Working as a member of a support staff for any plugin, theme or other service, whether for WordPress or not, can be a challenging task.
For this reason, it’s important to have a good setup and software that will allow you to work smoothly and efficiently in order to get replies out as quickly and accurately as possible.
There are a few WordPress plugins that are contributing to this service, and one of the latest ones I’ve come across is WPHelpDesk.
What does it offer?
The WordPress HelpDesk plugin offers a support ticketing system that can help your support staff get organised and work more fluidly.
What this plugin does is provide you with a spot in your WordPress dashboard from where you can organise, answer and manage all your customer service needs.
With WPHelpDesk you can access all support tickets and their information in just a few clicks, while also being able to search for previous messages through an advanced search system that can search whole tickets or do a narrow search by subject, from email, to email, or the body of the message itself.
Configuring your email is also made simple, both for incoming and outgoing emails. You’re also able to interchange the assigned support agents and customise the email format on the same page.
Upon installing and activating the plugin, the HelpDesk will appear in your WordPress site’s dashboard, and from here you can configure all settings and manage all customer support.
Starting with the configuration settings, if you open Config in the HelpDesk menu you can start setting up the plugin for your needs. The first tab here allows you to assign a default assigned agent, provides you with a few settings for importing from an inbox, and also gives you the chance to set the HTML email template and the footer.
Next up are the Incoming Mail settings. This is where you select your email provider and fill in the details for the configuration. If you select Gmail, these settings are automatically applied for you. Otherwise you can choose Other and enter your desired settings.
The Outgoing Mail tab is next, and from here you can set the From email and name, the Mailer, and you can also send a test email to try things out.
The final tab is for the Email Templates. Here you’re provided with two templates that you can modify as needed, both for a “New reply to your ticket” notification as well as a “New ticket created” notification.
The Custom Fields section of HelpDesk is self-explanatory. From here you can insert any custom fields you need to customise your HelpDesk for your needs. It allows you to add a dropdown menu or text custom fields using a very simple custom field editor.
These new fields can either be visible to only an administrator, or to anyone and everyone. They will allow you to collect the exact data you need from your users.
Saved Replies is another self-explanatory section from where you can create as many saved replies as you think you need. These are ideal for answering those basic or recurring questions that keep cropping up.
Last but certainly not least is the HelpDesk section itself. This is where all the magic happens; where you can assign, reply to, close and manage all support tickets.
There are a number of views to organise your tickets. You can view them all at once, all the open tickets, only those assigned to you, the closed tickets, the still unassigned tickets or the trashed ones.
Each ticket can be edited, replied to, closed or trashed as needed. By opening a single ticket you can also assign a user to it, change its status between open and closed, set the “Reply To” details, as well as any custom fields you may have added.
Replying to a user is as simple as using the reply box above the original message, where you can even include attachments and media. All correspondance for a particular ticket will be listed here, allowing you to view and refresh your memory on the history of that particular ticket.
What does it look like on the front-end?
Right out the box you get a pretty tidy display for both the submit form as well as the list of tickets. Using a couple of shortcodes and a few parameters you can choose what to display and where.
In this example I’ve set up a “Public Forum” page where any visitor can view a list of all the tickets but only access the public ones, and a “Your Tickets” page where any logged in user will be able to access just their history of support tickets.
This allows you to provide your users with a database of previous questions that might answer their own queries without having to open a new ticket, while also providing a private area where users can discuss any individual or private issues.
Another neat feature worth mentioning is the comment-to-ticket option where you can start a ticket from a comment on a previous ticket, allowing you to keep better track of the issues that might crop up for your customers.
Support & Documentation
The documentation & support explains all you need to know to setup this plugin and have it working in a minimal amount of time. Their support staff is also helpful and they reply in a very reasonable amount of time, so if you come across any issues you know you have a reliable team to fall back on.
The WPHelpDesk plugin currently has three pricing plans; a Small Business plan, an Enterprise plan and a Developer plan. As you can see from the image below, the choice between these three plans is based on the amount of sites you’ll be using the plugin on.
All plans support an unlimited number of tickets, unlimited support agents, 1 year of regular updates and priority support, all with no extra monthly fees.
Conclusions & Recommendations
For the features it offers and the great service it can offer, WPHelpDesk certainly seems like one of the easiest plugins to setup for your business if you’ve got a customer support staff. However, besides being quick and easy to setup, it’s also very effective.
All your support tickets are very manageable from directly within your WordPress site’s dashboard, and the advanced search capability makes it easy to locate previous tickets that you might need to refer to. The actual setup and configuration of the plugin before you get going is also made simpler for you to ensure a smooth transition to this new system.
So if you’re looking for a helpdesk solution for your business or aren’t satisfied with your current setup, why not give the WPHelpDesk plugin a go. You can even test it out using their live demo for both the administrative side as well as the client side of things.
Are you a member of a support staff or a customer whose been let down by a company’s support setup? We’d love to know what you think about WPHelpDesk in the comments below.