The Freshdesk blog
Your daily dose of
peppermints, orange juice and oatmeal cookies...
Freshly squeezed droplets of customer support...
Your daily dose of
peppermints, orange juice and oatmeal cookies...
Freshly squeezed droplets of customer support...
You’ve probably figured it out already – customer support is the next game changer in your business. Which means you either already have a help desk solution (that you love or hate), or are looking for one right now. And that opens up another Pandora’s box of questions: should you download, install and maintain your on-premise help desk software on your own turf, or should you trust a solution hosted on the cloud?
We’ve spoken quite a bit about why a hosted help desk software makes a lot of sense for most businesses. But to be fair, there are some arguments to go with an on-premise solution too, so we thought we’d cover the 5 biggest reasons to not choose a hosted help desk software:
1. You have a humungous team sitting in one mammoth office
The biggest advantage you get with a hosted solution is the ability to access your help desk from virtually anywhere. That means a hosted help desk is great for teams on the move, and support agents spread across geographies. So if your help desk consists of a huge bunch (and we are talking thousands here) of agents working from a single floor, the “anywhere access” part gets bit miffed. Then again, if you have policies and mandates that help desk agents are strictly to answer support calls and emails only from office, and during business hours, you might be better off with a dinosaur of an on-premise software.
Instead, if you think customer support is more than just a day job, and ideas like “bring your own device”, and agent productivity ring a bell, a hosted help desk solution might not be such a bad idea afterall.
2. Conformance is what you care about, not performance
For most businesses, their customers have evolved from traditional channels into more sophisticated ones, like Twitter, and the company’s Facebook brand pages. That means for a majority of support teams, their help desk software must be able to evolve and stay updated as rapidly as their consumers. Patching their software, updating versions and waiting for months to get the “complete feature set” just doesn’t cut it anymore. The choice for these businesses is clearly to move to a hosted help desk software that stays on the clouds and is always up to date.
Of course, there is still the other camp of blue suited businesses that enforce conformance to their “set-in-stone” support policies even to customers. These are businesses that would rather direct irate customers on Twitter to open up a support ticket, than solve the problem right there. If your business thinks conformance to the support policies set by the director’s grand dad eighty years ago is more important than making customers ooze with love, you probably should download that 300MB on-premise software right away.
3. Availability isn’t an issue: Your lights turn off at six!
When customers are loosing sleep with some issue in your product or service, progressive and customer-centric businesses want their support teams to be there. The support rep of today has something that goes far beyond just a 9 to 6 job. They need to be able to pick up calls on the drive to work, and answer support queries even when they are watching the opera. And that means they must be able to access your help desk from virtually anywhere, at any time, inside, outside or flying above your firewall – something that hosted software are primarily built for. But that doesn’t mean too much for 9-to-6, desk only support team. Another reasons to consider on-premise solutions.
Then there are a few businesses that can afford hours, or even days of downtime, with their entire support system shut off – an excellent excuse to stick on to that on-premise solution. For everyone else though, help desk solutions hosted on state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure and uptimes exceeding 99% come in handy.
4. You think banks and safety lockers are for sissies
With cloud-based help desks, all your data is stored in servers in high security data centers protecting them from misuse or theft both online and offline. That means your data is more secure with a hosted service provider than in your own servers. After all, which do you think is safer – the wads of cash sticking out of your trousers, or your money in the bank?
The security of your data is the lifeline of cloud businesses. But if biometric locks, redundant backups, multi-level encryptions and secure data transfer aren’t all that critical to your support team, you might want to keep that on-premise option still open.
5. You want to jump in, change the code, and build your own support software
Hashing out code and building your software is a lot of fun (trust me, we know!). But if you are the kind of person that wants to jump down to the grassroots, drop, edit and change the table schema, and tinker around your software, you’d probably miss that freedom on a hosted solution. Most hosted help desk software worth their salt are built to provide the right mix of intuitive usability with extensive customizability. That means you won’t get to muck around with stray bits of code. Of course, you can still give your help desk a twist by building on APIs that most providers offer, but that’s about it. No drop tables, and please, no compiling the build!
Now that you have figured out why you shouldn’t get a hosted help desk, you can go shopping for a support system that will match the requirements of your organization. And if you are still confused, the Complete Guide to Choosing an Online Help Desk should help you collect your thoughts on this one.
When we started Freshdesk,we decided to incorporate in the USA because that seemed to be best option for a SAAS company that wanted to handle recurring payments from international customers from day 1. Our preferred payment gateway will work only with US bank accounts and it is easier to get a US bank account if you are a USA corporation.We are based out of India and the options for accepting dollar payments with recurring billing were seriously limited and expensive.The only option seemed to be Paypal but again we were not sure if we could link Paypal with our Indian bank accounts for USA payments.
