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How to Operate a Helpdesk Inside Slack

Helpdesks softwares have been around for a long while – understandably so. Also called "ticketing systems" or "issue trackers", they streamline communication between users in need of support and the actual support teams, and can be used in a wide range of scenarios, such as tech or infrastructure support.

However, traditional helpdesk applications have always struggled with user experience. Creating requests often requires opening up a new application, and makes the requester feel more like a petitioner than a valued client. This is why implementing a helpdesk right inside the chat application Slack can be incredibly helpful. It's the place where your users are communicating already, so they will feel right at home. And because helpdesks inside Slack are immediately accessible, users are way more willing to use them, instead of just chatting with their favorite support agent in person.

Simply follow these steps:

  1. 1

    Think about which helpdesks you would like to offer.

    You may already have a tech helpdesk for credentials, device replacements and other support requests. That's a great idea, and a great match for Slack. But there are many other less obvious areas that can also significantly benefit from a helpdesk solution, such as infrastructure services ("I need a key for the meeting room!"), HR ("Could you please update my address in my employee record?") and other centralized services in your company like Marketing ("Could you please provide me our new logo as SVG?").

    In general, Slack is especially well suited for internal helpdesks, where both requesters and support agents are already using Slack.

  2. 2

    Define support teams and think about confidentiality.

    Each helpdesk is only as good as the team behind it. In some settings, there may only be a single agent powering the helpdesk, but usually you want to have a larger team to cover vacations and other absences. If possible, you may also want to team up employees from various time zones to ensure low response times.

    Looking at confidentiality, helpdesks traditionally have mostly been looking like a black box to outside users. They throw in their request and eventually receive support, but don't know what's going on inside, and especially cannot see requests from others. This still makes sense in many settings, especially when personal data or credentials are being dealt with. However, there may also be reasons to make your helpdesk public. By being able to view both requests and responses, you empower your employees to help themselves, and avoid duplicate requests.

  3. 3

    Set up your helpdesk inside Slack.

    Now that you have made all initial considerations, it's time to set up your helpdesk inside Slack. There are two ways to do so.

    Either, you can rely on native Slack functionality, i.e. use the features that are included with Slack already. To do so, you set up a channel for each helpdesk – e.g. #tech_helpdesk – and invite your support team, using the channel title and purpose to convey its meaning to your entire team. All tickets will be public, and you will have to rely on the discipline of your users to keep the channel tidy.

    For a more reliable, safe and tidy setup, you may want to rely on a Slack extension such as Sidequest for Slack. Sidequest enables you to receive support tickets in private channels, document status changes and request-based communication and serves as a single point of truth. All functionality is available right inside Slack, both on mobile and desktop devices. You can use Sidequest to create and operate up to 100 helpdesk channels in your Slack workspace.

How Sidequest Supports Your Slack Helpdesk

Allow Your Users to Submit Requests to Private Helpdesks

Sidequest allows your users to submit requests to closed helpdesk channels that they cannot enter themselves. Keep private data confidential, and still ensure easy communication.

Selecting the recipient for a Sidequest.The Sidequest App Home Screen.

Clear Responsibilities, Clean Presentation

Sidequest tracks helpdesk channel assignments, so agents immediately know who is working on which ticket. On top, a custom UI inside Slack makes sure everybody is aware of their pending tasks.

10 Minute Tour

Discover how to use the most important features of Sidequest.