iPhone for small business owner - Suggestions for Zendesk (or alternate) workflow

Help needed with a help desk so I can get back to helping my clients. I’m in over my head and need help from those who have survived through the process of selecting an automated help desk / ticketing system that is ideal for a one-man-show, his iPhone and dozens of support requests and inquiries each day.

In the eighth year of running a small Apple computers repair and service shop, I'm growing overwhelmed by the volume of SMS texts, phone calls, voicemails and emails from prospective and current customers. It's come to a breaking point, and it's compromising the quality of service. My needs are:

way to separate business calls AND texts from my personal communications on my iPhone ... my guess is There's an app for that.
help desk that can integrate with said app
max monthly budget $50, if it handles a good volume of calls and texts (minimum of 500 talk and 2000 texts

So I started shopping for a help desk solution, the first dilemma with all those choices. There are so many options in that field alone, that I just settled with ZenDesk, which I'm in no way married. If there's a better help desk / ticketing option that lends itself to my situation, I'm all ears. It’d be nice if it lent itself to an IT shop, such as mine, but that’s no deal breaker. The help desk part needs to be under $40 a month and compatible with processing SMS, phone calls, Youmail (the answering service I used for seven years) and email.

So, I couldn't debate any longer and picked Zendesk due to testimonials and their price and support offerings.

Google Apps for Work handles my email accounts, one of which is help@mydomain.com. I have those emails running through Zendesk successfully. That was relatively straight forward. For the record, I also have a Google Voice account with a decent, boarder-line vanity phone number that I’m not opposed to incorporating, if necessary.

AT&T is my wireless provider, and keeping my unlimited data plan is a non-negotiable. That precludes me from making any changes in that regard. So, no signing up with their business offerings, etc.

Premium YouMail handles my voicemail (literally thousands in the last five years). It transcribes my calls and alerts me via text and/or email with a copy of the transcription. I wish it had a virtual call box option, so callers could choose to leave a general message/help request or to leave a personal message for me. I'm totally open to dropping this service. I almost went with RingCentral, but I read they're really  for bigger operations with multiple extensions and locations, etc. Plus, they're a little expensive. Grasshopper didn't do sms, and LIne2 ... I forgot why I passed on them.

I settled with BusinessCall 2nd Line app for iPhone and got it set up. I think it's working, but I'm really apprehensive due to a couple of negative reviews out there. I also see that their last upgrade was last year, so I don't think I'll stick with BusinessCall, even though the app does most everything on the front end that I need. On the backend, I'm not finding any Zendesk integration.

Ok. Enough about me and my problem. You're the experts, and I hope you can deliver. Remember:
one-man / one-iPhone operation
interception of calls, voicemails, texts and emails by affordable help desk that issues a ticket
preferably that segregates / separates my business from personal texts and calls
max $50 a month . . . $75 monthly if it can actually do all this
responses from users that have had success with this kind of operation

Thank you.
Chris L
Well Connected Life, owner
LVL 1
Chris LeedsOwnerAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Michael-BestCommented:
"way to separate business calls AND texts from my personal communications on my iPhone ... my guess is There's an app for that."
Correct.

You could set up two email accounts, and two Skype accounts on the one iPhone.

Install an extra SIM or two into the iPhone 6 with X-Triple 6
Triple SIM case for iPhone 6 - 3G 4G compatible
Link:
http://www.simore.com/en/multi-dual-sim-adapter-case-4g-iphone-6-x-triple-6.html

Then you switch between SIM cards from the iOS interface by going Settings > Phone > SIM Applications.

Reading on this method:
http://www.zdnet.com/article/installing-multiple-sim-cards-in-an-iphone-6/

Better you buy another iPhone so you have two iPhone's on at the same time. ( that way you will not miss calls and texts when on the other sim with the X-Triple 6 method )
Chris LeedsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the input, but carrying an entirely separate iphone is likely a no go.  One is enough to keep track of.

Hmmmm. Anyone else?

Ringcentral has all the features I want, except transcribed voicemail, which would set me back an additional $10 for a total of $69 a month. That's too high.

I'm going to stick with BusinessCall 2nd Line this week while testing out others y'all suggest.

Thank you.
Chris LeedsOwnerAuthor Commented:
So I think I've kind of divided small business phone systems into two categories VoIP and app based.

There are plenty of VoIP companies out there, and once word got out, they were actively courting my business. On the list: Jive, Nextiva, and Vonage, but none of them offered the text messaging capabilities. They ruled out all of them pretty quickly. Although Nextiva doesn't seem to get the hint. They keep calling me to the point of annoyance.

Having ruled out VoIP, turn to the more app-based solutions, including Grasshopper, Line2, RingCentral and BusinessCall Second Line. I started with BusinessCall second line, and got a wonderful phone number, very memorable. But after a week of testing it out and reading more about the reviews, I decided to leave them due to poor call quality and alleged lost and dropped phone calls. The fact that the app had not been updated in over a year concern to me. I feared that they may suddenly just close their doors and I'd be without a phone system.

Grasshopper also looked pretty cool. I got a good phone number with them, but I don't think they had messaging. I apologize but I can't remember why didn't go with Line2. Think it had to do something with the limited features.

I've been amazed at how many of the services don't offer a voicemail transcription. That includes the one service that I think that I'm ultimately going to go with, MightyCall. They seem to have good customer service and all the features I need, except transcription, Their price $49 a month is less than the #1 business phone service provider, RingCentral. RC had a friendly representative and all of the features, but even the rep admitted that the $69 Per month per phone was high. They did have Zendesk integration, which is nice. I'll end up making it work kind of manually with mighty call.

So I guess this has kind of turned into a mini review. I felt that it was the least I could do to help others after all of the hours researching and experimenting. Let's not discuss the untold number of phone calls I lost, missed or erased. I don't recommend doing this during a particularly slow time of year because chances are you're going to lose a little bit of business while picking out the best business phone system.

Good luck.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
iPhone

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.