The number of available and emerging help desks is huge. It may take a while to choose optimal software. However, if you have a clear vision of what the software should and should not do, the choice narrows down to a quite digestible list. In this article, we will review the five types of help desk software to help you form your shortlist and make an informed decision.
Understanding the basic and advanced features of help desk software
Different types of help desk software offer different features. Needless to say, that software providers features unique to their company. However, a help desk is a help desk, and its primary task is to handle customer inquiries and ensure that no queries are left unanswered.
- Ticket management:
- automated ticket reminders
- organizing tickets by tags
- ticket templates
- grouping tickets by customers
- Insights and analytics;
- Workflow automation;
- Multichannel support;
- Integration options;
- Advanced reporting settings;
- Custom branding tools;
- Team collaboration functionality;
- CRM features, etc.
Figuring out the list of essential features is important. The next step is to decide on the type of the help desk system.
5 types of help desk software you can choose from
Web-hosted help desk software
Web-based, also referred to as cloud-hosted or software as a service, is hosted on vendor’s servers. It is available over the web browser (vendor’s website), mobile or desktop application. To use the software, you need to have an Internet connection. Otherwise, you will not be able to retrieve, view and update tickets.
Web-based help desk software is rented out to companies. They can choose between a monthly subscription plan or a yearly rate split into small monthly payments. Some vendors offer other subscription options, like quarterly rate, etc.
This type of help desk is mostly used by small and medium businesses due to ease of installation, flexible payment terms, and rich feature sets.
On-premise (self-hosted) help desk software
An on-premise help desk is licensed proprietary software which is owned and hosted by the company. After purchasing the license, companies install the software on their own servers and take care of its further maintenance. This model usually involves a one-time setup fee. Upgrades provided by the vendor might require an additional fee.
The self-hosted model offers greater security of data and is supposed to easily integrate with other business systems used by the company.
The self-hosted software is most commonly used by large enterprises since it requires huge investments and offers full control over data.
Enterprise help desk software
Enterprise help desk software has the most complicated structure out of all types and is usually a part of a large system. Enterprise help desk includes functionality that provides internal support along with customer support. Some of the features include asset, account and survey management.
Other than addressing customers’ issues, this type of help desk software is supposed to increase overall company productivity.
Open-source help desk software
This type of help desk software is one of, if not the most popular since it is provided on a free basis. Companies get access to the source code and can change it at their discretion. Other than improving the code on their own, companies can leverage updates contributed by the community working on the development of the help desk.
These days, vendors of open source help desk software offer paid features and services. Because the software is free, companies can only rely on support from the community. However, they can get a dedicated support manager for a separate fee. Other paid services include software set up, training, integration, and add-ons, etc.
Cloud-based help desk software
Cloud-based software is often referred to as web-based software and vice versa. There’s a very fine line between the two since cloud-based software is a blend of web and desktop applications. However, there is some difference.
Unlike web-based apps, cloud-based apps can operate offline. The latter use Internet connection primarily to download and upload the data and can also run on the user’s computing systems.
Other than that, cloud-based ticketing systems can be hosted on multiple replicated servers, run by third-party companies. Web-based apps run on vendor’s servers only. A cloud-based help desk software offers massive scalability and allows handling huge loads that fluctuate.
Cloud-hosted helps desks are free or require small recurring payments. They are easy and fast to get started with. But on the flip side, they provide less control over the data and features, limited customization options.
On-premise software offers full control over the data, it can be deeply customized to fit a company needs. But companies must be ready to pay a substantial sum of money and have resources to maintain and upgrade the system.
Enterprise help desks are powerful and customizable. At the same time they are expensive ones. A company must hire or have its own professional team to implement the software.
Open Source software saves money on the initial investment. But a company engineers must be ready to do all the setup, maintenance and configuration of the system themselves.
Cloud-based help desk allows businesses to handle load fluctuations. Such software is expensive and requires much time to get implemented.