Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of IT support desks choose the right help desk software to manage their tickets and improve end-user experience.

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SolarWinds Service Desk

SolarWinds Service Desk is suitable for companies seeking a help desk solution that offers IT service management (ITSM) functionalities. SolarWinds Service Desk offers comprehensive service desk functionality that helps businesses... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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LiveHelpNow

LiveHelpNow multi channel help desk/call center software facilitates real-time customer service communications via the following channels: Live chat, Chat Bot, SMS/Text, Email, Facebook, VoIP(Phone) as well as provides abilit... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Zendesk

Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk management solution offering customizable tools to build customer service portal, knowledge base and online communities. The solution offers a customizable front-end portal, live chat features an... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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InvGate Service Desk

InvGate Service Desk is an IT service management platform that offers help desk request fulfillment, customer service and support and self-service knowledge management. The system is compatible with Mac, Windows, and iPad (or othe... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Issuetrak

Issuetrak is a flexible issue tracking software solution that can be configured to suit the needs of a variety of industries and usages, including IT Help Desk, Customer Support, Project Management, and more. Issuetrak can be... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Asset Vue Inventory

Asset Vue provides cloud-based IT asset management solutions, which helps businesses of all sizes across industries to track inventory in real-time and record their functional status and location. Companies in regulated industries... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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BOSS Solutions SuiteFrontRunners 2021

The BOSS Solutions Suite is a fully integrated ITIL based Service Desk/Help Desk and IT Asset Management solution available on-premise or on the cloud. It incorporates an award winning user-friendly interface and a powerful Servic... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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SummitAI

SummitAI is an AI-powered IT service management suite that streamlines service, asset, and operations management across the enterprise with machine learning and workflow-based automation. SummitAI modular, cloud-based suite enables... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Vivantio

Vivantio is a service management solution that allows users to create custom processes that align with internal business operations. Key features of the solution include dashboards, charts and reports, routing, assignments and for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Hector

Hector is a SaaS-based asset inventory management solution that assists SMEs within the IT, healthcare, education, construction, and real estate industries with minimizing inventory cost by keeping track of all assets and inventor... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service software that helps businesses provide effortless service across every customer touchpoint. Freshdesk empowers businesses to monitor customer conversations across email, phone, chat, soc... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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GoCodes

GoCodes is a cloud-based asset and inventory tracking solution for small and midsize companies in the accounting, education, construction, engineering and health care industries. Key modules include fixed asset accounting, invento... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Shelf

Shelf is a cloud-based digital knowledge and content management system designed to help businesses of all sizes find, organize and share content. Key features include content tagging and prioritizing, team collaboration, content a... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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ChangeGear

ChangeGear is SunView Software’s flagship IT Service Management platform solution. ChangeGear delivers a comprehensive solution for enterprise with innovative IT Service Management capabilities, ITIL-based modules, the award... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Document360

Document360 is a cloud-based help desk solution that enables users in businesses across various industries to create, collaborate and publish self-service knowledge bases for their products. Features include content management, gu... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Capacity

Capacity is a cloud-based help desk and knowledge base solution that utilizes AI-powered automation to enhance workflows and business processes for finance, insurance, manufacturing, software and education industries. Capacity's c... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Bloomfire

Bloomfire is a cloud-based collaboration platform that aims to help enterprise employees search for information to do their jobs by connecting people with information and knowledge. Bloomfire delivers content management and social... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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TeamViewer

TeamViewer is an online meeting and video conferencing solution that connects any PC, mobile and server to each other globally. The solution is available in nearly all countries and supports over 30 languages. TeamViewer is suitab... Read more

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Confluence

Confluence is a project management solution that enables organizations to create, collaborate, organize and review project documents. The system offers both cloud-based and on-premise deployment. Confluence’s editor feature a... Read more

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ConnectWise Control

ConnectWise Control is cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for technicians and customers, enabling th... Read more

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2021 Help Desk Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide

Help desk software solutions vary in functionality, pricing and underlying technology. We’ve created this buyer’s guide to assist potential purchasers in determining which help desk software best fits their needs. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Help Desk Software
Common Features of Help Desk Software
Why Do I Need Help Desk Software?
Benefits of Help Desk Software
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Help Desk Software?

