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Help desk, Live Help or Forums (which one is better)


Guest Meow Meow
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Guest Meow Meow

I noted from visiting several websites that have forums for customer interaction; this idea is very intriguing to me. I also noted "live help" and "help desk", etc... you know what I mean.

The question: which one is most preferable?

There are plenty of "free chatRooms" out there to be taken; however, is free really free ?

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:)

Well, you are asking for just personal opinion I suppose in the first case, and a truly philosophical question in the second.

My own preference is helpdesk, I use one at my store and it is very busy. There are surely many others who prefer email, or forums, or live chat, etc. etc.

Here are some of the reasons I prefer using a helpdesk . . .

1. It is for registered users; therefore, customers and more serious potential customers

2. It keeps queries and responses in one place for ease of follow-up

3. It maintains a permanent record of conversations in the database that both admin and customer can access at any time

4. It allows more than one store admin to view the same correspondence and contribute to the conversations

5. I believe it is a more secure system than email

In short, I consider both email and chat to be too ephemeral, less easily tracked and preserved, and generally less suited as a means of servicing customers than a fully-integrated helpdesk.

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On the other hand, I prefer a live chat (currently using boldchat's free version that really is free) since it makes it quick and easy for someone to ask a question (not just a registered customer), and I can save a chat if need be. Yes, I have gotten 1 or 2 flakes on it asking inappropriate questions, but mostly it's customers and potential customers seriously asking a question. It also helps me fine tune some things since if people ask me a question about a product I realize should have been in the product description, I can add it easily.

I also do use a helpdesk system - for return or exchange requests as I like being able to track the conversations back and forth in that case (and it helps me not forget them or have them buried in an email :P).

Personally, I don't like the idea of forums or guestbooks as you cannot really control what people post. You'd be a lot more likely to get spam and spend more time having to edit the things than would be useful. I get a ton of spam comments on my company blog even though they are moderated and that is enough pruning for me!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Helpdesk for me. Problem is there are no helpdesk applications that I can find to integrate with CubeCart. I don't want clients to have two seperate logins.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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Guest EverythingWeb

We use Kayako SupportSuite for our business (the same as is used for support/downloads here at CubeCart), which includes Ticket/Helpdesk and LiveChat. Any chats from users who also have had tickets with us in the past, get tagged into their accounts to be able to see everything in the same application.

We dont use it, but there is a Kayako LoginShare module available which Devellion wrote, which allows the Kayako interface to authenticate against the CubeCart database, meaning a single login. If you need the power & features of Kayako, there is a way of integrating it with CubeCart. :wacko:

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If you are looking for a cheap Kayako eSupport license head over to cubecartforums.org as ive made a post there about selling mine :wacko:

Thanks but we already own two Kayako SupportSuite licenses.

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Guest Brivtech

I noted from visiting several websites that have forums for customer interaction; this idea is very intriguing to me. I also noted "live help" and "help desk", etc... you know what I mean.

The question: which one is most preferable?

There are plenty of "free chatRooms" out there to be taken; however, is free really free ?

Each has its own merits according to what you want to achieve:

Forums are great for community building, especially if you get people posting there regularly. To build a forum community, you need to keep fresh topics going, which are going to be of interest - It's all too easy to have empty forums where no-one ever posts. You will need to moderate forums, and set down some very specific rules of what you don't want posted, there's always some element wanting to spoil it for everyone.

Blogs are mixed bag. Generally, they take the form of an article that people then respond to. You can achieve the same thing with a forum, but the Blog sets it out more like a web page dedicated to the article. There's been many a blog page I've gone to through search engines, and never realised it was a blog until I reached the end of the page. Not an ideal method for support, but not a bad method for indexing your FAQs - It allows feedback, but that feedback shouldn't be allowed to turn into support requests.

Chat rooms require everyone who will participate to be logged on at the same time. The content of the chat for people joining is normally restricted to a few lines of text. Unless you have an enormous community of like-minded people, I'd avoid chat. This brings me onto:

Live help (one to one chat) is a good idea for online support, however, I offer my customers this through Skype. If the typing gets difficult, they can simply talk to a human instead.

Help desk works a little differently to the above - Usually, you register a complaint/problem using an online form. That form saves the information in a database - A support ticket. The administrator/tech support posts a response back, which comes back to you normally by email. Some systems have an additional system where you can log into your control panel, and see all the support ticket correspondence. You can either log into this area, or respond by email (Depending on the system), which resubmits information to the same support ticket, which is then acted on, with a reply back, etc, etc, until the problem is solved.

Forums, blogs and chat rooms are public by nature, so any issues (Which could potentially be embarassing for you) are available for everyone to see. It could also potentially let users post sensitive data (such as passwords) because they haven't realised they shouldn't. We get that on here sometimes.

Online support chat, and support tickets are private, therfore confidential.

My recommendation would be to offer a support forum, which covers many general queries, and where users need something more personal, also offer live support and/or support tickets.

Also build up a list of FAQs from the queries that you get.

With regards to free being free - In many cases, YES. There's plenty of open source systems out there more than capable of doing the job. The authors like donations, but you are not obligated to make donations. Check each system before you download it - Some evaluation copies are free, until the evaluation period runs out, others work on a reduced functionality, where you need to pay to upgrade - Either way, if you are happy with how they work, and the cost isn't too high, perhaps consider the benefits of making an investment. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! :wacko:

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