How to Set up a WordPress HelpDesk Support System for Free?

If you have set up a store (online or offline) to sell products or offer a service, you must have realized that customer support is one of the crucial factors in growing your business. If you have not, think again, as a number of surveys tell us how customer support affects your brand value and how poor customer service has affected billions of dollars in business.

To grow your business incrementally, you need to provide top-class customer support. As it turns out, according to a survey, around 75% of loyal customers are most likely to recommend a brand to others. Hence, you need to take care of the requirements of each customer as well as potential customers.

In this article, we will learn about Helpdesk and how to set up a WordPress Helpdesk System for free.

Need for Helpdesk

While starting out as a new business, email support can be reasonable, but in the long run, it might not work out. Hence a dedicated helpdesk support system is the appropriate way to manage customer support. Helpdesk (also known as Customer Support Desk, IT Helpdesk, Support Ticket System, and many other names) provides a better experience for both site owners and customers to communicate efficiently, as better customer experience leads to recommendations. Your positive effort on one customer could earn more recommendations, eventually earning you more customers.

So how does a WordPress Helpdesk work?

Most of the WordPress Helpdesk you see on the market are based on a “Ticketing” system. Which means, the customer queries are treated as tickets, by assigning ticket numbers to them. The tickets are tracked and managed using the ticket number (or ticket IDs).

When a customer raises a query, say using a customer support form, the query is assigned a ticket number in the helpdesk system. The customer support agent in the back-end manages the ticket himself or assigns to other support agents based on the requirement of the ticket.

If you have a WordPress site, you must have come across a lot of free plugins for customer support. One such plugin that has been a customer favorite is the ELEX WordPress Helpdesk Plugin – WSDesk (Free Version).

Free WordPress Helpdesk Support System | WSDesk - ELEX WordPress Helpdesk Plugin
WSDesk – ELEX WordPress Helpdesk Plugin

Why WSDesk is considered as the Best Free WordPress HelpDesk Ticketing Plugin?

Following are some of the highlights:

  • Easy ticket creation with better form design – WSDesk provides intuitive form elements that make it easier for customers to raise support tickets. Tickets can also be created from Agent’s side in the Tickets dashboard.
  • Managing tickets easily with an organized view – Tickets are well organized using ‘Ticket Views’. WSDesk comes with a default ticket view section to view tickets based on ticket status (Unsolved, Solved, and Pending), WSDesk Agents, Tickets Tags, and Type of Users (Registered and Unregistered).
  • Email Piping – This feature is offered as a premium feature in most of the other ticketing plugins, unlike WSDesk. With the email piping feature, you can convert your emails into WSDesk tickets easily.
  • Unlimited Agents & Tickets – One of the many advantages of WSDesk over other helpdesk ticketing plugin is the creation of unlimited agents and tickets. While other plugins cap the number of agent profiles and ticket limit, WSDesk gives you unrestricted benefit.
  • Customized Automated Email Response – If you have of support tickets to handle, why not automate some response for common queries? The canned responses help agents use predefined replies to respond to customer queries faster.
  • Simple User Interface – WSDesk is a light-weight plugin as it is AJAX-based. Hence, you do not need to load page every time when you make changes in the settings and Tickets dashboard. This makes the user experience quicker and smoother.
  • Email filtering and blocking – You can filter out unnecessary emails and users by blocking required email addresses. All in Free version!
  • Attachments – While other helpdesk plugins allow you to accept only single attachment file, WSDesk allows multiple attachments.
  • Agent performance report – It is wise to look back at the work you have done, as it gives proper perspective to what’s working well and whatnot. Hence, the ‘Report’ dashboard shows the performance of all the agents, positive and negative feedback from customers, the current status of tickets, and so on.

We have discussed the above advantages in detail of WSDesk in another blog article.

Setting up WordPress Helpdesk Support System with WSDesk

Follow the below steps.

1. Downloading and Installing the WSDesk plugin

You can download the free version of WSDesk and install it on your WordPress site. The installation procedure is pretty straight-forward. You can read the ELEX plugin installation article for reference.

