A Comprehensive Guide to Help Desk Software Solutions

The help desk software industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the computer software industry. As companies of all sizes across the globe continue to realize the importance of cultivating long-lasting relationships with their clients through increasingly technical media, this industry is poised to grow well beyond the hundreds of help desk software solutions that are already in existence.

For small and large companies alike, choosing the right software solution is the key to providing outstanding customer service and support. In many cases, help desk software also provides internal team members with an effective way to communicate with one another about internal and external issues, while also allowing them to measure their effectiveness when responding to various types of client issues.

For many companies, the process of selecting help desk software is a major cause of stress and the final decision often comes after many months of deliberation. Usually, this is due to the wide variations in available features across products and the lack of a clear understanding of which features will best suit the company’s needs. However, this process can be made much easier by gaining an understanding of the help desk industry and how each solution approaches the task of creating a transparent flow of information between both staff members and clients.

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What is help desk software?

Help desk software is any software application that is used to provide customers with technical information on a product or service, while also supplying them with a connection to a support representative. The goal of this software is to increase a company’s efficiency and their productivity when using technology by providing workers and clients with timely answers to their questions and pertinent information that can aid them in solving their problems.

Essentially, a help desk is a very large and complex database consisting of customer information, call reports, information regarding hardware and/or software, problems and solutions logs, and service level agreements. Most help desk software, however, goes a step further by providing company representatives with a means to communicate electronically with their clients and colleagues.

The typical support scenario without a dedicated help desk

Most companies rely on a variety of methods to provide their customers with support. For instance, it is very common for an organization without a dedicated help desk to search through Excel spreadsheets and multiple databases in order to retrieve customer data and product or service information. Additionally, the support representative may have to write notes by hand or type them up in a general word processing program in order to record the nature of the issue. If the customer has called in with an issue, they will normally be left on hold as the support representative searches through various databases of information. It is not uncommon for clients to be left on hold for upwards of ten minutes for common support issues that are dealt with regularly.

The common support process is as follows when dealing with a phone request:

  1. Customer call is received.
  2. Support agent asks client for their contact information and/or customer number.
  3. Agent keeps the client on the line or places them on hold as he/she searches for the client’s details within their client database or a spreadsheet.
  4. Once the client’s details have been located, the support representative asks the client which product or service their issue is related to.
  5. Support agent then searches through a database and/or spreadsheets that are specific to that product or service. The client may be placed on hold as the agent searches through multiple sources of information.
  6. If the agent cannot access the necessary information, the client may be transferred to another support agent. After being transferred, the customer is usually required to supply their details again, which essentially equates to starting the support process all over again.
  7. If the agent was able to locate the necessary information, the issue is resolved, but has typically taken over ten minutes to handle.
  8. If the agent was not able to locate the necessary information or a support representative who can handle the issue, the agent tells the client that they will call them at a later date. At this point, the client has typically already invested 15 minutes of their time in the call and is left worrying about when their issue will be resolved.

Several issues can crop up for customers who call in their support-related issues including being placed on hold for extended periods of time, having to repeat their details a number of times as their request is passed from one agent to another, and not receiving a resolution by the end of their call. For many customers, the process becomes highly frustrating and may even cause them to take future business elsewhere.

When dealing with an email request, the support process changes and a new set of issues may arise:

  1. The client’s email is received by one or several support agents.
  2. If the agents were busy at the time the request was received, the email may go unnoticed and the client may not receive an acknowledgment of their email for over 24 hours.
  3. If the client’s request was marked as spam by the email server, the client may never receive a response to their request.
  4. If an agent does see the request, he/she may or may not provide the client with an acknowledgment of their request. Additionally, if the agents did not communicate with one another in advance about who is to be assigned to the request, several agents may work on the same issue unknowingly.
  5. If necessary, an agent will search through the customer database and/or spreadsheets to confirm that the requester is a paying client.
  6. If necessary, the agent will send the client an email requesting more information about the issue and await the client’s response.
  7. Once all of the necessary details of the issue have been gathered, the agent will search through multiple resources to find a solution to the customer’s issue.
  8. If an answer is found, the client will be emailed, though typically after 24 hours have passed since the original request was made.
  9. If the agent cannot locate an answer, the client’s question may be emailed to another agent, which will in essence return the client’s request back to step 1 of the support process.

When dealing with email requests, there is always a chance that a client’s request will not be seen because it has been marked as spam or the request may be received and left unacknowledged until a resolution has been found. In either case, the client is left waiting for an extended period of time and may not know that their issue is being processed. Additionally, the process may be riddled with even more inefficiency if agents do not confer with one another about the assignment of each support ticket.

How help desk software changes the support process

Help desk software, when implemented correctly, can streamline the support process, leading to lower resolution times and increased customer satisfaction, which in turn boosts customer retention. There are several benefits to deploying a centralized help desk:

  1. Support agents have access to a central knowledge base containing all of the company’s product and customer information.
  2. Agents can search the entire knowledge base, including articles and previous support tickets, for an answer by typing in relevant keywords or phrases.
  3. Clients can seek answers to their questions without contacting an agent by searching the knowledge base.
  4. Tickets can easily be created by both customers and support representatives through the help desk’s ticketing system.
  5. When creating a support ticket, a customer can automatically be prompted to fill in required information regarding their request to expedite the support process.
  6. Emails will be routed through the help desk first, so agents will not have to worry about support requests mistakenly being marked as spam.
  7. Automated responses can be emailed to clients as soon as a request is received.
  8. Support tickets can automatically be created from emails.
  9. Support tickets can easily be created during a customer call by utilizing the software’s search and auto-population features.
  10. Support issues can automatically or manually be assigned to an agent, decreasing or eliminating agent collision.
  11. Agents can easily view all of their open, closed, and pending support requests.
  12. Clients are able to provide instant feedback regarding their satisfaction with the support process.
  13. Agents can monitor their performance ratings and can also track their average response and resolution times.
  14. Agents can easily track what the hottest support issues are, allowing them to create new knowledge base articles that target clients’ needs.
  15. Clients can rate knowledge base articles, allowing agents to improve confusing or unhelpful support articles.

