Customer service is mission critical or so we often hear from experts. Beyond trying to manage a complaint, why is it so important? If you don’t have a process for managing customer requests, questions, or technical difficulties, you may be reducing your profits. The following ten help desk solutions, also known as customer support software, are all aimed at refining how you guide your customer to satisfaction and loyalty.
At first, a product or service is what attracts a customer’s interest, but it is often the reputation a company has for service afterward that determines whether they come back or not. It also drives word of mouth recommendations, online and in real life.
Live Chat, Ticketing, email support are just a few of the things that make tracking a customer request easier. Call logging, a knowledge/information center that reps/agents can pull information from quickly when answering questions and the best of these have social integrations so you can keep up with what’s happening around your brand and company name on Facebook, Twitter, and beyond.
The biggest value of a help desk is that your customer information is in one central place. If a customer calls in at another time, around the same request, any employee can help them or pass their call to the appropriate department.
Here are ten that you might consider:
Desk.com  from Salesforce.com is one of the dominant players in the help desk space. No credit card required for the free 30-day trial, then pricing starts at $1/hour for part time agents you might have or $49/mo for each full time agent after the first one (which is free). So, in a nutshell, a one person shop could use this support tool for free.
LiveHelpNow  helps keep your business up and running 24/7/365 with its web-based software. Plans start at $21/month after a 30-day free trial.
FreshDesk  offers the first agent free on all its plans and special pricing for startups and nonprofits. 30-day free trial, then plans start at $9/month with hourly pricing for additional part time agents. They have catchy names on all their plans too: Sprout, Blossom, and Garden.
SmarterTrack  has one low price of $15 per month; for each agent that you want to add. 30-day free trial. I like the self-service option for customers who want to research their own answers. It includes a “Who’s On” functionality so you can see visitors in the support community area.
TalkDesk  is more focused on being a voice platform so you know who is calling you. They tie into CRM systems and I include them here because they let you track interactions with your customers. You would likely need to add a help desk option to realize the full power of their system. 14-day free trial; has a free plan for one agent, and then $49/month per agent.
ZenDesk  is another market leader with a powerful help desk solution. You can customize ticket views to prioritize customer requests. I like that they put on educational webinars every week. They have a starter plan that donates your $20 purchase (for one year of service) to a children’s hospital. You can have 3 agents on their $20/year plan, if you qualify as a new company. Regular plans start as low as $24/month/agent. 30-day free trial.
Zoho offers almost every application a small business could need. Their help desk option is called Zoho Support  and they offer “free for one agent” package, then $12/month for each additional agent. 15-day free trial.
Kayako  offers both a web-based and a pay-once full download software for its customer support/help desk application. There is a free 30-day trial, then $29/month on the SaaS version. The download version starts at $599 for up to ten agents.
Helpdesk Pilot  has 15-day free trial, then $895 on an annual basis for five agents for their downloadable, host on your own server version. Their cloud version is called “HappyFox” and starts at $39/month for 3 agents. HappyFox is here . They do have a free plan, too, if you scroll down.
Helpdesk Pro offers a few different options that might work for some business owners. After a long 60-day free trial, they have a $29/month for unlimited users on their “sponsored” advertising-supported version. The next level is $59/month for unlimited agents.
Efficiency leads to lower expenses and improved profits, but not every business owner knows how to get there. Help desk solutions may be the key to improving employee productivity which in turn yields greater customer satisfaction because you have eliminated bottlenecks in the communication process (and elsewhere).
Keep me posted on what solutions you are using and why in the comments below.
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