Help desk software can be generally classified into different types based on; deployment method, size of the target audience, and source code availability. There are 5 types; Web-based help desk, Cloud-based help desk, On-premises help desk, Enterprise help desk, and Open-source help desk. Each solution type offers a specific set of features and has certain benefits and disadvantages.
Web-based help desk software can be referred to as cloud-hosted or software as a service (SaaS). It is hosted on the vendor’s own server. After that, the businesses can rent out the tool to access and use over; the web browser (the vendor’s website), or a locally installed desktop/mobile application. Customers subscribe to the service for a monthly or annual fee. It usually includes ongoing tech support, maintenance, and upgrade of the system, as well as data backup.
Web-based help desks require an internet connection at all times. Otherwise, you will not be able to view and update tickets. A lot of small and mid-sized businesses use this type of help desk. This is due to; lacking in-house IT team, due to the ease of installation and flexible payment options. Many vendors, however, can scale up their offerings with enterprise-level features to cater to large businesses.
Cloud-based help desks are similar to web-based solutions in terms of operating and storing data on remote servers. However, while web-based ticketing systems run on the vendor’s servers only; cloud-based help desks can be hosted on multiple replicated servers, run by third-party providers.
Unlike web-based apps, cloud-based help desks use internet connection primarily to upload and download the data. Moreover, users are able to access the data even when offline. They usually offer great scalability and flexibility. Thus, you can implement it at a low cost, with little or no IT expertise.
The on-premises help desk is also known as a self-hosted help desk. It is a licensed proprietary software that is hosted locally on the customer’s own server. With on-premises solutions companies own their help desk and thus, have full control over data security and privacy of information. The tool requires a one-time payment to purchase a license, however software upgrades might require an additional fee.
This type of help desk usually involves large investment and is mostly used by enterprise-level organizations with in-house IT teams. Therefore, they can manage installation, maintenance, and updates. Companies can easily customize and integrate on-premises help desk with other business systems.
Enterprise help desks have the most complicated structure out of all types of help desk ticketing systems. These are feature-rich solutions that may include a number of complex modules. For instance, IT asset management, account management, service request fulfillment, and survey management.
In addition to offering robust customer support capabilities, enterprise help desk systems can improve the overall efficiency of an organization by providing deeply-customizable tools for supporting inter-department communication within the organization. Therefore, they are the best match for large, usually global, organizations. This is due to the fact that they require support for both; internal teams and external customers.
As opposed to licensed solutions, open-source help desks give companies full access to software’s source code. Thus, the tool can be modified and enhanced beyond the level of basic integration and adding plugins. It allows companies to completely customize the system to suit their specific business needs.
Open-source help desks are provided for free. However, the vendors usually offer paid features and services. For instance, software set-up, integration, training, dedicated support, etc. This type of IT help desk is mostly preferred by organizations that have in-house IT teams with programming capabilities.
What are the main factors to consider when choosing a help desk system provider for your business? Numerous choices available on the market might complicate the decision-making process in selecting the right solution that will best fit your organization’s needs. You can define the help desk requirements for software by answering the following fundamental questions:
What type of help desk system is best for your type and size of business?
Are you looking for a tool with a basic feature set or advanced functionalities? What are the ‘must-have’ and ‘nice to have’ features?
Is your organization allowed by law to use software hosted in the cloud? Can you host the application in-house?
How easily can the tool be used? Can anyone use it without any tech skills?
Can the software easily integrate with other business tools (CRM) you are currently using?
Does the tool provide security features like data encryption and access permissions to protect company and customer information?
Is the software scalable for future business growth? Can you add more features, modules, more agents, and handle more tickets in the long run?
Does the tool support multiple languages (in case your business operates globally)?
Does the initial cost or recurring service subscription cost fit your company’s budget?
Does the vendor provide quick, competent, and reliable customer support in case of any issues?
Once you’ve shortlisted potential vendors that match your help desk requirements, you can sign up for the trial and test each help desk solution to see it in action.
Most of the IT help desk software providers offer free trials with all the features available. As your customer support team will be using it every day, the tool should, as much as possible, be frictionless, user-friendly, and easy to navigate around.
Testing the software before making a final purchasing decision is crucial to ensure you implement an effective solution for your customer support workflow and get the best value for your investment.
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