Organizations typically rely on help desk software to improve the efficiency of their agents, whether it’s during a support call or through an email, by giving them access to a centralized database of highly organized company and client information. The help desk also records and tracks all support issues, allowing agents to quickly track every support issue that needs to be resolved and pull from a growing database of pre-recorded responses, leading to lower resolution times and increasing customer satisfaction. Many companies find that increased efficiency actually leads to regular cost savings, since the number of additional employees needed for support can be minimized.

When to invest in help desk software

There is no general rule that can be applied to a company in order to figure out when the right time to invest in help desk software is, though all mid-sized to large companies are usually advised to do so in order to provide high quality and speedy support to their growing customer base. Typically, if any of the following statements can be used to describe a company, it should seriously consider investing in a help desk software solution:

  • The number of our clients and available products is quite large or is continuously growing.
  • We do not have a central database containing product information that both customers and support agents can easily access from any location at any time.
  • Support agents do not have a simple means of locating the contact details for our customers.
  • Our support representatives are finding it hard to locate the necessary answers to our clients’ questions in a timely manner.
  • Support representative must consult with a number of different resources that are located in separate locations (Excel spreadsheets and written manuals, for example) in order to offer a resolution.
  • Our clients do not have any method that allows them to solve their own problems outside of contacting us or reading our product manuals.
  • Support agents do not have a database of responses to pull from when answering client questions.
  • Agents do not have a simple way to communicate new knowledge with one another.
  • Support representatives often work on the same issue simultaneously because they are unaware that another agent is already handling the issue.
  • Resolution times typically exceed 24 hours, even for minor issues that have been dealt with in the past.
  • Tracking customer satisfaction and agent performance is difficult or impossible.
  • We have no means of tracking how many support requests we receive on a regular basis.
  • Our current methods do not allow us to track which types of support requests we receive most frequently.
  • Our customer satisfaction rates are declining or are poor.
  • Clients are leaving us because we are unable to provide the level of support that they require in order to use our products or services properly.
  • We frequently have to refer our clients to multiple departments in order for them to receive an answer.
  • Clients are increasingly expressing frustration when requesting support.
  • Support representatives sometimes or frequently miss important calls or emails because they are unable to monitor each point of contact effectively.
  • Clients do not know that their issues or requests have been received by a support agent within a day of contacting us.
  • Customers are frequently contacting us multiple times in order to receive a resolution to their issues.
  • Support agents have trouble tracking the issues that they are working on.

Types of help desk software

Today’s help desk software solutions are available in two forms: cloud-based and self-hosted. Cloud-based systems are hosted on servers outside of an organization and are located entirely online. These applications are typically ready to use as soon as the service has been purchased and a company account has been created. They do, however, require customization, such as branding and optional user interface design, for example. Self-hosted systems, on the other hand, are hosted on a company’s servers and must be installed on each computer in the organization.

Self-hosted systems are decreasing in popularity due to the cloud. In comparison to cloud-based solutions, self-hosted systems generally cost more to set up, require more deployment time, are more difficult to manage, and offer less scalability, meaning that they may not be able to meet the needs of an organization as it grows. For small organizations or companies with lower annual revenues, most self-hosted systems are financially unfeasible.

Cloud-based software is typically more flexible than self-hosted software, so it can support a growing company’s needs. These solutions also tend to offer frequent product updates, ongoing access to professional support, and users are able to log into the system from anywhere at any time with full access to all of the software’s features, which makes this solution particularly attractive to companies with employees who travel or are located in multiple locations. Cloud-based systems are typically far less expensive than competing self-hosted systems and generally require less deployment time.

Features

Each help desk solution will contain its own set of unique features and add-ons. The following list is a summary of the most popular features that are typically included with help desk software applications:

Web-based Interface - This graphical user interface is accessible via all or most Internet browsers for both clients and support team members. It provides users with a direct line to product information and support services.

Single Sign On Authentication (SSO) - SSO gives users the ability to log into the help desk using the same login ID and password that is used for logging into the protected areas of a company’s website. When a user logs into the company site, they will automatically be logged into the help desk.

Branding - Many help desk solutions allow companies to create their own branded interface and URL for the support portal. Branding is available on multiple levels, including the ability to add the company’s logo to each page, customize each page to mimic the look and feel of the company’s website, specify the exact URL that is to be used for the portal, and create branded email templates. Some knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding is usually required.

Customization - Import third party widgets and custom code to add new help desk functions that better meet the needs of an organization and its customers.

Multiple Languages - Configure the help desk to display in any language. Some software solutions also allow the help desk to choose which language is displayed to which customers based upon their location or user settings.

Knowledge Base
- This powerful self-service feature allows users to independently find answers to their questions without contacting a support representative. The knowledge base can be used to store instruction manuals, webinars, frequently asked questions, and popular news items that may affect users as they continue to use a company’s products and services.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor - The WYSIWYG allows support representatives to easily create knowledge base articles and news items without any HTML coding knowledge.

Content Restrictions - Control what clients see to ensure that they are given access to the information that is relevant to their needs. This feature also allows support agents to create restricted areas that are only accessible to other agents, which is useful for storing private information.

