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Four Tips for Buying Help Desk Software

How to Buy the Right Help Desk Software for Your Business
Help desk software empowers businesses to take a more proactive approach to addressing customer issues. Companies can eliminate the inefficient, manual procedures that cause lags in response times, and solve customer problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. But, selecting the right help desk software solution can be complex and confusing. How can you make the process easier?

Outline Your Needs

Build a list of your key requirements before you begin calling in vendors.

Start by talking to key stakeholders and end users to determine what their goals and challenges are, and what kinds of tools they need to achieve or overcome them. This will help you identify the help desk software features you can’t live without.

Select a Vendor

Once you know what kind of help desk software you’re looking for, you can begin evaluating providers.

Review the latest analyst reports and software reviews to find the best-matched vendors. Then, conduct an in-depth assessment of each product, and compare it to your list of requirements. The best way to accomplish this is to issue a request for proposal (RFP) that asks targeted questions about features and functionality. Once you’ve identified those vendors who can meet all your needs, review their histories and financial statuses, and speak to a few of their customers.

Request Demos and Trials

Product demonstrations are a standard part of the sales process, but make sure you see more than just a canned or pre-recorded one. Request a customized demo that highlights those features on your checklist, and simulates processes within your current help desk environment.

But remember, a demonstration – no matter how in-depth – will only provide you with an overview of a help desk software package’s capabilities. If you want to really see how the solution will work, you’ll need to trial the software for 60 to 90 days before you commit to buying it.

Negotiate Like a Pro

Next, you’ll need to haggle with your sales rep over pricing and terms. For many companies, particularly those that have never dealt with an enterprise software vendor before, this can be the most frightening part of the process. But, with these simple tips, you can negotiate like a pro and get the best possible deal:

  • Vendors often “trick” customers into thinking they are getting a good deal by inflating their list prices, then offering a small discount. Ignore what the price book says, and use the standard discounted price to begin your negotiations.
  • Don’t stop evaluating other solutions, and make sure your vendor knows that other providers are still being considered. They will be more generous if they know there is a chance they may lose your business to the competition at the last minute.
  • Forget about free features or modules – especially if they are not on your initial requirements list. If a vendor is offering something for free, question why.
  • Advocate, advocate, advocate. All software vendors need references, and are willing to pay dearly for them. Agreeing to speak to future prospects or participate in a success story is likely to earn you a significant discount.
  • The software isn’t the only place to score some savings. Ask for discounts on consulting, maintenance, training, and other value-added services.