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Helpdesk Explained Simply: How to Save Time With an Issue Tracking System

An issue tracking system is a software application that collects all your internal or external support requests. Learn how a helpdesk can increase your efficiency and user satisfaction.

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What this post is about

  • A helpdesk is a tool that bundles all your communication channels (which makes customer support more efficient and professional)
  • It’s helpful as soon as your inbox is a mess or whenever conversations need to be tracked and categorized
  • Use the knowledge base to share tips and tricks with the whole team
  • When choosing the provider, look for user-friendliness, the possibility to adapt the tool, and think about the question „hosted vs. self-hosted“
  • Your helpdesk will soon pay off with better customer satisfaction, improved branding, and more efficiency

An issue tracking system is a software application that collects all your internal or external support requests. Organizations of all sizes can use it to efficiently bundle messages from customers or employees, manage them easily, and respond quickly. Every request becomes a ticket that can be assigned urgencies and responsibilities. Tickets can also be tasks or even to-dos. Learn how a helpdesk can increase your efficiency and user satisfaction.

What Is a Helpdesk?

Organizations use a helpdesk to manage internal and external user requests. The tool helps departments such as Customer Support or IT to keep track of inquiries via email, telephone, social media, or chat and to respond in an organized way.

As an "issue tracking system", a helpdesk allows you to easily professionalize your support. This is achieved by bundling all your communications in a single, central contact point - independent of persons and across channels. Incoming calls are displayed as new processes that can be prioritized, assigned, and answered.

Your helpdesk thus helps you to react to problems efficiently and, at best, to solve them. In the long run, answering user inquiries in an organized way leads to stronger customer and employee loyalty. Because personal interaction is so much better than any FAQ area.

When Do You Need a Helpdesk?

With a helpdesk, you will no longer lose track of inquiries. Therefore, we recommend its use as soon as it becomes difficult to keep an eye on your messages and channels, or when changing agents with varying access rights struggle to answer them.

Especially due to the integrated issue tracking system, a helpdesk is a relief for every employee. They only take responsibility for specific answers and no longer for entire conversations or even an entire mailbox. This simplifies the coordination among each other and makes it possible to inform oneself internally about the status and performance of the entire helpdesk. The traceability of all processing results in revision security for each employee as well as the possibility of evaluating all inquiries.

Furthermore, the use of a helpdesk is recommended if inquiries can be divided into categories, e.g. by teams or a type of service request. It also provides support for recurring questions that can be answered with partially automated information. In this case, your employees do not have to memorize every little thing but can access a shared knowledge base (more about this in the chapter "Important Functions").

Where Can a Helpdesk Come in Handy?

As soon as you are looking for help with operational processes, technical functions, or other product questions, the use of a helpdesk is a good idea. The tool can be used as a central contact point for internal or external inquiries, for example in the following areas:

  • Internal communication
    ◦ IT Support
    ◦ Building / Maintenance Support
    ◦ Human Resources
    ◦ Employee Onboarding

  • External communication
    ◦ User Support
    ◦ User feedback
    ◦ Product Support
    ◦ Partner Support

Important Functions and Features

A helpdesk is all about the optimization of efficiency and user satisfaction. The following range of functions is available to you:

All inquiries in one place

The most important component of a helpdesk: the variety of handy channels, which all combine to form a large support inbox and allow inquiries to be processed in a structured manner. Most requests are still received via email or contact form - but messengers such as Slack and Telegram are becoming increasingly important, as are connections to various social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. With the right helpdesk, there is nothing to stop your organization from being accessible everywhere and in all ways.

What Is an Issue Tracking System?

Every incoming message becomes an issue or "ticket" that can be handled by your support team. This ticket contains information on responsibility, priority, and status, thus enabling every member of your support team to quickly get an overview of the subject and status of the issue. For the sake of transparency, tickets also have a complete processing and discussion history, which can be made available to all relevant persons in the company if required. This way the communication is always handled by the entire company and never by a single person.

