Help Desk Software

Features and Selection Criteria
Help Desk Software is a key tool for businesses to provide effective support. It provides a structured platform to manage and track support requests and issues. By automating routine tasks, such as categorizing or routing requests, Help Desk Software enables faster response to customer needs. We'll give you an overview of the benefits and key features. In addition, you will learn how to implement a solution successfully.

Definition of Help Desk Software

Help Desk Software is a software solution that helps businesses efficiently organize and manage support for customers and employees. It provides a centralized platform for collecting, tracking, and resolving support requests and issues. Typical features include ticket management, process automation, knowledge bases, and reporting tools. A Helpdesk Tool or Helpdesk System are two other names for such software. Help desk software allows support teams to systematically handle service requests through tickets. Resources can be better managed and deployed, with better support service improving the customer experience.

History of Development

The growing complexity and digitalization of customer support drove the development of software solutions designed specifically for the help desk. In the past, support requests were often handled manually either by email, phone or walk-up. With the advent of computerized support systems, the automation and structuring of the support process has advanced considerably.

Initially, help desk systems were mostly used by IT support teams as IT help desks. Today their use has expanded to many areas.

With the digitalization of society demands on the help desk increased. Modern help desk solutions offer advanced features to meet their needs. These may include AI-powered automations, live chat, asset management and omnichannel support. They help meet the changing needs of businesses and customers.

Purpose and Importance for Companies

The importance of a software solution for the help desk lies in its ability to make customer and employee support efficient. This increases user satisfaction and value creation in the company. By collecting and processing support requests in a structured way, customers receive faster and more reliable service.

The Benefits of Help Desk Software

At a time when customer support has a crucial impact on the success of a business, help desk software plays an increasingly important role. The software offers a variety of benefits to companies, from efficiently organizing support requests to increasing customer satisfaction and team performance.

An increase in support efficiency is a key benefit of a helpdesk solution. By automating repetitive tasks, such as capturing, prioritizing, and routing tickets, support teams can use their resources more effectively and ensure faster response to customer queries. Similarly, help desk software allows for better organization and tracking of requests, resulting in more efficient handling overall.

Their implementation not only helps companies streamline their support processes, but also increases productivity by identifying issues early and resolving them efficiently. This reduces downtime or restricted work processes.

Fast and efficient solutions to inquiries increase the satisfaction of service users. By integrating self-service portals and external or internal knowledge bases , customers and employees can resolve common issues quickly and on their own. This results in an overall positive support experience – and significantly reduces the burden on the help desk team. The helpdesk can focus on complex support requests that the user cannot resolve on their own.

Data analysis is the basis for the continuous improvement of support and services. It is a prerequisite for adapting to changing requirements. By analyzing support data such as ticket volume, handling times, and customer satisfaction, organizations can gain valuable insights to continuously optimize their support processes.

Trends and patterns can help companies identify bottlenecks early on. They can better allocate resources and better identify any quality gaps. In this way, support staff can be optimally guided toward improved performance.

Key Features of Help Desk Software

A help desk software solution is only as good as the features it provides. It must offer the tools to help the team handle queries and provide top-notch customer service.

Below are the most important features that a help desk solution should offer.

OTRS Agent Dashboard – Ticket Priorisierung und Kategorisierung
OTRS dashboard with individual list view for tickets

Learn how OTRS makes your helpdesk more efficient

Important Selection Criteria for Help Desk Software

Choosing software that fits the business needs ensures efficient and reliable customer support. Given the wide range of options available, carefully consider which important criteria are making a selection.

In the following, we look at the most important selection criteria for companies in the IT and service industries.

On-premise or Cloud-based?

Whether you choose an on-premises solution or cloud-based help desk software depends on a company’s specific requirements and resources. On-premises solutions provide full control over the software and data. This may be important for organizations with strict security and compliance requirements. However, they often require a higher initial investment for hardware and resources for maintenance.

Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, offer faster implementation, scalability, and flexibility. This is because they are accessible from any location and do not require physical infrastructure. Often, companies can also decide on the location of cloud servers. This allows them to meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Company Size and Need

The company’s size and individual needs play crucial roles in the selection of a suitable help desk software solution. Small businesses often have different requirements than large corporations and may need a simpler and more cost-effective solution.

It’s important to consider the specific needs and challenges of the business and ensure that the chosen help desk software meets them. This can include the scalability of the software, support for different communication channels, and integration with other systems.


Possibility of Integration with Existing Systems

The possibility of integration with existing systems is another important selection criterion. Many companies already have a variety of systems and tools in place to manage their business operations, such as CRM systems, email platforms, and project management tools.


The selected software must allow for seamless integration with these systems. This ensures smooth information exchange and efficient collaboration. Consider:

  • Databases
  • CRM Systems
  • Project Management Tools
  • Email, chat platforms, and social media channels

Flexibility and Scalability

Flexibility and scalability are critical factors. These ensure that help desk software can meet the ever-changing needs and business growth. Companies should make sure that the software they choose is scalable. It should offer a high degree of flexibility so that individual adjustments and configurations can be handled. This can include customizing workflows, configuring user roles and permissions, and integrating additional features and extensions

Security Considerations of Using Help Desk Software

When choosing help desk software, it’s crucial to carefully consider security considerations. Key selection criteria include:

Privacy and compliance: The software should comply with privacy regulations and meet security standards, such as GDPR or ISO 27001, to protect sensitive customer data.

