Even a help desk or support center needs help from time to time.
Lost tickets, SLA violations, and frustrated or churning customers are just a few reasons why you should start using an improved solution like help desk software. Since your company’s financial situation may not allow you to spend 100 or 200 euros per month on a paid version, a free help desk tool can be a good alternative.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free help desk tools out there. To get started without investing any money, you can begin by testing out different free help desk systems. You may be wondering if this kind of solution offers enough potential value and whether such tools are worth implementing just for the sake of saving a few bucks (if they don’t provide a full range of advanced features.) Well, let’s see what some free tools have to offer.
Help desk software is a tool that helps you to organize operations, processes, and all other tasks within your support and customer service departments. The only difference between a free help desk and its paid counterpart is that the free one doesn’t cost anything, but as a result, may only provide a limited number of features.
The main purpose of implementing this kind of software is to meet the needs of your customers and potential clients. Free help desk software will enable you to monitor, prioritize, and categorize incoming support requests submitted via various channels, and allow you to resolve them much faster.
For example, your company may offer a customer support phone line as one of the support options for your clients. Whenever customers call, your service agents take notes and solve their problems, which actually means that you already have some kind of help desk system in place. It may be a simple one, but it’s still a help desk system that you don’t have to pay for.
However, even free help desks stopped being simple quite some time ago, evolving under the influence of technology and growing customer expectations. Today, it is hard to imagine a support department’s workflow without a free help desk tool or a more advanced, paid help desk software.
That’s why, when referring to help desk solutions, you may refer to:
So from now on, whenever we refer to help desk software, you shouldn’t only think about your agents, their phones, and their notebooks. Instead, think about a set of resources that your agents can use to offer the best customer service and customer experience for your clients. What kind of resources, you ask?
But why exactly do companies need a help desk? Digital customer interaction tools are becoming more and more accessible. Small and medium-sized organizations have benefited greatly from the implementation of new customer communication strategies that were previously only available to large corporations with huge budgets. And the reason behind this? Customers have changed the way they interact with businesses through both paid and free help desk software.
In many industries, social media and purely digital channels like live chat are often used by customers rather than legacy channels like phone calls or emails.
Companies that thrive to satisfy customers and meet their expectations must make sure that their help desk tools enable service agents to provide:
That’s why the integration of digital tools such as free help desk software is obligatory for businesses that want to attract new customers and keep their customer base growing.
As mentioned above, the top-rated help desk software should centralize all communication channels (live chat, emails, phone calls) and gather requests together in one dashboard. Thanks to this, all inquiries can be answered in the most practical and agile way, without multiplying tickets and confusing customers. The best free help desk enables all agents and departments to work together using the same system.
One of the most important features of any help desk software is a help desk ticketing system. Such a system organizes all interactions between a company and its customers by turning these interactions into unified tickets. A help desk ticketing system – free or paid, allows agents to open or close requests, and ensures a communication history is generated which can be used to measure, analyze, and improve responses.
A reliable free help desk tool gathers customer behavior data and creates databases of follow-ups and incidents through a unique ticket system that is mainly used to provide information or address a particular user’s doubts about your products or services. In short, the purpose of such a solution is to help agents resolve problems by providing them with all the necessary information.
In contrast to a multichannel support strategy, the best free help desk software works as a universal communication channel for both customers and companies. It is also a very valuable marketing tool because it reinforces the organization and efficiency of a company.
As already mentioned, a help desk ticketing system – free or paid, is always the most important element of any help desk. The term “ticketing system” refers to all the applications that automatically administer, manage, process, classify, authorize and organize incidents (which are turned into tickets) that are generated internally (by employees) or externally (by customers).
Every issue, incident, request, or inquiry is turned into a ticket by the system, assigned a unique reference number, and then assigned to an agent-based on predefined criteria. Keep reading to learn more about how a help desk ticket system actually works.
The heart of the help desk is a ticket. This is why the terms help desk software and help desk ticketing system are often used interchangeably. Since we’ve already mentioned notebooks, we can consider a ticket to be something similar to a sheet of paper that you use to write down everything you hear while talking to a client who has called to complain about something.
Each ticket should store information about the inquiry as well as the customer’s contact information. Here’s what it should include:
Whenever a customer contacts a support or service team, their ticket is marked as “open”, which means that it was successfully received.
Next, customer support teams use the free help desk ticket system to ensure that the ticket is “closed” or resolved in the shortest time possible.
Today, almost 100% of different help desk software types are based on tickets, so you may wonder where all these tickets come from. And the answer is…from everywhere! Tickets can be created through:
The number of communication channels that customers can use is growing. That’s why you need to make sure that your company does not miss any customer inquiries or complaints (which is why you need a ticketing system and/or a help desk tool.)
As mentioned above, not every free help desk tool provides the same set of features. Free IT help desk software is designed to work as the main point of contact between IT organizations and users. According to ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) principles, a service desk is the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) between an IT service provider and users who are seeking support or assistance to help them with their daily activities.