Be Wise Like Yoda With the Knowledge Base

A knowledge database makes the know-how of individual persons as well as answers to frequently asked questions accessible to the entire organization. If desired, the Knowledge Base is publicly accessible to everyone and thus serves as the first point of contact where customers or employees can look things up independently.

Save Time With Automation

The more frequently the same topic queries occur in Support, the more likely it is that they can be answered automatically. With a helpdesk you have quick access to text modules and you can easily manage them.
Furthermore, you can additionally define simple sequence commands. This means that an action, such as a reply from the user, can automatically initiate the next action. Imagine what it would be like if a request from a customer automatically assigns itself to the responsible agent, sets a status and at the same time sends the customer an initial response. And all this is possible without an agent ever having to lend a hand. Sounds a bit like magic, doesn't it?

Don’t Go for Second Best - Select the Right Provider

When choosing a helpdesk provider you should ask yourself three questions:

  • How easily can the tool be set up and operated by your employees?
  • How quickly can the helpdesk be adapted to your specific needs?
  • And what legal requirements regarding data protection must the tool comply with?
    Here we explain these three aspects in more detail.

Look for User-Friendliness

A helpdesk should be ready for action as quickly as possible and get you and your employees closer to your goal with just a few clicks. The focus should be on ticket processing, but not on navigation within the tool.

At Zammad we follow the philosophy that software should do one thing really well instead of just doing many things satisfactorily. Therefore we help our users to concentrate on the best possible support - without distraction.

Adaptable Like a Chamaeleon

The more channels you add and the more areas you manage, the more you want to make your helpdesk your own - and so you should! Pay attention to details such as comprehensive rights management for different user groups or customization options for automating recurring processes. This way, you make your helpdesk better for you every day.

Self-Hosted or Subscribed – That Is the Question

Last but not least, you have to decide whether you want to set up your helpdesk yourself and run it on your own server, or subscribe to it as a so-called software-as-a-service tool. The former means a one-time license, the latter means continuous access to the latest version as a web application on subscription.

As an open-source project, Zammad is a free alternative to one-time licensing. At Zammad.org you will find all the information you need and access to the self-hosted version, which is constantly being optimized by us and our active developer community.

If you want to save on maintenance costs, we also offer you the option of subscribing to Zammad on a monthly basis. Via a dedicated web interface, you will always have access to the latest version of your helpdesk - including SSL encryption and data security with a German data center. Find the right version for your organization here.

Your Advantages When Using a Helpdesk

Three great value propositions await you when you decide to use a helpdesk. These include more satisfied users, the strengthening of your brand values, and an increase in efficiency and clarity.

  • User satisfaction

It is statistically proven that satisfied users become loyal customers and employees. With a helpdesk, you can solve their questions and problems more quickly, which creates real added value. This positive impression will have a lasting effect on your company, your product, and your service.

  • Strengthen brand values

Do you stand for speed, reliability, and transparency? Then prove it with efficient user support. A personal and consistently high-quality service puts your brand values first and will set you apart from the competition in the long term.

  • Efficiency and clarity

Last but not least, a helpdesk also has a positive effect on your company structure. Why? Because you no longer have a mess of individual communication channels and unclear responsibilities, but structure your support independently of platforms and people. In this way, you access a whole new level of productivity.

Summary

A helpdesk can help you take your support to the next level. By merging individual communication channels into a common system, no messages or responsibilities are lost. Furthermore, features such as the Knowledge Base and automation help you to make your helpdesk, the first point of contact for support requests, more efficient over time. The quick and easy response makes you faster internally and externally and increases customer and employee satisfaction.

  1. What Is a Helpdesk?
  2. When Do You Need a Helpdesk?
  3. Where Can a Helpdesk Come in Handy?
  4. Important Functions and Features
  5. Don’t Go for Second Best - Select the Right Provider
  6. Your Advantages When Using a Helpdesk
  7. Summary
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