.
Having a ticketing system allows organizations to manage physical devices, cloud-based software, and workflows to avoid any service disruption - which could result in loss of time, money, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
In this sense, IT departments are strategic units inside the companies to oversee all that, but once organizations reach a certain number of team members, email support falls short. They need specific software to be able to keep up with the demand for IT support.
Whether you need to improve the efficiency of your service desk department or provide customers with a streamlined system of support, this guide will help you navigate the different elements you need to consider when choosing a help desk system for your organization.
Help desk software is a tool to help manage employee or customer inquiries and requests. This type of software typically offers features such as ticket tracking, automated responses, and self-service portals, allowing end-users to quickly get help without going through a lengthy process.
Companies use it to centralize the requests for support - commonly called “tickets” - because it allows the Customer Support Department to route the request to the right agent, keep a history of the interactions between that employee and the support department, and provide self-service tools such as a knowledge base and ticket status for faster resolution.
According to Transparency Market Research, the help desk software market share is expected to reach $11 billion by 2023.
Typically, help desk software connects to the customer contact points: email, text support, chatbots, and self-service portals, routing the queries uniformly to the service desk team. The software will also be connected to the customer database as well as to the knowledge base for providing clear replies to customer queries.
Modern help desk solutions also have analytics and deep learning capabilities to help you further optimize your help desk. These systems deliver actionable insights for better management of resources and resolve any bottlenecks in the ticket pipeline.
The short version is to provide your teams with a better way to handle support requests or tickets. While some ticket systems are used to provide support to external customers (such as an e-commerce site or travel agency), IT help desk systems have specific features like providing restricted access to employees and perhaps selected external users (such as partners) to offer them the assistance they need in their daily work.
But that’s not the only benefit of having help desk software. The list also includes:
The main goal of your IT teams is to restore normal service operations as quickly as possible, minimizing the adverse effect on business operations. With a help desk system, they have complete visibility of issues - and potential problems - as well as the proper means to avoid them or solve them in no time.
With a ticket management system, users can submit a request - be it from email, through a communication platform, or directly from the help desk self-service platform.
The ticket is then automatically prioritized and assigned to a specific agent while letting the help desk manager keep track of the performance of their team, and re-assign tickets to agents with fewer incidents in the queue.
Also, Service Level Management helps create visibility on the expected resolution times for a ticket, letting help desk software and the help desk manager escalate it or give it a higher priority.
If we take a look at the different types of help desk software solutions, we’ll notice that they can be grouped and compared based on several factors.
If we take into account the areas that provide support, we can come across:
On the other hand, if we concentrate on its users, we can differentiate:
In addition, if we take a look at the deployment, the following types of help desk software appear:
Lastly, according to its licensing method, we can segment software into:
To be able to pick the help desk software that best suits your requirements, you need to know what to look for first. Besides understanding your company’s needs, you have to know what a help desk system that’s worthy of the name has to offer.
Here are 9 must-have IT help desk software features to seek.
The number one requirement when choosing help desk software is its ease of use. A simple implementation and a good UX will help you decrease the amount of training your agents will need to understand the platform and increase the adoption rate by end-users.
Since the help desk will be essentially handling issues and requests, automating the ticket process flow is key to:
And while on this topic, a positive addition to ticket automation has been Artificial Intelligence. AI assistants can help agents categorize incidents, better identify major issues, and adjust priorities based on your help desk’s regular activity. Plus, they can enhance your agents’ capabilities when responding to tickets.
Ticketing workflows will allow you to create predefined sequences for any repeatable process - such as onboarding and offboarding an employee or the approval of a computer acquisition. With automation, you can standardize processes, increase team efficiency, and improve the employee experience.
Another relevant help desk software feature is reporting. Being able to have trustable analytics, and customizable dashboards and reports is a game changer to any professional service desk project. Understanding how your department and individual contributors perform against defined help desk KPIs can provide you with actionable insights to improve the performance of the organization.
Self-service capabilities constitute level zero of IT support. They exist to offer your users 24/7 basic help, free up agents so they can focus on more complicated tasks, and improve your end-users’ overall experience.
These capabilities typically include:
ITIL is a set of practices that supports organizations and individuals to gain optimal value from IT and digital services, followed by most service desks around the world.
ITIL-aligned service desk solutions include built-in workflows that can help your organization define ITIL-defined procedures such as:
SLAs define the level of service expected by users and the support team. A help desk ticketing system with service-level management capabilities can route a ticket to the right agent according to priority, urgency, and knowledge level. Also, it provides signals to the agents to help them prioritize tickets based on expected resolution times.
If your scope of services includes hardware support or device maintenance (or if your agents have to handle hardware in any way), it’s best to get a service desk that has Asset Management features, or that can easily integrate with an IT Asset Management tool.
By acquiring a combined solution, you’ll:
Lastly, integrations can also encourage help desk software adoption since you’ll be able to connect the new platform with the tech stack your company already uses. In this sense, find out if the solution can be synchronized with platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zapier, Slack, etc., and if it has a free API for you to create your own.
There’s a lot to take in, we know. For that reason, the last stop before diving into the best help desk software in the market is a quick guide for you to know how to choose the right one for your business.