Community Forums - Forums allow customers to openly communicate with one another about product issues, requests, and any other general comments they may have. In some cases, forums give customers the ability to answer each other’s questions, which can increase the support team’s productivity by reducing the amount of time spent answering customer questions. Additionally, forums provide companies with the ability to monitor new product requests and assess the popularity of each of those requests, helping a company’s products and services move forward and better meet client needs.

Forum Moderation - Support agents can moderate topics and decide when a topic should be closed off from further discussion. They may also have the ability to remove offensive comments and flag hot topics.

Voting - Customers can express exactly what they think about the level of service support agents provide and how well published help topics meet their needs. Voting results are usually displayed in an averaged numerical format and are typically used to rate each support agent’s performance.

Advanced Search Tools - These tools allow users to search across multiple sections of the help desk at once in order to help them find the right answers right when they need them. For example, by typing in a question or keyword into the search tool, a user can quickly be connected to answers that have been pulled from the knowledge base, user forums, and their previous support requests.

Tagging - Tags allow yet another level of organization for support tickets and help desk topics. Assigning appropriate tags to topics allows users to quickly search for and locate the relevant answers to their questions.

Electronic Communication Tools - Most, if not all, systems allow users to leave text-based messages for support agents. However, some systems go further by adding instant messaging, video chat, and integration with Twitter.

Multi-channel Request Support - For companies that utilize multiple points of contact, such as email and Twitter, all communications can be routed through the help desk first, allowing tickets to automatically be created without the need to monitor multiple channels.

Customized Ticket Fields - Getting the right information from users is essential to providing a timely resolution to an issue. Customized ticket fields allow agents to specify what information must be provided by the user upfront in order to help solve their requests quickly and effectively.

Automated Responses - As soon as a support request is received, the help desk will send the requester and support staff members an automated response that has been predefined by support staff. These responses allow clients to know that their requests have been received and provide support agents with an up-to-date window into current support issues. Additionally, automated responses can be set to recur on daily, weekly, or monthly intervals, allowing agents to be continuously reminded of hot issues and clients to be aware that an agent is awaiting their response.

Issue/Ticket Tracking - Customers and support agents can track the evolution of any and every support ticket from its creation to its resolution. Every communication is logged, and both open and closed tickets can be viewed by the support team and clients for an unlimited or specified period of time.

Views - Many software solutions come packed with default views which allow support representatives to organize and view the tickets in the help desk according to predefined criteria. For example, tickets can be viewed according their priority, status (open or closed), assigned agent, or the requester. Additional views can also be created by support agents to streamline the support process.

Ticket Merging - Clients often submit the same request multiple times or very similar requests within a short space of time. Ticket merging gives agents the ability to merge similar requests into a single ticket which allows agents to focus on unique issues more efficiently.

Grouping - Members of an organization as well as its clients can be organized according to logical groups. This is especially useful for larger organization with complex support teams that allocate requests based upon the type of request that has been received.

Workflows - Workflows can be set up on both the organizational and individual levels to assign, route, and manage support tickets. Tickets can automatically be assigned to agents based upon their content or the requester. Additionally, certain issues can automatically or manually be escalated to superiors based on customer and support agent feedback.

Spam Management - Any messages that appear to be spam, such as automated out of office replies, will automatically be routed to a quarantine area within the system. Some help desk software also allows the organization to specify whether messages from unknown users are automatically quarantined.

Web-based Remote Support - Support staff can quickly and easily access, view, and repair remote devices without requiring the end-user to install any software on their machines. Additionally, remote devices can be accessed with the user’s permission even if the user is not available to participate in the support call. This service can greatly reduce the amount of time necessary for resolving an issue.

Analytics - Real-time reporting can be used to assess the support team’s performance by displaying their overall resolution times, customer satisfaction levels, and their response times. Reports can also be customized to display data on a number of other tracked items including group performance and ticket type.

Sandbox Environment - Test the help desk and any newly added features prior to pushing them live for end-users. Experiment with message and ticket assignment rules as well as other workflows without affecting the client-facing production area.

Mobile Optimization - The ability to view the help desk via a smart phone is essential to providing quick and effective support for many clients. Some help desk software companies are also releasing mobile apps, which allow agents to have full access to all of the help desk’s functions right from the palms of their hands.

Cost

The cost of help desk software varies greatly and ranges anywhere from $0 to $1,000+ per agent per month, with self-hosted solutions occupying the higher-priced end. When figuring out the cost of any solution, however, it is important to also figure in deployment costs, such as the costs associated with adding and maintaining new hardware infrastructure, and other short term costs that may be required, such as hiring an outside agent to set up the help desk. Additionally, the final total must be adjusted by subtracting the ongoing costs associated with hiring additional employees, including their wages, benefits, and any new equipment that is required, to resolve support requests in the event that a software solution was not purchased.

Since most help desk software companies base their prices on the number of users who will be using the software, larger companies will typically have to pay more than their smaller counterparts. Fortunately, many companies offer multi-user discounts as well as promotional pricing on extended contracts.

In addition to cost per user pricing, cost structures are typically based upon the number of features the client requires. The most affordable packages, for instance, may only include the most basic of features, such as email functionality and a help topic database. More expensive solutions tend to be more robust, allowing an organization to fully customize its help desk with add-ons and custom code, gather analytical data, and receive 24-hour support from the help desk manufacturer. For larger companies, the advantages of a more robust solution usually outweigh the higher costs.

Excluding freeware solutions, a bare-bones (basic email and help topic database) cloud-based solution typically costs around $250 to $300 per month for ten agents, with more complete packages costing around $500 to $700 per month. For organizations with very small support teams that require minimal functionality, it is possible to find software priced at as little as $30 per month for up to three agents.

