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Just 5 Steps: Get the Perfect Helpdesk for Your Company

In this article, we show you what you should consider before setting up a helpdesk and how you can optimize your support to meet the exact needs of your organization. Get started with the 5 steps to the perfect helpdesk!

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What this post is about

  • A helpdesk is the perfect way to organize your customer support
  • Before setting it up, you should consider your needs and where you need help
  • Define clear parameters and set goals for your Support team
  • The installation and setup can be time-consuming – even more so when hosting the software yourself
  • Use all the features your helpdesk has to offer for maximum efficiency – such as text modules, the knowledge base, or categorizations
  • Save even more time thanks to automation and integrations

A helpdesk is the perfect way to strengthen the relationship with your customers. As a smart inbox, it bundles all user queries from your communication channels, such as email inboxes, forms, and social media, and helps to answer them more quickly.

In this article, we show you what you should consider before setting up a helpdesk and how you can optimize your support to meet the exact needs of your organization. Get started with the 5 steps to the perfect helpdesk!

#1 Recognize Need

As organizations grow, all kinds of growth pains arise. Losing track of customer or employee requests should not be one of them. And a helpdesk guarantees you won’t! As a higher-level support inbox, it provides an overview of all communication channels, calls, and individual priorities.

To find out which support strategy is right for you, start by analyzing your needs. This is to determine how many support requests reach your organization on average. They include messages from customers, suppliers, partners, or even your employees. Also, consider through how many channels these requests reach you.

Too many mailboxes, forms, and absent agents can quickly lead to a mess. But this doesn’t have to be your standard! With a helpdesk, you can still be contacted by everyone, but structure your communication from scratch.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the demand in my organization for support - internally and externally?
  • Who is taking care of requests right now and what resources are already available?
  • Do the contents of inquiries and their processing steps have to be archived? Could an archiving system help me?
  • Do I need a central database for customer information in order to comply with GDPR?

#2 Set Goals

Like every business unit, Support should follow its own objectives. So ask yourself, what are the larger objectives of the Support team in your organization: to help with closing Sales deals, increase product utilization, or make your internal human resources more efficient? Then define relevant metrics that can be used to evaluate the success of each Support department. Conceivable are for example:

  • Number of new tickets
  • Number of open tickets
  • Number of closed tickets
  • Response times
  • Duration until the first response to new tickets
  • Processing time
  • Distribution of communication channels
  • User satisfaction
  • Employee efficiency

By regularly checking and defining the performance indicators you receive information on how effectively your Support is working, where you can improve, and, of course, how it affects the overall organizational goals. If you wish, Zammad can help you with quickly generated daily, weekly or monthly reports that illustrate the development of the key performance indicators you are interested in.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the larger business goals that Support contributes to?
  • Which key figures can be used to monitor the effectiveness of my helpdesk in the long term?

#3 Set up a Helpdesk

Now that you know what your helpdesk is committed to, you can start to set it up. We provide comprehensive help documents and installation instructions for the Zammad helpdesk. We also support users with the highest authorization level "Administrator" to get to know all functions and features of the helpdesk.

Using a helpdesk on a self-hosted server is different from a subscription-based cloud solution (SaaS).
Zammad is available in both versions. As an open-source product, you can install the helpdesk on your own server free of charge. Alternatively, you can choose a paid cloud version, which we will keep up-to-date and secure for you (see #5, Save More Time). Try Zammad in the carefree version for 30 days free of charge and get an impression of the product in just a few clicks.

After installation or registration, we recommend that you first customize your helpdesk to your organization by naming it accordingly, adding your logo, making security and language settings, and customizing chat and knowledge base colors. This is followed by the setup of user rights and linked channels.

Basic structure

In the next step of customization, you should adapt your helpdesk to the actual users, i.e. your employees. You can create user groups that best reflect your organizational structure, hierarchy, and authorizations. This digital representation of your internal work processes is important to clearly define the responsibilities and authorizations of agents (this is how we refer to support staff). Create initial accounts and invite colleagues to work on your helpdesk.

Communication channels

Your helpdesk is the place where all channels (through which external users or internal staff create support requests) are combined. So go ahead and connect your existing channels - or create completely new contact possibilities. You can integrate the following channels with Zammad:

  1. #1 Recognize Need
  2. #2 Set Goals
  3. #3 Set up a Helpdesk
  4. #4 Edit Tickets
  5. #5 Save More Time
  6. Summary
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Phone

With our CTI integration, you can quickly and easily integrate your telephone system for incoming and outgoing calls. Customers are identified by their caller number. Make your service even more personal with direct calls!

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Chat

Be quick now: via our chat, your support team can solve customer queries 7x faster than via conventional email.

View more
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Twitter Integration

Are people talking about you? Don’t miss out. Answer immediately with a status update or a direct message directly from Zammad.

