One of the hardest parts about working in customer service is that the workflow is extremely unpredictable. When you're on the frontline, you have no idea what kind of case you'll be taking next or how long it will take to resolve it. During my time on the HubSpot Support Team, some cases were solved in minutes while others could take hours just to identify the problem.
The point is, your customer support reps don't know what their daily workload is until they pick up the phone and answer a call. This puts pressure on the rep to not only be flexible when faced with surprises but also to be organized enough to handle an unpredictable workday.
Not every issue is resolved after the first call, so your reps need to have a system in place for handling both long and short-term support cases. This is where help desk software and ticketing systems play a major role in the success of customer service teams. These tools distribute incoming service requests and help manage follow-up on long-term cases.
Utilizing this software can help your customer service teams increase their support bandwidth while improving the overall customer experience.
The Top Free Help Desk Software
HubSpot's Service Hub
Jira Service Desk
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
Web Help Desk by SolarWinds
If your company is looking to provide a better customer service experience for both the customer and your rep, you should consider adopting a powerful help desk software. If you're not sure which one to choose, below are the top free help desk software and ticketing systems.
HubSpot's Service Hub tier offers a complete package of help desk and ticket management tools that can support nearly every function of your customer service team. These tools include features like knowledge bases, live chat, centralized messaging, and even bots. HubSpot's service software makes it easier for companies to expand the bandwidth of their customer service team without having to hire new personnel.
What's unique about HubSpot's Service Hub is that its tools can be integrated with your CRM and content management software. While on chat, a rep can pull up a customer's contact information and see not only their personal data but also their past engagements with the company. This helps to personalize the customer service experience because reps will have a stronger understanding of the customer's historical relationship with your brand.
Agiloft was first considered to be an internal help desk software but has quickly become a favorite for customer-facing support teams. This is because it provides a portal that users can submit requests through at any point in the day. If personnel are not available, the service will log the request and send a self-service solution as an immediate response before a rep follows up on the case.
Another great feature of Agiloft is that it provides long-term management solutions for cases that may be more complex. The software will launch proactive alerts if a case has been open for too long and needs to be escalated. This is significantly helpful for SaaS customer service teams that handle high volumes of technical support calls which often result in follow up.
Whether you're managing incidents, proactively announcing changes in your interface or offerings, or looking for the source of a bug or problem, Jira has service desk features to make the process simple and seamless. The great thing is that it comes with automation, queuing, knowledge base, and asset management built in. You'll also have the ability to shape your processes within the software to match your optimal operational workflow, and it offers a number of integrations to work with your other software solutions.
Zoho Desk is a multi-channel help desk that includes an advanced ticket management system. The ticketing system can handle incoming service cases via phone, web, email, chat, and social media. This coverage across multiple channels makes it easier for brands to provide an omni-channel experience.
One cool feature that Zoho Desk offers is a widget tool that you can embed on your website. When loaded in a browser, the widget turns into a support form that customers can fill out to request assistance. They can describe their problem in detail as well as request a preferred communication channel to work on.
Not only does this form make it easier to access your support team, but reps can also analyze these incoming requests and come up with a solution prior to reaching out. This significantly improves first-call resolution rates as well as customer satisfaction.
Spiceworks is a ticketing system that helps businesses manage both internal and customer-facing tasks. It offers a one-time download of their help desk software that users can log into from either a desktop or mobile device. This makes it easier for customer service teams to manage incoming requests that may come in during off-hours.
One interesting feature that Spiceworks offers is an inventory management integration that can help your team oversee product orders that are in progress. It uses an IP scanner to locate orders and then notifies the rep of the order's progress. Reps can then proactively relay that information to the customer so they're aware of any delays that will occur with their delivery.
C-Desk is an extensive help desk platform that offers a wide variety of free customer service tools. It includes everything from ticket management to customer feedback collection. This platform is great for smaller businesses who may be adopting their first help desk software.
Additionally, C-desk also offers tools that can help promote customer success as well. For example, their gallery tool allows you to upload and post video and pictures into different albums on your website. You can use this feature to create customer testimonials which will give more credibility to your customer service team.
SysAid differs from other help desk providers because it uses a modular approach to its platform. This means that users can start with one tool or feature, and then add more on as needed. Rather than exposing reps to products that they'll never use, SysAid simplifies the interface by allowing users to choose the exact tools that they want access to.
SysAid's help desk module gives users a platform to manage tickets from both desktop and mobile devices. Its features include ticket automation and self-service mediums like a knowledge base. It also has incident reporting tools that can track problems or changes that are affecting your entire team.
osTicket is primarily a ticketing system that teams can use to distribute and manage incoming cases. Its most notable feature is its ticket filters which allow you to automate the creation and routing of tickets. You can even automatically assign tasks to the ticket based on rule criteria that you determine.
Another interesting feature is its “agent collision avoidance” mechanism that prevents reps from working on the same ticket at the same time. The software locks the ticket so that other team members can't respond to the customer for a certain amount of time. Sometimes reps will collaborate on cases and this feature prevents them from bombarding customers will too many emails.
No two reps have the exact same workflow. ngDesk recognizes that and tailors its help desk towards individual rep preferences. Reps can customize their ticket inbox and prioritize information that's most relevant to them. Since the interface is personalized, reps can optimize their workflow and minimize distractions.
Customer support managers can use ngDesk analytics tools to measure their team's overall performance. They can review metrics like rep productivity and customer satisfaction using the data-driven insights that are pre-installed on the platform. These added features bring management and frontline reps closer together because they're working off of the same software.
Hesk is a lightweight help desk software that's great for small customer service teams. It's simple and user-friendly, making it easy to learn for beginners.
Hesk offers a reliable, cloud-based ticketing system which takes minutes to download and set up. You can create custom ticket fields and modify the display to align with your team's workflow. It even offers a ticket submission form where customers can open web-based tickets that are managed within the app.
This help desk software comes with a wide variety of support features ranging from knowledge bases and self-service portals to SLAs and user surveys. In addition to those foundational services, ManageEngine offers automation to streamline support operations. Your reps can set their availability, and tickets get dispatched automatically.
HelpDeskZ is a PHP-based solution for your web-based ticketing system. With features such as bulk actions, group routing, and email piping, you'll be able to increase productivity with your support team. It also comes with canned responses and a knowledge base to help reps handle the most common inquiries.
If you want to manage end-to-end service request lifecycles from a single portal, this may be a good solution. Webhelpdesk has a built-in knowledge base, SLA management features, and ticking management. You can track tickets and rep poerformance, all with the goal of resolving tickets faster using data-driven insights.
If you have a lot of customers requiring support, HelpSpot offers unlimited customers and tickets. You set up the software on your own server and cloud, which means you can scale it up as needed, and it can even operate offline on an internal network if you choose to go that route. It's easily customizable and offers collision detection, ticket management, and integrated knowledge management.
As your company continues to grow and take on new clients, your customer service team will be racing to keep up with customer demand. Adopting a help desk software can help even the odds in their favor and make it easier for reps to organize and manage ticket volume.
Originally published Jun 3, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated October 12 2020