The ABC of Help Desk Tools

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Help desk tools are web-based software solutions designed to provide you with a viable avenue to obtain support. If you have a complaint or grievance regarding a product or service, this tool will essentially be your shortcut to reaching out to the company.


And over the last few years, online support has become an integral part of marketing, too – especially when considering areas such as customer retention and satisfaction. That being said, in a world where competition is way more intense – a world in which SMEs now can access the tools to compete with larger, more established enterprises – having customer support services readily available has become a necessity rather than a privilege for most companies.

While CRM solutions and marketing tools are designed primarily to facilitate and automate specific processes for reaching out to the customer, help desk tools are meant to automate the customer service side of your company. Fully functional help desk tools generally offer at least three basic components:

·         A ticket management system

·         An automation suite

·         A reporting and optimization program

Firstly, the help desk ticket system is probably one of the most important features in any customer service solution. This feature is what enables customers to reach tech support personnel in the first place, and how support staff can properly log and address concerns and complaints from customers.

The automation suite enables help desk staff to quickly redirect customer concerns and inquiries to the right personnel or department, thereby making the customer service process much more efficient. While the customer support journey starts with the ticketing system, the automation suite basically ensures that there is no ticket left unresolved.

Finally, you find the reporting and optimization functions. With this particular function, support managers and decision makers will be able to gain a better understanding and properly assess the current status of the organisation’s IT resources and customer support service. This is how weaknesses in the system can be discovered and, ultimately, improved.



3 Brilliant Help Desk Tools (2019)

With the software market being saturated by good options, it can be tricky to find the right solution for you. Below we have gathered up a quick list of 3 brilliant help desk tools available right now.


This is actually a free help desk tool, making it a great option for start-ups and SMEs with limited budgets. Other benefits include seamless mobile integration and a quick and easy Windows setup process.

One of the drawbacks, however, is the technical skills and knowledge it demands from the user when it comes to the configuration process and regular system updates. However, this will be more of a challenge from companies working with Linux systems, rather than Windows. Linux users, with no in-house IT support, might also experience some technical challenges when it comes to the installation process itself. If this sounds too complicated for you, we recommend that you check out the two other options instead.

Lastly, Spiceworks is a free solution. This means that the vendor makes a profit through ad placements, and you can therefore expect a few pop-up ads in your helpdesk interface from time to time. It’s nothing too annoying though, so we highly recommend it if you’re on a tight budget.


osTicket is an open-source help desk application that works really well. In fact, it’s one of the best open source help desk tools currently on the market.

The main appeal of open source systems is that they’re mostly free of charge. In addition to this, the source code can be configured to meet the requirements and unique workflows of the organisation implementing it. Essentially, this means that you can create a bespoke solution – as long as you have the technical skills necessary, that is. Moreover, open-source programs can be continuously configured and customized to adapt with the growing demands and needs of a still-developing company, thus providing scalability and flexibility that every organization wants in any software solution.

With that said, osTicket is a great option for both SMEs and large enterprises alike. This is a cost-effective help desk tool, and the best part is that users can configure osTicket based on their current service-level agreement (SLA). And if your company has somewhat sophisticated post-sales offerings, the open source solution can be configured to suit those requirements as well.


Our final recommendation, Zendesk, is vastly different from the other help desk solutions mentioned so far. This is a complete customer support platform that covers a wide array of customer service solutions, including help desk features such as online help desk ticketing system, call centre functionalities, and multi-channel communications options.

Zendesk can offer you basically everything you need in order to effectively consolidate all customer service efforts. In addition, the platform has a strong focus on collaboration and easy working, thereby enhancing the opportunity for customer support agents to collaborate in order to solve a problem as fast as possible. Arguably, the best part about this platform is that it comes with self-service options such as knowledge base creation, which helps to minimize the number of help desk tickets in the queue as customers may only refer to the knowledge base for more basic concerns they might have.

Zendesk is a customer support platform ideal for agile teams that prefer taking proactive action in order to enhance the customer experience. The platform not only provides help desk tools, it also offers built-in reporting solutions that provide teams and executives valuable insights into the performance of support staff and the efficiency of the organization’s processes and approach to customer service.

Finding Your Next Help Desk Solution

Are you in the market for a new customer service solution? Our experts here at YourShortlist have gathered up 3 essential things to consider before acquiring your new solution.

  • Consider the customer support services you want to provide

Before you begin the research process, there are a few questions you should answer in order to narrow down the software options ahead of you. There are so many solutions available on the market, and the best way to decide on one, is to figure out what your organisation actually needs.

Is your current support software scalable – or is this your first time choosing a help desk tool? What kind of expectations does your customers have when it comes to support? And how would you like your software to approach these expectations?

These questions should be answered before you can effectively begin your search for the right customer support software. By finding the answers, you will be able to narrow down on what type of system you should be going for.

  • Set an appropriate budget for your help desk tool

There are few factors to consider when determining the appropriate budget for customer support services. First, you need to take into account the size of your customer support team. While there are indeed vendors that offer pricing based on team size, not all software vendors will follow this model.

Most companies benefit from a pricing plan based on the number of users. However, some providers will impose extra charges for every user you add, which can be very costly, and we recommend that you try to avoid these specific options. If you go through a period of growth, you might end up expanding your staff – and the last thing you would want is to incur unnecessary expenditures for every user you add to your customer support team.

If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider some of the free, open source options below. However, do ensure that you have the technical expertise in place in order to set it up and install it properly.

  • Identify the features and functionalities you need in your software

Customer support services require a wide range of features and functionalities that teams can use in order to deliver high-quality support. While some of these features are meant to enhance the customer experience, others are designed to improve the efficiency and collaborative efforts of the support staff.

And there are several features to choose from

  • Chat support
  • Centralized team inbox
  • Community forum function
  • Phone support
  • Social media support
  • Mobile app support
  • Knowledge base
  • Support analytics and reporting

All solutions will offer a different set of features, so it’s up to you to decide which features you will need the most.