How to track all of the things


I have a work problem that I’m sure must have been solved multiple times and I’m hoping one of those solutions fits.

When we get a customer enquiry, we need to make sure it gets attended to in the pre-agreed manner and not ignored or forgotten. People sometimes need to be encouraged to meet their obligations. Important enquiries require a multi-step response that might be carried out by any combination of the three people involved. In this case it’s two business owners and an admin person across two locations.

Even though we’ve been doing this for years, we are, if anything, getting worse at it. Maybe it’s a memory related thing or maybe that we’re a bit less enthusiastic but whatever it is, we need to do better.

It seems like some kind of help desk ticket system might be good - I don’t know lots of details but I’ve heard of things like ZenDesk, but we are nowhere near big enough to afford something like that.

So, I guess the questions are:
What kind of software do we need to for this?
Which particular package might suit a small business operating in two locations?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and apologies if I haven’t explained it well. Feel free to seek clarification.


You might find something at depending on the format you are either familiar or comfortable with.

Most scripts have links to demo versions, IIRC, so you can play with it a bit.


ZenDesk is really good, and there’s multiple commercial tiers depending on the size of your business. We use it for a helpdesk team of about 10. I haven’t used Autotask but hear it’s very good, and I’ve used ConnectWise in the past but it’s pretty OTT for what you’re talking about I think.

I guess you need to weigh up the cost of not meeting your SLAs with the cost of subscribing to something like ZenDesk.


I really dislike Autotask. We used it at my old job. I found it slow and clunky, it’s Outlook/Exchange/Office 365 synchronisation flakey at best, it’s interface dated and its iOS apps neglected.

Current job we use Kayoko which isn’t perfect, but I like it more than Autotask. When I get some time I’d like to look into Helpspot a bit.

Best ticketing system I’ve used was one called Track It! But that was almost 15 years ago now, I have no idea what it’s like now.


Haven’t used it for the past 4 months but to be fair, it was slowly improving. Still a long way to go though.


[quote=“gehenna, post:4, topic:2988, full:true”]
ZenDesk is really good, and there’s multiple commercial tiers depending on the size of your business.[/quote]I actually went and had a proper look at their site and they do have some lower cost options than what I previously realised.

I guess you need to weigh up the cost of not meeting your SLAs…[/quote]Not sure what that is. Do you mean Service Level Agreement? Not something we have if so.

The pre-agreed bit is all internal and the problem is that people get handed something, get busy and sometimes don’t follow it up. Once I’ve handed off, there’s no simple way for me to follow up what’s been done. I want to be able to do it in such a way that is harder for all of us to ignore.

The costs for us are actually a bit hard to define. Making sure we don’t let any enquiries slip through the cracks doesn’t guarantee us the business, but missing them guarantees we won’t get it. I really don’t like handing too many opportunities to my competitors and making sure we execute as well as we can is what I’m aiming for.

Looking at Angus’ info about integration, and for those with experience ZenDesk, does it play well with the kind of tools you might find on the average work Mac? Does it need to?

Thanks for all the answers. Appreciate the input.


Given it’s web based I’ve never had any issues. We don’t really integrate it with anything although I’ve been playing around with the API’s a bit for running some custom reports. The iOS app is really good too btw.


This is probably not the answer you’re looking for, and others here may disagree, but what I would concentrate on first is what process you are looking to implement. Then look for the best technology to achieve that process. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen businesses and Government Departments spend money on technology expecting it to be the great panacea, when they haven’t taken the time to define what it is they are trying to achieve first.

Conversely if you take the time to map out a process that achieves your business objectives, that is clearly articulated so all your staff can follow it, then you can sometimes find that a simple spreadsheet, or even pen and paper can achieve the same results as expensive software.

So for example:

Is the pre-agreed manner thoroughly documented with clearly defined roles, and is that what you want the software to support? Or are you more looking for software to help you overcome the ignored or forgotten bit.

Are you looking for a collaborative tool that will allow all involved to work with a customer beyond the initial enquiry?

Answering these and other questions on what you are trying to achieve is important if you’re to find the right piece of software to help you.

My 2 bob based on 30 years experience in IT working on various IT projects. Whichever way you decide to go, good luck.


No, you’re absolutely on the right track and I think this is what I’ve done, though possibly not well, and this is the point I’ve got to - that some kind of help desk ticket system might be useful for us.

Yeah, we have tried a lot of different ways of doing it over the years. Everything from whiteboards to checklists in various formats to carrier pigeons.

The major issue I’m trying to address now is that, say, I get an enquiry, work out what action needs taking and email it to my business partner (who only rarely works in the same office as me) for action. Problem is I then forget because I’ve had another call 10 minutes later and again and again all day and I lose track of it. I need a way to keep track of these things so I can see what’s been done and then work out how to deal with things taking too long. I also need to be able to offload tasks onto our admin person once certain things have been done.

Yeah, that’s the main aim. The issue is absolutely a human one and I am trying to solve it technologically, which I realise isn’t necessarily the ideal way, but I actually can’t get get my business partner, who is also a good mate, to change his ways. He works really hard already and would like me to come up with something that doesn’t add to his workload unnecessarily.

I’m not certain a help desk type ticketing system is the go, but I thought it could be a reasonable next step to try.