Businesses want and need satisfied customers. Happy customers mean repeat business. Unhappy customers can hurt business – particularly if they make their complaints public.
As volume increases, you may find your business struggling to manage a lot of customer issues. From product issues to how-to questions, your staff needs to be able to respond quickly and efficiently. Email, inbound phone calls, social media, and chat – there is no shortage of way customers can contact your business.
The best thing you can do is find a help desk software that can seamlessly meet your customers with their preferred method of interaction. Fortunately, there are several robust platforms available to handle the omnichannel customer experience.
What to Consider in Buying Help Desk Software
Help desk solutions have many features, and selecting one will depend on the needs of your business. How your ticket agents interact with your customers and the types of issues you see should be one of the key factors.
As you think about your must-haves, consider:
- Handling ticket backlogs
- Expected response times and SLAs
- Contact channels (phone, email, social media, etc.)
- Chatbot support
- The need for a Knowledge Base
- Workflows and automation
- Canned responses
- Ticket deflection
- Reporting and analytics
Help desk software is typically priced per agent, and most vendors offer multiple tiers. Let’s look at some of the industry leaders and what they offer.
Price Range: From $15/agent/month to $139/agent/month in six different tiers
FreshDesk has many options, ranging from basic customer support to an enterprise omnichannel solution. FreshDesk promotes collaboration within the team by looping teammates into an issue and shared ownership of tickets.
Automations can auto-assign tickets to the appropriate agents, remind you of pending work, and monitor ticket statuses. You can manage SLAs with rules regarding ticket response times and create canned responses to commonly asked questions. Customer-facing AI will help guide customers to a faster resolution.
Founded in 2010, Freshdesk has evolved to a platform that now has over 40,000 customers. In 2020, a CRM tool was launched for sales and marketing.
Price Range: $9/agent/month to $79/agent month in four different tiers
Front focuses on meaningful conversations with customers. You can build workflows to sort through new messages and route them to the right person. Canned responses save time on repetitive questions.
Collaboration is easy with @mentions to teammates on email threads to share information and chat internally. Shared inboxes allow every message to be viewable by the whole team.
Front has integrations with 50+ apps and API customization available. Team tools include customer support, customer success, sales, operations, and IT.
A newer company, Front was founded in 2013 but now has 180+ employees. Front has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and Fortune.
Price Range: Upon Request
HappyFox claims to be “simple and affordable.” Pricing is offered on a per-agent level or with unlimited agents and based on the number of tickets.
In addition to ticketing, HappyFox offers a knowledge base, canned actions, task management, asset management, and reporting. HappyFox also has Live Chat and Chatbox for your agents to use. Business intelligence and dashboard reporting track your key performance indicators and measure trends.
HappyFox serves over 12,000 companies in 70+ countries. Their customers are in a variety of industries, including education, retail, technology, and manufacturing.
HappyFox has been rated the best Help Desk Software by PC Magazine for five years in a row and is trusted by Fortune 500 brands. Even without listing pricing on their website, they may be worth exploring.
Price Range: Starting at $20/user/month
Help Scout is a one-stop customer service tool with all of the features you could need: shared inbox, knowledge base, messaging, customer management, reporting, and live chat. Integrations connect Help Scout to other tools such as HubSpot, Jira, and Salesforce.
To help you get started, all Help Scout resources are free. You can take advantage of webinars and their own knowledgeable customer support. Help Scout has mobile apps to keep your team connected on the go.
With the goal of helping businesses build long-term relationships with customers, Help Scout was founded in 2011. From startups to non-profits, Help Scout has over 10,000 customer-facing teams in 140 countries.
Price Range: $15/agent/month to $60/agent/month in three different tiers
Kayako allows you to deliver customer service in multiple languages across chat, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Kayako helps you jump into conversations with your customers across social media platforms, all from within Kayako.
With Kayako, you can create a Help Center so customers can answer their own questions. Multiple brands are supported, so each can have their own content and branding.
Kayako integrates with over 650 apps, including Salesforce, Slack, and Zapier. Kayoko can exist as a cloud-hosted help desk or delivered on-premise.
Kayako was founded to drive customer loyalty through customer experiences. Founded in 2001, Kayako has 131,000 agents using the platform to support over 100 million customers.
Price Range: $25/agent/month to $300/agent/month in four different tiers
Salesforce is a powerhouse in the CRM world. The Service Cloud product features customer service, self-service, digital channels, and field service. Agents have a 360-view of customers with every interaction to identify relevant up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.
AI can provide responses to the customer via chatbots. Internally, AI can be used to deliver recommended actions to the agents.
Founded in 1999, the Salesforce suite of products includes sales, service, marketing, and commerce. Revenue now exceeds $17 billion. If you are looking for a solution that extends beyond just customer service, Salesforce might be the right choice.
Price Range: Starts at $15/agent/month
Solarwinds ServiceDesk has a focus on the IT help desk. Its platform includes remote control and screen sharing, remote Windows administration, and desktop management. You can also control IT assets.
Service reps can manage incidents and route tickets to the right personnel. A knowledge base can cut down time wasted on repetitive tickets. Solarwinds Service Desk can integrate with over 200 cloud applications, including Active Directory, DropBox, Google Apps, Amazon Web Services, Jira, and more.
Solarwinds serves over 320,000 customers in 190 countries and is a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT systems.
Price Range: $5/agent/month to $199/agent/month in five tiers
Zendesk has a low-cost entry point for email and social media support. Business rules, apps, and integrations are available on the higher tiers. Dashboards and reporting show analytics for your customers and agents.
Other features include routing tickets to agents based on skills and satisfaction prediction. Add-ons include self-service answers in a knowledge base, customer chat, and community forums. Zendesk also has sales and CRM platforms.
Zendesk has 150,000 paid customer accounts and 3,000+ global employees. Zendesk gives back to its communities through The Zendesk Neighbor Foundation and has completed over 38,000 volunteer hours since 2011.
Comparing Help Desk Solutions
What you ultimately select for a customer help desk software will depend on not only your must-have and nice-to-have features, but also other factors. Your number of agents and budget may drive you to one solution over another. The channels in which you provide support may also keep one or more solutions at the forefront.
If you are heavy into data and analytics, you will want to look closely at help desk products with robust reporting. You need to consider the level of support you provide to your customers, whether it is 24/7 support or designated SLAs. You may want insights into ticket volume, the average amount of time to close, and satisfaction rating per agent.
Think about scalability as you grow your team. You may rely on other tools as integral parts of your business, which puts more emphasis on integrations. As your teams get bigger, you will want a seamless internal experience as well.
Above all, think about your customers and the experience you want to provide. Do you deal with high volume and agents with various skillsets? Do your customers seek self-help options, or do they prefer personal interaction?
Your ultimate goal is to make your customers happy and provide them with excellent customer service. You will want to choose a help desk software that meets that goal.