No matter what industry you work in, you are bound to hear stuff such as, automation, tickets, knowledge base. All these seemingly insignificant things form a very powerful tool called a help desk. Yet, there was a time when we were just using a simple email system for all of our needs. Yes, be it managing customers, taking orders, we’ve done all this using a simple email system until we received a huge stream of customers.
Indeed, as soon as we understood that using an email just won't cut it, we decided that it’s prime time we start using a specialized instrument. And to no one's surprise, it was a help desk system that solved most of our problems. And this essentially brings us to the key topic of this article — our favorite help desk features. So, here is what we think are the best features a service desk system can offer.
If there’s one thing people hate, it’s doing the same old boring process over and over. It's ineffective, it can throttle your performance, and most importantly, it can kill your desire to do the work you’ve been told to. Enter macros. A small but ultra convenient tool that not only saves you some time but makes mundane work invisible. Yes, in just a few clicks or button combos (depending on your system), you can assign, remove, rename, transfer any kind of ticket. Also, as part of most macro systems, you actually assign hotkeys yourself and don’t have to rely on weird configurations.
Let's be honest, sticky notes are great only in small quantities and realistically speaking, there’s never enough of sticky notes. Indeed, sometimes a single note isn’t enough and you need several of them just to get started. And this is where Internal Notes come into play. This small functionality is often taken for granted nowadays but back at the time, it was pretty novel. Internal notes are great for setting up reminders or even notifying other agents. Most modern help desk systems allow you to leave public notes (those that can be seen by other members of the team) and private ones.
This is a huge one. Integrations are amazing and everything in this world that is software-based should be able to integrate with something you need. It's great when you can sync stuff from, say, MailChimp to your Zendesk and vice versa. But it's even better when you don’t need to fill out hundreds of queries into excel manually. Indeed, help desk systems were made to combat this issue and for the most part, they get the job is done through automation or integration (that sometimes grant automation).
Ticket Context Tools
Most service desk tools offer this functionality granularly, or in other words, in separate modules. But no matter how it's presented, it's great when it's there when you need it. For those of you unaware, with Ticket Context Tools you can see who is working on what, as well as you can view what other tickets are open in that agent. Also as part of this functionality, is the ability to track all interactions between a company and a client. Having this, allows you to better understand what kind of relationships you have with your customers, as well as it allows you to fully assess ticket collision problems.
While simple in nature, Tags play a critical role in both reporting and analytics. You see, certain help desk systems allow you to search for stuff using tags, and there are tools that allow you to gather data on individuals that are tagged. Again, this might seem like something that is not revolutionary but without it, your help desk experience will be very different. And it's not just reporting and analytics, tags are also used to group customers, which in turn allows you to do target them through different newsletters, emails, etc. Finally, in knowledge bases, you can tag articles that are linked to a certain product, or group of products. This is a very convenient tool and we are glad that most developers understand this.
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And the last section of our help desk extravaganza is underrated features. In our opinion, we think the most underrated functions are threaded responses and a mobile version of the app. These aren’t exactly unknown functions but rather taken for granted. You see, there was a time where responses were treated as separate entities. That’s right, to get an answer, you had to write a new email/SMS and the same goes for questions. Very inconvenient and very confusing by today's standards.
As for mobile apps, well, believe it or not, help desk systems circa 2004 actually had a mobile version of their websites. It’s just that they were useless and practically, naked in terms of functionality. It is now we have smartphones that are powered by highly productive SoCs (System of a Chip) that allow us to have the full-fat experience on the go. Back then it was a distant dream and no one could possibly achieve a good level of performance using JAVA-based mobile devices. It’s simply wasn’t feasible, or needed for that matter. You see, not many people actually had mobile data plans as those were beyond expensive.
So there you have it, our list of most critical help desk features. There are many more we didn’t touch upon but hopefully, you get the basic idea. Back then, these functions were revolutionary and highlighted prominently in changelogs but as time went, these have become the standard. And for good reasons too. We can’t wait to see what developers come up with next but for now, this is all we’ve got. See you in the next article.
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