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Support Services Manager Hosting

Support Services Manager (also known as SSM) is a powerful helpdesk application that provides users with the ability to build a comprehensive knowledge base for support along with a richly-featured trouble-ticket customer support system. Depending on the version, SSM allows for integration of existing support desk, web community and knowledge base software within a single sign-on (SSO) environment.

It’s practically inevitable that at some point, whatever your industry is that you’ll most likely need a customer support system. Adding a ticket system and knowledge base to your site can provide a one-two punch of effective customer support and customer relationship building by ensuring constant contact with the customer during their issue (the ticket system) and an easy-to-use reference (the knowledge base) that will often help them solve their problem without needing to generate a ticket at all.

Whether it’s in house, on a commercial site, or somewhere in between, Support Services Manager can be the bridge that brings customers together with account information and management.

Meet SSM

A very popular software package that meets both of these needs is Support Services Manager (SSM), a free application written in the PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) scripting language. With SSM installed, users can register and create a ticket that begins an email chain with your support staff.

They can also bypass the website altogether and send an email to your designated support address, or even call in for help on the phone (your staff will create a ticket during the course of the support call).

Each ticket is assigned its own number and is tracked throughout the life of the associated issue. All parties (the customer, your support staff, your system administrator) can be set to receive regular updates via email when progress is made or questions are asked and answered. It is a very capable and flexible helpdesk software package that has is installed in many environments around the world.

SSM also supports the creation of a searchable, indexed knowledge base. This document is part product support encyclopedia and part Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet. Knowledge bases generally contain solutions to the most common issues and questions associated with your products and services, as well as in-depth answers for more complex ones.

SSM Benefits

An informed base of users means that questions and problems can get solved faster. Faster resolutions means satisfied customers, within your organizations and from beyond its four walls. The knowledge base and the ticket system work well in tandem, because you can easily adapt information learned from helping customers with hitherto-unseen issues for use in the knowledge base, and you can refer to your knowledge base with a quick link to answer customer questions on the fly. The knowledge base may take a little longer to set up than the ticketing system, but given its strong support for customer-directed self-assistance and its use as an archive for your support documentation, it’s worth the time and effort.

Organizations benefit from a helpdesk management software suite that acts as a web-based system, especially when it is hosted. Software like SSM can rank inquiries and classify interactions by the priority schedule you require. SSM helpdesk features then route these incidents and inquiries towards the appropriate department so that it can be resolved. SSM can also be the catalyst that reduces the amount of training that support staff requires. That’s because of the ability to classify and structure incidents as they come in and deal with them in a way that makes sense. SSM can be an important piece of the complete helpdesk department within an organization.

Choosing a Host for SSM

SSM can be downloaded and installed at various sites around the web.

SSM installs quickly, and is compatible with both Apache and IIS (i.e., Windows-driven) servers, and requires concurrent installation of MySQL and PHP, so make sure your hosting plan includes support for both of these techs as well.

The software is free, and shouldn't affect the price of your monthly hosting, but if you have a large number of databases, you may need to adjust your plan tier to accommodate additional data and bandwidth due to knowledge base access. Check with your host for details.

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