Optimal Help Desk Solutions for the SMB

By Nicholas McAuliff - 3 min read

We’ve covered the help desk in detail. We’ve shown you why you need an integrated help desk, and what it can do for your larger CRM. Now, we’ll dive into the optimal help desk model for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

The concept is the same, but the specifics differ and can make a huge impact on the efficiency of your contact center. So what’s the best help desk solution for the small and medium sized business?

The devil is in the details.

When choosing a help desk solution, you have a few things to consider:

  • Will you use social media to connect with customers?
  • Do you need to adhere to the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)?
  • How will you integrate email with your help desk?

We’ve covered the advantages of social media before. But there’s a difference between traditional digital marketing and using social media to pull tickets and customer requests. The latter can be very beneficial and warrants a separate discussion by itself. If you can offer customers support through social media, that’s a win-win. First, you get the benefit of marketing. Second, you can convert messages and support requests, sent through social media, directly into tickets. With the appropriate help desk, the SMB would benefit greatly from the above, as it eliminates several steps by automating tickets.

ITIL

ITIL is a set of organizational standards for IT management. It ties closely into your security model as well. ITIL standards offer guidelines on how to document, store and maintain your IT data for a help desk. ITIL is a broad standard, used by various industries relating to IT. However, it is generally seen as a necessity for large businesses and corporations. For example, overseeing multiple contact centers or adhering to legal agreements would be a logical reason to follow ITIL standards.

Larger businesses have more to gain from the above. For small businesses, it may not make sense to pick help desk software that stresses ITIL adherence. SMB’s will be more inclined to take a hands-on, unique approach to managing their IT and organization, where large businesses will be better suited for standards and constants.

Ticket handling and email

The ability to organize, integrate and maintain tickets is important, as we’ve explored. For small businesses, it’s crucial that your help desk agents can work with and manipulate tickets in a way that works best for your company. This is a specific contrast to a corporation that may run dozens of call or data centers, where a standardized ticket system works better.

Mail is another topic that warrants exploration: specifically, group and personal email. Integrating them with a help desk accomplishes a few things. First, with ordinary group mail, there is no oversight or central management, and thus no general idea of who responds to what. That makes it difficult or impossible to get a bird’s eye view of your tickets, and proper ticket handling can be difficult. By tying email into the help desk, everything is in one place. Help desk software that supports multiple server and protocol types (IMAP, POP) and automatically diverts tickets to the appropriate place is far more effective. The pitfalls of failing to integrate mail with your help desk will become apparent as your business grows. An effective help desk converts customer email requests directly into tickets. Additionally, it disperses those tickets to the appropriate personal email (agent or department). Integrating your group email allows for the above efficiency.

More help desk features for the SMB

Integration should be a help desk standard, regardless of size. However, there are additional key features that work better for small/medium businesses. If you are a startup, your time and resources are extremely valuable. Therefore, a help desk that offers automatic processes through integration lets you focus on other elements. You need a highly focused help desk without an overabundance of unnecessary features – one that combines the best elements of integration, collaboration, ticket management, alerts and automatic ticket generation. Help desk software is varied – some works better for large companies and corporations and includes a plethora of different features for various scenarios, while others focus on the SMB.

Analytics are another useful feature. With analytics, you can capture and study today’s data, and use it to improve your CRM tomorrow. Also, look out for a help desk that includes a knowledge base that agents can refer to for common questions and problems.

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