A self-hosted solution containing only the most basic of features typically starts at a one time only cost of $300 for an unlimited number of users on the low end and $1,000 for up to five users on the higher end. For more robust solutions, an organization can expect to spend anywhere from $800 for an unlimited number of users to well over $5,000 for up to five users on more expensive systems. However, these prices exclude any costs associated with new equipment purchases and maintenance, software upgrades, and ongoing technical support.

When it comes to help desk software, cost does not necessarily equate to quality. Any and all solutions should be thoroughly researched before one is chosen and the decision should never be based upon cost alone. Choosing the wrong system, regardless of how inexpensive it is, can end up costing a company more than a higher priced solution due to difficulties in deployment, maintenance, and use of the system, as well as the potential loss of clients due to poor service.

How to choose the right help desk software solution

Selecting the right software solution will take time and the decision should not be taken lightly. However, there are several points that any company, regardless of its size or budget, should consider prior to settling on a solution:

  1. Decide whether a cloud-based or self-hosted solution is right for you - For smaller organizations and those on tight budgets which need a solution that works right out of the box, a cloud-based system is usually the best choice. Companies with dedicated IT support staff who can handle the implementation and management of new software and hardware will be able to freely choose between the cloud and self-hosted systems.
  2. Set a budget - The cost of a help desk varies widely and can range anywhere from $0 to well over $1,000 per agent. Set a budget and allow it to guide the purchasing decision. Be sure to pay close attention to how each solution prices its services; some services charge monthly fees, while others charge one-time-only fees.
  3. Make a list of required features - Each help desk solution offers a wide variety of features and it is vital to a company’s success to choose a solution that offers every function that is essential to running a successful support desk. Gather the support team and have a discussion about the current challenges they are facing. Be sure to ask them what they need to overcome those challenges and streamline the support process.
  4. Figure out how much storage space you need - When creating a database of articles and other support materials, it is important to choose a solution that offers more space than you think you actually need. This will ensure that the help desk is able to grow with your company. Fortunately, there are solutions that offer unlimited storage space to all of their customers.
  5. Check for compatibility - Ensure that any solution you choose displays correctly on the Internet browsers that are used at your company and by the majority of your clients. Also check that the email submission system works with your current email server.
  6. Choose the right ticket management features - All ticket management systems are not created equally. While some offer automatic ticket assignments based on rules, the ability to close and reopen tickets at will, and unlimited access to a full history of every ticket that has ever been created, others do not. Never settle for a solution that fails to provide the level of control your company needs.
  7. Always be branded - Branding your help desk is crucial to clients recognizing and trusting that their requests are reaching your company. Find a solution that allows you to easily add your logo, color schemes, and fonts to the help desk’s layout as well as to email templates.
  8. Opt for security - Dealing with support issues often requires clients and companies to exchange private and sensitive data with one another. Find a system that uses a secure connection, such as SSL and other encryption forms, for all communications and data transfers.
  9. Think about using a Web interface - Some ticketing systems allow clients to create tickets via email and a Web-based system, while others do not. Take some time to consider which submission systems will benefit your clients and company before settling on a help desk.
  10. Consider deployment - While some help desks require dedicated staff with advanced levels of technical knowledge to create and maintain them, others can easily be maintained by nearly anyone who knows how to use a computer and the Web. Think about who will be deploying the help desk for your company, what equipment may be needed, and how long the deployment will take. For quick and easy deployments, choose a system that does not require any HTML, CSS, or JavaScript coding knowledge.
  11. Take a test drive - Most, if not all, help desk software companies will allow you to take a video tour of their software or use the software in demo mode for a limited period of time. Never spend a penny on any software solution until you’ve tried it or seen it in action.

Popular help desk software solutions

Zendesk

Zendesk.

Zendesk - This cloud-based solution offers packages that can appeal to both small and large companies alike. Zendesk features easy setup, zero installation, and the ability to customize nearly every aspect of the help desk’s appearance through custom coding and add-ons. Notable Zendesk users include Twitter, Sony Music, and MSNBC.

Key features include a Web-based interface, a WYSIWYG Editor, SSL encryption, SSO, real-time analytics which can be used to track agent performance, workflows, and rule-based ticket assignments. Zendesk also includes spam filters, Twitter integration, smart phone compatibility, and a full history of every ticket submission.

For the basic starter package, which features email functionality and a help desk, prices start at $9 per month per agent for up to three agents. The mid-priced package, which allows for customization and the creation of a forum-based community, typically costs $29 per agent per month, while the most expensive option, which tacks on analytics and 24-hour technical support, costs $59 per agent per month.

Kayoko Fusion

SupportSuite.

Kayako Fusion - Fusion (formerly known as SupportSuite) is available as a self-hosted and remotely-hosted solution, i.e. the help desk can be hosted on Kayako’s Web servers. Due to the software’s user-friendly interface and pricing, it can work well for small and mid-sized companies. Larger organizations, however, may want to purchase add-on products, such as KayakoMobile for smart phone support and the Branding Fee License to remove Kayako branding from the help desk’s front-end.

Key Fusion features include live chat, automated ticket responses, email management, the ability to create a knowledge base, and project management tools, such as calendars and task scheduling. Article commenting and rating is also available and can be turned on or off at the support team’s discretion.

