In the past decade, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has come of age. In every industry, enterprises large and small are making the switch from on-premise enterprise software applications to hosted services. SaaS solutions enable employees and customers to take advantage of process automation and business intelligence functionality using any Web browser as the client software. There are no hardware requirements, no software to install, no maintenance required, and users can get up and running quickly.
Among the applications being transitioned to SaaS, high on the list of priorities are those designed to help manage customer support. With the proper approach, web-based help desk solutions not only improve agent productivity, but also greatly enhance customer satisfaction by enabling self-service with a wide range of user options.
Unfortunately, not all SaaS products are equally mature and feature rich. Organizations considering Web-based help desk solutions should carefully evaluate vendor offerings against the following criteria:
- Ease of Implementation –Web-based customer support should be significantly faster and easier to implement than traditional software. Look for customer references to validate vendor claims.
- Automated Ticket Management– The SaaS help desk solution should fully support all existing support processes with rule-based triggers, notifications and views.
- Multi-Channel Support– To engage customers on their own terms, the help desk solution should enable agents to centrally manage support processes across multiple communication channels including email, Web, social media, online chat, community forums, and native support for mobile application platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry.
- Reporting – Managers and agents should be able to easily run reports and use advanced analytics to track metrics like customer satisfaction, agent performance and ticket resolution times.
- Customization – Branding in the age of the Internet requires that Web-based solutions be fully customizable to conform with company standards.
- Integration– The solution should come with pre-built integrations to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Time Tracking & Billing, Project Management and many other applications, as well as offering APIs for custom integrations.
Integration is essential to getting real value out of an application, especially a SaaS help desk application. In order to get a single view of the customer, it is important that the help desk solution be integrated with other customer-facing applications. No help desk is an island. Only through collaboration with other departments can the support team deliver outstanding customer service. That means gaining access to customer interactions and histories residing in other systems. The help desk solution should come with pre-built integrations to leading solutions in each of the following areas:
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Feedback Management
- Project Management
- Time Tracking and Billing
Integrations with leading enterprise SaaS applications such as Salesforce, NetSuite and Google Analytics help organizations create a single view of the customer.
In addition to pre-built integrations, users should be able to easily perform custom integration using APIs. To ensure continued high productivity, single sign-on integration should also be included so that users can access the help desk without a separate login.
These six requirements – fast, painless implementation; easy ticket management; multi-channel support; comprehensive reporting; brand customization; and pre-built and custom integrations; – are a litmus test for SaaS help desk software in today’s fast-changing world. If you adopt a solution that support these requirements, your support agents will thank you for making their jobs easier – and your customers will love you for giving them great support.