Industry-Specific Help Desks

What is behind the “industry-specific help desk”?

The industry-specific help desk platforms can boast unprecedented hype, but still, they are widely used by many companies and organizations. This software handles customer requests either at the first line of support and escalated issues or the C-level management requests equally efficiently.

The help desk solution delivers the standard options for collecting the queries via multiple channels and resolving more complex issues, as well as the self-service portal and knowledge base for addressing the repetitive questions. The advanced features automate the routine processes, gather customer’s feedback via survey and CSAT, and provide information for performance analysis.

Some of the industry-specific help desk software supports the integration with third-party apps. The simple example is the integration with e-Commerce platforms what enhances the customer service, brings the full interaction history, and makes support service more personal. And that adds up to the loyalty growth and returning customers.

Top 6 industry-specific help desk platforms

Showing all 6 results

# 1

Freshdesk

Our Score: |

(7 Users Reviews)

Price From

$0/mo

Available on
Works with
HP, Henkel, Panasonic, American Express, Decathlon.
Special Deal

Save up to 25% with the yearly subscription

Pros
  • Easy to implement and use
  • Has a freemium plan to get the feel of a system
  • Offers gamification mechanisms to add healthy competition to the work process
  • Automation rules are spot on.
  • Enables support in many languages and time zones
  • Allows seeing what customers do on your website and where they hit snags
  • Effortless integration with social channels
  • Ability to discuss a ticket with your team members in an internal chat.
Cons
  • Key features like chatbots, integrations and survey are available in higher-tier plans.
  • The built-in reports are simple, so you will have to create custom reports.
  • Freshdesk offers very few options for importing tickets from other platforms.

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# 2

Help Scout

Our Score: |

(6 Users Reviews)

Price From

$20/mo

Available on
Works with
Trello, Pocket, Buffer, Tradesy, Grubhub, Tuft & Needle
Special Deal

20% off on annual subscriptions

Pros
  • Comes with a free 15-day trial
  • Offers out-the-box live chat dubbed Beacon
  • Makes very easy to loop in co-workers and collaborate on a ticket
  • Clutter-free user interface
  • Perfect if you mostly service customers via email
  • Provides HIPAA compliance (in Plus and Company plans)
  • Integrates with JIRA, Salesforce, HubSpot and Slack
  • Strongly suited for personalization and optimal individual performance
  • Comes with a built-in knowledge base solution
Cons
  • You will need to pay extra to integrate social and phone
  • Custom fields are not available in the cheapest plan
  • Only two levels of organization in Docs sites, inability to group content into more subfolders
  • Focused primarily on email, tracking other channels isn’t as easy.

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# 3

HubSpot Service Hub

Our Score: |

(5 Users Reviews)

Price From

$0/mo

Available on
Works with
Storylead, InVision, Wistia, Colt, Subaru, Suzuki, Casio.
Special Deal

20% off on Annual Plan

Pros
  • The user interface is straightforward and clutter-free
  • Works perfectly with Sales and Marketing HubSpot products
  • Comes with a live chat in a free plan
  • Ability to create chat flows in a free plan
  • The free version is pretty robust and provides all basic help desk features
  • Ability to preview tickets to get an overview of the issue
  • Ability to choose between a list and board view of the tickets
Cons
  • It’s more of an addition to other HubSpot services than a viable help desk
  • All essential features available in paid plan (starting at $400/5 users/month)
  • The choice of apps on the marketplace is limited.

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# 4

Kayako

Our Score: |

(5 Users Reviews)

Price From

$15/mo

Available on
Works with
Peugeot, MTV, Sega, FedEx, Acer, Warner Brothers, Toshiba.
Pros
  • Ability to try any pricing plan for 14 days free of charge
  • Modern and intuitive design
  • Support channels include: email, live chat, Facebook and Twitter
  • Growth and Scale plans include 5 and 10 Collaborators (agents with limited rights) accordingly
  • Comes with a built-in knowledge base which can be branded and customized
  • Ability to localize your knowledge base content
  • Real-time visitor tracking which shows all actions a customer did on your website
  • All support channels in a single interface
  • Plenty of customization options
Cons
  • Integrations are provided via Zapier, which requires a monthly subscription if you have many complex integrations.
  • Requires time and effort to implement the software
  • Some essential features are available in higher-tier plans
  • The cost of the software might be steep for some companies