Fusion is coded in PHP and runs on computers utilizing the following operating systems: Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, or Microsoft Windows. Additionally, smart phone support is limited to mobile phones running the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. Fusion can be purchased as a downloadable package for $999, or hosted for $49 per month per seat for the hosted version. In addition to offering Fusion as a single complete solution, Kayoko allows customers to purchase the software in 2 pieces, known as Engage and Resolve. Engage focuses on live chat, click to call, remote desktop access (Kayoko OnSite), and visitor monitoring. Kayoko resolve focuses on ticket management, email integration, mail rules, and workflow. Engage or Resolve can be purchased separately for $599, or $29 per month per seat for the hosted version.

The old pricing model for Support Suite was monthly subscription for the remotely-hosted solution costs $39.95 per month, while an annual subscription costs $399.95. The self-hosted version is priced at a one time only cost of $299.95 with additional upgrades costing $59.95. They still offer maintenance licenses on the old software, however they are not selling new licenses of it. Rather

Help Desk Pilot

Help Desk Pilot.

Help Desk Pilot - This self-hosted PHP based software solution can be installed on any shared hosting provider and features the ability to convert emails into support tickets. Its pricing structure offers a basic option to small companies with low revenues as well more robust options for mid-sized companies.

Key features of Help Desk Pilot include rule-based ticket assignment, automated email responses, multilingual support, RSS feeds, search tools, analytics, and plugin support, which allows for further customization of the help desk’s functionality.

Packages start at $399.95 for the Standard package, which supports up to five agents, and go up to $1,799.95 for the Enterprise package, which features unlimited report customization and support for up to 30 agents. To add a knowledge base to any package, the necessary plug-ins must be purchased, with prices ranging from $99.95 to $149.95 per plug-in.

Hesk

Hesk.

Hesk - Hesk is a PHP based help desk that is available as a self-hosted or remotely-hosted solution and is typically employed by small to mid-sized companies with tighter budgets.

Key features of Hesk include a Web-based interface that is visible to both customers and support agents, an unlimited knowledge base, spam prevention, automated email responses, and advanced search capabilities. It also features automatic ticket assignments, community voting, analytics, and multilingual support.

The self-hosted version of Hesk, which features Hesk’s branding, is available for free. To remove Hesk branding from the help desk, a license can be purchased for $39.95. The remotely-hosted version of Hesk is available for $19.95 per month and offers companies the freedom from worrying about software installation and additional server maintenance.

PerlDesk

Perldesk.

PerlDesk - This flexible Perl-based help desk software solution is available as a self-hosted download and a cloud-based solution. It features packages that will appeal to small business owners as well as larger companies that require more robust options and accounts for a large number of staff members.

In order to use the self-hosted version of PerlDesk, you should be running either the Linux or Windows operating systems. Machines running Linux must also install Perl, MySQL, and a web server, such as Apache or IIS. For Windows-based machines, MySQL is required. Companies that purchase the cloud-based version of PerlDesk do not need to worry about installing any additional software.

Key features of PerlDesk include a branded user interface, branded email templates, the ability to fully customize the customer-facing portal, a knowledge base, automatic ticket generation, and analytics. Support staff can also access every function of the help desk through any Internet browser from any location in the world.

A Small Business License for PerlDesk is available for a one time fee of $199.99 and supports up to five staff users. An Enterprise License is available for a one time fee of $499.99 and supports an unlimited number of staff users, while also providing access to the Live Chat feature, which is not included with the Small Business License. Both packages provide access to upgrades and technical support for up to six months. After six months, these services can be purchased for 25% of the original license fee.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus

ManageEngine.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus - ServiceDesk Plus is a self-hosted solution that works with both Linux and Windows operating systems and the Oracle, SQL, and MySQL databases. Typically employed by larger organizations with higher revenues, all versions of this software support an unlimited number of end-users and allow the purchase of additional staff accounts. Notable ServiceDesk Plus users include Honda, Hallmark, and Intel.

Key ServiceDesk Plus features include a Web-based support portal, a knowledge base, email integration, text message ticket alerts for staff, and the ability to survey clients about their satisfaction with the support team’s service. Additional features include analytics, software license management, and ITIL readiness.

The Standard edition of ServiceDesk Plus, which features help desk management including a knowledge base, staff portal, and reporting, costs $995 for five support staff members and $1,895 for ten support staff members. The Professional edition, which adds asset management, costs $1,495 for five support agents and $2,495 for ten support agents. The Enterprise edition, which is the most robust package of all by offering ITIL readiness, costs $2,995 for five agents and $4,995 for ten agents. ServiceDesk Plus does not charge for software upgrades or ongoing technical support.

Additional help desk software solutions

I’m OnCall - I’m OnCall allows for the remote control of both PCs and Macs in order to expedite the support process. This web-based solution does not require the installation of any software on your local machines and has been available from 01 Communique since 2006. To contact a company representative, call 1-800-668-2185 or email sales@01com.com.

247NetSystems - This cloud-based solution offers a knowledge base, no installation, and a wide range of reports. The company has been creating help desk solutions since 2002 and can be contacted by calling 306-537-4005 or emailing sales@247netsystems.com.

Aegis Help Desk - Aegis offers a knowledge base, asset management, and an ITIL based service management system. This self-hosted system is available from Abacus Systems. For further information, call +61-3-9576-8700 or email info@abacus-systems.com.

Access Remote PC - Access Remote PC was founded in 2002 and allows users to log into their own computers as well as customers’ computers in order to provide speedy technical support. To find out more about this self-hosted system, email contact@access-remote-pc.com.

Magnoware DataTrack System - This self-hosted solution offers Web access, a knowledge base, and a rule-based ticketing system. For more information, call Magnoware at 805-703-4214 or email contact@magnoware.com.

