Choosing a support ticket system can be daunting, I know it was for us. There are a lot of great options out there and it comes down to finding the right fit for your business. Today we will take a look at how a support ticket system can help improve your business over using email alone, look at the options we considered and finally, give you an honest review of our chosen platform: Groove. We have been using Groove for over two months and have some feedback to share with you. Let’s get started with our Groove review!
Why Use a Support Ticketing System?
Before choosing to use a support ticket system, we worked entirely through email (Google Apps specifically). There never seemed to be an issue using Google Apps for our support. We were used to how Gmail looked and functioned and were familiar with our inbox. There was definitely some hesitancy in making a move because email just worked so well.
Then we added a new team member to help with supporting our clients. Should the new team member (Stan) just log into our one email account and start emailing clients on our behalf? That didn’t seem efficient nor transparent. So the search was on for a tool that would allow more than one person to take on tasks (otherwise known as tickets) as they came in. If you are doing support as one person, I do not see the need to go to a ticketing system as it does have some drawbacks compared to email alone. For a team, there is no other way to go. A support ticketing system will allow you to:
- Have a central inbox where all team members can join in conversations and reply to emails.
- Assign tasks to particular team members.
- Assign a priority to tasks.
- Add notes to tasks that the client does not see.
- Integrate with other third party apps and services.
What Are The Options?
This could be a whole post in itself, but I think it is worthwhile to quickly look at the options we considered as it might help you find a better solution if Groove is not a good fit for your company.
ZenDesk is one of the biggest players in the support desk market. However, their product has become bloated and expensive over time and is not a good option for most teams because of their pricing structure.
FreshDesk was a very close second place finisher for us. They have a ton of awesome features, but it tended to feel cumbersome and was not fun to use like Groove. If you are looking for the most features and customization, take a look at FreshDesk.
We were looking for a solution that was most like email – we wanted to keep support as personal and simple as possible. HelpScout fit that bill. It is the most similar tool to Groove, but we decided Groove just felt right. HelpScout may be the one that feels right for you.
Our Groove Review
When I started wpONcall in 2013, it was just me, myself and I. Google Apps worked great for handling support requests from clients. I was very familiar with the Gmail interface and kept my inbox well organized. I did not see a need for an entire support system.
Then, at the beginning of this year, I hired a team member to help with the workload of tickets and give better support. I quickly realized that a support ticket system was necessary to handle tasks between a team. With a support system, clients could email a “support” email instead of my personal email address. The email then becomes a ticket that either Stan or I can take over (or assign to the other person).
The biggest factor in choosing Groove was the look and feel of its interface and the simplicity of interacting with the system. Everything just makes sense and it takes no time to get up and running. The simplicity and layout of the dashboard does not stress you out with too many options or possible actions.
We love being able to see the recent activity on the right column and any pending tickets on the left. It is easy to see who a ticket is assigned to and whether or not a note has been left on a ticket. Once you click on a ticket to respond, Groove makes it easy to see the status, assign the ticket, or set a priority to the ticket:
When you get to work and start responding to a client, the input box looks like this:
Looks familiar, right? Everything works just like an email, with the awesome exception that you can add a note to the ticket that your client won’t see. This can be helpful when you want to give direction on an issue that does not need to involve the client. You can also assign the ticket from here as you send a reply (or submit a note), and set the status of the ticket in one click. The one thing that I think can be improved is the placement of the “tags” icon. I repeatedly find myself adding a new tag because I clicked near the icon when I am really trying to respond to a ticket in the main text area.
A great thing about Groove is how easy it is to select the email notifications that you want. They have set it up in a way that just makes sense. The page simply says, “Email Me When”:
At first, I had a notification come to my email for just about everything. But now I am using Slack to see notifications of new tickets, so I no longer need to fill my inbox with notifications.
There are a ton of apps that Groove has made integrations with. Since I have signed up, they have continued to add new apps, which is a great thing to see. Here is a overview shot of the app integrations available:
Our favorite integration so far is “Slack”, which feeds ticket notifications in to our Slack feed. This has been a great way to see how Stan is doing answering tickets and also a great way for him to learn how I expect support to be handled. You cannot reply directly in Slack, but you can click the link to the ticket to be brought straight into the Groove app.
We have not tried everything out, but the possibilities are endless, especially with the Zapier integration. The knowledgebase app is something we plan to use in the future, we just haven’t had the time to focus on building it out.
I have been disappointed in the iPhone app, hoping it would make answering tickets on the go a lot easier. Unfortunately, the app looks terribly outdated and the interface is hard to use. It is better to stick to the desktop site when dealing with tickets. I do hear, however, that a new app is in the works.