Encryption: Encrypting data in transit and at rest is crucial to ensure the confidentiality of the information and prevent unauthorized access.

User access control: The software should provide authentication and authorization mechanisms. Now, only authorized users can access sensitive data.

Auditability and logging: The ability to monitor user activity and log changes is important. These ensure the integrity of data and track security-related incidents.

Service-Desk or Help Desk Software?

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between service desk and help desk software. The main difference lies in their respective focus and scope. Help desk software focuses on managing and handling support requests and tickets. Its goal is to make sure that support requests are quickly handled.

In contrast, service desk software encompasses a wider range of features beyond just support. It integrates the IT service management processes that are important for a service desk, such as incident management, change management or service level management. Service desk software is more comprehensive. Companies that want to take a holistic approach to service management use this.

OTRS offers the right solution for every area of application

OTRS’ Enterprise Service Management Suite is versatile and highly flexible. With OTRS, you give your help desk all the tools you need to work more efficiently – and create the basis for holistic service management.

An overview of the most important advantages of the OTRS software solution.

  • On-premises or cloud-based operation possible
  • Simple customer interface
  • Comprehensive ticket management
  • Easy use of templates in tickets
  • Easy handling for your employees and agents
  • More efficient and structured work
  • Safety in work processes
  • Fast response times
  • Flexibility through individual configuration options
  • Very high integration capability for existing applications
  • Significant time savings in day-to-day work through process management and ready-to-adopt ITSM processes
  • Automated processes and ITIL-4 compliant processes
  • Encrypted communication
  • Revision security
  • Documentation and reporting

What do you need to consider when implementing help desk software?

Implementation is one of the most important steps to get the most out of help desk software. Ideally, the new solution will help to significantly increase value creation in the company. In the worst case, inadequate preparation and implementation can lead to a lack of efficiency or even a significant reduction in the company's performance.

Evaluation of Different Solutions

Before implementation, it is important to carefully evaluate different solutions. Choose the one that best suits the requirements and needs of the company. This includes a thorough analysis of the features, ease of use, cost, and integration capabilities. Companies should also seek feedback from the employees who will be using the software to address their needs. Don't skimp on the necessary evaluation workshops with the software provider. These workshops are designed to
  • get to know the business,
  • understand a company's requirements,
  • clarify the needed effort, and
  • identify possible problems during implementation at an early stage.

Employee Training

Even the best software is only as good as the people who use it. All employees who work with the software must be trained to use it effectively. This includes training on:

  • how to use the various features of the software,
  • ticket management criteria,
  • how to communicate with customers, and
  • how to efficiently handle support requests.

The training should be regularly repeated. This deepens the knowledge and avoids workflow inconsistencies.


Migration of Data and Processes

Data and processes form the basis for the successful use of help desk software. Data from the old system must be successfully transferred to the new system. This ensures a smooth transition for the business.

This requires thorough planning and preparation so that no data is lost, and all processes continue to run smoothly. Careful migration of data and processes is critical to avoid disruptions in support operations and to enable a seamless transition to the new software.

The migration also provides the opportunity to revamp old processes. This is especially true when the new software solution changes company workflows. It is advisable to plan time for process design during the migration phase.


Best Practices for Using Help Desk Software

Implement clearly defined service levels and service level agreements (SLAs). This ensures help desk response times and quality of service. This includes escalation mechanisms so that urgent problems can be resolved in a timely manner.

Regularly review and adjust workflows and processes to continuously improve efficiency.

Leverage automation features to automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity.

Integrate knowledge bases and self-service portals to help customers help themselves and free up support resources.

Provide regular training and education of employees. They must learn how to get the most out of the helpdesk software and its features.

Continuously monitor and analyze support data to identify trends and proactively respond to issues.

Establish feedback mechanisms to measure customer satisfaction and respond to their feedback.

Continuously review and update help desk software to keep up with changing needs and technologies.

Future Development

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is also an important tool when used in helpdesk software. AI-supported functions, such as

  • automated assignment and prioritization of tickets
  • summarizing communication in a ticket and
  • using analysis tools to predict problems
  • are just a few examples of current and future developments.

Challenges and Possible Solutions for the Future

Companies have many challenges today, including:

  • the integration of new technologies, such as AI and machine learning,
  • ensuring data security in the face of increasing cyber threats and
  • adapting to changing customer requirements.

Of course, with the right tools in hand, these are also opportunities. They give businesses a chance to reduce the workload and increase service quality, especially when it comes to AI. With these changes, it is important to ensure efficient management of the growing volume of data and to derive the greatest possible benefit from the data obtained. At the same time, data protection in accordance with the GDPR must not be neglected.

Learn how OTRS makes your helpdesk more efficient

OTRS newsletter

Read more about product features, interesting tips and events in the OTRS newsletter.

We use Keap. Privacy policy