Since there were not many resources available on the web for incorporating a US corp from abroad I thought I will share our story for the benefit of future entrepreneurs.
Ofcourse there are many other ways to do this – but this is how we did it.
1. Incorporation – in the State of Delaware as a Delaware C Corp.
If you ask “Why Delaware” ? – We couldn’t find anything convincing for “Why not” ?
Total cost for incorporation – $1278
Lawyer Fees – $1005(Ryan Roberts at http://startuplawyer.com/) I would highly recommend Ryan. He was very professional and knowledgeable and very easy to work with thru email and skype. He charged us a flat fee for the full service startup incorporation package and this included
Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, Restricted Stock Purchase agreements, Technology Transfer agreements, Proprietary Information agreements etc.
Incorporation fees – 148 (Delaware C Corp)
Registered Agent fees – $125 (This is a yearly fee) (Bloomberg Excelsior Business Services)
(A registered agent service is mandatory to incorporate a delaware corporation if you live outside Delaware)
2. Employer ID Number (EIN – TAX Number)
Every business in the US needs a EIN number. (also known as Tax ID number) After Incorporation docs are ready, fill form SS4 and call the IRS Philadelphia center directly at
(800) 829-4933. (This is the only office in the US that processes EIN for US business that are incorporated from foreign countries.
They will give you the EIN on the phone. It may be helpful if you have a fax nearby at the time of calling. (You can fax the filled SS4 form to them so that you don’t have to spell out all the details on the phone)
3. US Physical Address
You need a physical US address for receiving business documents .There are several mail service forwarding providers charging different rates.
My choice was Virtualpostmail.com – a web 2.0 company who seemed to be miles ahead of others in what seems to be a very traditional industry. I chose the $20 plan.
They scan mails and send an email, you can choose emails that needs to be opened and the contents scanned or just forward those mails to any other international address.
Before you can operate your account you need to submit a notarized form 1583 from USPS to authorize Virtual Post mail to open mails on your (and your companies behalf)
4. US Bank Account
You need a Business checking account with a US bank. If you already have a personal bank account with a US bank you can try calling them to open a business checking account. I think this is the best option. I tried calling Wells Fargo and the person on the phone told me that I cannot open a bank account with Wells Fargo and that I had to physically go to Delaware and try opening it from Wachovia. I am sure this person was wrong and I think it should be possible with Wells Fargo. I love the bank but somehow could not get my business account opened there.
If you do not have a US bank account but if you are visiting USA in the near future, you can just walk in to a bank with the incorporation documents of your company and open an account.
I posted a question regarding this in Quora (www.quora.com) and a very nice gentleman who was an advisor to many startups contacted me and referred me to Silicon Valley Bank(http://www.svb.com) (who are considered very startup friendly) and I was able to open the account from India itself.
Initially I found it amusing when I was asked to pitch my business idea or send a presentation of my business plan in order to open a business checking account. But I guess Silicon Valley bank offers so many other services to startups but our needs were pretty simple. But SVB has been great till now in terms of responsive support.
5. Merchant Account
The most popular alternatives are Paypal and Authorize.net (they have many resellers) You can go to http://feefighters.com/ to compare providers and choose one that works for you. I skipped the options provided by feefighters and went directly with Braintree Payment solutions even though they were slightly more expensive compared to others as I had read good things about them and I did not understand all the hidden fees etc.
Braintree provides me a merchant account, a payment gateway, a PCI compliant vault to store customer Credit card data and can process recurring subscription billing.
We thought we will worry about the fees when we are making millions of dollars and losing considerable money on fees
6. Business Credit Card
I applied for a mastercard credit card through Silicon Valley Bank – the card is secured with a money market account – basically secured with cash in my bank account.
7. US Phone Numbers
We have a free Google Voice number and a Skype Out number which is $50 per year.
The google voice number forwards the calls to our skype number.
We are considering 1-800 numbers from Grasshopper after we launch.
We also got an iPevo skype phone for receiving skype calls wirelessly, but the phone has stopped working and I am too busy to send it to the US and return it on Amazon.
Thats pretty much all you need to get the business side of things setup. The only other thing you need is a good product for which customers are willing to open their wallets and swipe their credit cards. (Oh. Ok. Maybe for some of you thats not a requirement for a successful startup! In either case – Good luck on your start-up! And when you need an online helpdesk software for your start-up, do remember to drop us a mail. And while you are on it, try the product..!! We’ll be glad to give you a start-up discount on Freshdesk