Looking for a way to build a great customer support Helpdesk from your WordPress website?
No idea where to start?
In this article, I will take you through the must-have features and some advanced features that can be a powerful asset to have in a WordPress Helpdesk plugin.
And then, I will review a few WordPress Helpdesk plugins that match our criteria, at-least those that are closest.
You probably know what a Helpdesk is, but just for standardization, let me clearly define a Helpdesk in the context of popular use.
What’s a Helpdesk?
A Helpdesk is a portal/website/part of a website which your users can get help from.
If you are selling products on your website, your customers would most definitely expect support for those products.
In fact, you can have a Helpdesk for any product or service that you sell.
A Helpdesk / Help center / Live Help / Customer Support or whatever you call it, should ultimately be about providing customer support.
Before we start, let me define a few terms from the context of the WordPress plugins ecosystem:
A WordPress Helpdesk plugin is supposed to be a plugin with the entire feature set of Support Ticketing, Knowledge Base and also a little more ( keep reading to see what other features a Helpdesk might have ).
But, most plugins called WordPress Helpdesk plugin have either Support Ticket or Knowledge Base features but not both.
A WordPress Help center plugin is the same as Helpdesk, and this term is commonly used by WordPress Support Ticket plugins.
A WordPress Customer Support system is the same as Helpdesk / Help center.
A WordPress Support Ticketing system plugin is just as it says, just the Support Ticketing features in a plugin.
A WordPress Knowledge Base Wiki plugin is a plugin that can be used to create a self-help portal/product documentation section as part of your Helpdesk. It could also be used to create a public/private Knowledge Base for varied purposes or a Wiki website.
A WordPress Product Documentation plugin is almost similar to a Knowledge Base plugin with mostly the same features, maybe lesser features. But, used with product documentation in mind. You can even use a Knowledge Base plugin to create a product documentation as mentioned.
A WordPress Support plugin usually mean a support ticketing system plugin.
If you are interested in any of these, you are in the right place.
Keep this in mind:
In terms of functionality, a Helpdesk should typically consist of a minimum of
- Support Ticketing system
- Knowledge Base / Documentation system
And there could also be
- FAQ section
- Live Support / Help Chat
Now that we have clearly established what a Helpdesk is, let me go through each part in detail.
A Knowledge Base is a part of any good Helpdesk system. You can use it as a self-help portal for your customers.
If you want a Knowledge Base as part of your Helpdesk, you will find this article on WordPress Knowledge Base plugins useful.
SUPPORT TICKET SYSTEM:
Now, we can talk about the Support Ticketing part of the Helpdesk.
The support ticket system is a mission-critical component of your customer support, and so you need a good set of criteria for choosing a WordPress Support Ticket plugin.
Who needs a Support Ticket System?
Woocommerce website owners:
If you have a Woocommerce website and you sell products, then you definitely need a support ticket system.
Your customer might have issues with payment, delivery or the product itself.
And there’s no better way to handle, track and resolve all your customer’s needs than using a solid WordPress support ticket plugin.
Tech Support for digital products:
If you sell digital products, you can also use a WordPress Support Ticket to provide tech support/basic customer support for your digital products.
This is great for people selling WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or any other themes or plugins.
There are many other digital products which you may be selling, but the bottom-line is if you have a WordPress website, you can use one of the awesome support ticket plugins to provide tech support.
Others who might want a support ticket system:
- Customer care agencies
- Support outsourcing/handling agencies
- Call centers
Have I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments if you are looking for a support ticket solution that falls in any other use case.
There are certain basic features that your support ticket system must have. You might not need these features when you get started but you will, eventually.
It’s better to start with a really robust plugin instead of trying to switch after some time.
Remember this while you use a plugin,
Customer Service should not be a department, it should be the entire company.
-Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Feature 1: Email Support
Over time, there have been many channels and platforms where support is taking place, but email has remained consistent and a preferred channel for customer support.
This is not going to change for a long, long time.
Remember the predictions about the death of email?
Just not happening.
David Newman said,
“ Email has an ability that many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale “
For those reasons, your WordPress support ticket software/plugin should integrate well with email support.
Things to look for:
i) People can send email to your support email address, and that gets forward to your server and added to the support tickets list correctly.
ii) You and your customers should be able to reply to the support email thread, and that should also be synced to your support tickets.
Feature 2: User Roles
The Support Ticket WordPress plugin that you choose should have the basic roles that a customer support system cannot work without.
The must-have roles are Admin, Customer Support Agent and the Customer roles.
The Manager/Supervisor role is also used in almost every medium-sized support team.
Having the option of adding more roles and specifying specific permissions for those roles is a great feature to have.
The plugin’s features should be closely integrated with WordPress’ capabilities to have a smooth workflow that can integrate well with other WordPress User Role Editor plugins. This means that the permission and user role creation can be done with other plugins.
Feature 3: Ticket Management
You probably know this:
Managing tickets is the biggest source of headache for customer support managers and support agents.
