In a perfect world, no one would ever have problems with your product. In the real world, even the most well-designed product is going to have confused users.
So if your users are confused and need help, how can you get that help to them? A help desk. Help desk software lets you accept client queries, organize them, and respond in a streamlined manner.
And the Catchers Helpdesk plugin lets you bring that functionality right into your WordPress dashboard. And here’s the really cool thing about Catchers Helpdesk:
In addition to offering front-end ticket submission forms, it can also automatically convert emails into tickets. So every time someone emails firstname.lastname@example.org, you can automatically convert it into a ticket right in your WordPress dashboard. Cool, right?
In this review, I’ll go hands-on with the Catchers Helpdesk plugin and explore how it can help you accept and respond to tickets directly from WordPress. Let’s dive straight in…
What Does the Catchers Helpdesk Plugin Do?
Catchers Helpdesk sets you up with a full-service ticketing system. Users can either submit tickets from the front-end. Or, they can email you and the plugin will automatically convert those emails into tickets.
No matter how the ticket comes in, it will then show up as an active ticket in your WordPress dashboard. There, you can easily manage, respond to, or escalate any of the tickets.
Here’s everything you get with Catchers Helpdesk:
- Front-end ticket submissions – no need for your users to use the WordPress backend.
- Email fetching – the plugin will check an external email account and convert emails into tickets.
- Categorize tickets – create categories or tags to assign tickets to for better organization.
- Reply templates – easily respond to common questions with saved replies.
- Add floating ticket form widget – the widget appears in the bottom right of your website and allows visitors to quickly submit a ticket.
- Client management – see each client’s support history and details.
- Private notes – make private notes on a client’s history page to remember specific details about them.
- Filter tickets – quickly filter tickets by topic, client, status, and more.
- Custom fields – add custom fields to your ticket submission form if you need additional data.
- Contact form builder – includes a tool to build your contact form (though it’s fairly barebones).
Basically, Catchers aims to bring something like Zendesk into your WordPress dashboard.
Hands-on With the Catchers Helpdesk Plugin
As usual, I jumped into the plugin without reading any of the support docs. I like to go in with an empty mind so I can assess how user friendly the setup process is.
Running the Startup Wizard
Once you activate Catchers Helpdesk, it will set you up with a handy startup wizard to get the basic details configured.
First, you need to add your primary support email. This is where customers can email you questions if needed (remember, you’ll also be able to set up a dedicated front-end form).
Next, you need to configure your emails details so that the plugin can pull in tickets from your support email. You’ll need to enter your email server, port, and password. All these details are available in your hosting cPanel account.
Once you enter all of your details, the plugin lets you test the connection. Hopefully, you see a success message. That means the plugin was able to successfully connect to your email, a necessity for the cool email-to-ticket function it offers:
Finally, Catchers gives you the shortcode you’ll need to add your frontend submission form:
And that’s it for the setup! Let’s jump straight into creating some tickets.
Testing the Email Ticket Functionality
Ok, so after I ran the startup wizard, the first thing I was eager to check was whether or not the plugin would actually pick up an email and convert it to a ticket.
Success! I sent the email, chose to manually Get New Mail, and instantly saw my email converted into a ticket:
The plugin even pulls in the “From” name automatically to create a contact profile, which is a nice touch.
In the Settings page, you can choose how often the plugin checks for new emails. The default is one hour, but you can increase the frequency if desired. The minimum is every minute.
Testing the Frontend Submission Form
Next, I wanted to test the frontend submission form:
Everything worked perfectly. Again, the ticket instantly appeared in my dashboard:
As you can see, you might need some custom CSS to make the form look nice, at least with Twenty Seventeen. Something to remember!
Managing Tickets With Catchers Helpdesk
I already showed you the basic ticket dashboard in the screenshots above, but let’s dive into the individual ticket interface now:
As you can see, you’ll use the basic WordPress Editor to craft your responses. You can either choose to reply to the person or add a private note.
Additionally, if you’re responding to a common question, you can just select one of the Saved Replies instead of typing a brand new message from scratch.
You can also use this interface to change a ticket’s status or assign it to another user:
And at the bottom, you can view a log of all the actions for that ticket:
And when you respond to the ticket, users will get an email with your response:
Standard help desk stuff. But as you can see, everything is integrated well into the WordPress dashboard. You don’t need to leave WordPress to complete any of these actions.
Creating Saved Replies
Creating saved replies is easy thanks to a new custom post type. You just head to Tickets → Saved Replies and you can easily add one:
And then on the next screen, you can use macros to create a template. For example, you can have a template to automatically address customers by their first name and add their ticket number.
The macros are definitely a great time-saving feature.
Creating Categories and Tags
As I mentioned in the features, you can also create categories and tags to divvy up your tickets. They use the standard custom post type taxonomy interface, so everything is very simple:
You can add categories and tags in the individual ticket interface:
Adding Custom Fields and New Forms
You might’ve noticed that the default form is very barebones. You’ll probably want to collect more information from your customers so that you can better solve their problems. Thankfully, the plugin lets you add custom fields and rearrange your forms.
First, to add custom fields, you just head to Tickets → Custom Fields:
And then you can customize the field on the next page:
Once you have all the custom fields that you need, you can add them to your form using the Form Constructor:
While it’s not drag and drop, it’s pretty dang easy to use. All you need to do is select your new custom field from the drop down and Catchers Helpdesk will automatically insert it at the specified location.
Then, when you go back to the frontend, you should see your new custom field on the form:
Very easy to do. And it’s something you’ll almost definitely need in order to provide effective support.
Other Helpdesk Settings
Finally, in the Settings tab, you can configure a number of features. Here’s some what you can configure:
- Allow users to upload file attachments
- Choose a default person to assign tickets to
- Configure how often to check for incoming mail
- Add a ticket link to notification emails so people can open the ticket in their browser
- Enable help catcher – a small icon that lets readers easy submit ticket
How Much Does Catchers Helpdesk Cost?
Catchers Helpdesk sells for $29 at Code Canyon, which I think is a steal for all of the functionality that you get.
If you want to play around with the plugin before you open your wallet, you can check out their demo.
I think Catchers Helpdesk is a very well-built plugin. The signature feature – turning emails into tickets – worked perfectly in my testing. And the other features were all easy to set up and use.
There was only one thing I didn’t like. The ticket submission form is super ugly (in my theme, at least) and Catchers Helpdesk didn’t offer an easy way to style it. While you can add custom CSS to your theme to get around this issue, I think it would be nicer if the plugin included some styling in the Form Constructor.
Your ticket form needs good UX, so I think this feature would be a major improvement.
Other than that, I think Catchers Helpdesk is a great plugin.
Best of all, it’s a one-time expense, whereas if you go with something like Zendesk you’re going to be paying every month.
So, if you want to offer better support than just regular emails, give Catchers Helpdesk a try today.