Cloud-based helpdesk technology has become the norm for those who need to support others, and Freshdesk by Freshworks is a classic example of a flexible support solution that can work through a wide range of communication channels.
Currently, Freshworks has 150,000 customers using Freshdesk across a wide range of industries using it to support internal or external customers.
Is it right for you, or is the cost of this solution too much for the functionality it provides?
- Want to try Freshdesk? Check out the website here
Those wanting to explore Freshdesk for themselves can sign up for a free 21-day trial from the Fresh website.
Once you’ve activated the trial, you can directly access the web-based tool.
As no desktop components needed to use Freshdesk, and it can be used on any OS with a compliant browser.
What this platform delivers is a ticket-based solution where help can be either interactive or provided by email and managed within the context of a help team.
It includes a complete tracking system for all communications, status management tools and even smart bots to help customers quickly find answers without personal help.
To help both customers and support staff, it includes the facility to build an FAQ. As this knowledge base can be used as a reference by agents and directly by those looking for support, and investing time in its contents could reduce workloads significantly.
And, for those administering the Freshdesk facility, it includes a comprehensive reporting tool with both pre-designed reports and custom output.
The system can be set to export all support activity data for given periods, and analysis of this should reveal how to make the helpdesk more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.
Exactly what features you have will depend on the plan you have, but all come with ticketing, team collaboration, the knowledge base, ticket trend reporting and social ticketing.
Only the paid tiers have automation, multilingual support, skill-based assignment, etc.
As helpdesk tools go, Freshdesk ticks almost all the feature boxes. With the possible exception that it isn’t ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) complaint.
ITIL is a framework designed to standardise the selection, planning, delivery and maintenance of IT services within a business, and might be a prerequisite for software support channels.
What Freshdesk brings to the helpdesk party is the ability to handle a request for support from as many different directions as possible.
Not that you are forced to provide the service you are offering with it via all those channels. But should you wish to use a self-service portal or chat, then these features are ready to be deployed when you want them available.
Whatever you intend to use, or plan you take, Freshdesk looks largely the same to the agent using it, and what see is dictated by the admin who configures the system.
We’ll talk about the interface later, but it uses the popular dashboard model where you can manage tickets created at the point of interaction with the customer.
While tickets are generated through numerous channels, they’re all then merged into the same system for tracking, escalation and referral.
Alongside the ticking system is a simple contact management hub where contacts and companies are linked to the tickets, allowing for smoother communications.
Outstanding tickets can be filtered and organised based on a wide range of criteria, propelling problem tickets to the top to be actioned before they become a bigger issue.
With the dashboard, agents should be immediately aware of how many outstanding tickets they have, and all the other metrics to do with support performance.
One special feature is ‘gamification’, where scoreboards are maintained for a group of agents, and ‘badges’ are awarded for those performing best. Using this isn’t mandatory, but it is an interesting approach to motivating support staff.
For those businesses that use other Freshworks applications, like Freshteam or Freshsales, the interface has a quick means to access all the Freshworks products.
The security options in Freshdesk are basic but adequate.
By default, all web communications are made via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), and you can implement SSO (Single Sign-On) for agents.
There are switches that you can set to force greater password restrictions than the default, and you can make passwords expire, not be repeated and require mixed and special characters.
Two factor authentications would be nice too, at least for admins, but this isn’t currently a feature.
One slightly odd thing about changing the password rules is that once you’ve set a password policy, you can’t then demote it back to what it was previously.
Freshdesk has a few caveats like that for those who assume everything they do can be easily undone.
The pricing model for Freshdesk starts nicely enough but does ramp aggressively should you need to expand the number of support staff and users that you need to service.
As you would expect, each level increases in cost but adds functionality.
For example, Blossom costs $15 per month and includes surveys and team collaboration, and Garden adds live chat and multilingual options for $29 per month for each agent.
For the most advanced features you need Forest, and that costs a whopping $109 for each agent every month.
If you’ve got many agents, that’s plenty of money heading to Freshworks each month, especially if you don’t need all the features that each tier offers.
You can save on these costs by taking annual contracts, but that might not work for short term contracts.
Early we mentioned that Freshdesk doesn’t have an ITIL compatible framework, but we should also say that Freshworks does offer this in another more expensive suite of tools.
Overall, unless you are in IT support, Freshdesk offers a solid platform to build a helpdesk solution and keep it running smoothly.
However, when compared with some competitors, like ZOHO, it is looking decidedly expensive for those that need the enterprise features that only the top tier plans offer.
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