We all need help sometimes. From customers reaching out to your organization for guidance on how to renew a subscription to employees struggling to connect to the business VPN, the demand for guidance is everywhere. Fortunately, there is technology out there capable of offering this help.
The helpdesk is an unsung hero of the CX landscape, offering excellent opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction, support your employees, and improve business productivity. According to research, by 2027, the value of the helpdesk industry will reach around $21.8 billion.
In today’s rapidly changing landscape, defined by hybrid work, omnichannel customer interactions, and ever more complex purchasing journeys, the need for the helpdesk is greater than ever. Understanding what a helpdesk can do for your business, and how you can implement the right kind of technology, could be the key to staying ahead of the competition.
What is a Helpdesk and How Does it Work?
The helpdesk is a tactical environment within an organisation that curates and collates information, messages, and various troubleshooting tools. Helpdesk environments serve both customers and employees, offering immediate access to valuable knowledgebase articles, tools for problem analysis, and even AI assistants in some cases.
While the exact functionality of a helpdesk can differ, most companies use their helpdesk software to deliver information to employees and align interactions across the customer experience landscape. Helpdesk tools can help with organizing the customer service ticket workflow, as well as making it easier for staff to find solutions to problems.
Some of the major features of helpdesk software include:
- Points of contact: A helpdesk solution can give customers access to multiple ways of contacting your support team through social media, chat, email, and phone calls, among other mediums. Some solutions offer multiple modes of communications, while others offer only a basic messaging inbox, with the option to add on other services.
- Ticketing management: Customer service tickets are a core part of many helpdesk solutions. This is where you record and organise customer complaints and requests. The helpdesk can assist employees in tracking the progress of a customer request or requirement from receipt through to resolution. The technology should show the status of the ticket, who is handling it, and even provide notifications or reminders when necessary.
- Knowledgebase/ Self-service: Another crucial aspect of the helpdesk is the knowledgebase environment, which compiles customer questions and structures them into useful FAQs and how-to articles. These knowledgebases can act as a source of self-service support for clients or provide employees with useful information to solve problems.
- Dashboards and analytics: As a critical part of the CX landscape, the helpdesk needs to assist companies in keeping track of valuable metrics, like customer satisfaction score, or the first-time resolution rate for the business. This information is available in the form of reports, dashboards, and historical insights.
Like all aspects of the CX landscape, the helpdesk environment, and the technology available from vendors has evolved drastically in recent years. As the customer journey grows more complex and expectations evolve, helpdesk solutions are growing more intelligent and innovative. Here are some of the major trends influencing the rise of helpdesks today.
- Integration: For employees in a fast-paced and often hybrid environment, a single-pane-of-glass for managing CX is essential. Because of this, vendors in the helpdesk landscape are increasingly introducing integrations to support connections between different landscapes, like the CRM and helpdesk, or the helpdesk and contact centre. Many internal helpdesk tickets are currently raised as a result of issues with UC&C tools (43% according to NETSCOUT), which could mean many feature tools integrate with UC&C too.
- Automation: Probably the most exciting trend facing the helpdesk environment today for many businesses, automation is essential to making teams more efficient and productive. In the CX space, automation allows agents to spend more time focused on solving crucial customer problems, and less time completing repetitive tasks like filing reports. Automation can help to determine where an issue should be escalated in the helpdesk too.
- Artificial intelligence: AI solutions are also becoming more compelling in the helpdesk environment outside of the automation space. With AI, it’s possible to provide employees with virtual assistants capable of helping them find crucial information to solve problems, faster, without having to sort through the articles in a knowledgebase. Conversational AI systems can also help to provide a more advanced self-service experience to customers.
- Proactive customer service: Thanks to a rapid increase in the number of tools available for tracking and assessing customer interactions, we’re gaining a better understanding of the needs of our audiences through helpdesks. In the future, these insights, combined with AI and automation, can help to drive proactive responses to customer experience. This could include having employees or bots actively reach out to customers when their service needs renewing, or when an issue in software is detected.
- Hybrid workplaces: One of the trends driving the transformation of the hybrid workplace today, is the rise of hybrid work. With more employees working in distributed environments, companies need to ensure they have the right aligned environments in place for their employees. The helpdesk can even be enhanced to offer self-service support and guidance to team members who are struggling with common remote working issues.
Events, whether hybrid, digital, or in-person, continue to be one of the most effective ways to keep track of the changes in any industry or technology. In the helpdesk landscape, you’re more likely to find the guidance you need from global CX events and in the CCaaS landscape, but you can also attend amazing conferences like the “Service Desk Show” for IT.
We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest events upcoming in the helpdesk environment here, as well as give you a behind-the-scenes look at the latest announcements. We’d recommend checking out any local events you can for the option to test out new technology and network, however.
Helpdesk Vendor Comparisons
Helpdesks are a common part of the CX landscape today, with many companies offering their own version of service or helpdesk technology to build into your day-to-day workflows. There are several well-known helpdesk vendors on the market, from Zendesk to HelpScout, as well as various up-and-coming companies throwing their hats into the ring.
To help you make the right decision on which helpdesk vendor to work with, we’ll be providing a wide selection of reviews here on CX Today. You can also check out our Helpdesk comparisons for insights into how some of the biggest contenders match up. When conducting helpdesk comparisons, remember to think about:
- Compatibility: Like any major CX tool today, your helpdesk technology will work best if it can integrate and align with the other solutions you’re already using. Before purchasing any helpdesk technology, make sure you can use it with your existing CRM solution, CCaaS technology, recording software, and anything else you might be relying on to keep your company running smoothly. Your helpdesk solution may also benefit from integrating with your UC&C environment to help empower your hybrid workers.
- Feature sets: Helpdesk solutions usually include a host of the same basic features regardless of who you buy from, including ticket management and analytics. However, some solutions are more advanced than others. Think about what kind of features matter most to you when choosing your helpdesk technology. For instance, do you need end-to-end automation functionality to help make your teams more productive and efficient? Will having AI insights and analytics built into your reporting tool be crucial for you?
- Ease of use: The only way to ensure adoption of your helpdesk technology, and therefore boost your chances of generating the best return on investment is to prioritise ease of use. The technology needs to be straightforward, easy to manage, provision and set up for all of your employees. You may find it helpful to trial several different software options to begin with to see which your employees are more impressed by.
- Reliability: Designed to be a source of guidance and help for your employees, your helpdesk environment needs to be reliable. If there’s a problem with the technology or an issue you can’t fix, you need to make sure you can get guidance and support from your helpdesk vendor team to overcome these issues. Check out the customer reviews and testimonials left by other consumers before making your purchase.
Investing in Your New Helpdesk
The helpdesk continues to be a valuable investment for businesses that want to drive excellent customer and employee experiences. The better your helpdesk technology, the more you can rest assured your team members will have the tools they need to deliver excellent outcomes for your target audience. You can even use your helpdesk to empower your hybrid agents and deliver self-service.
Stay tuned into CX Today for all the latest news and reports on the helpdesk environment, helpful guides, and useful comparisons. Don’t forget to check out our CX smart guides for more direction on which helpdesk to buy too.