If you run a service or sell a product then providing support is an essential part of doing your business online, inevitably you will acquire customers who need help at one point or another. One the best and easiest ways to provide support is via an online ticket system, they make it easy for a customer to seek help by opening a ticket and your support staff will find it easy to see new support requests and answer them in a timely fashion. They are my favourite method for getting support - you can open the ticket yourself, receive an email when it is updated and reply by email until the problem is fixed. A good ticket system will save them in an account so you can refer back to it should you need to, open the ticket again if you have a problem in future etc.
WordPress is a great platform to provide an online ticket system and one plugin which will help you create such a system is WPHelpDesk, the plugin will allow you to create a complete ticket support system with some great features such as :
- Integrated into WordPress Admin area
- Works with Your Favorite Contact Form Plugin
- Convert comments into Tickets
- Email Autosave
- Hooks and Filters
- Create public support forums
Pricing for WPHelpDesk starts at $97 for a one site license. In this review, we will take a look at how to install and configure the plugin for your site.
Once you have uploaded and activated the plugin, you will see a new menu item added named "Helpdesk", the first thing to do is visit "Config" where you can begin the plugin setup. Here you can choose a default agent ( you can add agents as normal WordPress users and then select them here ), choose text or HTML emails, setup your email template and email footer.
The "Incoming Mail" tab allows you setup your email provider info, you will need to provide the host, username, password and choose POP3 or IMAP.
The "Outgoing Mail" tab allows you to enter a from email address, from name and choose between SMTP or PHP Mail to handle outgoing emails.
Finally, the -"Email Templates" tab lists the emails which are sent out to your customers, it has "New Reply to your Ticket" and "New Ticket Created" which you can then customize to suit if required.
Adding to Front End of Your Site
Adding your helpdesk to the frontend of your site is an easy process, it is handled by shortcodes. To create a "submit ticket" page, create a new page on your site and add the following shortcode :
Which will look like this when viewed on your site :
You should also create a "View Tickets" page, which will list all the customers tickets. Again add a page and add the following shortcode :
Which will look like this on your site :
Viewing and Answering Tickets
When a ticket is submitted you will receive an email and the ticked will be listed under the "Tickets" section of the plugin like so :
Clicking through on the new ticket will show you the content of it and allow you to reply or close it, you also have controls to assign the ticket to a different user.
Your replies will be listed on the "View Tickets" page you created before:
The View Tickets page will show all customer tickets that have been submitted, along with a search feature so this can act as a sort of knowledge base for your customer also to help prevent questions being submitted that have already been answered.
Another good feature of this plugin is the ability to create "Saved Replies" which are replies to common questions, saving you having to type the same replies over and over. To create one of these simply visit the "Saved Replies" link and enter a title and reply and save it.
These replies are then available for operators to use via a dropdown in the reply editor:
WPHelpDesk is extremely easy to setup and use, it integrates easily with your existing site - simply creating two pages and adding shortcodes and I like the fact you can also integrate it with other form plugins like Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7 and so on. The interface uses the standard WordPress UI so your support agents will be familiar with it. The saved replies feature will be extremely useful! If you are looking for solid helpdesk solution for your site then check it out.