Could A Help Desk System Save Your Business?|
Author: Willie Crawford
Copyright 2006 Willie Crawford
When I recently downloaded my email, and there were 13,000+ messages that had made it past my filters, I knew that I had to do something. It's simply impossible to work through that many messages in less than a few days... which is what my team and I did. In the process, I'm sure that we deleted more than a few that we didn't really intend to.
Before working through that PILE, I realized that I needed a better solution immediately! After discussions with many advisors and close friends, I settled upon using a help desk. Now I force many contacts to go through that system rather than emailing me. I has reduced the sheer volume by about 90%.
In researching help desk options, I asked a lot of friends what they used. I also posted to several popular discussion boards. What I discovered was that there are many different excellent options. They range in price from free to very expensive. I delayed the decision on a final option, but implemented a temporary one that may turn into a permanent one. I simply had to give myself and my assistants some breathing room :-)
The advantages of setting up a help desk, and encouraging your customers to contact you through it, are countless. Let me share with you just a few:
1) It can completely eliminate the barrage of spam sent to random email addresses. Depending upon how you configure your help desk, you can allow customers to file a help ticket via email. However, it has to be sent to a very specific email address. So you could theoretically shut down all other email addresses on that domain.
Many web hosts allow you to delete or "black hole" all email not sent to legitimate addresses. This is a life saver. The host that I've set up numerous accounts with, and have my help ticket system set up on, allows this. Not only that, but this host is so gracious that I'm using 1000 meg of disk space and 120gig of monthly bandwidth and it's free. Actually it's not totally free. It's part of a monthly membership site that I belong to where members get unlimited free hosting.
I'm getting slightly sidetracked here, so if you want to know more about how I get unlimited free web hosting, check out: http://MassiveCashFromArticles.com
2) A help ticket system can organize those numerous email dialogues that many of us have going at the same time. Often, I'll respond to 30 different people about consulting or various projects/ proposals that we are contemplating. A few hours or days later, some of them might respond. In the past, the problem was that the response was often something like "Yes, let's do option 2"... and they would have not included the body of the original message.
That use to drive me crazy - because I had to try to reconstruct what specific conversations they were responding to. Please don't YOU do that. If you're replying to someone, be sure to include at least enough of the original message to confirm what the conversation is about.
With the help desk, the system allow you to keep a running record of the conversation, all in one window on your computer screen. It's wonderful!
3) It allows enhanced teamwork. You can set it up so that "trouble tickets" are broken down into various categories. Then you can allow assistants access to certain assigned categories. That way, anyone on your team with the proper authority can take care of problems, questions, etc.
This also allows team members to see what transpired on a particular issue or help ticket. It provides a running record.
4) There is no hazard of communications being totally blocked by filters. Certain ISP's are notorious for blocking email. This is especially a problem if you send out email in any quantity... as in... if you publish an ezine.
I've had customers send me 8-10 emails on a problem or concern - and NONE of them get through. I've also received emails from certain customers and responded half a dozen times, but not have them receive any of the responses. I've sometimes had to phone to resolve such issues.
My trouble ticket system does send an email notice telling me and/or customers when a response has been posted to a given ticket number. So, there is still the danger of that notice not getting through. However, if it's a pressing issue, the person is more likely simply to log back in and check on a given ticket number.
5) I've found it at-least three times faster to log in and respond to trouble tickets than it is to deal with the same issue via email. It depends upon how cumbersome your trouble ticket system is, and what email client you use, but to me it just take a fraction of the time to coordinate issues. That makes a trouble ticket system a MAJOR productivity booster.
Those are just a few of the reasons that I absolutely LOVE my new trouble ticket system. I'm sure that once you start using one, you'll probably feel the same. If you’re drowning in a sea of email, it may very well save your business.
The system I'm using temporarily... and may turn into a permanent solution, is one that was pre-loaded into the Fantastico control panel on my hosting account. Installing it was just a matter of selecting that option, following on-screen prompts through a few steps ,and the basic trouble ticket system was ready. Then you can log in to your admin panel and customize things for your preferred options, look and feel, etc.
Your web hosting account probably comes with one or two trouble ticket systems already available to you as free options. If not, check out my host and save yourself some dough. They're called Content Desk, and they're at: http://MassiveCashFromArticles.com This is a membership site designed to teach you how to grow your business through building high quality content sites. It's a great site, and the free hosting is just icing on the cake. Tell them Willie sent you ;-)
By the way if you need to contact me for any reason, the easiest way to do it is via my trouble ticket system at: http://WeddingFireSale.com/helpdesk/
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Willie Crawford serves as a consultant, mentor, and confidant to some of Internet marketing's top income earners. You can tap into his 9 years of online experience and million-dollar, success-creating advice at BlueprintToInternetMarketingSuccess.com