After you have installed and activated the plugin, WSDesk shows a ‘Quick Setup Wizard’ that will help you set up some core settings of the plugin. You can read this article for a detailed explanation of this quick setup wizard.

2. Creating Agent Profiles

The first step is to create agent profiles. WSDesk provides two types of roles: WSDesk Agent and WSDesk Supervisor. You can either create a new WordPress user or choose an existing user, and assign the WSDesk role. You can also tweak the rights of the WSDesk role based on your preference. Additionally, you can assign ticket tags to them, based on which the tickets will be automatically assigned to the agents.

Free WordPress Helpdesk Support System | Adding WSDesk Agent Profile
Adding WSDesk Agent Profile

For a detailed explanation of agent profiles in WSDesk, read the Agents section from the product documentation.

3. Creating Ticket Fields

Ticket fields are input fields in the support form that accept customer information. The input field includes Textbox, Selection list, Radio button, Password, Checkbox, Attachment, Number, and so on. The WSDesk support form must include the three default ticket fields – Email, Subject, and Description.

WSDEsk form setting

Read the Ticket Fields section of the product documentation for a detailed explanation.

4. Customize Form Settings

The form settings allow you to customize the width of the form elements, change the title for support form and its elements, and change the title for support form button and its elements, as shown in the screenshot below.

WSDesk Form Settings

5. Configure Ticket Status

The Ticket status helps in identifying the current status of the tickets. By default, WSDesk comes with three ticket status – Unsolved, Solved and Pending. Each status is represented by a distinct color for easy recognition. You can add additional ticket status by clicking on the Add Status button on the top right corner.

Read the Ticket Status section of the product documentation for more information.

6. Configure Ticket Tags

Ticket tags are necessary to filter tickets, products, & posts and can be used for filtering the tickets and assigning it to specific agents. You can configure any number of desired tags in WSDesk.

7. Setting up Support Email, Google OAuth, and IMAP

Set up Sender name, sender email address, and Agent reply email (using given shortcodes). If you need to convert your existing emails into tickets, you can set up Google OAuth (for Personal Gmail Account and G Suite) or IMAP settings.


8. The Anatomy of the Tickets Dashboard

The Tickets dashboard is where you will receive and manage the customer queries.

WSDesk – ELEX WordPress Helpdesk & Customer Support Ticket System Plugin | User Interface

On the left sidebar is the ticket views. The default views include Ticket Status, WSDesk Agents, Ticket Tags, Type of User (Registered and Unregistered). The premium version allows you to create and manage your own custom views.

The right side of the dashboard lists all the tickets that you receive as customer queries. The tickets are displayed in a table that has columns that show Quick view of the ticket details, Ticket number, Requester email or username for registered users, Ticket subject, The date on which the ticket was raised, and the assigned agent (if any).

The below screenshot shows the quick view of a ticket.

Free WordPress Helpdesk Support System | Quick View of a Ticket
Quick View of a Ticket

Click on the ticket number or the ticket row to view the complete conversation and details of the ticket, as shown in the screenshot below.

Free WordPress Helpdesk Support System | Detailed View of a Ticket
Detailed View of a Ticket

Your WSDesk agent can then reply to the tickets and get started with smooth helpdesk support.

Hence, in this way, you can set up a WordPress Helpdesk Support System for Free, with ELEX WordPress Helpdesk Plugin – WSDesk.

What does the Premium version offer?

In addition to all the features discussed in this article for the free version, the WSDesk Premium version offers the following:

  • Backup & Restore
  • Auto-Tagging and Assigning
  • Auto-Suggestion System
  • Custom Ticket Views
  • Triggers & Automation
  • Automated Emails
  • Canned Responses
  • Bulk Edit & Merge Tickets
  • Agent’s Satisfaction Rating
  • WooCommerce Fields and Reports, and much more!!


Suggested reading:

To explore more details about the plugins, go check out WSDesk – WordPress Helpdesk Plugin (Free Version). You can also check out the premium version.

Read the product documentation to understand the plugin, in detail. Or check out the knowledge base section for more related articles.

You can also check out other WordPress and WooCommerce plugins in ELEX.

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