Alloy Navigator Express - Alloy Navigator Express is targeted towards small and medium-sized businesses who need help desk and asset management support. The latest release of this self-hosted help desk was made available on July 19, 2009. To contact a product representative, email sales@alloy-software.com or call 973-338-0744.

Altman HelpDesk - This cloud-based solution offers streamlined ticket management and compatibility with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Altman HelpDesk is sold by Altman Business Solutions, which was founded in 2004. For further information, call 866-866-8731 or use the online contact form to send an email message.

Anyplace Control - Anyplace Control gives support staff the ability to remotely control PCs from anywhere at any time. To learn more about this self-hosted system, call +380-44-544-8645 or email info@anyplace-control.com.

ATAdesk - This cloud-based solution offers issue tracking, a knowledge base, and a user forum. For more information, call 55-11-9194-9384 or email support@atadesk.com.

CISS Help Desk System - The CISS Help Desk System features a main help desk with the ability to tack on additional software. This self-hosted system is available from Auratech Software, which was founded in 1997. To find out more, call +61-7-3112-1961 or email sales@auratech.com.au.

Desk.com - Online SAAS helpdesk solution offered by Salesorce.

nService - This self-hosted help desk features a knowledge base, ticketing history, and Web-based interface. For more information, call 626-675-6791 or email sales5@avensoft.com.

HelpLine - HelpLine offers incident reporting, trend analyses, and automated ticket assignments. This self-hosted software solution is sold by BadgerNT, which was founded over ten years ago. For further information, call 1-800-880-5841 or email servicedesk@badgernt.com.

Bankoi Helpdesk Software - Bankoi is available as a self-hosted and cloud-based solution, and includes SMS notifications for support agents. To learn more, call 902-999-397 or fill in the online contact form.

HelpDesk by bigWebApps - HelpDesk is a cloud-based software solution featuring automated ticket assignments, analytics, and personal branding tools. For more information, call 866-354-8048 or email sales@bigwebapps.com.

Razordesk - This self-hosted system is available through Blue Tang Web Systems, which was founded in 2008. To find out more about Razordesk, call 0870-321-2481.

Bomgar Secure Remote Support Software - Bomgar was founded in 2003 and offers remote desktop support through a self-hosted system. For additional product details, call 877-826-6427 or submit the online contact form.

GoToAssist - This self-hosted system features screen sharing, live chat, and remote desktop control, and is available through Citrix Online. To speak with a sales representative, call 1-800-549-8541 or submit the online contact form.

Close Support Help Desk Software - Close Support is a self-hosted software solution featuring a central database and automated email responses. For further information, call +44-0-844-3579-468 or email sales@closefitsoftware.com.

CrossTec ResQDesk - ResQDesk offers issue tracking and implements ITIL processes through a self-hosted system. CrossTec was founded in 1996 and sales representatives can be contacted at 800-675-0729 or at sales@crosstecsoftware.com.

Dapper Desk - This self-hosted solution has been providing support agents with a Web based interface, ticket tracking, and a powerful search engine since 2001. To find out more about Dapper Desk, call 904-712-9185 or email info@dapperdesk.com.

DeskPRO - DeskPRO is a self-hosted software solution that features a ticketing system, email integration, and a knowledge base. For more information, email support@deskpro.com.

Oxygen Help Desk - This cloud-based solution provides real-time reporting, a self-service portal for customers, and is customizable. Oxygen Help Desk is available from E-Warehouse, which has been in business since 1999. They can be contacted by phone at 0044-845-299-7539 or by email at info@e-warehouse.com.

EasyHelpDeskHosting - EasyHelpDeskHosting offers cloud-based ticket management and a Web based interface. For more information, call +1-201-432-9394 or email sales@easyhelpdeskhosting.com.

Elementool - Elementool was founded in the year 2000 and offers some of the most popular web-based tools including issue tracking, a knowledge base, and mobile services. To learn more, call 877-425-9961 or email support@elementool.com.

Elsinore IssueNet - Founded in 1995, Elsinore has been providing businesses of all sizes with tools, such as help desks and remote support applications, to better meet their clients’ needs. Their solutions are self-hosted and further information can be obtained by calling 866-866-0034 or emailing info@elsitech.com.

HelpDeskSaaS - HelpDeskSaaS is a cloud-based solution that was created in 2010. It allows for rule-based ticket assignments, email template creation, and multilingual support. To find out more, call +387-30-540-486 or email sales@helpdesksaas.com.

eStreamDesk - This cloud-based software solution has been offering custom branding, email ticket creation, a simple Web-based interface, and automated responses since 2009. For more information, call 359-828-28863.

ExDesk - ExDesk is a remotely hosted service that can be accessed from any Web browser. The system features enhanced security, real-time reporting, rapid deployment, and customizable workflows. ExDesk was founded in 1998. They can be reached at 203-795-5955 and via the online contact form.

Expinion - Expinion is a self-hosted solution based on ASP that was founded in 1999. It features instant ticket email notifications, custom ticket fields, ticket assignments, and a search engine. To learn more, call 1-888-407-9346 or email support@expinion.net.

Ferrysoft Help Desk - Ferrysoft Help Desk was founded in 2004 and is a self-hosted support option featuring a Web-based interface, automatic ticket alerts, and a user forum. For further information, email info@ferrysoft.com or call +44-020-7537-0701.

FireStarter! Helpdesk - This solution features call logging, resource tracking, and knowledge management. To find out more about this self-hosted solution, call 00353-1-806-3046 or email info@tynandatasystems.com.

IssueCentre - IssueCenter has been in business since the year 2000 and provides support agents with ticket management, bug management, and issue tracking. To find out more about the self-hosted and cloud-based options, call +44-0-333-900-1123 or email info@issuecentre.com.

