The success of any business strongly relies on customer satisfaction. IT service desk serves as an essential component to bring out customer satisfaction.

However with customer service becoming more and more complex, agents are in an extreme urge to get them equipped on the best practices. Providing the right help desk software with the right set of features helps your agents to stick with industry best practices and to resolve customer issues efficiently. Educating them about the help desk tool through proper training is also mandatory.

This article covers 15 must-have features to be checked before choosing any help desk software for your business, to maximize your IT help desk efficiency and to improve your business productivity.

Importing users into help desk application

The first step of configuration in any help desk application is importing users and configuring them as end users or agents. Check whether the help desk system allows you to import users through active directory or CSV or LDAP as per your requirement. And once imported, you should be provided with necessary options to split them as end users or agents.

Grouping end users / agents

After importing the users, look for the options to group them. End users must be grouped based on their departments and locations. Similarly, agents have to be grouped based on their skill set and proficiency. Grouping your users helps you to get a clear view on how to set priority for an incident or to whom the incident has to be assigned.

Converting email to ticket

Most of the help desk software in the market support different modes of submitting tickets – email, web form, chat or a phone call. It’s a mandate to automatically convert emails or web form submissions to ticket to prevent your technician’s time on it.

Segregating incidents

Once the email has been converted as an incident, it should be placed on the right category and sub-category. This helps you to get an organized view of your incidents and to perform trend analysis. Over a time, you can predict the trend of incidents reported under a certain category and take proactive actions.

Assigning to Technician

Once the ticket has been categorized, it must be assigned to a technician who is proficient in handling that category related issues. The help desk application should have enough intelligence to replace unavailable technicians with backup technicians, track technicians with the highest workload, find technicians with less number of incidents assigned and assign incidents to specific skilled technicians accordingly to accomplish quicker call resolution time.

Setting up SLAs

Response and resolution time of any incidents have to be set, once the technician is assigned. Service level agreements should be customizable based on criteria defined and if response / resolution time is elapsed, escalation process (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4) have to be triggered automatically.

Pulling out knowledge base solutions

Knowledge base or k-base should be accessible easily. Organizing knowledge base solutions filtered by category, highlighting frequently asked questions, auto suggesting solutions based on the search query and having approval process for every solution are the must-have features.

Serving your end users well

Providing your users with customized self-service portal gains more credibility to your business. Self-service portal should allow your end users to submit new incident, track the status of their incident, view frequently asked questions, update their contact details and view announcements.

Automating help desk workflow

Help desk processes can be completely automated by defining a proper help desk workflow as per your business needs. For e.g.: In ITSM tool like ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, you can configure automated help desk workflow like – When a customer reports an issue through email, it gets converted to incident inside the system, gets assigned to specific skilled technician, priority set through pre-defined business rules and SLAs set as well.

Supporting multiple regions

The help desk you choose must support all your regional offices across the globe through a single installation, irrespective of difference in location, time zone, holidays or language.

Reducing your technicians’ time

Your technician’s time consumption on every incident has to be reduced as much as possible through pre-defined templates. The same facility should be available to your end-users while creating incidents or to raise service requests. The application should contain inbuilt templates for incident replies and resolutions and it has to be customizable as well.

Keeping everyone in the loop

Every action happening inside the help desk has to be notified to both requesters as well as technicians. Most of the help desk software’s support email notifications, in-product notifications and applications like ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus supports SMS notifications also.

Understanding user satisfaction

User surveys are the must to understand how much the users are satisfied with your IT service desk support. An automatic email with user survey link has to be sent to the requesters on closing the incident. This helps you to determine technician’s efficiency and user satisfaction score.

Providing different access privileges

Every requester / technician has different roles and responsibilities. To provide restricted access rights and privileges only to specific agent or an end-user or a group, the application should have the capability to define custom roles to requesters / technicians.

Analyzing help desk performance

Extensive analytics and insights are extremely required to improve your help desk performance. Related features to be covered are pre-defined reports, custom reports, scheduling reports and exporting reports (CSV or PDF).

Sticking up with industry best practices

It’s a must to identify whether the help desk software you choose is compliant with industry best practices like ITIL. You can view here top free and open source Help Desk Software to run your business smoothly.

Almost all the must-have key features of any IT help desk software are covered. If anything missed out, feel free to use the comments section to share.