Many small businesses need help desk software a lot earlier than they think, especially since most use the Internet and ecommerce sites to interact with customers. What about your business? Do you need help desk software to help your IT team filter and organize technical problems and request? These five questions can help you analyze your organization and decide if you should invest in the technology.
Where do your IT staff currently record information?
Most IT teams record information in one of two places: email or random pieces of paper on their desk. Think about the inefficiency this causes. Even information recorded via email is easily lost and can’t be searched with accuracy. There’s no consistency to the terms your team can search. Help desk software allows the IT team to record technical issues employees encounter.
That said, a very small company with one IT person on staff may not need help desk software. It really depends on what he/she is responsible for. If you hired them to run a small database and keep the Internet working then you probably don’t need the software. In this case the IT person is usually in-tune enough with everyday business processes that they’ll encounter and take care of any technical issues immediately.
What is the current call/email volume?
If the current call/email volume is two or three a day, and your IT employee or teams feels like they don’t have a problem handling those request, you probably don’t need software. But if your team receives more than five requests a week, you definitely need some help desk software. Imagine people came into your office everyday with five new things you need to do. That equates to 25 new tasks a week, and doesn’t even count things you already placed on your schedule.
Does your IT staff take requests from external customers?
For example, can users submit help desk request or technical issues from your website? This is especially relevant if you’re an ecommerce business. If you’re taking external requests at all you need some software. Without software you run into one of two problems.
First, you’ll get an email (“Email the Webmaster”). Since the email comes from an unknown sender it could end up lost or in the spam folder. Second, you’ll get a phone call and forget to write down something (like a return phone number). Help desk software keeps all the information in one place and reminds you to get information you might otherwise forget to ask about.
How big is the IT team? How many employees are in your company?
Is your IT team more than one person? Then you need help desk software. Imagine with me for a second. “Employee” calls the IT team and tells TechEmployee1 about a problem. He promises to get on it. Employee heads out the door to a meeting and runs into TechEmployee2, also telling him about the problem. Now you have both people on your tech staff looking into the same problem. Help desk software prevents this by being the communication point between the tech team and all other employees.
Do you have an IT staff of one but an unusually large number of other employees? Then you probably also need help desk software to keep requests organized and structured.
Do you need the ability to record technical issues 24/7?
Think about how things actually happen, not the way you intend for them to happen. You might intend that employees only call IT during business hours, but what about employees who come in on the weekends even if they’re not scheduled? They’ll call IT and fill up the messaging machine, dumping a load of work onto your IT team first thing Monday morning.
With help desk software, though, you can direct employees to fill out an online help ticket so that IT can check the system at will, instead of being avalanched by phone messages in the morning.
Maybe you thought help desk software is something best left for large, enterprise organizations. That’s a little like saying a small business doesn’t need a central leader; the employees can lead themselves. It’s simply not true. Help desk software provides a point of communication, organization and structure for the IT team.
There are some limited cases where you may not be ready for help desk software, but make sure you think through your company’s needs before you pass on it. Otherwise, you might be leaving your IT team to swim through a quagmire of technical problems, thereby killing their efficiency.
Richard Turkel is a technology blogger who writes about business technology solutions. He currently writes for small business help desk software provider BMC. In his free time, Rich spends his days on the mountain shredding some powder.PS: Digging this story, news or review? Let us know! Comments open.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is a professional self-employed blogger and the founder / owner of Technology Blogged. 22, with a love for good writing, you'll find me playing 'Drag Racing' on my HTC One X and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to my feed for unique editorials. Find me on Google+. View author profile.