A typical help desk manages incidents (service disruptions) and service requests (routine service-related tasks), as well as communication with users. Typically, any piece of free IT help desk software has a broad focus and is created to ensure users and customers have a single go-to place for all IT-related inquiries.
The end result is that a help desk plays a critical role in facilitating the integration of business processes within the wider technology ecosystem and service management infrastructure of a business. All of this is done to ensure that customers are taken care of at all times and remain satisfied with the service you provide.
In the mid-1990s, Robert Gordon University analyzed the value of organizations’ help desk systems. It was found that value is derived not only from a proactive response to user problems but also from the unique possibility to communicate with numerous customers or employees daily. Information obtained in areas such as technical problems, user preferences and satisfaction can be valuable for the planning and development of other units within any company.
The main advantage offered by any free help desk or free help desk ticket system is its effectiveness in organizing the operational activities of companies (at zero cost.) Furthermore, since free help desk tools allow all team members to access users’ messages, search for solutions, and resolve multiple issues (finance, IT, marketing, sales) it can be considered a collaborative tool too.
Most help desk tools have the following advantages:
You offer a good product. The market loves it. Sales results are improving. Your user base is growing.
Now, you need to provide adequate technical support to users as a natural consequence of introducing a very popular product to the market. Sooner or later, your customers will need technical support, advice, or a little help with some (hopefully!) minor bugs or issues while using your product.
The more customers you have, the more time, money, and energy you need to spend on providing support and customer assistance. Therefore, if you do not have a proper action plan in place, the technical support area can affect customer satisfaction and consequently hurt your company’s growth.
So, first things first: you need a reliable help desk or ticketing system. Second, offer excellent technical support training to ensure that your technical support staff follows the best practices possible. The use of unprofessional or outdated technical support methods can result in reduced productivity, incorrect solutions to problems, frustrated customers, and unhappy service agents. And all of these can lead to a potential loss of sales and customers.
Here are some tips for your company’s support staff that will help them support your clients while providing an excellent customer experience by utilizing a free help desk software.
When a customer calls your company for technical assistance, your service agents need to be sure that they understand what the customer is going through or what challenges they are facing. Otherwise, even with the best free help desk in place, they won’t be able to assist your users properly.
One way to resolve this issue is to train your support or service staff to reiterate the problem to the customer in their own words to confirm that they have understood them.
In the case of more complicated issues, having more than one service agent working on a specific issue raised by a customer can also help determine what the problem is and what exactly needs to be done in order to fix it.
Regardless of what progress has been made on a particular issue, or how great your help desk software is, it is necessary to keep the client updated about the resolution of their problem as often as possible. The frequency of the updates is up to you, however, our recommendation is to update the customer at least once a week if the issue needs to be worked on long-term. If you choose a good free help desk ticket system, the tool will remind you to notify your customers about the progress of their request.
You will not be doing the customer any favors if they do not understand what you are saying when trying to solve their problem. When assisting a customer, the worst possible outcome is to make them look or feel incompetent for not understanding what you are trying to say.
Assess the customer’s technical knowledge and communicate with them on their level. You will be surprised how effective it is to make the customer feel like they are receiving excellent technical assistance.
It is as simple as that. You need some kind of a help desk tool to handle customer issues, requests, and questions. When you use a help desk ticketing system, the system automatically takes a request submitted by a customer and turns it into a ticket. Then, your service agents should describe the problem in the ticket, set the frequency of communication between the customer and the company, and update the ticket after each interaction.
Finally, your agents can keep records of all communications with a customer inside the help desk and review these notes to ensure that the customer has understood your explanations.
By combining the correct definition of the problem, constant communication with the customer, communicating with them at a level they can understand, and using appropriate help desk software to manage all contacts and issues, your customer support department will be perfectly attuned to the needs of the market.
By implementing these practices, you will also be able to increase customer satisfaction, enhance the value of your product to the customer, and therefore increase your sales.
To find out which help desk software is better for you — free or paid, you must consider the situation you are in. For example:
Keeping these questions in mind and analyzing the approach you want your business to have, you may choose a free or a paid version of the same software.
Understandably, not every organization has the budget to pay for a ticketing system or help desk solution if they are just starting out. Luckily, there are many reliable and expanded ticketing systems or help desk tools that any organization, big or small, can choose from.
One thing should be clear – you need a help desk solution that will support you, and your company as it grows. What we mean is that as your business expands, you should be able to upgrade and scale any ticketing system you use. This kind of tool should also provide you with support, advice, and security patches.
We recommend that you test a few free help desk software and then decide whether or not you want to upgrade to a paid version.
Great customer service doesn't mean that the customer is always right, it means that the customer is always honored.
Be the first to receive exclusive offers and the latest news on our products and services directly in your inbox.
We appreciate your recent sign up for a LiveAgent.
A message will be sent to your email address containing login details, right after your account is installed.
If you wait for a while, after installation is complete you will be able to access your account directly from here.
After the process is over, we will send the login details to your mailbox.