What is a help desk? UnionOS – The Only Help Desk and Ticketing System Designed for Multi-Employer Trade Unions - Blog

Inside Union Dev

Union Dev's Blog for technology, cloud-computing, modern unions, and member success content.

What is a help desk?

Whether you’re a manager or administrator, struggling to complete internal union tasks, or a member that may have forgotten your password and can’t get into your account, it can be frustrating when you are unable to get immediate help when you need it.

In a world where time is the most valuable commodity, everyone in the union and working with the union should expect a seamless support experience that makes them a top priority.

While some unions will survive for now using phone and slow email times to respond to support matters, modern unions will not overlook the importance of a great member experience and utilize a help desk to their fullest potential.

But to do so, your best chances of success with a help desk is to not only have and implement one – it’s to really understand what a help desk means for your union and make sure your support administrators are equipped with the tools they need to get the job done well. Do you have what it takes to lead a modern union?

Take tangible steps to achieve a modern union

Transform how your union supports it's members with UnionOS.

Learn more

Help desk definition

A help desk is a piece of software used by a central support team within the union, providing support for all aspects of the union, both internally and externally. 

A help desk is a centralized tool for managing incoming member issues. A help desk lets you organize and record ongoing member issues and provides a reference point for your member-facing teams. Help desks also let you track efficiency metrics to manage the performance of your member-facing team, things like response time, ticket volume, first resolution time, and how many tickets are in which stage of resolution.

What does a help desk do? 

There are many different names and definitions of a help desk, all influenced by how a help desk is being used at the time. The most common use for a help desk is to provide IT or technical support, either externally or internally within the union. Some broaden a help desk to encompass customer support or customer service, while others will be referring to the actual software that someone would interact with when they are getting support.

A help desk can mean a multitude of things depending on what your union may use it for, but it all goes back to the basic principle of helping the people of the union and providing a place to go where they can get help, whenever they need it.

Why would you use a help desk? 

Why do people use a help desk? No matter the size of the union, it’s likely that you have multiple people interacting with members directly every day. Different departments mean different email accounts, with multiple different people. It can be difficult to keep track of who is already speaking with a member.

A help desk can bring everyone together into one clean and organized interface. A help desk system will allow different conversations to be tracked and used for more context in the support experience.

How a help desk can help you 

Let me know if this sounds familiar:

"I just got off the phone with a really frustrated member who said he has sent in paperwork to our office three times in order to get his beneficiary information changed, but he said nothing has changed."

The member is reasonably frustrated. Now it's impossible to tell if he did what we said in sending the paperwork in properly, or if the admin at the union dropped the ball on this one. Regardless, there needs to be a solution to make sure this doesn’t happen.

If you’re looking to up your game when it comes to member services, implementing a help desk can help in many ways. 

Support all in one place

There’s nothing worse than calling in to get support, starting in one place and being forwarded from one person to the next, trying to find someone who can help you with your request. Having a help desk will allow you to support multiple support channels – like email and phone – all in one place. With a help desk, you will be able to easily transfer a member from one channel to the next smoothly.

Increased member satisfaction

Member satisfaction is something that no union should ignore  - every union’s job is to provide value to their members, and satisfied members that receive quick and easy solutions to their problems is one of the most important benefits of a help desk.

Increased employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction shouldn’t be overlooked when thinking about providing a great support experience. If union support agents must jump through hoops or take more than a few unnecessary steps to provide support to a member, it takes time away from everyone involved and support experiences will suffer.

Grow and scale your union better

This one is a given – but we had to include it. Happy members + happy employees = 10-star support experience. Growing your union will be a lot easier when you have members and employees who truly feel appreciated and supported. A help desk will allow you to grow and scale, aiding with support matters both externally and internally.

Help desk functions/ capabilities

What are the characteristics of a good help desk?

1. Having the right people for the job

Just like any other piece of software or system, it only works as well as the people behind it. Support services will always be human-centric, so having the right people on your support team can make a world of difference. You want them to be empathetic, fun, and excited to help. A support team that combines both human skills and modern technology is a recipe for great success.

2. Omnichannel support

What do we mean by omnichannel support? Helpshift.com can help us answer this question simply.

“…omnichannel support is a customer service model that allows customers to reach brands on a variety of communication channels, from traditional phone support to email, social media, live chat, and more.”

Basically, it means that your team can track and respond to every ticket they receive - from anywhere, no matter where the member started the conversation.

3. A robust ticketing management and tracking system

The backbone of a help desk is the efficient management and tracking of tickets. A good ticketing system brings together all support requests and allows support teams to organize, collaborate on complex issues and monitor tickets from start to finish.  

