An Integrated Helpdesk and Task Management Solution – Deskun

Effective customer support and communication is important for customer retainment. Once an enterprise takes off, it is the returning client base that often secures good numbers at the end of the month.

Optimal support and constant back-and-forth with some clients requires an efficient system to deal with client queries. At the same time, general task management assistance is required.

You may want to have a look at dedicated special software or simply rely on the common sense of the coworkers and avoid extra software. The best of both worlds are helpdesks that integrate with the mailbox.

You get the necessary functionality without additional clunky bits of software.

Gmail is particularly good for this, with its Google Drive and extensive communication possibilities. Co-writing documents and making easily shareable spreadsheets is enjoyed by many already.

With integrated helpdesks, one can integrate all work-related content within one mailbox.

We discuss one such system here. Deskun is probably the most accessible solution around due to the ease of installation, lots of free features and a low price for extended functionality. Here is a quick rundown.

What you get for free is a nice set of advanced tools for working with emails. These features feel as if they should be part of out-of-the-box Gmail.

What they allow you to do is to better organise all your email-related work, and may thus prove useful to just about anyone.

Mail Tracking

When did the addressee read your email? Wondering if he has opened it at all? To find out, enable mail tracking while sending the message.

Deskun Screenshot- 001 Enabled Mailtracking

Then simply hover over the eye icon next to the title:

Deskun Screenshot-002 Tracked email

This will reveal the very first time and date the message has been opened by the addressee.

The same function can be accessed directly from within an open or edited thread. No need to go back to the main Gmail screen.

Send Later

Sometimes it is necessary to send an email real early in the morning. With the “send later” function it is possible to set up time and date of message dispatch and avoid the unpleasantness of waking up at an ungodly hour.

Message Reminders (Snooze)

If you cannot deal with a particular task mentioned in an email at the moment of opening, try snoozing it. Snoozed email will remind you of itself following a delay.

Choose the time you want to be reminded of it and the letter will appear as unread in the original folder at the set time. This is a neat way to keep track of important correspondence. Especially when facing multiple tasks at once.

Deskun Screenshot- 004 Snooze

Meanwhile, all the snoozed emails reside in the “Snoozed” folder, where you can access them at any moment. They also allow themselves to be un-snoozed and taken up from here.

005 Deskun snooze folder

Message Templates

Templates save you time if you need to send a bulk of similar messages. The Deskun Control Panel allows you to write your own templates including useful tags like {my_name}, {my_email} and others.

These allow to create flexible templates that can be used by any member of the team and in any foreseeable situation.

They can be accessed directly from within the open message:

006 Template is Gmail

All of those will certainly find some use and it’s free so there is no reason not to get it. Do you need the subscribing Deskun helpdesk though?

The full helpdesk service lets you run an actual support centre in Gmail. You can:

  • Tie any existing mailbox to Deskun and handle customer requests inside a dedicated Gmail interface
  • Organise people into workgroups, called queues, and organise their collaborative work
  • Set up automated responses and let the customers know their queries are being dealt with
  • Set priority and status for client queries
  • Make notes in the correspondence thread that can only be seen by your coworkers
  • Assign the tasks to particular colleagues

For a very low price, these features are available for any desired number of queues and agents.

How does all of this work?

Deskun uses a ticket-based system, whereby incoming messages can be turned into active tasks. These messages gain additional useful attributes and become tickets. The user then handles these tickets.

For example, a ticket will have a deadline, completion status and one or more support agents assigned to it.

These tickets can then be bounced around the team, prioritised or de-prioritised, resolved or put on hold until the necessary expert is around and free.

This is done to achieve better transparency and clarity of responsibility within the team.

Workgroups

These are needed to coordinate several people at once and direct their efforts toward a particular task. It’s quite handy to message and set tasks to several colleagues working as a group.

Thus you can divide the workflow between several departments.

To set one up, go to “Create New Project” in the Deskun Control Panel:

Deskun Screenshot- Create new project

Fill in as appropriate for a tech support service, for example. Add in some people from the support team. Beware that they will need Gmail accounts.

008 New project

Creation of a new project has also prompts creation of a new workgroup, or queue, as they are called here. You will need to choose the type of queue. These can be: task management, customer support or a custom one. These will have different settings. Much of these are explained in the selection menu:

These can be: task management, customer support or a custom one. These will have different settings. Much of these are explained in the selection menu:

009 Queue type

For customer support, choose appropriately.

Tie the group to the dedicated support mailbox. This action will turn all incoming customer queries into tickets that can be accessed by any member of the group.

0010 Shared mailbox

Here is what the customer support agent will see once the group is set up:

0011 Deskun folders in Gmail

Tickets

Let’s say you actually want these organised workgroups to do something. Create a new task (ticket) the way you would start a new email. You will see four new functions on the bottom of the edit window:

0012 Ticket view

These are used to 1. Choose the workgroup (queue) 2. Set priority 3. Assign an agent 4.Set the deadline.

Here is how an agent will then see it all:

0013 Ticket view agent perspective

Once a ticket is picked up by one of the agents in the queue, it becomes locked for every other agent. This way Deskun prevents several agents from taking up the same query. It can be unlocked later if needed.

In the ticket thread everyone can see the status, change it when the task is completed or make confidential notes in the very same ticket thread. If the query repeats itself in a month or two, the entire ticket history can be easily recovered.

The ticket can also be bounced to a different member of the team – perhaps one with more expertise in the subject matter.

That will also be reflected in ticket status and history. Thus if there is at any point the need to examine prior ticket history, it can be easily reviewed. Any particular agent’s responsibility and possible failure to meet such becomes obvious.

0014 Ticket history

As you can see, it is all pretty neat and clear. This comes back to the convenience of full Gmail integration. All the new task properties can be seen in one screen. There is no need for back and forth between different software suites, all necessary information is one click away.

Autoreplies

It is possible to set up automated responses to acknowledge that a client’s query is being dealt with. Saves the agents’ time and your money. An autoreply can be set up using a simple form. Naturally, flexible tags are also supported. Like this:

0015 Autoreply

Who will make the most out of Deskun?

With a system like Deskun it is possible to streamline customer support, as new tickets will be highlighted and picked up by the members of the team.

Deskun is particularly good for new businesses and freelance entrepreneurs. Its free features allow a self-employed person to keep organised and stay within one single mailbox.

The pricing for full functionality is then geometrically progressive. Smaller enterprises pay less, since channels and agents cost under a dollar per month. Again, very little reason not to get it.

How else might Deskun be useful?

  • Organising newsletters: if you work in any organisation and need to send out instructions or keep others in the loop
  • Editorial work. Alternatively, collaborative writing of texts will benefit from the notemaking functionality
  • Freelancers will enjoy the possibility to organise one’s work and appear more professional
  • Obviously, a managerial job is greatly simplified with workgroups and a transparent responsibility system
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About the Author Yuri Grechko

Yuri Grechko, 26 years old. Founder and CEO of Deskun. Yuri has more than 10 years of experience in the IT sphere and 5 years in startups. Yury and his team developed Deskun for company internal needs of a ticket system, integrated with Gmail. The result turned out to be an interesting project, and it was decided to make it commercial.

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