Product Reviews

Help for the Help Desk: HelpStar 7.0 Professional

Keep track of support requests with one of these packages.


There are times during an installation of new software that you have to stop and just admire the care for detail that went into the procedure. That is how I felt when I began to install HelpStar 7.0. I knew from reading the accompanying literature that HelpStar 7.0 had many features that help desk or support engineers, their clients and their managers would be interested in, and I was anxious to start using the package right away. I fall into one of the above three categories, in that I am director of client services for a software development company. I know first-hand how important support is for an organization and also how the appropriate help desk software can boost productivity and customer satisfaction.

I installed HelpStar to work with a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 installation that I already had available. Otherwise, I could have opted for a version that installed and used MSDE. HelpStar created the database and copied the installation files; then, it presented me with an option to load my new HelpStar database with my data. I was anticipating hours of meticulous data entry. The process, however, was very straightforward thanks to the wizards that stepped me through each step and explained how the data I was keying was interrelated. For example, when adding users, I got an understanding of what a user was to HelpStar: either an internal user, who was most likely a support engineer with security privileges higher than an external user, or client, who might only be able to create incidents. Inside of 10 minutes I was already working within HelpStar's client application (self-described as being Microsoft Outlookish) and adding support cases. There is a bar on the left, for instance, that is similar to the Outlook Bar, which contains buttons to indicate which support cases are overdue or "In Queue' as opposed to "In Dispatch." Having a receptionist or call-taker area for logging is a small but nice touch. This way the customer receives a real person instead of a voice mail system.

HelpSTAR 7.0
The HelpSTAR interface will be comfortable for anyone familiar with Outlook.

HelpStar contains other features that I consider as standard for help desk software: auto-escalation, a Web interface that supports internal and external clients, and a comprehensive reporting engine. The only thing that I honestly did not like about HelpStar was the StarWatch application that runs in tandem with the client application and handles tasks like the auto-escalation. It does the job of a service but it has a GUI. I found that a little odd. Still, HelpStar is a well-rounded and well-designed application with good documentation and an easy-to-learn interface that will be utilized to its full potential.

About the Author

Rodney Landrum is an MCSE working as a data analyst and systems engineer for a software development company in Pensacola, Florida.  He has a new book from Apress entitled ProSQL Server Reporting Services.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 California Instructor

Software has problems. Many features but not well implemented. Company seems to want to make money on consulting, not licensing software. Stay Away!

Tue, Dec 20, 2005 Anonymous Cedar Rapids, IA

I have used Helpstar for about 1 year now and it has been a wonderful asset. Comparing this product to many others out there, it is top notch. It is true that you will corrispond via email with Helpstar's tech support, but they have always come back with an answer for me. And you can always call in your request to Helpstar Dispatch. In the year I have used the product, we have never had a database problem and are up to over 8000 closed requests. I HIGHLY reccommend this product.

Tue, Jun 14, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

Fantastic Product...BETTER than REMEDY, QUETZAL, TOUCHPAPER and I've used them all!!

Wed, Feb 11, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Thanks!

Sat, Nov 29, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Online support provided resolution in less than 45 minutes.

Thu, Nov 20, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Very poor tech support. Never responde with an answer or suggestion.

Fri, Sep 5, 2003 Darrel Ventura, CA

Used for years, great value - feature rich and good customer service.

Sun, Aug 31, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

HelpStar support always wants a full copy of your database in order to work on database problems created by their software.

Mon, Jul 21, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Don't plan on getting a fast resolution to any problem you have with this product. You will get non-informative e-mail from HelpStar support in about one day. You MAY get a return telephone call in about one week if you e-mail complaints to them for the entire one week.

Thu, Jun 19, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

database corrupts easily; helpstar support mostly interested in closing their trouble tickets and trying to charge you for service, not resolving the problem.

Thu, Apr 17, 2003 helmut Anonymous

Robust produkt. Excellent price.

Sun, Nov 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Really powerful and very easy to set up. Using MSDE sql back end which came with the product and never had a database problem.

Thu, Sep 12, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

corrupted it's own database... helpstar tech support was unable to help

Thu, Sep 12, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

many bugs not being addressed
not database portable
web component is slow and not browser independant

Thu, Jun 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Very good, quick and easy to use!

Wed, Jun 19, 2002 Steve Anonymous

Excellent product!

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