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“We provide help desk software and customer support solutions to organizations all over the world” iSupport Software

thesiliconreview-daren-nelson-ceo-isupport-software-17“iSupport has been providing IT help desk and service delivery software since 1992”

Whether you are running a small company or large corporate network, your business can’t survive without delivering quality support to your customers. Help desk and service delivery software can be a powerful tool that enables you to effectively manage relationships with existing customers as well as potential clients. It gives you a centralized platform to handle issues and inquiries via telephone, email, live chat, forums, and more. iSupport Software has customers that cover manufacturing, education, government, communications, technology, and professional services, and hundreds of thousands of users rely on iSupport’s flexible solutions to provide multi-channel help desk support to millions of customers worldwide.

iSupport’s early years

iSupport’s first product was developed for Lotus Notes in 1994, with a template for recording information in a Lotus Notes database. When Lotus released Notes Version 4, the firm released what it considers to be its first shrink-wrapped application called Help! for Lotus Notes. This product went on to be one of the best-selling shrink-wrapped applications developed for Lotus Notes; at one point InfoWorld rated Help! for Lotus Notes the best IT help desk application available regardless of platform.

The firm’s first project was highly successful. “In two years we went from zero to over 200 paying customers, and in the mid-1990s that was a phenomenal growth rate”, recalls Daren Nelson, iSupport’s CEO. iSupport’s growth rate was so strong that it was able to generate enough cash to fully fund operations, allowing them to focus solely on growing its customer base. 

Customers participate in the development process

Early on the company focused on sales over fundraising. “We established a customer base early on, listening very closely and responding quickly to the needs of those customers. We built a large base of existing customers paying maintenance revenue as well as signing up new customers”, notes Nelson. “Today the landscape has changed but in the business-to-business marketplace you can still find plenty of customers that understand that the value of good customer support and participation in the development process is worth a price. As time goes on more and more people realize that free software is a good place to start, but the reality is that over time it usually does not meet the needs of a growing or mature organization.” 

The importance of continued contact with customers

The needs of each customer are different, but the solutions can have a lot of overlap once you take some time to dive into it. The company makes an effort to meet with its customers on a regular basis to review how they use the application, and those meetings are a treasure trove of information that they take back to R&D. “Any time we have a consensus from a sizable group of customers, we’ll make quick changes to accommodate the feedback. Other times we have differing requests that lead to making one flexible solution, such as the ability to add a rule-based action”, notes Darren Grigg, iSupport’s product manager.

Keys to success

Nelson attributes iSupport’s product popularity and consistent growth to its history: “With 25 years in development we have a very mature product. We were the pioneers of the model of software used today - the first help desk company to ship a product that used only a web browser as the client, and one of the very first companies to ship a product based on the Microsoft .NET Framework.”

“We were one of the first help desk companies to include live-person chat in our application and have always introduced future technologies that the market did not know they needed with proven solutions that save money”, Nelson continues. “Incorporating feedback from such a diverse customer base has helped us to create one of the most flexible user-friendly applications on the market. The feedback leads to a better product, and being generous with your support and consulting leads to a more successful customer.” 

iSupport’s primary principles

  • Regularly release software that is 80% of what they ask for and 20% of what you think needs to be added to lead the industry in more efficient directions.
  • Provide live technical support that is not outsourced to companies that have no stake in the success of your business
  • Do not outsource the key parts of your development team.
  • Re-invest in your company. If you want your customers to pay for your software, you have to be willing to put money into it as well.

"Incorporating feedback from such a diverse customer base has helped us to create one of the most flexible user-friendly applications on the market."