Help Desk Outsourcing Ticketing System Review: Freshdesk

Green freshdesk logo

It’s important for any help desk outsourcing company to remain brand neutral with regard to the client’s ticketing system of choice especially if they’re invested heavily in a comprehensive ITSM platform. But it’s just as important to provide consultative guidance for those clients on the market for a new solution. Such was the case when ABS Level 2 technician Rico Feliciano recently evaluated and developed a new tool for a client on site. Always the proactive problem solver, Feliciano took on the role as a matter of course. The prior solution, an excel spreadsheet, was less than robust. Though Rico would diligently enter ticket ID, date, category, subcategory (hardware: printer), (software: application), and manager approvals into the columns, since it was stored on the network and occasionally accessed by others, it would be frequently locked for editing. Eventually, the lack of automation, notification, or consistent ownership of the data management coupled with a surge in incident volume demanded a change. “Since all other resources were busy I took it upon myself to spearhead the research for an affordable solution,” says Feliciano.

After Googling alternatives he stumbled upon a site that allowed him to try out the service for free.  Freshdesk.com is a cloud-based, multi-channel, SaaS solution that integrates with social media and is hosted by Amazon Web Services so it’s not taking up any on-site hardware resources. It includes a mobile app so end users can report an incident or submit service requests from their iPhone or any mobile device. It follows the ITIL framework which means it includes incident, problem, change, and release management as well as a knowledge base, SLA reporting, and self-service portal.

The price was right, but it was the easy setup wizard that won him over. Advertised as “so simple, Grandma could do it” configuring and using the tool was intuitive and required no training. “I just entered the email address, created a name for the service desk, and followed the prompts,” Rico explained. “I clicked ‘next’ to accept or adjust the standard SLAs and decided whether or not to tweak the pre-drafted automated email notifications that already pop up with the ticket URL included.”

In addition, the end user portal is customizable to match any organization’s brand. The dashboard tracks all of the recent ticket activity from which you can build a knowledge base, creating article categories and titles as well as FAQs direct to the site using an html5 interface and include screenshots and procedural steps. You can also import a list of supported end users from Active Directory via a .csv file. You can run SLA reports that include response time, average resolution time, whether or not a ticket’s been reopened or reassigned, and calculate First Contact Resolution rates.

As previously mentioned end users can sign in via social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter or through their Google account. For added convenience, authorized users can grant occasional access to temporary or full-time employees for up to three days so they’re not using additional license instances and being charged accordingly. Support channels include email, the end user portal, phone, feedback widget, and the MobiHelp application. Developers can also download the Software Development Kit to bolster MobiHelp’s capabilities.

Queue and workflow management were also a breeze for Feliciano. “I built a desktop, networking, and even an AS400 queue so email notifications are routed to the appropriate individuals for resolution. I even built a facilities queue so if a light bulb goes out and a user reports it, the ticket will automatically be assigned to maintenance for repair.”

Feliciano plans to build more queues and continue to test the package as part of the evaluation process. If the customer determines freshdesk indeed brings sufficient ROI to their internal operations, they may end up purchasing the licenses in order to add more help desk agents to the queue.

“I can’t believe how many bells and whistles this ticketing system has out of the box,” says the enthused Feliciano. The Level 2 technician admits he didn’t get to try them all yet as the free, entry-level version (called Sprout) doesn’t include the full host of potential features such as game mechanics, portal customization, and IP Whitelisting; however, customers can “branch out” into the paid, vegetation-themed suites aptly named Blossom, Garden, Estate, and Forest, enabling them to expand capabilities in proportion to their IT budget. Though the money may not grow on trees, at least you’ll get a free preview of what’s in the forest.