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# 5

Zendesk

Our Score: |

(6 Users Reviews)

Price From

$5/mo

Available on
Works with
Vimeo, Squarespace, Automattic, Daniel Wellington, TESCO, Mailchimp, Wrike, OLX
Special Deal

Discounts up to 33% for annual plans

Pros
  • Zendesk Support and Sell come with a free 14-day trial
  • Enables multi channel support via email, phone, social and self-service
  • Zendesk Chat, Guide, Talk and Explore come with a freemium plan.
  • Ability to easily upgrade when you need more features
  • All products are easy to set-up and start using
  • You can purchase customer support products in a suite and separately
  • Zendesk has a very active community if you need advice or best practices
  • Has a well documented API and offers a great number of ready-made integrations.
  • Ability to localize the admin interface in over 40 languages
Cons
  • Important features like surveys, integrations and routing are available for higher-tier plans
  • To get good reporting, you will need to purchase a professional license of Explore ($9 per agent/monthly)
  • It may take some time and learning to get everything perfectly tailored.
  • You need to have multiple tabs open to work with different Zendesk products.

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# 6

Zoho Desk

Our Score: |

(4 Users Reviews)

Price From

$0/mo

Available on
Works with
Mercedes-Benz, McAfee, Bancolombia, Kirsten & Associates, TATA, Jaguar, Rogers
Special Deal

Discounts up to 33% for annual plans

Pros
  • Zoho Desk has a free 15-day trial
  • There’s a free edition of the help desk
  • Fast and easy to implement
  • Seamlessly integrates and works great with other Zoho products
  • Neat and intuitive interface
  • Out-of-the-box knowledge base starting from the cheapest plan
  • Social and community channels included in the low-tier plan
  • Facilitates company-wide collaboration
  • Ability to auto-assign tickets (in Professional and Enterprise)
Cons
  • Can be overwhelming and take some time to learn all the functions and where to find them
  • Live chat and the built-in chatbot are available in the most expensive pricing plan ($35/agent/month)
  • Limited out of the box integrations available with other software
  • The API is limited
  • The capabilities of the free edition are very limited

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The perfectly calibrated help desk platform will make sure that your support agents get useful tools and options for outstanding service delivery. Like all other business software, the industry-specific help desk solutions are presented at four types at the market: SaaS, on-premise, open-source, and enterprise level.

  • SaaS help desk platforms are also known as web help desk software or cloud-based systems. The vendor of such business app takes care of cloud infrastructure, hardware, storage, operating system, and applications.
  • On-premise help desk solutions have the one-time-purchased license and work on local computing and use your company facilities.
  • Open source help desk software has an open source code which you can install and modify to business needs. Thus, you should have a developer team to set up and maintain this type of help desk platform.
  • Enterprise level help desk systems provide advanced features (customer management, asset management, surveys and CSAT, analytics, and the like), developer sandboxes, extended API capabilities for personal and public app integrations, SLA, and extended service support from the vendor.

Functionality to search for

There is no shortage of tools and features out there offered by numerous platforms, however, the essential industry-specific help desk software options are

  • Multi-channel customer’s intake. The more touch points you offer, the better support your customers can get. Currently, clients don’t stick to an email or phone to ask for help, and the options of call center, live chat, social media, and self-service portals with knowledge bases have become must-haves.
  • Ticketing system retains the leading position in both managing customer queries and internal support. It is comprehensive in tracking, managing, and responding to the queries.
  • Ticket-routing and escalation levels are the features of advanced help desk software or more expensive price tiers. The value of these options is to get the customer’s issue right away to the support agent or department that will handle it properly. The benefit? There is no ticket redirecting and asking the same questions by different support reps.
  • Automation mechanisms save the support team efforts and time for administrative tasks, repetitive questions, and requests.
  • Dashboard with the essential data that is depicted right away after the support rep has logged in. Some industry-specific help desk software enables the customization of the dashboards for delivering more suitable information (according to the business needs or rep’s requirements.)
  • A knowledge base with a FAQ section is another indispensable tool. For customers, this is an option to get a fast response to the question. For agents, it is a saved time for more complex issues. Plus, if there is an in-house knowledge base – that proves to be a storage for the previous cases for the reference.
  • Reports and analytics gather important statistics for the standard metrics like first response time, average response rate, top issues, time tracking, and the like. In the higher price tiers, you can customize the metrics and suit them to specific business requirements.

