Toward the end of March, we switched our support ticketing service from Zendesk to Assistly. If you do any support work with clients, then you know how important this decision can be. We have been through three or four different systems in order to get us where we are today.
Unfortunately, that feature worked once out of around 3,000 messages.
In the early days of support, we would simply use email through Google Apps. In conjunction, we used Texter and Text Expander for macros, which are just prepackaged answer references for frequent questions. For a while that worked perfectly for us. We loved how past emails could be searched, but it wasn't a true ticketing system.
Looking to take the next step to an email management system, we decided to give Mailroom a shot. At the time, they were marketing a feature that would supposedly guess what you were about to write and then fill it in for you based upon your previous emails. This seemed like it could be a killer feature, saving us a ton of time. Unfortunately, that feature worked once out of around 3,000 messages. As we continued to grow, we needed to look for something new.
After some research, Zendesk was the support ticketing software we selected. It was a true support ticketing system, and we could continue
to grow into it. Plus, Twitter was using it during the "fail whale" outages, so we knew it could handle a load of support questions. Zendesk had everything we needed — custom reporting, macros, and auto responding based upon business rules.
You might ask, "Why then did you switch to Assistly?"
We still used Texter and Text Expander for some macros. Because of the macro UI within Zendesk, there was not enough space for all the macros we wanted to use. This resulted in about half of the macros we used being in Texter and Text Expander, and the other half in Zendesk. But it still gave us all the flexibility that we needed. We used Zendesk for two to three years, and Zendesk still has everything we need.
You might ask, "Why then did you switch to Assistly?" There are a couple of reasons we are now using Assistly:
- The pricing scheme - Much like us, they use a SaaS model, but their pricing distinguishes between full-time and part-time user accounts. This allows us to have fringe users answer questions when needed, but we only pay for the time they are using the system.
- Knowledge base system - Assistly has implemented a robust knowledge base system, and they have quick code "macroing" that goes with it. Because of the quick code, we rarely need to use Texter and Text Expander for our macros. As the support team continues to grow, we needed to have a uniform set of macros instead of half in one software and half in another.
Assistly is not without its faults though. Its reporting area is deficient for my needs, and this is something we hope will be addressed in later updates. Other than reporting, we have been pleased with our switch from Zendesk to Assistly. With this post, I wanted to share what we have used and are using currently if you happen to be in the support ticketing software market. There is no perfect solution. The only right software choice is the one that happens to best meet your needs.
So what are you using, if anything? How is it working for you?
Thu, June 23, 2011
by Chad Jaggers