You can create member conversations into support tickets with the use of help desk software. When a conversation becomes a ticket, you support team will be able to:

  • Track, manage, and prioritize conversations quickly and effectively with tools like automated triggers and workflows
  • Integrate your help desk with email to collaborate on tickets across departments
  • Assign tickets to agents based on expertise
  • Gain insight into member data from ticket conversations

4. Collaboration features

Whether you have a small team or a larger one, collaboration between agents is a must when running a successful help desk. Maybe someone has opened a conversation and needs input from multiple different sources, spanning across multiple days. A collaboration tool will help keep everyone on the same page and prevent any member ticket from getting lost while also reducing the number of times the member needs be transferred, leading to a faster resolution.

5. Security and compliance features: give the right access to the right people

Privacy is number one when it comes to the security of a help desk system. Private member information is stored in your help desk, with a team of people accessing it so you’ll want to look for a tool that has role-based permissions to limit the access to only those who need it.

Enhance your data security by giving the right access to the right people. Agents can only view or work on tasks and issues that are relevant to them with multiple levels of access permissions.

6. Quick Access to Reporting and Metrics

A help desk can provide great insights on your member, everything from common problems and pain points to which departments need more development. See how support teams are performing as well as the satisfaction level of your members, too.

Maybe the board wants to see how quickly tickets are getting resolved, or how members are rating their satisfaction level with their union. Turn metrics into reports with software that allows you to share with the higher-ups. 

7. Member feedback

Member feedback is essential to keeping a successful help desk running. Feedback loops can be built into the process by allowing support teams to automatically reach out to members after they have resolved an issue to evaluate how well they have done.

8.  Self-service (knowledge base)

Empower members to find answers for themselves using a knowledge base, community forum or FAQ page. Stay one step ahead and help members before they have to reach out to have someone answer their question. This will allow support teams to focus on the more difficult questions and queries without having to handle password reset requests all day. 

A knowledge base can also be beneficial when used internally. It gives agents a central place that they can refer to for processes to follow as well as guides to troubleshooting all sorts of common scenarios.

9. Mobile Support

Some help desk systems will have a mobile app with the ability to create, edit, pick up, assign, and resolve tickets on the go. With the ability to keep a conversation going with a member through different channels and reply from within the app, you can keep track of the ticket’s progress all from your device.

10. Easy Integrations

Getting a help desk ticketing system that integrates with your existing internal systems, like a CRM or Member Portal, makes collaborating easier.

How to choose the best help desk software for your union

Outdated and inefficient tools like shared email accounts, spreadsheets, and call centers can interfere with providing excellent support.

With the right help desk system, you can equip your union with everything it needs to provide fast, efficient, and personalized support, both externally and internally. 

And while the type of help desk that’s best for your union will depend on the specific needs of your members and employees, there are a few things you can keep in mind when browsing for a help desk solution. 

  • Ability to work anywhere – Cloud-based help desks operate and store data on servers, giving you the ability to transition to a remote work environment whenever. This gives you the flexibility to resolve issues anywhere, anytime.
  • Scalability – define what great customer service means for your union and then go for a help desk that can match the growing needs of your union, futureproofing to help you manage member communications and collaborate with departments efficiently and effectively.

An effective help desk enables a union to provide a great support experience, driving satisfaction and loyalty.

Want to see help desk in action?

A good help desk system should make it easy for your union to handle member queries efficiently and create an exceptional support experience. Choosing software that helps you do this can be challenging because every union is different. Whatever you choose should adapt to your processes so that it’s easy for departments and team members to navigate and respond to member issues quickly.

The right helpdesk will help you create a consistent quality of member service.

Schedule a time to chat and we can show you all about the Help Desk and Ticketing Software made specifically for unions.


Low Code Vs. Traditional Code Software - What is Right for You?

Low Code Vs. Traditional Code Software - What is Right for You?

The biggest question we see when selecting a new vendor for union management or benefits administrat...

Read More >
How to Handle Union Dues on T4s for Canadian Unions

How to Handle Union Dues on T4s for Canadian Unions

How to Handle Union Dues on T4s for Canadian Locals

Read More >
10 Advantages of Cloud Software for Unions

10 Advantages of Cloud Software for Unions

Discover the transformative power of Union.dev's cloud software for unions with our exploration ...

Read More >
Is your union ready for self-administration?

Is your union ready for self-administration?

Covered in the article: The history of pension administration The benefits of self-administration ...

Read More >
A Step-by-Step Guide on Retiring a Member Using Union.dev's Pension Reporting System

A Step-by-Step Guide on Retiring a Member Using Union.dev's Pension Reporting System

Discover the simplicity and efficiency of retiring a member using Union.dev's Pension Reporting ...

Read More >
How to Serve Union Members Better

How to Serve Union Members Better

Unions have been around for centuries, and in that time they have helped to bring about some of the ...

Read More >