Features tell, benefits sell

As a business owner, you are more focused on the actual results from using industry-specific help desk software rather than from boasting about the functionality it has. So, up to a point, you will get such improvements as

  • Enhanced ticket tracking and management. The support team has a full view of customer requests and interaction history so there are no unnecessary questions, the ticket routing assigns the ticket to a specified agent to streamline a fast and quality response, notes and tags improve internal communication and collaboration inside the team.
  • Cut down on the expenses. The automation and self-service options save the time of support agents and add up to the number of resolved customer issues. The team gets reduced workload, the customers fast and quality responses. That also allows you to review the strategy and the number of support reps. If you considered hiring new employees, the help desk platform helps to avoid this need.
  • Customer satisfaction on the rise. This metric is a tricky one as depends on many aspects. Thus, you can leverage the industry-specific help desk software to improve it by fast and personalized service, multiple points of getting in touch, or rich self-service portal.

What to look at when you search for the best industry-specific help desk system?

A steady stream of customers is something all companies want to make a habit of. Basically, it takes a well-planned strategy and proficient support service team. The tools, you equipped them with, should enhance the routine and strengthen communication spots. The most critical factor is in which help desk platform you are going to invest.

“Getting the right industry-specific help desk software” can seem like a daunting task. Let’s say you went by the rules and handle the “business goals and targets” part and clearly know what functions can fulfill that requirements, and understand where you need customization to personalize the workflows. Check this short guidance out for selecting a help desk platform for SMBs and enterprises, but you don’t need to pigeonhole yourself into one of the categories above. Instead, seek to incorporate principles that resonate with your company.

Budget to spend

The critical starting point is to select the type of help desk software to invest in. Many companies care about their and customer data and look suspiciously at the cloud platforms, but at the same time, the on-premise solution may be more expensive to maintain, especially when you don’t have in-house IT team. So, don’t fall into the remit of perpetuated myths about SaaS insecurity and look for a vendor who offers required functionality, system scalability, and high-security level.

Remember that the high price doesn’t guarantee effectiveness. If you are limited in the budget but have an IT team – then try an open source help desk and tailor it to specific business needs.

Define clearly what do you need

First of all, define the bottlenecks of issue resolvement and figure out where can be automation applied, and where the redirection to the self-service portal will bring more benefit than live agent support. Secondly, analyze the audience preferences to the support channels (email, live chat, instant messaging, phone calls, social media or customer portal), and gravitate towards those communication points that seem most likely to deliver evidence of ROI. And, thirdly, read a couple of reviews to figure out how the features you are looking for perform in real customer support processes. There are many app rating sites where you can find user stories from companies of various sizes and industries.

Try the help desk software in action

Every industry-specific help desk software vendor boasts about a handful of features and benefits of their product, and offer a free trial for a certain period. If you consider investing in a platform, it would be a wise step to check it in action.

Quite often, on that test period, you get one of the most expensive pricing tiers with extended functionality. Is your company planning to buy that package? Then go ahead and try every feature available. But if you need a lower price, you can request a vendor for another package of tool for trial or a demo.

Either way, grab the opportunity to try how works the ticketing system, workflow automation, reports, and self-service portal. Also, pay attention to the available support agent productivity tools, customizations, and branding options.

Security concerns

The hackers' attacks and incidents of data leaks happen daily. The API vulnerabilities leakage of sensitive information is a high price for compromising the security matter. Don’t think that you are doomed to get data breaches. You need to take the security policy suggested by the industry-specific help desk software provider seriously. Ensure that it corresponds to the regulations of your country and GDPR (if you have customers from EU). Also, figure out what encryption technologies are used if that isn’t stated on the official website or documentation.