Reports are a great way to see how your support is performing and to make sure you’re being timely in your responses. In Groove, the reports look like this:
The problem with these reports is that some of this time falls outside of our normal business hours. We work from 9am to 5pm PST, so when a ticket comes in at 5:15 PM, the reports are factoring all the time the ticket is sitting there outside of our normal hours. It would be nice to be able to set our hours in Groove and then have the stats reflect the time we are actually available to respond back.
Reports do show client satisfaction votes (which we will show in the next section), but we have not had a huge adoption of this feature by our clients. Overall, reports have been less useful than I first thought they would.
How Your Clients See Groove
If you want your support to look exactly like a normal email, Groove is a great choice. It was important to us that there were no ticket numbers or new accounts that needed to be created for our clients. When we started using Groove, we told our clients to use a new email address and that was it. You could even keep using your personal email address and forward it into Groove.
Options like FreshDesk required changing a lot of settings to keep things feeling like email, whereas Groove is designed to work this way from the start. The only thing added to our email (by choice) was customer satisfaction ratings. This is what they look like:
This has been a tool that is rarely used by our clients, but it is a good system to learn how we are doing or if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
The Groove Team and Their Support
What is a Groove review without taking a look at their own support and how they respond to questions and requests? In our time using Groove we have had nothing but good experiences with their support. They respond quickly and really show that they care about their clients. I have even had suggestions to their interface, which they listened to and actually changed (although probably not a direct result of my suggestion).
The only thing that would make their support better is to offer phone support. With FreshDesk, I had an account rep that followed up with me and was available for any questions.
Groove Review Conclusion
Groove has been a great tool to help us organize and assign tickets with our team. It has proved to be reliable and fun to use, which is important when choosing a support system. Other tools we used just seemed to get in the way. Groove strips out the things you don’t need and lets you add integrations when you need additional functionality.
Pricing is right on par with other options at $15 per team member per month. They also offer a 10% discount on yearly signups, which is nice.
Groove is a fairly young product compared to other support systems, but I think they have the edge in simplicity and usability. It just works. I see a lot of companies using HelpScout, but I think they would be well served by checking out what Groove has to offer.
What are your experiences with Groove or is there another platform you prefer?
Great review, i am currently deciding between a few helpdesk tools including groove and helpscout,
We (as a multi-language) company prefer to have the satisfaction rating translated which is possible with helpscout and not with groove,
But to our biggest surprise, none of these two have applications or even a responsive layout so using their features (pre-defines replies, team collab) etc isnt possible when replying using the email reply integration feature they have, how did you solve this since I assume you also use mobile phones to reply to emails..?
Thanks for your comment!
I have not been using the satisfaction rating in Groove as I did not find it that useful. That’s a bummer it can’t be translated.
I was also surprised about the lack of mobile support for both. Groove does have an app (on iPhone at least) that I use, but it is severely lacking. I even have trouble just assigning a ticket from the app. However, I have seen updates from Groove saying that their new app is almost ready and it is the main thing they are working on. I am hoping it is a big improvement. I don’t know about HelpScout.
For the time being, we are just using the desktop interface, which works with our workflow since we are working on sites on desktop already. Hope that helps!
Kevin, I enjoyed the review! Now that it’s been nearly 18 months since your comment about the app I’m curious if things have changed? I’m shopping help desk software, however we need to do at least half of our service on mobile devices (iphone, android, and ipad). The mobile part is very important. Also, we need a very robust FB integration because a huge amount of our customer communication is now through FB. I need to be able to manage it like I’m on FB but have ticketing type abilities to keep up with conversations. It feels like we are pulled in many directions live chat, FB (page, profile, and a group), Instagram, email and can’t seem to find a software that can manage it all….but if I can get chat, FB page, and email set up good that will solve the bulk.
I’d appreciate your current thoughts on the Groove app….and Groove in general if it’s changed. I’m also looking at Frontapp.Com since they are starting beta mobile apps.
Thanks for your comment.
It was a very long time coming, but Groove actually just launched their mobile website interface. It is well done, but there is still no native app available. At least for now, it is possible to respond to a ticket or change a status. You can read more about their mobile interface here: https://www.groovehq.com/better/mobile
There is a Twitter and Facebook integration with Groove, but it is not something we use or I can comment on.
I have been generally happy with Groove since writing this review, although I was disappointed in how long it took to get the mobile version out. They did announce that they are increasing their pricing to $19 per user, which I think is high for what you are getting. We may start looking into other options when our renewal is up. Hope that helps!