Help desk software is a type of computer program that allows customer service representatives to keep track of user requests and deal with other issues. Help desk software is a subset of the service desk, which also includes asset management and IT service management.

Although the two terms are frequently used interchangeably, help desk software only refers to the system that handles customer inquiries not the process of handling customer support.

Helpdesk software is commonly used within organizations alongside other pieces of technology such as productivity tracking software and CRM technology



(An example of a helpdesk widget shown on a website to aid visitors)

With the multitude of systems available there are many common features shared in helpdesk systems which include the following:

  • Options to click on a floating widget on a website to start the chat process
  • Options to leave your email in the event the chat ends and the operator needs to reach you directly
  • Ticket management to help operators keep track of open and closed requests
  • Automated responses if a question is common
  • Integration with a FAQ or internal database/knowledge base of questions which can be displayed to the user in real-time to help them if their question has already been answered and documented.
  • Some platforms include Web Analytics to help operators and businesses track their performance

Advantages & Disadvantages:


(An example of a support ticket submission form where an end-user can submit a ticket requesting help)


  • Saves businesses time and money
  • Scalable support system for growing businesses
  • Can save users time as they can be directed to existing help content and solve the issue rather than starting a new support request
  • As long as data-entry is done and tickets are kept updated then reporting and tracking is made simple
  • Some platforms provide flexible communication channels such as live chat, social media and email


  • Automated FAQ content can be frustrating and at times unhelpful for end-users
  • Can sometimes be difficult for users that are not tech-savvy
  • Can be unreliable for users with a slow or unstable internet connection
  • If heavy automation is used customers may feel the support isn’t personalized and may find it unattractive
  • Can potentially be expensive to implement for the first time and maintain

Background history


Help desk software has a long history dating back to the twentieth century, when businesses relied heavily on face-to-face interaction to resolve customer issues. Customers had to take the product to a company’s store or office to have their problems resolved.

Customers were able to contact their company and voice their concerns through the phone system.
The use of computers for customer service began with the use of mainframe software.
Customers would fill out paper forms or call customer service agents, who would look for ways to resolve the issues.

This was the era of interactive voice response (IVR), which revolutionised the telephone customer service system. Later on, desktop computers and email greatly improved help desk systems. Customers could communicate their issues via email rather than paper forms.

Help desk agents could also send status updates and resolutions via email. Meanwhile, the actual implementation of help desk systems began in 1980, when the internet was first made available to the general public.

Many businesses began to outsource their customer service departments. In the 1990s, this resulted in widespread use of email and live chat systems.

In any case, the true invention of help desk software occurred in the 2000s, when businesses began to use various types of software packages to handle customer-service issues. This has since led to a massive increase in various helpdesk software programs including cloud solutions and in house software.


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Other related content from the agrtech glossary:

CIO (Chief Information Officer)

VOIP (Voice Over IP)

Cloud Computing

ERP Software

Project Management Software

Source(s) cited:

“Help desk software” Wikipedia, 14 Nov. 2015, Accessed 30 July 2021. Accessed 30 July 2021.