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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Boston, MA
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    What do hosting customers want in a help desk?

    I have decided to have a help desk system designed from the ground up for my hosting company... I would like to know from a hosting customer's perspective, what features do you need in a help desk ticket system? What sorts of things do you dislike?

    Please don't mention any specific hosts and/or help desk programs but tell me in a general sense what you like and dislike.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    serious helpdesk must have:
    -pipe emails...
    -clean customer interface
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  3. #3
    Clean, easy to use interface would be #1 on the list for sure.
    Out of curiosty why would build one from the ground up for the hosting industry when there are a few excellent choices on the market that come at reasonable prices?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    148
    - Easy to use
    - Easy on the eyes
    - Secure
    - Stable (not always having problems)

    There are probably many more things but those are the things that I like in a help desk as both a customer and web host. You might also want to think about integrating an FAQ.
    ~ Nick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    PA
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    In my view of what a good helpdesk has:

    Pipe email to ticket
    clean interface
    good functionality, ie proper multiple access levels in it
    close/reopen tickets, edit tickets and responses as well is a good feature to have
    html support, either having the ticket system support html parsing in tickets or have it stripped via the support pipe script catching mail into the system (else you wind up with a mess on the tickets).

    Just a few ideas on what seems to be what clients tend to look for (obviously #1 thing being someone on the other end helping them, which isn't anything to do with the actual functions of the support desk technical wise though).

    Hope my outlook on features to a good desk helps you out.

    -Justin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    1,070
    Make sure that the knowledge base feature is available with the help desk. We can't live without it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
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    9,675
    Not to dash your idea, because I went that route (and failed) with a billing system a few years ago...and ultimately decided that ModernBill, ClientExec, WHMap, etc. already accomplished what I was trying to do. But, what are you going to build into a helpdesk that hasn't already been done by Kayako or Cerebus? Seems like you're trying to reinvent the wheel.

    --Tina
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    United Kingdom
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    Not to dash your idea, because I went that route (and failed) with a billing system a few years ago...and ultimately decided that ModernBill, ClientExec, WHMap, etc. already accomplished what I was trying to do. But, what are you going to build into a helpdesk that hasn't already been done by Kayako or Cerebus? Seems like you're trying to reinvent the wheel.

    --Tina
    I agree you will spend a lot of time and money developing one of your own, But will it be worth it? What sort of features are you looking for that Kayako/Cerberus etc does not offer?

    Regards,

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    India
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    127
    But, what are you going to build into a helpdesk that hasn't already been done by Kayako or Cerebus? Seems like you're trying to reinvent the wheel.
    I agree !!

    I have decided to have a help desk system designed from the ground up for my hosting company
    Why is so?

    Is it is because you are not happy with your existing support system? Or you are not happy with existing support? In both the case you need to think about how to improve support by investing your time on PROCESS. Building up something new would need lot of efforts which is not required.

    Unless you like to sell you system in the market there is no need to do something that is already done, but to answer your question you should check most successful ticket systems first and see if you can add something els to come up with winning product .

    Just my views .
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Scotland
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    Not to dash your idea, because I went that route (and failed) with a billing system a few years ago...and ultimately decided that ModernBill, ClientExec, WHMap, etc. already accomplished what I was trying to do. But, what are you going to build into a helpdesk that hasn't already been done by Kayako or Cerebus? Seems like you're trying to reinvent the wheel.

    --Tina
    I built one a while ago when we also had a custom control panel and it was far better for us to work with than any of the other ones on the market. I'm not saying that the actual features etc were better, but a custom system can be built around your business rather than your business working around the ticket section.

    Each business has different needs in a ticket section and if you have a custom system then you can alter it any way you want without having to worry about a future upgrade breaking the mods.

    Originally posted by UDS
    Building up something new would need lot of efforts which is not required.
    A very basic ticket section can be built within a few hours, then you add the features you want. You seem to be assuming that the section being built is going to attempt to be the same scope as the commercial products, however how many people here use every feature that their helpdesk has? You only need to build the features that you will actually use.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    815
    Personally I feel a good support system will have some of the following features:

    - Easy to use
    - Easy on the eyes (Clean Interface)
    - Secure & Stable
    - Quick Loading
    - E-mail Piping with HTML Support
    - Close / Reopen / Edit / Move Tickets
    - Multiple Operators / Multiple Access Levels
    - Knowledgebase / FAQ

    I am sure most of the helpdesk companies like Kayako and Cerebus also looked into your question, most of the things they have adopted are most likely due to feedback from their clients, you should also consider looking into their systems to help develop your own if you still wish to go down that route.

    We too developed our own billing system after we realised some of the ones already on the market just offered far too many features for our liking, I offer you the best of luck with your development.

    Keep us posted on how things work out
    Tahir Ahmed
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    All of the help desk systems I looked at either had some limitations, or had stability issues. If I have one developed, I have a little more control over those items. I am using the help desk built in to Modernbill right now, and it's ok for the time being (most of my customers use telephone support anyway).

    I intend to have each item customized eventually... even the billing system, though I really do like MB. However, there are some limits there too. I don't really want to be at the mercy of a 3rd party company to provide me with essential business tools forever. I think I'd leave the web control panel alone, though I'm going to customize the skin eventually.

    Thanks for the comments. There were a couple of things listed that I didn't think of, and my design document has changed accordingly.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Prince Edward Island
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    I would highly suggest you keep with creating your own support center. Just because others have failed in that area doesn't mean you would, same goes with hosting companies. Don't give up and keep at it. In the end it will be well worth it. Plus it adds to that uniqueness feature. As a host you want to try and be different then everyone else, the more different you are, the better. Don't be lazy and go with the trend, the excuse "everyone else is doing it" is a horrible one.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Middle England
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    Originally posted by Ariel74
    If I have one developed, I have a little more control over those items.
    True in part but if your developer dispappears you could be much worse off.

    One option would be to go to one the exsiting Helpdesk developers and have something created based on their main product.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    Originally posted by bluedreamer
    True in part but if your developer dispappears you could be much worse off.

    One option would be to go to one the exsiting Helpdesk developers and have something created based on their main product.
    Good point. Fortunately:

    1). I know how to code in PHP if necessary
    and
    2). Developers are really a dime a dozen these days, so finding another is not really a big issue (as long as the code is documented, etc)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    34,798
    Speaking as a customer who has submitted about three tickets in three years, (and I don't even know what help desk software my host uses), clear instructions of what details to enter to get a response suits me

  17. #17
    Here is a free help desk product based on PHP/MySQL. It's easy to customize but not sure if it's what you're looking for.

    Since I'm new I couldn't pust the URL in here. Google, Help Center Live.

  18. #18
    Easy to use

    This is most important. Basically most user who open tickets are not much familar , the way popular support desk work, system should work in a flow , so every target action can be achieved by one or two clicks

    Secure & Stable

    Earlier I was using one popular support system , I could read other's ticket, I dont prefer that.

    E-mail Piping with HTML Support

    This is one of most prefered feature , although text E-mail works perfect with many support system, but html E-mail is still need to work. How life can be easy to open and update tickets thru Emails.

    Multiple Operators / Multiple Access Levels

    This is another thing , if one support person doesnt answer in some time frame , there should be notification to other support person or Manager .

    Knowledgebase

    Just to make Knowledgebase as FAQ is not suffiecient , It should provide user interactive search to get similar problems.

    Notices

    this should be in system , so Manager or admin can send notice to everyone incase they do some thing that affect everyone.

    Parsv

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