A profile shot of blonde woman wearing a headset with a microphone extension. She sits at a desk and looks at a computer monitor, which shows a list with three columns. The woman has one hand on a computer mouse on the desk and is speaking into the headset. In the background, other people sit at similar computer setups at other desks.
Help desk software often includes tools that automatically connect support staff with the relevant information for each caller, which streamlines the help process. — Getty Images/vm

As your company grows, so does the demand on your support staff. Help desk software enables businesses to prioritize and respond to support requests. It brings consistency to processes and interactions while making your system more efficient.

Small businesses use help desk ticketing systems for handling customer issues like troubleshooting product installation. It works equally well when employees forget passwords or need help with new hardware. Discover how help desk software works and see if it’s time for your company to add it to your technology stack.

Help desk software: definition and features

A help desk ticketing system is a software application that facilitates communication between the end user (customer or employee) and your support staff. It lets your business manage the service life cycle from receipt to resolution. Help desk software combines several technologies—including a routing system, ticketing services, an inbox, and a central dashboard—into one platform.

Automation features automatically sort and assign tickets to customer service representatives or tech support teams. Leaders can view dashboards with real-time information and pull reports to assess customer satisfaction, ticket resolution time, and agent productivity. Along with streamlining activities on your agent’s end, help desk software offers self-service tools for your clients. They may interact with chatbots, view FAQs (frequently asked questions), or search a knowledge base.

Help desk software features may include the following:

  • Self-service portals.
  • Remote access control.
  • Auto-responders.
  • End user and technician knowledge bases.
  • Live chat or chatbots.
  • Shared inboxes.
  • Email and billing software integration.
  • FAQ pages.
  • Service-level objective (SLO) management tools.
  • Reporting and analytics.

[Read more: Need Customer Service Help? Time to Consider a Call Center Service]

Help desk ticketing vs. other technologies

Several technologies have help desk features that let you serve customers. The original help desk was the call center, which is still around. However, phone calls are among the most expensive forms of communication. Email supplements call center support, but neither option effectively tracks interactions.

If agents are struggling to keep up with requests and inboxes are stacked with unanswered emails—it’s definitely time for help desk software.


Alternatively, some business phone or video-conferencing services provide remote desktop features. These tools let your team virtually troubleshoot an issue on client or employee devices. But you’ll need pricier plans for omnichannel support. Fortunately, many cloud-based phone systems integrate with help desk software.

Signs you need help desk software

Your customer service tools need to scale with your business. Email and phone technologies don’t. When your company experiences growth without the proper systems, you can end up with frustrated customers. They may leave negative reviews or get testy with your representatives. Without adequate reporting tools, you may not learn about these issues until it damages your reputation.

Support staff also suffers. They spend more time organizing emails, social media messages, and chat conversations than speaking to clients. Atlassian stated, “If agents are struggling to keep up with requests and inboxes are stacked with unanswered emails—it’s definitely time for help desk software.”

[Read more: ‘Clienteling’ Allows Luxury Brand Shinola to Scale White Glove Service]

Advantages of incorporating a help desk ticketing system

According to McKinsey’s 2022 State of Customer Care Survey, “Customer care is now a strategic focus for companies.” Businesses want to decrease call volumes while “building their digital care and advanced analytics ecosystems.” Help desk software enables your organization to deliver five-star customer service. It reduces wait times, gives clients self-service options, and increases your visibility into satisfaction levels.

Help desk systems provide benefits such as:

  • Improving agent responses: Your team can see the user’s history, allowing them to personalize their reply and view previous problems. Some help desk tools provide knowledge bases for your agents so they have answers to common queries at their fingertips.
  • Increasing staff productivity: Advanced help desk features can send tickets to agents based on skill levels, meaning your software expert gets the troubleshooting ticket while your customer service rep handles the request to update address information.
  • Enhancing system visibility: By reviewing data, you can identify and alleviate common issues before it results in a service call. This may look like adding answers to your FAQ page or improving your new client onboarding method.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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