Check the credibility of the vendor

From a loose belief, people omit information about the vendor’s company and investments when looking for a new help desk platform. It may look reasonable because you evaluate the functionality and opportunities offered by a vendor. But on the other hand, these details may provide a better understanding of the vendor’s reputation, longevity, and credibility. Among the things to look at, you should check the policies concerning the uptime (if the vendor is a cloud-based solution,) subscription plan, the possibility of a refund, and technical support.

4 things about help desk software comparison

If you feel confused when you got a few options to choose, four aspects will help decide which industry-specific help desk to buy.

  1. According to Capterra research, only 4% of companies migrate their old help desk platforms due to the difficulty in usage. Currently, the UI of software is designed to be recognized and looked like a common one for the user. So choose a platform with the short learning curve and rich learning materials for getting the most value of the help desk.
  2. One more area to look closely is the technical support for you as a customer of the industry-specific help desk software. Despite the comprehensive user interface, ensure that the vendor provides the customer support for the pricing tier you are going to buy.
  3. To ensure that you equipped your team with the right tools for success is to double check the uptime and reliability of the help desk platform.
  4. Apart from strict coherence and attention to functionality, the industry-specific help desk software should bring the feeling that it is worth the investments. There is no ideal solution, so choose a platform that offers customization and can scale as you grow.

3 things to check before investing in a SaaS

The cloud-based help desk platforms are getting more hype due to the reduced costs, efficiency, and no need to maintain the local computing infrastructure and hosting. On the other side, during the choice of the SaaS vendor, you are highly recommended to consider and check the privacy and security, support, and transparency.

  1. Found a suitable platform? Wait a minute and don’t jump in feet first. Take time to check what data privacy and security policies the vendor has. Contact with them and figure out that security mechanisms they apply to the email messages, customer portal, support agents’ sign-in, and the like. It is better to double-check that pay later with the customer data leakage.
  2. The customer support from a help desk solution is more critical than it may seem. Even the user-friendly platform can require consultation from a provider. Find out if you can quickly get the issue fixed and what support channels are available for the subscription plan you want to buy.
  3. To eliminate your worries about the service quality and transparency, ask the vendor to provide a few references you can talk to. Also, go to business apps review websites and read the reviews left by the companies that work in the same industry as you do.

Pros and cons of a self-hosted platform

Contrary to popular belief, there exist companies who run their customer support on the self-hosted help desk software. If you are at the crossroad and considering to buy or not to buy a one-time-purchased license, read the pros and cons of this hosting type.

The benefits of the self-hosted industry-specific help desk software are

  • the platform can be tailored to specific business needs and scale up and down any time you there appear such a requirement
  • it may be less expensive if you have an IT team to modify and maintain the software
  • the quick response on the improvements from the internal team
  • no components that you don’t use

Sadly there are few negative factors to consider before investing in a self-hosted help desk solution.

  • If you don’t have the internal IT team and designer, you will need to hire one. And that’s additional expenses
  • The security matters will require more investments than you expected
  • The updates will cost the additional fee
  • The customer support is presented by documentation and forum

Frame the journey of investing in an open source help desk

The open source help desk software is a code that can be downloaded from the Internet for free. Once you get it on your hardware, you can modify it anyhow you wish. The open source help desk shares the maintenance features with the self-hosted one.

The differences, however, lie in the price. Many of these help desk platforms are semi-commercial so you may be charged for using the add-ons, integrations, or additional services. The customer support is unavailable from the open source help desk vendor. You can find answers or ask questions at the community forums.

The open source help desk software won’t adapt to your requirements or technology trends. Such vendors don't have R&D teams to discover and track customers needs and release the upgrades. The user interface of such help desk solutions can’t impress with intuitiveness and high usability. So it turns out to be another spot for modification. If your company has a development team and resources to evolve – that aspect wouldn’t bother you.

The malicious code breaches in API, and compromising some security mechanisms may end with sensitive data leakage. The security concerns are an essential part of running the open source help desk platform, and they require additional costs.

As a wrap-up, the open source help desk software may bring more expenses and potential risks than benefits. The hosted industry-specific help desk software deprives its customers of the infrastructure and hardware maintenance, and other hurdles of security policies too.