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» Selecting Help Desk Software

Selecting Help Desk Software
Businesses these days are under tremendous pressure to boost revenue and cut costs. One way to achieve both goals is to increase customer satisfaction. This can have the affect of cutting down on support calls and boosting revenue. Customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with that sophistication comes more demanding expectations that are more difficult for a company to meet.

The bar is being raised, and resolving customer issue in a quick and efficient manner is seen as key to keeping customer satisfaction levels high. This is difficult in large, many-layered organizations that provide extensive and complex product and service offerings to other businesses (B2B.)

These organizations often have a complex network of internal customer support processes that include multi-tier support systems spanning departments and groups, multiple customer interaction channels, multiple authorizations and approvals required, multiple warranties and entitlements with overrides of restrictions for some customers, and multiple interactions required to resolve one customer issue.

Traditionally, the Help Desk has been a source of customer dissatisfaction, if not outright irritation. It doesn't have to be this way, though; the right software can help to turbo-charge a Help Desk and make it perform much better. However, the selection process for Help Desk software can be a daunting task. The first thing that must occur is an accurate audit of the Help Desk's needs, including current and future forecasting of customer demands. Once everyone agrees on what the help desk and management need, the selection process can begin.

Several features of Help Desk software are crucial. One is a fully Web-based architecture. Many solutions are client/server based, or Web-enabled versions of such systems, making them costly to deploy, manage and maintain. A real Web-based product that offers advanced features and functionality via an Internet browser empowers customers and employees by handing them control and a range of tools with which to manage service and support requests. A completely Web-based Help Desk is inherently more flexible and scalable.

Rich out-of-the-box results is another key requirement. Another thing to look for is online self-service capabilities, such as the ability to quickly create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section for customers. Help Desk software should also support full integration of e-mail. Help Desk software should also be able to leverage existing investments, have extensive reporting capabilities, and feature the flexibility to support other business areas. The software should also be able to address highly complex customer service processes.

Yet another critical capability is the ability to easily configure and adapt the software to individual needs. Support of multi-channel customer interaction and the providing of a panoramic customer view are important, too. The software should also provide comprehensive service delivery management tools and support multi-tier processes.

The benefits of a true Web-based architecture are speed and functionality. The same holds true for out-of-the-box results. Online self-service capabilities can increase customer satisfaction and reduce staffing needs since they enable savvy customers to find their own answers quickly. Extensive reporting capabilities enable companies to track issues and address root causes. The ability to address highly complex customer service processes is a very beneficial one in that it saves costly IT staff time. Many customers are more comfortable with either e-mail or phone interactions, and multi-channel capability offers them options. The ability to leverage existing investments increases overall company efficiency.

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