Traditionally, the term “help desk” has generated some confusion since it can refer to two different types of support organizations: teams that serve external customers (consumers or businesses that have purchased goods or services from your company), and teams that serve internal customers (employees).

We describe these two use cases in greater detail later in the “Help Desk Software Landscape” section of this guide. But in either instance, help desk management software stores customer information in a searchable database, tracks interactions and automates the issue resolution process using an issue tracking system. This core functionality increases efficiency and organization.

When someone contacts the service desk by phone, Web form, email or other means, the system creates an electronic trouble ticket. Technicians or customer service representatives (CSRs) record details about the incident or problem, or review what the customer has entered if submitted using a self-service tool. The responder marks it as resolved once the issue is handled, or escalates the issue to a specialist or executive if needed.

Tickets are associated with customer profiles, which include the customer’s contact information and potentially purchase history or assets. This allows agents to see a customer’s entire interaction history.

Freshdesk_Ticketing_Dashboard

Example of a dashboard from Freshdesk

With some systems, the handling process can be standardized with workflow rules and canned responses. As an agent completes one task, they might choose a follow-up step from a dropdown menu and set a due date. This way nothing falls through the cracks and agents stay efficient and on track.

Some systems allow users to link incidents by issue type, so responders can refer back to a resolved issue when they encounter a similar problem.

Zendesk-Linking-Incidents

Example of incident linking from Zendesk

Common Features of Help Desk Software

In addition to this core functionality, the best help desk support software vendors might offer some or all of the following differentiating capabilities.

Knowledge management system This describes a repository of descriptions to common or previously resolved problems. These resources might be available publicly via a customer self-service website, or reserved for internal use by CSRs and technicians. Most knowledge bases incorporate advanced search technologies to help users find the the right answer. Some may autosuggest queries or articles as the user types.
Self-service Customers use these online portals to search for solutions to their problems. Self-service resources can include product documentation, downloadable patches, searchable FAQs, how-to pages or forums and other types of user communities. If the customer can’t find a solution, self-service tools often let them submit issues online.
IT asset management systems/network management Asset management tools inventory and track changes to hardware and software configurations, while network monitoring tools oversee the health of servers and other network components. These functions are sometimes offered through integrations with IT service management (ITSM) tools.
Reporting Management uses reporting tools to monitor overall service desk performance and agent productivity. Performance metrics frequently include total open issues; issue resolutions by date, shift or agent; average time to resolution; customer satisfaction and more.
Mobile support Many vendors offer a mobile Web or mobile application version of their solution. Agents use these tools to manage tickets, record customer data, access the knowledge base, view reports and perform other issue resolution activities from their smartphone or tablet.
Service Level Agreement (SLA) management SLAs guarantee to customers that issues of a certain type will be addressed or resolved within a certain time frame, among other service guarantees. These features allow users to set prioritization triggers, automatic escalations and other custom rules to ensure applicable issues are handled in compliance with an SLA.
Remote support This module allows technicians to access and control a customer’s computer from a remote location, facilitating remote diagnosis and resolution with minimal customer involvement.

Why Do I Need Help Desk Software?

Imagine an employee clicks on a Malware-infected link in an email. The virus attacks their computer and systematically copies and erases all their files. But it gets worse.

That email was sent to everyone in the company. While IT scrambles to take calls, employees continue to open infected emails, sensitive company data is exposed and work time is lost while employees wait for help. Without the right software—or an army of IT staffers—this problem could take a millennium to untangle.

