Accelerate Your Help Desk Software Implementation by Learning From Buyers With Experience

By: Shephalii Kapoor on May 31, 2024
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Quick resolution of support tickets, whether from internal employees or external clients, is essential for maintaining a business’s reputation. However, managing a large number of support requests can lead to delays in response times. Investing in a dedicated help desk tool can simplify the process by centralizing all tickets in one system, making it easier for help desk managers to handle a high volume of tickets efficiently. Additionally, it helps them prioritize tickets, monitor ticket progress, and assign tickets to the appropriate team members.

However, it is important to know the correct set of features, the average software price, and the common challenges users face when purchasing help desk software.

Each year, Software Advice's advisors speak with thousands of software buyers evaluating new help desk software for their businesses. We've mined those conversations to provide insights that will help small businesses understand the budget requirements, feature needs, and pain points of current users to finalize the best tool for their needs.

Key insights

  • Software buyers from the help desk industry seek IT asset management functionality during purchase, while current users prioritize ticket management features.

  • Most businesses either rely on third-party tools and manual methods for their help desk operations or do not have a system in place.

  • Switching to help desk software is driven by the need for functional sufficiency, efficiency, and affordability.

  • The top five industries investing in help desk software allocate between $51 and $79 per month, with an overall buyer average of $70 per month.

Prospective buyers and current users prioritize different features

To gain insights into user preferences, we analyzed thousands of help desk software reviews available on Software Advice to identify the features that the users of the software consider most critical for their daily work. Interestingly, our findings revealed a discrepancy between the priorities of help desk software buyers and users.

  • Around 45% of current software users rate ticket management as the most essential feature in help desk software as compared to 66% of buyers who are looking for IT asset management functionality in a help desk tool.

  • These findings indicate that businesses already using help desk software find immense value in ticket management functionality. The feature automatically consolidates all tickets into a single system, assigns them to agents based on predefined rules, and prioritizes issues according to urgency and impact. Help desk managers can leverage this to track the status of support requests in real-time. 

  • IT asset management (ITAM), on the other hand, allows for comprehensive tracking and management of all IT assets. A help desk tool, with integrated ITAM, provides a centralized system for managing both support tickets and IT assets, simplifying visibility and reducing the need for multiple software solutions. It allows help desk teams to quickly access asset details within the help desk system, speeding up the process of diagnosing and resolving IT issues.

Pro tip

Shortlist a help desk tool that allows service managers to define service level agreement (SLA), including the response time, resolution time, and ticket prioritization rules.

Current pain points for help desk software buyers

When our advisors asked buyers what methods they were currently using to handle their day-to-day help desk operations, here's what they found:

  • Nearly 45% of buyers rely on third-party software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and remote connectivity tools to automate their day-to-day operation workflows. 

  • While 19% of buyers use manual methods, including pen-and-paper tracking and spreadsheets, around 21% do not have a system in place to manage their help desk operations.

These discussions shed light on businesses' real-life challenges with their existing methods. These included limited functionality (44%), efficiency (38%), and affordability (8%).

  • Limited feature options: Both manual methods and third-party tools lack advanced features, such as automation, AI-driven analytics, customizable reports, omnichannel ticketing, and integrated IT asset management, for managing help desk operations. While these can support basic help desk functionalities, such as ticket logging and incident documentation, the solutions usually have limited customization options, restricting the ability to tailor the tool to specific business needs. 

  • Inefficiency: Manual tracking of tickets, issues, and resolutions is time-consuming and can lead to slower response and resolution times. Moreover, these are prone to human errors, resulting in inaccuracies in ticket logging, status updates, and reporting. Similarly, third-party tools usually offer generic help desk features that may not completely align with an organization’s specific needs and workflows. Both manual methods and third-party tools, when used for help desk operations, offer limited scalability. As the volume of tickets and support requests grows, these methods become difficult to scale, leading to longer response times. 

  • Less affordability: Conventional methods, such as spreadsheets and pen-and-paper tracking require significant time and effort from the staff to log, track, and manage tickets, leading to increased staff requirements and higher labor costs. Likewise, third-party tools offer only basic help desk features, which may not be sufficient enough to meet the growing needs of a business, requiring additional tools or upgrades. Customizing third-party tools to fit specific business needs may also require additional costs.

