Help Desk Expert Insights

by Adam Toporek

What major trends are you see in the help desk and customer service space right now?

Currently, the biggest trend in customer service which will impact help desk strategies is consumer desire for omnichannel experiences. Customers want to be engaged via their channels of choice and to have experiences across channels that are seamless. Through social media, live chat, telephone, email and more, customers are seeking solutions for their issues across an increasingly diverse array of channels. This trend is likely to continue for some time and promises to impact how organizations approach help desk strategies.

How do these trends affect companies looking to purchase a help desk platform?

Becoming "perfectly omnichannel" is like trying to find a unicorn; it would be great if it happened, but it's probably not the best use of an organization’s time. For one thing, the sands are ever shifting; consumers can change channel preferences at lightning speed. For another, resources are almost always limited.

Companies looking at a help desk platform should take a hard look at which channels their customers prefer and what the trend lines indicate the mix will be in the future. Then, they should seek out a platform that services current needs while being able to handle predicted future needs. No platform will be perfect, and companies should be prepared to decide what tradeoffs are most important so that they can deliver as many great experiences as possible.

At what point should a company consider incorporating help desk software into its customer service practice?

It's easy to answer this question with “you should incorporate help desk software when you feel you can't deliver the right level of customer experience without it.” However, technology decisions are investment decisions, and the real answer is that you should incorporate help desk software when you believe it will produce a positive return on investment.

Implementing help desk software involves an investment in both financial and human capital that needs to payoff in improved customer experiences which enhance the bottom line. Approaching the decision from the standpoint of ROI is not a bad thing; where companies get off track is in calculating the return. It is important to look not only at the direct, short-term costs savings (i.e., the software will help us decrease our call time by X minutes, resulting in Y dollars of savings) but also to take into account the softer yet incredibly important variables that result from improving customer experience. It is only when less obvious impacts like decreased customer attrition, increased staff retention, and cheaper customer acquisition are put into the decision process that organizations can know if the move is a sound one.

About the Expert
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Adam Toporek
Owner and Founder, CTS Service Solutions
Adam Toporek is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast. He is the owner of CTS Service Solutions, a consultancy specializing in high-energy customer service workshops that teach organizations and frontline teams how to deliver Hero-Class® customer service.