Outline Your Needs
Build a list of your key requirements before you begin calling in vendors.
Start by talking to key stakeholders and end users to determine what their goals and challenges are, and what kinds of tools they need to achieve or overcome them. This will help you identify the help desk or customer service software features you can't live without.
Select a Vendor
Once you know what kind of help desk or customer service software you're looking for, you can begin evaluating providers.
Talk with your colleagues about what products they are using to achieve success. Review the Web for customer case studies to find the best-matched vendors. Sometimes the perspectives of industry analysts can be helpful, but remember that they do not use the products that they discuss with you. Wouldn't it be smarter if you found very happy customers who you have needs in common. Conduct an in-depth assessment of each product, and compare it to your list of requirements. The best way to accomplish this is to have a very clearly detailed Needs Assessment that asks insightful questions about features and functionality that your stakeholders need. Once you've identified those vendors who can meet all or most of your needs, review their histories, support track record, financial statuses, and speak with their customers.
Request Demos and Trials
Product demonstrations are a standard part of the sales process, but make sure you see more than just a canned or pre-recorded one. Request a customized demo that highlights those features on your checklist, and simulates processes within your current help desk or customer service environment.
But remember, a demonstration - no matter how in-depth - will only provide you with an overview of a help desk or customer service software package's capabilities. If you want to really see how the solution will work, you'll need to trial the software for 30 days before you commit to buying it. Will the vendor provide unlimited support during the trial without cost to make sure that you are well taken care of? If not, you need to ask yourself, "what will happen once I become a customer if they do not want to support me now while I am still a prospect"?
Here is a great Excel Tool that will help you document your needs and requirements. See https://www.givainc.com/free-needs-assessment/index.htm