Reasons for switching to a dedicated help desk system

Compared to the existing methods used by professionals, a dedicated help desk software solution offers the following benefits: 

  • Cost-effectiveness: Unlike third-party tools and manual methods, dedicated systems often result in lower total cost of ownership due to reduced need for additional tools and more efficient operations. The software automates routine tasks, such as ticket routing and prioritization, reducing the need for manual intervention and lowering labor costs. Additionally, the tools offer features, such as real-time assistance and multi-channel support to increase customer satisfaction and potentially lower the costs associated with customer churn. 

  • Scalability: A dedicated help desk tool allows help desk managers and agents to handle increased ticket volumes and users without significant additional investment. These tools maintain performance and efficiency even as demands grow, preventing the need for additional third-party solutions. On the contrary, manual methods may require proportional increases in staff to manage ticket logging and resolution as the number of support requests grows. Likewise, third-party tools may require additional tools or costly integrations to fill gaps. 

  • Better functionality: Compared to manual methods and third-party tools, a dedicated help desk tool allows users to manage support requests from various channels, such as email, phone, and chat, within a single platform. It enables businesses to design and customize workflows tailored to their specific processes and needs, allowing help desk agents to route, escalate, and resolve tickets according to predefined rules. These tools also offer advanced reporting capabilities, allowing users to create custom reports on agent performance, resolution times, and customer satisfaction scores. 

  • Advanced features: In contrast to third-party solutions that often include a broader range of functionalities and may lack in-depth options to support help desk operations, a dedicated help desk solution is designed to address the unique needs and challenges of help desk professionals. It offers a comprehensive list of features, including omnichannel support, customizable dashboards, drill-down capabilities, customer feedback analysis, and AI-based trend analysis to enhance customer satisfaction and the quality of customer care.

Pro tip

Shortlist a help desk solution that offers different types of alerts, including new tickets, status changes, SLA breaches, escalation, and high-priority ticket alerts to keep support teams informed about important events, deadlines, and changes related to support tickets.

Average budget for help desk software buyers across industries

The budget for purchasing help desk software varies from industry to industry based on factors such as the deployment model, number of users, integration capabilities, and the required functionality.

However, the average industry budget for purchasing help desk software was approximately $70 per user, per month. 

The chart below highlights the average buyer budget per month for the top five industries interested in help desk software.

SA graphic: Average budget for help desk software

Use cases for help desk software

Based on our advisors’ interactions, these are the top five industries using a help desk tool for different use cases:

  • Public sector organizations need help desk solutions to manage and resolve internal and external service requests and enhance overall service quality which is important for maintaining public trust. Therefore, they may look for features, such as multi-channel support, knowledge bases for self-service options, and detailed reporting capabilities for performance monitoring in a help desk tool.

  • Software and IT businesses may need a help desk platform to manage technical support, prioritize incidents, and enhance customer satisfaction. In addition to omnichannel support, these businesses may look for features such as IT asset management, SLA management, and integration with development and project management tools. 

  • Healthcare and medicine institutes need help desk solutions to manage a wide array of service requests and ensure the smooth operation of critical healthcare services. Therefore, they may prioritize compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect sensitive patient information and integration with electronic health records (EHR) systems. Additionally, they may consider self-service portals, escalation protocols, real-time SLA monitoring, and automated notifications.

  • Education institutes require help desk systems to manage administrative support requests from students, faculty, and staff. Some of the essential help desk features they may look for include omni-channel communication, mobile access, user management, knowledge management, asset management, communication tools, and integration with learning management systems (LMS).

  • Nonprofit organizations need a help desk tool to address technical issues and manage support requests from volunteers, donors, and staff. Their feature requirements may include volunteer and donor management, compliance and audit reporting, SLA monitoring, knowledge management, and integration with fundraising platforms.

Looking for more resources?

Click here to check out our help desk software directory, FrontRunners Report, and Buyers Guide, and compare hundreds of products.


Software buyers analysis methodology

Findings are based on data from conversations that Software Advice’s advisor team has daily with software buyers seeking guidance on purchase decisions. The data used to create this report is based on interactions with small-to-midsize businesses seeking help desk tools. For this report, we analyzed approximately 200+ phone interactions from May 10, 2023, to May 10, 2024.

The findings of this report represent buyers who contacted Software Advice and may not be indicative of the market as a whole. Data points are rounded to the nearest whole number.