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Help Desk Software: Customer Service
Customer service cannot exist without customer interactions. Resolving customer issues typically requires many separate contacts with the customer. The close linkage of issue information and customer contacts in help desk software at every level is one of the keys to great service. By doing this and by following best practices, companies can control costs, maximize customer service, and increase revenue opportunities.

All of this sounds good, but it comes with costs. Many service organizations report seven or more customer contacts per issue. For complex issues, the customer usually checks back frequently, which takes Help Desk time and resources. In a nutshell, every customer contact costs money and multiple customer contacts can often be prevented by good software and systems.

Come of the costs include long-distance charges for toll-free numbers, Internet access and costly servers and network infrastructure, and monthly service fees. The highest costs, however, are labor costs associated with the salaries, benefits, and facilities provided to Help Desk employees and their managers. Labor cost in a typical call center run about 70% of gross operating expenses for the entire call center.

Therefore, finding ways to reduce the number of customer contacts per service issue can decrease overall costs significantly. One major way in which companies can reduce the number of customer contacts per service issue is by using Web-based software to run certain Help Desk functions. Automating the interface between customer service and customers can reduce Help Desk labor hours significantly. One way in which this can be done is by moving as many customers as possible to self-serve options. This is the Help Desk equivalent of self-serve gas stations. An example would be the posting of Frequently Asked Question (FAQ's) on the Help Desk website, or offering an automated phone-mail tree that provides recorded answers to common questions.

A good feature of automated self-serve options is that they are multi-channel or there is more than one option available for the customer. A customer who seeks help on the Internet can peruse the FAQ's. A customer who prefers e-mail can receive an automated response. Still another whose preference is for the phone can use an automated phone-mail tree. The flexibility of several contact options does tend to please customers.

However, it is important to remember that phone calls are the most expensive form of customer interaction. Even with voicemail, there are still fees and costs. And if a Help Desk employee fields a live question, labor costs come into play. E-mail, text-messaging, and the Internet are much cheaper options when it comes to fielding customer questions that can't be answered by an automated system. Thus, many companies are steering customers towards the company's website and away from phone interactions. Skilled Help Desk personnel can often manage multiple online chat sessions simultaneously, thereby eliminating the wait while a customer types.

Another way to streamline Help Desk software customer service is to get the customer directed to the right representative the first time. Customers quickly tire of being placed on hold, or being shuttled from one tech to the next. Taking an extra moment to correctly diagnose the real issue can actually save time by drastically reducing the staff and escalation necessary to address a call. Lastly, efforts the company should make efforts to make Help Desk reps productive by giving them the tools they need to maximize efficiency and guarantee a rapid response to the customer.

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