Efficient offices remind me of factories working in sync: there are a lot of details that go unnoticed for it to work well. Making sure everyone’s connected to a fast internet network, using the latest version of a software, ensuring the equipment is up-to-date, etc.

When one of these details in the “assembly line” is not working as it should, companies turn to help desks – it’s the way to manage and organize support tickets and conversations with people reporting trouble. In most offices, the help desk would be where you’d go when the internet is down, your computer is painfully slow (a classic), or you need help connecting to the printer. The real beauty of the help desk is how it can help you avoid having to take extreme measures to make something “work.”

Using Slack as a help desk allows people to get the support they need without ever leaving the app they already use to communicate, which makes the whole reporting/resolving process much smoother. Slack can be a great fit, especially if you’re a smaller company because you won’t need to implement a different ticket tracking system, instead, you’ll work with what you already have.

Why using Slack as a help desk can benefit your business

If people in your company use Slack to communicate, asking them to change to a different software whenever there’s an issue, even small, can be inconvenient, and kind of counter-intuitive if you think about it. It requires spending time changing from one app to another, and even having to train the staff on how to use the help desk software. Worst-case scenario, it’ll also mean having to fill in long forms reporting the issue. And we all know how we feel about filling out unnecessary forms…

Why all that hassle when Slack can double up as a help desk software? If people already use it to talk to each other, it’s a natural gesture to use it to raise issues as well. On the other side of the problem, the IT team will get a queue of tickets they can organize, prioritize and resolve, instead of a chaotic flow of requests coming in from different sources.

There are other reasons why using Slack as a help desk makes sense:

It can be used by both large organizations and smaller businesses

Companies with thousands of employees and small studios have one thing in common: they both use Slack. Since bigger companies often build off existing products already used for managing software projects, they can use bots and integrations in Slack to connect to their existing software (like Jira or Zendesk, for example).

Configuring Slack as a help desk takes only a few minutes, which is particularly helpful for smaller companies that might not have existing ticketing systems in place.

It’s fast and requires no training

Help desk teams using Slack have the ability to resolve things quickly because they have access to updated knowledge at hand, reducing the time it takes to get back to the person asking for help. Because it’s so easy to use, you won’t need to spend time training employees, which makes the transition much more straightforward than setting up separate systems.

It’s conversational

Slack as a help desk is not that different from a phone call where you ask a colleague for help. It feels like a conversation because there’s a person at the other end, instead of a never-ending form you need to fill out. Another advantage is that Slack gives help desk agents an easy way to ask for more information or let the requester know that they are working on their issue by simply replying to the ticket – or even using an emoji.

How Slack can be used as a help desk

Streamline your help desk workflow and reduce your response time

When the connection between your laptop and the screen isn’t working and you need to give an important presentation, you need help – fast. With Slack, you can streamline the ticketing system at both ends. Both the requester and the help desk agent will benefit from using Slack because neither of them needs to switch to a different system. You know how when your sweet pet is laying on your lap, you can’t move at all for fear of bothering your precious nugget? Switching to a different system is like getting up and leaving your loving pet to sit on the floor, cold and alone—UNACCEPTABLE.

All you’ll have to do is set a unified point of entry for all issues using Slack. Halp, for example, allows employees from all departments to open and respond to tickets directly in Slack. People will be able to report issues with minimal friction, simply by sending a message in Slack or using the /halp command. Help desk staff will then be notified so they can troubleshoot and resolve it, thus reducing response time.

Smooth out disruptions and make important announcements

A lot of the work done by the help desk team is behind the scenes: researching better HR solutions, dealing with security upgrades, locating the latest “data scrubbing” trends, or getting prepared for updates that might disrupt the service.

Often, the key to success is in the preparation. Creating a specific Slack channel (for example, #service_disruptions) allows you to reach out to the entire company with important announcements about maintenance or outages – planned or accidental – without ever leaving the app.

The help desk team can also use Slack to announce the worst, for example, if the internet is down and you need to ask employees to work from home that day. Or perhaps if an umbrella fell and now you can’t do anything because umbrellas are the worst. If only they had a way to report the issue in a fast and efficient way. Hmmmm..

You can also use Slack’s specific help desk channels to share other news, like new software releases or security updates that need to be done by the end-user. With that, you’ll encourage people to take the time to update their systems.

Answer common questions automatically

A lot of the questions asked to people working at a help desk are repetitive. What’s the wifi password?  Where can I find the employee benefits documentation? Who am I, and what would the world be like if I didn’t exist? With Slack, you can automate the answers to the most common questions so you can save time for your team to work on issues that require more thinking (like the meaning of the universe, how to create your own personal John Hamm, or custom reading glasses for at-risk snails, you get it, the important stuff).

For example, with Halp Answers when you create a new ticket, its Machine Learning technology will match the question in a ticket to a saved answer. When a new question comes in, it’ll suggest different answers to the agent based on keywords. Agents will be able to edit the answer and add a personal touch. This is super useful for all teams, from IT to HR, and can even improve processes like onboarding new employees.

Quickly assign tickets to the right person

Say a colleague contacts you via DM asking for help with the password reset for the CRM software. Then someone else needs a new battery for her mouse. To optimize the workflow, the best thing is to move all these requests about different topics in the triage channel, which is like a virtual basket for all incoming requests. To better understand this concept, please see the visual below. You are the dunker, Slack is the person holding the ball so you can dunk:

Yes! Y’all work so well together, so glad you agree!

Your help desk team can then review the triage channel and quickly claim new tickets directly in Slack. That can be done by the responsible person or a person in charge of assigning tickets. Also, once the ticket is assigned to the right person, they can ask for clarification without having to leave Slack by simply sending a DM to the requester.

Of course, if you can write it, you can “emoji it”. In Halp, for example, you can use an emoji reaction to assign tickets quickly. Like could assign the ticket in the triage channel to Jim in DevOps.

Help desks in Slack are efficient help desks

Being able to quickly deal with and resolve incoming issues is a trait of productive offices. Many times, however, help desk users have to switch back and forth between systems, which can cause delays.

Using Slack as a help desk is a win-win because it streamlines all tickets in one central place. It also presents the queue of tickets so they can be organized, ranked and fixed, instead of a mix of requests coming from different sources, like email and phone calls.

No matter the size of your company, using Slack as a help desk is a smart solution, either with a stand-alone system like Halp, or through integrations that combine with third-party software. Use it to cut response time, better organize incoming requests, and answer common questions automatically.

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How Slack can be used as a help desk