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Facebook Integration

See immediately when someone comments on your Facebook posts. The corresponding integration allows you to reply quickly and directly in Zammad, so you can maintain a short response time.

As well as:

Congrats - you have now completed the initial setup of your helpdesk. As soon as new calls are received, they are displayed clearly and uniformly as new tickets.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Through which existing channels will I receive user requests?
  • Do I have access to these communication channels so I can link them with my helpdesk?
  • Which user groups need specific approvals to process requests effectively?

#4 Edit Tickets

As soon as the first calls arrive in your new helpdesk, you will see them as open tickets thanks to the integrated issue tracking system. A ticket always contains all prior conversations between your agents and the user, as well as helpful notes on the process. This means that no messages and no previous knowledge are lost, even when responsibilities change. Furthermore, each ticket is assigned a status like Open, Closed, or Waiting for Reminder, which represents the processing status of the issue.

When processing tickets, Zammad helps you by sorting them according to priorities (for example, sorted by user group). The actual response, however, is entirely up to your specialized Support team. Agents use the editor to create answers, record their notes from phone calls, or add file attachments.

The more frequently recurring inquiries and processes occur, the more time should be invested in the creation of text modules and ticket templates. This allows agents to answer new requests in Zammad more quickly, while they are still able to customize ticket attributes such as the assignee and priorities with a single click.

The more specific requests and questions become, the more likely it is that further knowledge is required to answer them. Agents can then either assign tickets to another agent within the organization or use a feature we call Knowledge Base.

As a knowledge repository, the Knowledge Base is exactly the right place to store cross-departmental know-how, product details, or information on process flows. It allows you to get the knowledge out of people's heads and make it accessible to everyone - internally and externally. Agents can use it to refer to a detailed article with all information or directly insert detailed instructions as an answer.

All functions of ticket processing by support agents are explained in our Zammad Help.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do my support agents need to answer tickets comprehensively and efficiently?
  • Are there recurring requests for which text modules, ticket templates, or articles in the Knowledge Base can be created?
  • Are there clear responsibilities within your organization that determine who should handle which type of tickets?

#5 Save More Time

If you have followed the instructions so far, your helpdesk will already have contributed to increased efficiency, a structured overview of support requests, clear responsibilities, and ultimately, improved user satisfaction. Finally, we would like to show you how you can improve these results even more. For this purpose, we suggest the use of various extensions.

Automated processes

With Zammad you can do more than just manage requests manually! Because many processes can be partially automated, which makes them even easier to handle. For example, we have introduced triggers that react to a triggering element such as a change in the ticket status or a specific keyword in the title and can independently trigger follow-up actions. This way, notifications can be sent or editors can be stored without the intervention of your agents.

The counterpart to this is macros, which must be triggered specifically by agents, but also trigger a series of follow-up actions with a single click.

Integrate third-party providers

With Zammad we have created the most user-friendly helpdesk for organizations. In order not to overload it with additional functions, we allow you to integrate data and insights from third-party tools and to share and process information from Zammad.

This is especially useful if you already maintain an LDAP or Exchange registry with shared contact data, use monitoring software like Checkmk or Icinga, or simply communicate with your team in Slack. Here you can find an overview of all standard integrations for Zammad.

The integration of a telephone system (CTI) in Zammad lets you make calls right from your helpdesk, so your support never loses its personal touch. This allows you to create and assign new inquiries or phone notes from each incoming or outgoing call with just a few clicks. In Zammad there is the possibility to integrate different telephone systems. With the integration of this additional channel into the daily work routine, you help your employees to work even more productively.

Regular backups

With our cloud solutions, you no longer need to worry about data security. In addition to automatic software updates and SSL encryption for data queries, we also secure your helpdesk with a complete daily backup. In this way, you hand over technical maintenance to us and focus entirely on your service and product quality.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there recurring workflows that can be partially automated?
  • How many resources can I invest in the ongoing data security of my helpdesk?

Summary

A helpdesk helps your organization to better structure support processes and to improve the exchange with your customers. This increases user satisfaction and enables you to achieve important strategic goals sooner.

Before you set up a helpdesk for the first time, you should ask yourself: How many requests are currently reaching your company, through which channels and how are they being processed? Define the overall goals to which the Support team is committed.

After installation, it is important to link all relevant communication channels in your helpdesk and to map the responsibilities within your organization in the application. The more you use the helpdesk, the more potential for increasing efficiency will open up.

Use standardized text modules, as well as macros and triggers, to make it easier for your agents to work with recurring calls and action sequences. Collect your company's specialized knowledge in a knowledge base that you can make available internally or externally as required.

With this step-by-step guide, nothing stands in the way of your perfect helpdesk. For all detailed questions regarding setup, please refer to our detailed documentation for administrators and agents and of course our Support team (enjoy@zammad.com).

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