Instead, the IT responder could create a digital trouble ticket when the first call came in. As he or she figured out the solution or escalated it to the appropriate team, they could record that information in the knowledge base. Then for every subsequent call, the service desk would have the answer ready and waiting to respond with a template email.

At the same time, the help desk could post that information in a self-service forum or employee-accessible knowledge base to cut down on calls and service requests. Once the problem was solved, management could use analytics to evaluate the response time and process to make improvements in the event of another Malware incident.

As this example demonstrates, help desk software allows companies to quickly address IT crises. At the same time, organizations gain efficiency in ongoing IT management duties. This includes savings through automation, workflow tools and self service. Many systems will integrate best practices from the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library), which is a globally recognized set of guidelines for the IT Service Management industry.

Properly implemented, help desk systems can improve operations in five primary ways:

  • Minimize employee work lags from unsolved tech issues;

  • Automate issue triaging, escalation and prioritization;

  • Reduce manpower costs through self-service;

  • Identify and address recurring issues and,

  • Provide transparency into every service request from creation to resolution.

Benefits of Help Desk Software

Better problem tracking and organization. Help desk systems increase organization by providing a single repository for agents to enter, track and resolve cases. This prevents issues from falling through the cracks. Users also increase efficiency with workflow rules that standardize business processes.

Reduced service costs. These systems automate processes so agents can handle issues faster and process more per day. This increased productivity can reduce the number of agents needed. Reporting also enables managers to identify and address drops in productivity, so they don’t continue to impact performance.

Increased customer satisfaction. Whether internal or external, customers who have their issues resolved quickly are naturally more satisfied. For incidents that require more time to resolve, customers are still more satisfied having their issue acknowledged immediately and escalated efficiently.

Improved knowledge sharing. This technology documents successful resolutions and makes them searchable, so agents can quickly recall and reuse past solutions to a recurring issue. In some cases, solutions can be automatically entered into a knowledge base to facilitate customer self-service.

Market Trends to Understand

It’s important to keep the following industry trends in mind when conducting your help desk software comparison.

Social media integration is becoming a help desk software mainstay. A recent NMincite report found that as many as 47 percent of all social media users (59 percent for those 18-24 years old) have sent customer service requests through Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. As a result, companies need tools for processing these issues just as they would tickets from any other channel. Vendors such as Desk.com and Zendesk now integrate with social to automatically prioritize and route such requests.

Gamification is increasingly used as a motivational tool. IT and customer service jobs are among the most difficult positions to keep filled. Some companies have turned to gamification as a method for maintaining service desk employee engagement. Companies such as Badgeville integrate with trouble ticket technology to reward agent productivity with redeemable points and other rewards. Workers gain a sense of accomplishment as they see scores improve and move higher on leaderboards.

Help_Desk_Gammification_Leadboard

A sketch of what a help desk leaderboard might include

The Vendor Landscape

This technology can vary depending on whether they serve internal or external customers. Some products serve both.

Internal. This kind of IT support software typically serves employees, or “internal customers.” Most internal help desks serve the information technology (IT) needs of employees, but other examples exist, such as an internal human resources service desk for questions about employee benefits. Buyers of internal software for technical support often require integrations with ITSM tools such as Panorama9, Samanage IT Asset Management or Innotas if IT asset and network management features aren’t included in their help desk software package.

Popular vendors in this category include Zendesk, Spiceworks, ManageEngine, PhaseWare, Kaseya, SysAid and BMC Track-It.

External. This kind of service desk software serves consumers or businesses that have purchased products or services from the company providing the support. These desks could address IT problems or more general customer service issues. Because of the diversity of companies, customers and industries that have external service desks, buyers of this technology might require the ability to integrate with call center software, marketing automation and sales force automation systems.

Popular vendors in this category include Zendesk, PhaseWare, Kayako, Desk.com, TeamSupport and Freshdesk.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Help Desk Software, January 2021

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Help Desk Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

Explore FrontRunners

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Software Advice
“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.