Consider that when you choose a Support Ticket plugin.
You will definitely need ticket management features for,
Filtering tickets based on customer, agent, ticket status, department or any other customer meta values. The filtering options could vary based on who is using it. Different roles like admin, manager, support agent and customer might have different filtering options based on their need.
Sorting tickets should work just as well as the filtering tickets options.
Admin actions that let the admin have control over the entire customer support system. Some actions that admin should be able to perform are adding new managers or agents, changing user’s role, etc.
Manager actions that let the support manager control what happens to his/her department. For example, the manager should be able to get notified if a ticket is unanswered for 24 hours.
Support agents and customers also should have specific actions that they are able to perform on what they are permitted to manage.
Feature 4: Reporting:
If you really want to create an excellent customer service setup, then customer support reporting is super important.
You only improve, what you measure.
Here’s what Zapier recommends that you measure:
- Total Conversations
- Total Replies
- Total Volume by Hours or Working Hours
- Average Response Time
- Time to First Response
- Response Time Bands
- Net Promoter Score
- In-Signature Happiness ratings
- Label/Tag Data
Having a reporting system that shows you the vital data of the working of your customer support is a powerful tool in your bag.
You can use this information to drastically improve your customer’s experience, money spent on support and of course, your bottom line.
Feature 5: Custom Fields for Ticket Creation Process
Not every business is the same, neither is their customer support requirements.
Exactly why your support ticket request forms need to have fields that are specific to your organization.
Plugins that allow you to add your own custom fields are the way to go.
Custom fields are an excellent way to get more information on the customer’s issue.
The more information you get right at the start of the support process, the easier and quicker your support team can resolve the issue.
Feature 6: Search
Search is super important for finding the tickets you are looking for faster.
Especially when you have hundreds of tickets, your search will make a lot of difference in your support team’s ability to find and resolve tickets faster.
The search will also be uniquely useful to administrators and managers for two reasons:
Looking through tickets to assign, take over or resolve
Look for tickets with common keywords to add to the Knowledge Base
Feature 7: Frontend Support
The issue I have noticed with a lot of WordPress Support Ticket plugins is that their customers have to access the WordPress Dashboard to create tickets or respond to replies to the support ticket.
This might work for some. But in general, this is not a great experience for your customers.
Never ever do this to your premium customers.
Or you risk damaging your brand.
I recommend that you choose a WordPress plugin that has a clean frontend interface to handle your entire process and has a good user experience.
Feature 8: Macros
Macros are powerful tools for automating various parts of your customer support process.
In essence, Macros are a set of actions that modify the values in a support ticket based on specific conditions that you specify.
In an enterprise support software like Freshdesk or Zendesk, you can create a macro to send an automated, quick, personal response when a customer creates a new ticket.
Feature 9: Access Restriction
You probably want only your customers to create a support ticket.
To make sure that only they can, and others don’t waltz right in and submit random tickets, you need an access restriction feature.
One way to go is to use another plugin like MemberPress to control access by memberships.
But if your plugin has in-built access restriction that’s specific to your need that’s even better. But that’s rare.
One final advice,
If you provide premium support, it would recommend a paid support ticket system who provide quality support.
Best Knowledge Base Plugins:
I can wholeheartedly recommend Helpie KB plugin for your Knowledge Base part of the Helpdesk. Not just because it’s ours, but it’s something we have built with the consideration of what a Knowledge Base plugin should be like.
Herotheme’s Knowledge Base plugin is another popular name in the Knowledge Base category, but it’s pretty costly at $129.
Best Knowledge Base Themes:
KnowHow is a Knowledge Base Theme by Herothemes, and it has over 4,000 sales. If you just need a basic theme for your Knowledge Base, you can use this.
Live Ajax search: KnowHow WordPress Theme has a sleek live search like the other themes from Herothemes.
Sidebar Navigation: The KnowHow Theme has a sidebar with the Knowledge Base categories and makes for an easy navigation of your entire Knowledge Base.
Multilingual Support: The KnowHow Theme has multilingual support and is compatible with WPML Multilingual Plugin.
FAQ: You also get the option to add an FAQ page to your website with KnowHow theme’s FAQ feature.
Also, you can reorder FAQ items, add a sidebar for FAQ a live search the FAQ items as well.
HelpGuru is a little more advanced WordPress Knowledge Base theme by the same author, Herothemes. The design is a bit more modern, and it comes with much better integration with customizer that helps you customize the appearance.
A lot of big names use Herothemes’ themes.
The list includes Ghost CMS, Restaurant.com, OptimizePress, CrazyEgg, Procurify, Clutch.
Live search: Search your knowledge base using an Ajax based live search.
Article feedback: Get feedback on your articles to improve your articles to better serve your customer’s queries or correct a mistake.
Content ordering: Use a drag and drop builder to reorder your content.
Article Attachments: Add downloadable files to your Knowledge Base articles.
