Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a huge global market - over $20 billion in 2013 and forecasted to $36.5 billion by 2015. An increasingly large portion of that market is help desk software, and Software Advice recently conducted a survey of IT professionals who use help desk software to get a better understanding of the offerings available and how help desk (or customer support) software can help businesses.
In keeping with the growth of the CRM market as a whole, 84% of respondents with a plan for help desk software in 2015 plan to increase their spend - primarily to get more functionality. Not surprisingly, the most used features include ticket management (a whopping 66%), followed by reporting & analytics (51%), and live chat integration (45%). This makes sense, since ticket management is of course the primary foundation of any help desk software. As businesses become more competitive, and customers more discerning, reporting & analytics become increasingly important for customer service departments.
The growing interest in live chat also makes sense, if you refer back to our previous article on live chat customer service - customers appreciate the opportunity for fast responses, convenience, and no hold times. This study confirms that when available, customers certainly do use live chat.
What's really interesting is that the study confirmed what marketers have been saying for awhile now - the benefits of using a dedicated help desk software far outweigh the costs. The survey asked which help desk performance metrics improved the most through use of help desk software and the results were extremely positive:
#1 Ticket Resolution Time - improvement reported by 95% of respondents
In fact, the lowest rated improvement area was New Staff Training time, which was still reported as improved by an impressive 79% of respondents.
These statistics support the idea that help desk software really is one of the best investments you can make for your company. What's more, 92% of users also reported an increase in both customer and employee satisfaction - a win for everyone!
In the long-running debate between cloud-based and on-premises software, 31% of respondents said they chose SaaS over on-premise due to lower costs, both long-term and upfront. What's really telling though is that respondents in higher level positions (CIO and IT Directors) reported "innovation", "modernity", and "operational agility" as key drivers in their decision to choose SaaS over on-premise installations. We expect to see a solid shift toward SaaS as the market evolves and expands, and users are looking for turn-key solutions. Check out our article on SaaS vs On-premise for more comparisons and a handy cost of ownership tool.
So with hundreds of help desk solutions in the market, how do you go about narrowing down the field? The report offers several recommendations to prospective help desk software buyers:
Understand How You Will Use the Software: Are you managing internal users within your company, or external customers? There are specialized solutions better suited to each
What Other Systems Do You Use: If you are currently using a CRM/sales software, product development tools, or other business software, look for a help desk solution that will integrate with those, either natively or through an API, to provide better visibility across the organization.