Which help desk to Use to automatically build a knowledge base up over time as you answer customers incoming requests?
This is another question I’ve answered lately privately.
A lot of smart people are using Kayako for help desks. One of my hosting providers started to use Kayako about a year ago and Kayako made my help requests (all too frequent so I’m not recommending them here) there a whole lot easier.
Kayako have a free month long trial and after that you can pay monthly ($40 for the full package) for a hosted version or buy outright at $500 (you probably have to pay for upgrades after awhile so I’m not sure the cost of ownership is any less).
Details of Kayako pricing.
Another help desk I’ve looked at which is much less expensive is Will Barden’s Three Pillars Help Desk. There is a version at $47 and $77. If you join Will Barden’s email lists he sometimes even makes a special offer of Pro for Basic cost to his list.
What’s great about Three Pillars is that it is a one time fee with source code and hosted on your own servers. So if you have inhouse programmers, you can customise Three Pillars Help Desk as you go.
What we are using right now for support at Foliovision is Basecamp – as we are already deep in there and our clients all know how to use it – and have experimented with the help desk in Freshbooks which we are using for accounting. Basecamp is not public facing (you need to be a registered use to log in) nor does it allow redistribution of tickets to team members which is why we are still looking at other solutions.
If you are using WordPress on your main site, there is a very simple solution (as we build bigger and bigger sites, simple solutions have more and more appeal), it’s WordPress plugin called Ask Me. Ask Me lets you get questions and answers up on your site in a hurry. A larger Ask Me database would benefit from a simple category system. There is nothing to prevent Sara (the creator of Ask Me) or your programmer from adding that feature.
My advice – pick any one system get to know it well and use it to the maximum. We and our clients get huge value out of WordPress as we know WordPress so well. There are better tools for many of the things we do with WordPress. But the time we would lose getting to know each of them would be far more costly than the time we spend writing plugins and adapting WordPress to our purposes.
Alec has been helping businesses succeed online since 2000. Alec is an SEM expert with a background in advertising, as a former Head of Television for Grey Moscow and Senior Television Producer for Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia.
Thanks for mentioning the Ask Me plugin Alec. It definitely isn’t a help desk now, but it could have the ground work there and easily be modified to do that!
Glad to see you stop by, Sara.
I’ve added a suggestion for improving Ask Me into the article and emphasised the starting point of a WordPress site.
We are working on a directory of all commercially viable WordPress plugins, along with suggested donations. We’ll probably be including Ask Me there – it would be great to see an enhanced version.
One could either use categories or tags (or both) for the filtering of the Ask Me answers. Categories would probably be easier to implement and a little less confusing.
For larger projects, someone reminded me about how effective it can be to use a forum as a searchable 24/7 help desk rather than a knowledge base. That’s probably a pretty good way to go. The old iView MediaPro forums (pre-Microsoft purchase) are a prime example of the depth of information which a forum can hold.
But installing and managing a forum for a smaller project or something which should have a more personal feel is overkill.
You link on here to ASK ME is out of date. At the time of this post I have found a newer version of this that works in WP 2.7.
Sorry I have not tried it yet so I cannot give any feedback on it.
Thanks for the update, Huey. Let us know how you like Ask Me when you get around to trying the new version.