What is a Service Desk? (And a List of our Favorites in 2021)

Kendall Pennington

A service desk is a communications center that provides a single point of contact between a business and its customers, employees, and additional stakeholders. The purpose of a service desk is to ensure that users receive quality and relevant help in an efficient manner. It can be used to monitor and manage customer requests as well as conduct research on customers and their needs.

Service desks are designed to handle both incidents and general service requests. An incident could be something like an event that results in a disruption in service availability. On the other hand, a service request seeks help with a routine task, such as helping a user change a password or getting a new user onboarded.

The service desk is one of the main options for customer or user support. There is some confusion about the difference between service desks and help desks, but the general consensus is that service desks offer a broader range of service capabilities and solve more problems in fewer steps.

In 2021, customer service should be the most important aspect of your business if you care about sustainable long-term growth. And with the difference between meeting and exceeding customer expectations often coming down to small details, the right service desk might be just what you need to take your customer service to the next level.


What Should You Look For in a Service Desk?

  • Act as a single source of truth - In businesses that have multiple communication channels, a service desk pulls communications into one hub. A functional system keeps track of all queries, regardless of the channels or reps involved for a seamless experience.
  • Receive support requests - Service desks receives support tickets and other requests and handle the communication from user to rep.
  • Track service metrics - The service desk will categorize issues, questions, and queries along with other metrics to help managers deal with volume and performance as well as forecast potential issues.

When it comes down to specific features, a service desk has some key components that distinguish the software from other customer service tools. You should do your research to determine you select a service desk best suited to meet your company's needs.

Features to take note of include efficient automation, help desk tools, self-service options, integration capabilities, and reporting.

Now that you're familiar with some things to be on the look out for, let's take a look at some of the best Service Desks available in 2021:

1. LiveAgent

LiveAgent is a top-rated service desk software, and for good reason. It combines aspects of a help desk and service desk solution into one convenient platform, including email, live chat, and social media (including Facebook and Twitter). In addition, it supports POP3 email protocols, gamification, file sharing, contact forms, and dynamic statuses.

What also sets LiveAgent apart is its simplicity. The interface is intuitive and clean even for beginners. But in case you still need help, they have a lifetime 24/7 support manned by an in-house support team.

2. Zendesk

Zendesk is one of the leading desk software apps currently available on the market. It is designed to be scalable, flexible, and reliable. Likewise, the app helps you to improve communication and make sense of customer data that you have with omnichannel capability and drill-down analytics.

What makes Zendesk a highly useful app?

It's ability to increase speed and efficiency while reducing friction in your customer support process.

It helps you make data-backed decisions through customized reports that give insight into the metrics that matter — the health of your customer base and how it affects your business.

It helps you manage the growing pains as soon as your business gains traction, which likely means more customer concerns to address. The app works right out of the box and integrates with other tools, expanding to fit your business.

3. Hubspot

The first thing you'll notice about HubSpot Service Hub is its intuitive interface. For example, it enables you to log your customer issues into a shared team pipeline. This helps marketing, sales, and service teams work together to create a seamless end-to-end customer experience.

The unified platform gives you a consolidated customer record from which you can provide personalized customer service. Your team can stay organized and streamline customer communications with "Conversations," a universal collaborative inbox that comes free with the software. When you reply to a conversation, the message is sent out through the same platform it came from – e.g., Facebook Messenger or live chat.

4. SysAid

SysAid is a scalable desk solution designed for large businesses. The platform offers various modules, so you can start with a single module and work your way up as different needs arise. These modules include incident management, service request management, IT asset management, mobile device management, and chat. The software also offers various industry benchmarking functionalities.

The software can automate help desk functions, allowing users to remotely manage and control assets as needed. It offers powerful ticket management capabilities, along with self-service options that allow users to submit and track tickets. The platform’s extensive ticketing system also allows admins to monitor help desk processes from first contact to resolution. Incident management capabilities also make issue logging and reporting easier.

5. JIRA

JIRA Service Desk (of Atlassian) has been recognized as a leader in service desk software and used widely by open-source companies. It’s a simple service desk, the only one built on JIRA. It’s easy to use, simple to set up and has everything you need for IT support and customer service. You can get started in minutes.

With JIRA Service Desk, you can make asking for help easy. Their self-service portal makes it easy to request help, track progress on issues, and search knowledge bases. It also helps you work smarter, as it has everything to make your IT teams more productive. It has approval workflows, SLAs, queues, automation, and more.

JIRA Service Desk helps dev, and IT work together since you can link JIRA Service Desk tickets to JIRA Software issues for fast issue resolution. Finally, you only pay for the agents you need and customers are always free.

6. Freshservice

Freshservice is a popular cloud-based customer support platform that enables companies of all sizes to provide great customer service. It complies with best practices without the need for expensive consultations.

Its key functionalities include a robust ticketing system, an accessible knowledge base, asset discovery, and CMDB. Moreover, the software is equipped with capabilities, such as vendor, incident, problem, change, and release management.

7. Atera

brings the entire IT business together by its unique combination of RMM, remote control, and PSA in one system. This innovative network management solution is capable of remotely monitoring an unlimited number of servers and workstations, as well as powerful ticketing and customer satisfaction surveying and billing and invoicing.

Also, because it is a SaaS-based software, Atera perfectly suits SMBs as it comes in very flexible pricing plans. This fact at the same time makes it accessible from mobile, tablet and desktop computers, enabling you to provide impeccable customer support form virtually anywhere.

8. Samanage

Samanage is an award-winning IT service desk and asset management software. There is no hardware or software installation required, and no maintenance ever on your site. Samanage is also multi-tenant meaning a single, always new instance of software that lets customers enjoy the fastest time to value and unmatched user experience.

Once deployed, Samanage automatically collects all IT asset configuration data, empowering IT with comprehensive reporting and alerts in a simple and elegant interface. The integrated service desk software allows users to submit requests online and provides the IT support desk with immediate access to related asset configuration, thereby expediting resolution time and improving productivity.

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