You know I love trying new tools and downloading new apps. But now, my phone's like a graveyard of bad app choices. Things like opened once and I never used again. For small companies and customer service teams, picking the wrong tool has a much bigger impact than that. You want to get a certain amount of emotional energy every day. If you use half of that energy fighting a tool that's not working for you, then you can't use that same energy to help your customers.
When you've grown your business to the point that your shared email inbox isn't working anymore, it's time to consider dedicated help desk software. But which one? There's like 11 billion choices. Well with some planning and forethought, you can narrow that list down and make a smart decision. So first, go back to your definition of good service from lesson one in this module. This is a perfect opportunity to use that definition and filter down your options.
You need to pick a tool that's going to enable you to deliver on that type of service as easily as possible. If your idea of great service includes comprehensive self-service documents, then you can probably exclude help desk tools that don't deeply connect to a knowledge base. Now this can be a dangerous point in the software buying process. Too often, companies produce a massive, long list of features they might want to use one day, and then they look for the software with the most checkboxes on that list.
It's the same theory behind those 87 functions in 1 home printer things. They never really live up to the promise. So before you go and get out the big old spreadsheet, write down two lists. One for essential features, and one for it might be nice to have. And by essential, I mean if the help desk can't do this, we cannot create the customer service experience we want to deliver.
So keep that list as short as you can. There's a reason the butcher carries just a few high quality knives instead of carrying the world's biggest Swiss army knife on her belt. Features that sound good on a list but are poorly implemented or rarely used, that can just get in the way of your support team doing their job. And remember, it's easy for a company to say yes, we have that feature but they don't all work the same or with the same level of quality.
So ask yourself these questions. Does this feature need to be built into the help desk or could we connect a separate tool that does that part of the job and does it better? Are there legal requirements that we need to meet around data storage or privacy controls? What value does this feature add to our customers and to our team? Are there technical requirements to meet? For example, data format or accessibility.
What other products or services do we need to connect this to and is that possible? By now, you should have a pretty good idea of which help desk tools that are most likely to be a good fit. You can start to try some out. It's a bit tricky to really try a help desk without answering actual customers. But here's a few tips on what to look for. What's the experience like for your customer? Do they have to create a new login?
Do they get ugly ticket numbers back? Or is it a nice, clean, human readable response? How easily can your team use the tool? The support type-- they're going to be using that tool all day every day. And if it's clunky or confusing, it's going to slow them down and frustrate them. A frictionless experience lets them reserve their energy for helping customers. Will this help desk grow with you? You don't want to pay for something that you don't need yet.
But it is nice to know that you can integrate it with other tools if you need to. And how good is their support? You might think that every customer service tool company would have great service. But it is not always the case. You want to know that when you need help, they will be there with accurate, empathetic, timely answers. Send in some support requests. Give them a try. And can you get the reporting that you need?
We're going to talk more about reporting in module 3. But be sure to ask for a demonstration of how your potential help desk will help you figure out what you need to know. OK. So in this module, we have talked about defining service for yourself, growing a team, and picking the right tools and systems. The more time you spend setting up that framework up front, the easier you're going to make life for your future self and for your team.
Next up, join me over in the last module, where we're going to cover how to adapt and scale those systems as your customer service needs grow.