Buying any sort of software for your business can be an intimidating prospect, especially something as important as help desk software. One of the best places to start is by seeing some of the trends in the industry and determine what your peers are looking for when they purchase a similar system. Software Advice, a service that helps buyers determine the best help desk for their business, recently released a new report that surveyed over 300 help desk buyers to see what they were looking for in a new system. We wanted to find out more about this research, so we organized a quick Q&A with Craig Borowski, the researcher who conducted this study and wrote this report.
1. What are most businesses using before purchasing help desk software and have you seen those demographics change over the years?
Given the great variety and availability of help desk software, a surprising number of small- and mid-sized businesses still use DIY approaches. In our most recent Help Desk BuyerView, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of buyers who contacted us were looking for help desk software to replace whatever manual/DIY methods they had in place. Those methods typically include some combination of email, spreadsheets and text documents. Comparing this to the previous year’s BuyerView, we see two slight trends: the number of help desk buyers replacing existing help desk software is shrinking; the number of buyers replacing DIY systems, or trying to integrate help desk software with other platforms, is growing.
2. What are the top reasons companies are replacing their current help desk software?
The top reason is to add new functionality. Oftentimes, they’re looking for a system that can integrate more seamlessly with other systems in their software ecosystem. For example, growing software companies often realize they need their help desk and their project management software to be on the same page, literally and figuratively. This is one advantage that comprehensive suites like Axosoft provide, with project management, help desk, bug tracking and documentation all in one tool.
3. What are the top reasons companies are buying help desk software for the first time?
The main reason is that they realize the major inefficiencies and problems that come from not using a dedicated system. In most cases, it starts with the realization that worker productivity is negatively impacted by complicated workflow processes. In the worst cases, the lack of efficiency results in dropped tickets and unfulfilled requests. In these scenarios, the customer experience is harmed, quite severely, and those companies often call us looking to get a help desk system in place as soon as possible.
4. For small businesses buying help desk software, what are some considerations they need to weigh?
They should begin with a full assessment of their existing support-related workflow processes. They should then consider their integration requirements, e.g. which other software systems do those support-related processes interact with. Finally, they should consider their overall strategy and growth plans to ensure whatever system they choose will be scalable. Ultimately, small businesses have most success when they choose systems that complement or improve their existing workflow, integrate well with other platforms, can scale as the company grows, and do all this without sacrificing overall usability. Selecting a help desk that has far more features than needed can be as problematic as one that has too few features.
5. Have you found that buyers looking for software that serves both help desk and project management needs or are they seeking to integrate their help desk into a project management system?
We speak with buyers in both camps. Ideally, most businesses would be using integrated suites, but that’s not always an option. Sometimes companies are already too invested in their project management software to consider switching to an integrated suite.
6. If businesses haven’t thought about integrating their help desk software into their project management software, should they?
Absolutely. Much of the software world is moving towards integrated suites. When two types of software are designed from the ground up to work together, the end product creates many process efficiencies and avoids many of the common integration challenges and roadblocks. That said, there are many good alternatives to off-the-shelf integrated suites. For example, there are many market leading products like Zendesk that integrate easily with a whole range of 3rd party software tools, such as Axosoft.
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