Help Desk Software - Help Desk Software is a free PHP-based download that helps companies handle their support calls. To find out more about this software solution, email admin@freehelpdesk.org or call 616-534-4689.

FrontPhase - FrontPhase is a cloud-based software solution that requires no software and hardware installation. Its key features include a knowledge base and ticket management system. FrontPhase has been creating online customer service applications since 2001 and they can be contacted by calling 866-842-3376.

FrontRange HEAT - HEAT has been providing organizations with customer management solutions for over two decades and features a knowledge base, phone support, and inventory management. To learn more about the HEAT suite of products, call 800-776-7889.

Gritware Help Desk Software - This self-hosted product features automated ticket assignments, email alerts, asset management, and PC Inventory. Gritware has been in business since 1998 and can be reached by calling 888-319-3249 or emailing info@gritware.com.

GroupLink HelpDesk - GroupLink HelpDesk is a self-hosted software solution that features a customizable knowledge base, customer satisfaction surveys, and mobile device support. GroupLink has been conducting business since 1996 and can be reached by phone at 801-335-0700 or by email at info@grouplink.net.

iSupport - iSupport was founded in 2002 and is available in two self-hosted editions and features incident management, asset management, and workflows. To learn more call 888-494-7638 or submit the online contact form.

h2desk - h2desk is available in self-hosted and cloud-based versions. This help desk software solution includes a client portal, automated responses, and comprehensive real-time reporting. To learn more, visit the h2desk website at http://www.h2desk.com.

HelpDesk Pro - HelpDesk Pro is a cloud-based service that features call management tools, call tracking, ticket notifications, and SMS message alerts. HelpDesk Pro was established in 2003. To find out more, email enquiry@helpdeskpro.net or call +61-7-3254-2295.

SupportDesk CSS - SupportDesk CSS is a self-hosted system that features smart phone support, workflows, financial management, email integration, and a Web front-end. It was officially unveiled in 2009 by House on the Hill Software. To learn more about SupportDesk CSS, call +44-0161-427-8988 or email info@houseonthehill.com.

iiS Fast Track Help Desk - Fast Track Help Desk provides a self-hosted help desk with invoicing, asset tracking, and call logging functionality. For more information, call 084-299-0406 or email enquiries09@illsfm.com.

SysAid Help Desk Software and Asset Management - SysAid was founded in 2002 and is available as a cloud-based and self-hosted system. This popular solution offers asset monitoring, a knowledge base, remote device control, and many other features. To find out more about SysAid, call 1-800-686-7047 or email info@sysaid.com.

GetAHelpdesk - This cloud-based solution offers a variety of plans ranging from $0 to $60 per month. Key features include spam filtering, ticket tracking, and the ability to create a knowledge base. For more information, call +46-31-408-020.

iScripts SupportDesk - SupportDesk is a self-hosted open source solution that features live chat, remote desktop sharing, a knowledge base, and automated email responses. To learn more, contact iScripts at 1-800-569-5538 or sales@iscripts.com.

TicketXpert - This self-hosted software solution provides a multilingual online support ticketing system that features workflows and task management tools. For further information, call +41-0-44-497-5555 or email sales@isonet.ch.

IssueTrak - IssueTrak has been creating software since 1992. Their self-hosted help desk features project management tools as well as ticket tracking tools and the ability to create workflows. To find our more, call 1-866-IssueTrak or email sales@issuetrak.com.

Laplink RemoteAssist - RemoteAssist gives support technicians the ability to access and fix issues on their clients’ computers. This self-hosted system is available from Laplink, which has been in business since 1983. To learn more about RemoteAssist, call 1-800-LAPLINK.

Layton ServiceDesk - ServiceDesk is a self-hosted software solution offering design customization, a Web portal, reporting, and survey tools. Layton was founded in 1997 and they can be contacted by calling +1-813-319-1390 or emailing sales@laytontechnologies.com.

Abacus Helpdesk - Abacus Helpdesk is a self-hosted software help desk that includes call management, reporting tools, and invoice handling. To learn more, call +46-33-10-4770 or email info@abacus.cc.

LBE HelpDesk Software - LBE HelpDesk is a self-hosted software solution that features a Web-based interface, email handling, and a ticket audit trail. LBE Software has been in business since 1991 and they can be contacted by calling +1-216-359-4425.

Liberum Help Desk - This self-hosted solution is available for free and can be customized according to a company’s needs. It was created in the year 2000 and more information can be obtained by visiting http://www.liberum.org.

The Edge HDM - The Edge HDM is a self-hosted help desk featuring automated ticket routing and email handling. The Edge HDM is available from Lumen Software. To learn more, call 866-613-6842 or email bizsales@lumensoftware.com.

Web Help Desk - Web Help Desk is a downloadable application featuring a Web portal, knowledge base management, and issue tracking. For more information, call 1-877-943-0008 or email sales@webhelpdesk.com.

MetaQuest Census and Triage - MetaQuest has been creating software since 2001. Their self-hosted support solutions, Census and Triage, feature issue tracking, system diagnostic tools, and bug tracking tools. To learn more, call MetaQuest at 770-622-2850.

MHelpdesk.com - This cloud-based help desk features branding, integration with QuickBooks, invoicing tools, and reporting. For more information, call 888-792-5552.

Netkeeper Help Desk Captain SQL - This downloadable application features call management, a Web portal, and inventory control tools. For more information, call 800-532-4862.

NetHelpDesk - NetHelpDesk includes a Web portal, mobile device support, email ticketing, and is ITIL compatible. To learn more, call +1-914-612-7148 or email sales-na@nethelpdesk.com.