Keeping what we already mentioned in mind, when choosing an IT help desk software, you need to think about the needs of your organization.
|Hosting||Free trial||Pricing||Licensing Model||Pink Verify
# of Practices
|Integration Costs||Support costs|
|InvGate||Cloud & on-premise||Yes (30 days)||Request a quote||Agent/Year||7||Included + free API||Included|
|Freshdesk||Cloud||Yes (21 days)||Free for 10 agents,
$18/month for more features
|Agent/Month||N/A||Free & paid||Email support included -
Phone support included
in some plans
|Zoho Desk||Cloud||Yes (15 days)||Free for 3 agents,
$18/month for more features
|Agent/Month||N/A||Paid||Email support included -
Phone support included
in some plans
|ManageEngine||Cloud & on-premise||Yes||Starting at $10/month||Technician/Month||N/A||N/A||Included|
|SolarWinds||On-premise||Yes (30 days)||Starting at $19/month||Technician/Month||N/A||N/A||Included in some plans|
|BMC Helix||Cloud||Yes||Request a quote||N/A||14||N/A||Included|
|Help Scout||Cloud||Yes (15 days)||Starts at $20/month||User/Month||N/A||Included in some plans||Included|
|ServiceNow||Cloud||Yes||Request a quote||N/A||19||Free & Paid||Included|
|Cloud||Yes||Free for up to 3 agents,
then $20/month for more features
|Agent/Month||N/A||Free & paid||Included in some plans|
|HappyFox||Cloud||No||Starting at $29/month||Agent/Month||N/A||Included in some plans||Included|
Freshdesk comes with intuitive solutions and helps you eliminate repetitive tasks using automation and AI. It helps you remove data silos and reduce costs. Freshdesk also comes with customizable dashboards and 24/7 customer support
Zoho Desk is a popular service desk solution that helps deliver high levels of customer satisfaction.
Zoho Desk also supports omnichannel services, including support through the website, email, phone, and social media. It can help you build a state-of-the-art workflow to provide quick responses and follow-ups to customers
Some of its other features are:
ManageEngine is a popular service desk solution delivering consistent results for the last 10 years.
One of the key features of the ManageEngine service desk solution is that it offers a variety of flexible plans to suit businesses of all types and sizes. This solution is highly power-packed and can help you run your service desk optimally.
SolarWinds is a popular service desk for modern IT teams used by MNCs all over the world. It helps establish better control over IT processes and improve customer service. It combines useful features and quality services to offer the best customer support to your audience.
The SolarWinds service desk specializes in industries with strict regulations and frequent audits. This software is useful for organizing your license and contract documents, staying compliant, and managing inventory. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes and is deployed as a SaaS solution.
Some of its features are:
It is suitable for modern businesses that work with CIOs, change managers, service desk managers, and IT operations managers that can utilize it for their teams.
Help Scout offers help desk software that is quick to learn and simple to configure. Its setup is more than enough for most small-to-medium-sized businesses - though it will miss out on more complex features.
ServiceNow is a cloud-based ITSM tool aimed at automating IT support operations. This help desk solution is designed based on ITIL guidelines and aims to help businesses improve service orientation for tasks, activities, and processes.
Formerly known as Jira Service Desk, Jira Service Management is an IT service management solution built on the popular Jira platform designed for high-velocity teams. Its tools empower teams to deliver great, coordinated service experiences without the complexity of traditional ITSM.
HappyFox is a help desk solution that prides itself in being easy to use, having a quick and painless setup, and a robust support system.
Choosing the right help desk software for your organization is essential to streamline your IT support and provide the best possible customer satisfaction and employee experience. To do so, you need to take into account:
Based on the assessment of your company’s current state, you’ll be able to determine which features are more relevant to you - and whether you need help desk software or maybe it’s time for you to adopt an ITSM approach and opt for a service desk.
These are the basic features to start the path of streamlining your IT services and properly accompany the growth of your teams and organization.
In order to choose the right help desk software for your organization, you need to think about the needs of your organization.
Make sure to ask yourself questions around the following topics: communication channels, help desk goals, organization openness, support team structure, prioritization, collaboration, regulations, and budget.
Help desk software is an efficient and automated tool used by businesses to help improve employee and customer support. Its core purposes are to provide a one-stop destination for users to find answers to their questions or solve issues, and track user requests, manage user feedback, automate repetitive tasks, and optimize the user experience.
That depends on what you'll use it for. Help desks are focused on streamlining customer or employee support. Their scope includes automating repetitive tasks, routing users' issues and requests, and measuring and improving service.
CRMs, on the other hand, were conceived to manage the relationship and interactions between a company and its customers. They focus on connecting customers and boosting profitability. They're most accurate for sales teams.
The main difference between a help desk and a service desk is that the former has a reactive approach to support. Helpdesk typically act after an issue has occurred. On the contrary, service desk software allows organizations to be proactive, set up a strategy, and prepare for issues long before they arise.
For small businesses, it helps to focus on the most important aspects of the software and evaluate how they align with their specific needs. Look for features like quick setup time, scalability, customizable reporting options, real-time analytics, and a user-friendly interface. Additionally, make sure the company provides quality customer service and effective training programs for new users. Finally, consider its affordability.
Businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, need help desk software to provide support. They will all benefit from having a unified platform to manage tickets, quickly respond to issues, automate repetitive tasks, and improve user experience.
There are a lot of help desk software options in the market. The top 10 help desk solutions are:
The basic steps to implement a help desk ticketing system are:
Don't forget that if you need more information on the topic, you can download our ITSM implementation checklist for free!
Microsoft Teams is a collaborative workplace platform from the Microsoft Office Suite designed to improve communication and collaboration between teams. Although it's not a ticketing system per se, you can integrate it with your help desk so that users can submit requests through there and get a ticket created automatically.