Article | 3 min read

4 questions to ask when choosing help desk software

Last updated April 29, 2015

Choosing the best help desk software to serve your customers can be tricky. Software Advice recently surveyed IT professionals to learn more about what is valued in help or service desk software. Their full report didn’t include a breakdown of preference by vendor, but we were thrilled to hear that so many IT professionals are currently using Zendesk. Craig Borowski, market researcher for the Help Desk research consultancy at Software Advice, said, “We weren’t at all surprised when Zendesk emerged as the clear market share leader with 41 percent of respondents on our most recent survey citing it as their current system.” He added, “Between Zendesk’s great interface, extensive automation, live chat support and self-service channel-building tools, it’s a customer service platform with all the right pieces in place.” (Thanks, Craig!)

Still, when it comes to your business, you know what’s best for you. While we might be the first to shout “Zendesk!” as the solution for every customer service need, there are a lot of options out there and it can be hard to know where to start. So here are four key questions to ask, based on the survey, as you evaluate and make a decision about help desks.

1. Who are your customers?

This may sound like Business 101, but knowing who you’re serving is the first step in being able help them. Different CRM software solutions provide different platforms for communication with different groups. A traditional “help desk,” for example, allows an IT team to serve the internal employees of a company. Other software is well-suited for communicating with both internal and external customers. Either way, knowing your audience is crucial to finding the perfect customer service software for you.

2. Where do you want the communication to live?

One of the biggest differences between software platforms is whether all the tickets and customer information are stored onsite or in the cloud. Software Advice found that 68 percent of respondents still use on-premise help desk software. Companies often go this route because they feel more in control of their data and security. On-premise solutions are generally preferred by large, established companies with the physical space to set up the hardware. The downsides of this option are the large upfront and continuing maintenance costs, and large space requirements.

The survey also revealed that cloud-based ticketing systems are growing in popularity. Many companies like the low costs and flexibility of a cloud-based platform. The cloud is especially great for growing businesses that plan on rapidly expanding their customer support.

3. What’s important to track?

Knowing how your customers are being supported is key to keeping them happy. Some customer service platforms, like Zendesk, offer robust analytics so you know how quickly tickets are processed and whether the customer was satisfied after their issue was resolved. Other programs have limited reporting, and some companies already track their data, in which case in-platform analytics are redundant. However, if you do not already have some way of measuring your customer service, software that includes these analytical features might be the right fit for you.

4. Want any special features? How fun do you want the support experience to be?

The apps, widgets, and add-ons available in different software platforms can be important to your business in the present, and to its future growth. These might include strategic integrations. Or they could just be fun. (With Zendesk, you can add anything from widgets that provide scripts for agents to the Chuck Norris app that makes you feel like a champion while you work on tickets.) Software Advice also found that live chat is very important to IT professionals, and can play a large role in what software they select for their help desk.

Want to know more? Read the full report, and learn more about Zendesk for IT