Widgets included: You can use HelpGuru’s widgets to add articles, categories anywhere on your website.
Easy configuration: HelpGuru has a good set of admin panel options to let you config your Knowledge Base website with ease.
Best Support Ticketing Plugins:
Awesome Support WordPress Plugin:
Awesome Support is one of the most popular WordPress Support Ticket plugins currently and is used on 6,000+ websites. It’s a free plugin with a lot of paid pro-extensions.
Email: It has some good email support features that let your customers submit tickets via email. Reply to emails by your agents and your clients is also possible.
Custom Fields: You also have the option to add custom fields to the ticket submission form. This is a real plus.
Sorting and Filtering: There are some nice sorting and filtering options that help you find those tickets that you are looking for.
WP Support Plus Responsive Ticket System:
WP Support Plus is being used on over 10,000 websites currently, and it’s easily the most popular plugin on WordPress.org.
Frontend Ticket Management: WP Support has a better frontend ticket management than the Awesome Support plugin. The filtering, sorting, etc. are much better too.
User Roles: The WP Support Plus WordPress plugin has a supervisor role (aka Support Manager role ) for managing the agents.
Advanced Filtering: With the WP Support Plus plugin, you can do advanced filtering and also save the filtering options.
So the next time you login in, your favorite filter is already set.
Sola Support Tickets:
Sola Support Tickets is a relatively new WordPress Support Tickets plugin but has a couple of interesting features in the pro version that you might like. The pro version is also relatively cheaper than Awesome Support’s or WP Support Plus’ pro versions.
Macros: Using Sola’s macros, you can create custom responses to your customer’s tickets. This is a standout feature in the Sola Support Tickets. But this is a premium feature.
Departments: Sola WordPress Support Ticket plugin gives you the ability to assign tickets to different departments and its agents. This is also a premium feature.
SupportEzzy – WordPress Ticket System:
SupportEzzy is the only premium plugin in this list, but its very affordable and gives you good value for your money.
Vue.js App: What this means for you is that your frontend where your customers manage the plugin is a pretty robust ‘app’ in its own right.
Integrations: Another thing that sets SupportEzzy apart is its integration with other platforms/plugins that you could be using,
WSDesk – WordPress Helpdesk Plugin:
WSDesk is another freemium plugin with amazing premium features. The premium version of the plugin is definitely among the best in terms of features. The plugin is also updated frequently with new features and bug fixes.
Triggers and Automation (aka Macros): This is one of the best features of WSDesk which is somewhat lacking in the other plugins. It saves a lot of your time and energy and lets you sit back while you automate most important aspects of your customer support.
Auto Suggestion System: Autosuggestion system helps you reduce support time by redirecting users to your knowledge base articles.
Here’s a list of the other premium features of WSDesk as well:
- Auto Tagging And Assigning
- Auto Suggestion System
- Ticket Custom Views
- Triggers & Automation
- Automated Emails
- Customer Feedback Survey
- Agent’s Satisfaction Rating
- WSDesk Backup & Restore
- WooCommerce Fields & Reports
- One Year Support & Updates
- Email Support System
- Ajax Based System
- Wonderful UI
- Agents Reports
- Customizable Ticket Fields
- Agents Management
- Customizable Support Form
- Attachment support
- Import Zendesk Tickets
- Unlimited Agents
- Reporting and Analysing Tool
Apart from these standout support ticketing plugins for WordPress, I have to mention some other notable plugins.
Other notable plugins:
- JS support ticket
- Zendesk for WordPress
- Freshdesk for WordPress
Best Support Ticketing Themes:
These are currently the most promising WordPress Support Ticket themes.
One point to note is that most of the themes in this category promote themselves as WordPress Helpdesk theme, but only a few are truly that.
TicketLab by BigBangThemes
TicketLab is a premium WordPress Support Ticket / Helpdesk theme that lets you run a support ticket website by yourself.
Clean Interface: TicketLab has a clean interface for your customer support portal. Both your clients and your agents have access to the frontend dashboard.
This is a much better experience for everyone.
Integrations: TicketLab has a couple of very useful integrations, Trello and Github.
This is excellent for support teams that use Trello to track bugs and issues. And also the development teams that use Github to develop, track issues, commit and manage releases.
There are also integrations with Envato, Zendesk and Visual Composer that might be worth looking into.
Helpdesk by JanStudio
To clarify, Helpdesk here is the name of the theme. Helpdesk calls itself the WordPress Support Center theme. It’s a premium theme as well.
BBPress Compatible: Helpdesk Theme is compatible with BBPress, that makes it easier for you to integrate an entirely new facet of customer support.
You now have Ticketing + Forums.
Envato Integration: If you sell products on Envato, then this theme can help you verify your customers with the Envato purchase code validation API.
The reviewed features are just the unique and important aspects that caught our eyes. Please read the products’ documentation or try their demo to get a full view of the product.
If this article was helpful or if you have any questions or something to share, please comment below.