Managing lots of WordPress websites for clients is a time consuming job. In this article, I’ll aim to convince you of the benefits of help desk software. In my opinion, without it, website maintenance is even more time consuming.
As the number of clients you have grows, you’ll want to make sure you have the right software in place to help you do some of the heavy lifting on those time consuming tasks.
One of the tasks that takes the most time is handling support queries from clients.
In this article, I’m going to explain the benefits of help desk software (a.k.a. support ticket system) versus email, for managing all of your clients support requests.
As tech continues to improve at an incredible rate, we’re now all well aware of the pitfalls of email.
If you’re still using email as your method of communicating with clients for their support requests, it’s time to change.
A support ticket system will make you more organised and more efficient, able to respond to clients’ queries faster and most importantly, make your client’s experience better than ever.
Here’s what we’ll look at today:
What is a support ticket system?
Firstly, let’s take a look at what a support ticket system actually is.
Think of it as a catch-all place, for all of your clients’ support queries.
It can be categorised, filtered and viewed by you and your team.
Comparesoft put it nicely:
“With all customer support tickets stored in one place, support teams have greater clarity as to what the problem is and how to solve it. As well as finding solutions within a time scale that customers expect.”
That last point is really important …
When you’re managing a client’s website, they care more than anything else, about how quickly you respond to them and resolve their query.
Sure, security is important, it gives them peace of mind.
Saving them time is important too, they can get other stuff done.
But if you’re slow at replying to their support query, or worse still lose their email and never reply, then that client ain’t going to stick around long!
Let’s move onto the main benefits of help desk software versus email …
#1 Everything is easier to track
Think about your email inbox for a second.
How many unread emails are there?
Actually don’t answer that, it’s probably not a nice number.
Maybe you have a dedicated support email address though.
That’s one step better than a work email because at least you only have one type of email going into that one.
But then the number of clients you have starts to grow.
And the number of team members you have starts to grow as well.
“This unread email from 3 days ago – has that really not been dealt with? Or did Joe handle that from his email already?”
“I see this one from yesterday has been read but I can’t see a reply in the email thread – should I mark it as unread again?”
You get the picture – and it looks as bad as my fine art did when I was 3.
Email will get too messy, very quickly, as you scale your business.
A support ticket system on the other hand, makes it extremely easy to track the status of your clients’ queries.
In one dashboard, you’ll see which ones are currently unresolved.
You’ll also see a note next to those where it’s your turn to reply.
Also, by filtering it as you need to, you’ll see ones that are resolved and those specific to certain clients.
If you’re working in a team, I’d argue that it’s an absolutely essential tool.
A support ticket system allows you to assign clients’ queries to different team members, making internal collaboration a breeze versus the never ending uncertainty of email.
All of this takes seconds, thus improving your productivity dramatically.
#2 Your client gets the customer service they deserve
I mentioned it earlier in this article: your clients primarily care about one thing when you’re looking after their website and that’s how fast you reply to their support queries.
With the numerous efficiencies that a support ticket system brings, you will be able to meet your promises to your clients far more easily.
Furthermore, think of the impression it gives them of your business.
Everyone is used to email and I defy anyone to tell me they’ve not had some kind of issue with it, even if this be as trivial as someone not replying for a week.
(This has literally just happened to me today. I emailed (no support ticket system) my account manager and 10 days later, after chasing them once, I got a reply).
By using a support ticket system, your clients instantly see that you’re organised.
They see that you have a process and you clearly care about the experience they receive as they’re able to see a full record of every interaction with you and your team at the click of a button or two.
Nail your customer service and your clients will be clients forever.
#3 It’s better for team collaboration
I touched on this in #1 above.
If you’re managing multiple WordPress sites as part of a team of developers and account managers, a support ticket system is essential.
Let’s say you have 100 websites under management.
That’s a fair amount of support tickets you’ll be getting from clients.
An email inbox would be a nightmare to manage in a team.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
With a support ticket system however, everyone is in the picture, all the time.
Each action will be recorded against a team member’s name and account managers can assign tickets to certain developers, depending on skill set required for the issue and the clients being looked after.
It’s also much easier to onboard new team members.
Everything will be documented in terms of how to use the support ticket system and a full historical record of interactions will be available for every client at the click of a button.
Good luck finding all that in an email inbox – no thanks.
#4 Set priority levels
A nice added bonus of a support ticket system is having the ability to set the priority or urgency of a particular query.
Giving your clients the ability to do this, allows them to indicate if an issue is super urgent, or if it’s normal.
I know what you might be thinking.
Every client will just mark their query as urgent.
In our experience, this doesn’t happen.
Most clients are decent humans and don’t abuse this system.
The pros far outweigh this con, by allowing you to jump onto genuinely urgent tasks really quickly, whilst giving the ‘normal’ ones your usual response time.
You can’t mark an email as ‘urgent’.
Unless you put it in the subject line.
And then it’ll probably get flagged as spam and you won’t see it anyway.
Spam … there’s another downside of email for you 😉
#5 You’ll find it easier sticking to your SLA
It’s likely that your website maintenance SLA includes some promises you give to your client.
One of those is probably how much time you allow them for changes to their website each month, often referred to as ‘custom development time’.
Another one will likely be how quickly you commit to resolve their support issues.
Whatever that time is, using a support ticket system will help you stick to it more easily.
For a start, with email, you could miss the email, quite easily.
As your client numbers grow, you will be getting 10s of support queries a day and email just isn’t up to it from an organisation point of view.
Furthermore, a support ticket system will tell you when it’s your turn to respond.
Yes, an email will probably be unread if it’s your turn to respond – but I discussed the possible issues with this assumption earlier in #1 above.
By implementing a support ticket system, I guarantee you will get support queries answered and resolved faster, demonstrating to the client that the SLA you both signed is something you take seriously.
In conclusion, the world has moved on.
Yes email is still used every second of the day and it’s still an awesome tool for marketing purposes.
For providing professional support however, it just doesn’t cut it and a support ticket system knocks it out of the park.
Your clients will thank you for it by remaining clients for longer and you and your team will be organised, efficient, get work done faster and in turn have more profitable accounts.
If you’re still using email, I suggest you make the switch as soon as you can.
Glow allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites at scale and includes a built-in support ticket system, which no other WordPress management tool does. You can sign up today – it’s free.