Novo Solutions Help Desk Software - This self-hosted system features call handling, a knowledge base, issue tracking, and a Web portal for customers and support agents. To contact Novo Solutions and learn more about their help desk solutions, call 888-316-4559.

Numara Track-It! - Numara Track-It! provides help desk, change, and asset management through a single downloadable application. Numara has been in business since 1991 and can be reached at 800-557-3031.

OneOrZero AIMS - OneOrZero combines a help desk, knowledge base, and time manager in a single downloadable application. For further information, email info@oneorzero.com.

Yazu - Yazu is a cloud-based help desk that features a user-friendly interface, ticket management, a knowledge base, project management, and analytics. To learn more about Yazu, call +44-20-8789-7046.

Oxygen Help Desk - Oxygen is a cloud-based solution that includes call logging, customization options, and a customer self-service portal. To find out more, call +00-44-845-299-7539.

Pillar Resolve Help Desk - Resolve is a self-hosted solution that features a Web-based portal, reporting functionality, email notifications, and inventory integration. Resolve is available from Pillar Solutions, which has been in business since 1995. For more information, call 00-44-0-1732-363670 or email info@pillar-solutions.com.

Polar Help Desk 5 - This self-hosted help desk offers incident management, email integration, team management, and programmable reports. Polar was founded in 1995 and can be contacted by calling +385-98-213-398 or emailing support@polarsoftware.com.

PRD HelpMaster - PRD has been providing software support solutions since 1997. HelpMaster is a downloadable support desk that features a Web portal, email response management, and a knowledge base. For further information, call +61-2-6278-4664.

Rave7 Help Desk - This self-hosted solution features case alerts, customization, workflows, and asset management. Rave7 has been operating since 1990 and can be reached at 416-628-1463.

QuickIntranet Help Desk - This free self-hosted system was created in 2005 and features call support as well as a standardized database. For more information, call QuickIntranet at 616-334-2337.

Rap-X - Rap-X delivers a customizable help desk featuring search tools, email alerts, message filtering, and workflows. To find out more about this self-hosted solution, call +44-0-20-7830-8307 or email info@rap-x.com.

ReadyDesk - ReadyDesk is a downloadable help desk that offers live chat, remote desktop control, a knowledge base, and ticket management tools. To learn more about this self-hosted help desk, email info@readydesk.com or call 404-605-0347.

Performance Desk - Performance Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution featuring issue tracking, messaging, and Twitter integration. Performance Desk is available from Resilient Labs, which has been operating since 2009. They can be contacted at 1-888-406-5248 or info@resilientlabs.com.

ScriptLogic Help Desk - This self-hosted help desk includes call management, ticket tracking, and a knowledge base. For more information, call 1-800-813-6415 or email sales@scriptlogic.com.

ServiceTonic - ServiceTonic is a downloadable help desk featuring incident management, email integration, reports, and a customer portal. To learn more about this solution, call +34-902-006-544.

SuperTech Online Help Desk - This cloud-based help desk provides a request log, automated replies, and works with multiple Web browsers. For more information, call 1300-608-652 or email supertec@supertech.com.au.

Support Fusion - Support Fusion has been creating online support solutions since 2003. Its cloud-based products feature workflow management, issue tracking, a customizable knowledge base, and much more. To learn more, call 1-800-766-4943 or email info@supportfusion.com.

TeamSupport - This cloud-based help desk offers ticket management, bug tracking, and a Web portal. For more information, call 800-596-2820.

Vision Helpdesk - Vision Helpdesk is available through ThinkSupport.net and features a Web-based interface, spam filtering, and multilingual support. For further information, call 408-9142-635.

TOPdesk - TOPdesk offers help desks for companies of all sizes. Their self-hosted solutions feature a Web portal, call logging, incident reporting, and reservations management. TOPdesk Software has been in business since 1993 and can be reached at +44-208-846-8516 or info@topdesk.com.

Troika Resolve IT! Helpdesk - Resolve IT! is a self-hosted system that features issue tracking, request routing, reporting, SLA management. To learn more, call 888-887-6452 or email tsales@resolveit.com.

Ultimate HelpDesk - Ultimate HelpDesk is a cloud-based support desk featuring ticket tracking, email integration, a knowledge base, and multilingual support. For more information, call 902-981-8499 or email sales@ultimatehelpdesk.net.

Gulfstream Helpdesk - Gulfstream Helpdesk is available as a cloud-based and self-hosted help desk. It features a knowledge base, ticketing system, and email integration. For further information, call 1-888-Gulfway or email support@gulfstreamway.com.

VersoSolutions Serio HelpDesk - Serio Helpdesk is a self-hosted solution that was founded in 2004. It features built-in workflows, call logging, event scheduling, and remote desktop control. To learn more, call +64-21-772-423.

Vivantio Helpdesk - Vivantio Helpdesk is available as a self-hosted and cloud-based help desk. This solution includes built-in reports and ticket management. Viviantio was founded in 2003 and can be contacted by phone at +44-0-1934-424-840 or by email at enquiries@vivantio.com.

WonderDesk - This self-hosted solution includes automated emails, ticket notifications, call tracking, and multilingual support. To learn more, call 585-352-4599.

WN Help Desk - This shareware self-hosted help desk comes packed with reporting, ticket management, and asset management. To find out more, call 208-798-5357 or email support@wickett.net.

YellowFish Revelation Helpdesk - YellowFish Software was founded in 2001 and their help desk solution, Revelation Helpdesk, is currently available in the cloud and as a download. This solution features a Web portal, ticket management, a knowledge base, and email integration. For more information, call 866-738-3366.

 


 

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