Ask a Geek

Need Help Understanding Help-Desk Software? Read This.

Need Help Understanding Help-Desk Software? Read This.

She’s got the FAQs: Jill Soley of Freshdesk.

Image credit: Chris DeLorenzo
This story appears in the December 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Online help-desk programs log, manage and track customer issues or tickets, as they’re known, in a single window, streamlining your service process. For a rundown on what else these systems can do and why you should consider one, we called Jill Soley, vice president of marketing at San Francisco-based Freshdesk, a cloud-based help-desk solution provider, and asked her to, well, help.

Q: How can help-desk software benefit my business?

A: Business owners wear a lot of hats, and as a business grows, customer requests can fall between the cracks. Online help-desk systems bring order to the chaos. When properly configured, they consolidate all customer interactions—from multiple emails, website queries and chats, even social media mentions—into a single place where they can be logged, assigned to the appropriate personnel to fix and tracked throughout the resolution process. They’re ideal for small businesses that don’t have the luxury of establishing a customer-service department.

Q: Can a help desk slash the number of service calls or emails I receive?

A: Absolutely. Because we live in the age of Google, customers start looking for answers online. A good online help desk makes it easy for you to identify your top FAQs. You’d then publish the answers to them on your website, thus reducing the number of repetitive calls and emails your employees need to handle.

Q: How does social media tie in? 

A: Many help-desk solutions can be configured to “listen” online for words or phrases related to your business, from mentions of your Twitter handle to mentions of your business name. The help desk can immediately alert you when your business is mentioned, which enables you to respond from right within the help-desk program. It can even be set up to keep aware of your competitors’ social media mentions.

Q: What questions do I need to ask when shopping for a help-desk program? 

A: Outside of cost -- likely your first question, right? -- there are two big ones. First, who within your company will be using the system? Your help desk should give you the flexibility to assign permissions and customer service inquiries based on how you separate responsibilities within your teams. Second, how do you expect your customers to connect with you and look for answers to problems? Will they be using email, phone, social media, comments on your website or all of the above? The help desk should allow you to manage the communication channels you and your customers use most. 

Edition: October 2016

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