uCare vs Awesome Support: A Helpdesk Plugin Comparison
Looking for some insight to help you make a decision between uCare and Awesome Support for your business' WordPress helpdesk solution?
When you choose a helpdesk plugin, it's a long-term decision that will affect the health of your business and the happiness of your customers. For that reason, it's important to choose the tool that makes it as easy as possible for you to deliver great support to your customers.
But just from looking at a plugin's feature list, it's hard to ascertain whether the plugin can actually perform all the nitty-gritty functions you need to create a productive helpdesk.
To help, we've written a detailed comparison of both of these plugins that focuses on the actual deep functionality that you'll need to support your customers.
By the end of this article, you should be able to make an informed decision about which of these two helpdesk plugins is the best option for your business.
We're also going to follow an identical format to our previous comparisons with JS Support Ticket, WP Support Plus, and WSDesk so that you can, if desired, compare all five plugins against one another as easily as possible.
uCare vs Awesome Support: An Introduction
uCare and Awesome Support are both free core plugins (each listed at WordPress.org) that you can then extend with a variety of premium add-ons.
In contrast to helpdesk plugins that offer a single "Pro" version, this lets you pick and choose only the features that your business actually needs.
By the numbers, uCare is active on 3,000+ WordPress installations and has a 4.7-star rating, though on only 15 unique reviews.
Awesome Support, on the other hand, is active on 7,000+ WordPress installations and has a 4.6-star rating on 113 unique reviews according to its WordPress.org page.
*For this comparison, we're going to compare both plugins as if you had access to every single premium add-on. It's important to note that many of the deeper features we'll compare are not available in either plugin's free version.
Ticket Creation Process - Methods, Custom Fields + More
In this section, we'll compare how each plugin:
- Lets you or your customers create new support tickets
- Makes it possible to customize the information that you collect from your customers to fit your unique business needs
uCare offers a frontend ticket creation form that both you and your customers can use to create a ticket, as well as email piping functionality that allows you to import emails to a single mailbox as new tickets:
Users with the Support Admin role can also create a ticket from the WordPress backend, though regular agents don't have this ability by default.
While this approach is fairly standard, uCare doesn't currently offer an option for you to customize or add fields to your ticket creation forms. uCare does have this functionality marked as "coming soon." But for the time being, that means you have no way of collecting unique information when a user creates a new ticket.
Additionally, there's no support for more advanced form types, like conditional logic forms that display different fields based on how a user answers certain fields.
Awesome support offers a similar three basic methods for creating tickets:
- Via frontend ticket creation forms
- Manually via the backend
- By importing emails as tickets
Awesome Support also gives you a fourth method - direct REST API - that lets you connect with other services like Zapier to get more creative with how you create new tickets.
If you want to customize how your front-end forms function, Awesome Support gives you two options.
First off, Awesome Support offers built-in settings that let you customize your form using any one of the 11 different custom field types:
Then, if you need more flexibility (for example, conditional logic), Awesome Support includes a dedicated integration for the popular Gravity Forms plugin that lets you build your ticket creation forms using any of Gravity Forms' functionality (user registration, Zapier, etc.).
By customizing your forms, you're able to make sure you collect important details from your customers early in the trouble-shooting process, which will help eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth between your customers and agents.
Ticket Organization Options, Including Agent Assignment
On a busy helpdesk, it's important that you can:
- Automatically assign new tickets to the right agent(s)
- Quickly find specific tickets, view urgent tickets, and more
In this section, we'll compare how both plugins let you:
- Assign new tickets to agents
- Organize your tickets to build a more productive workflow
uCare includes automatic ticket routing, though only at a basic level.
You can assign specific agents to different ticket categories. Then, you can automatically assign new tickets to the agent associated with that category.
For example, you could have:
- "Bob" handle all Billing tickets
- "Sally" handle all Technical Support tickets
While this is better than helpdesk plugins that don't offer any automatic routing, it's still a fairly basic approach to automatic ticket assignment.
To help you organize your tickets, uCare adds icons to indicate certain statuses. These can help you visually see:
- Whether or not you've opened a ticket
- The latest action taken on a ticket (e.g. a file uploaded, or a new response)
- Whether or not the ticket is urgent
You can also assign a unique color to each ticket category.
And to help you filter/search for tickets, uCare lets you search by keyword/email or use a variety of dropdowns and checkboxes to narrow down a search.
Unfortunately, though, there's no way to customize the columns that appear in the ticket management screen:
While these filters are helpful, it's important to note that there's no option to save a specific combination of filters for quick use later on.
Awesome Support's ticket assignment algorithms go quite a bit deeper than uCare.
First off, Awesome Support gives you 6 pre-built ticket assignment algorithms that you can quickly apply. These algorithms take into account more advanced information like:
- Whether an agent is actually working (to ensure prompt response times)
- Which department or specific product the ticket belongs to
- How many tickets an agent already has assigned (to help balance workload)
Beyond those 6 core algorithms, Awesome Support also lets you create a custom application by using a variety of AND/OR conditions. By mixing and matching those combinations, you can create any number of unique ways to handle tickets:
And, if desired, you can also allow certain "VIP" clients to choose their own support agent.
To help you organize your tickets, Awesome Support lets you take any of the custom fields that you've added and display them as a separate column in your ticket organization interface.
You can filter/sort any of these custom fields, as well as all of the other core fields.
And to organize things visually, Awesome Support lets you use four different types of color coding for things like:
- Overdue status
For improved productivity, individual support agents can also save custom filters to quickly find tickets that are most relevant to them. And individual agents can also create their own to-do lists to stay on top of the tasks they need to complete.
Working With Individual Tickets - Responses, Transfers + More
Once you've properly assigned tickets and organized them in your dashboard, the next step is to actually start responding to tickets. In this section, we'll show you how you and your agents can:
- Respond to tickets
- Add internal notes
- Transfer tickets between agents
- View a ticket's history
- Control tickets in other ways
We'll hold off on discussing email ticket responses until the next section.
uCare provides a custom frontend ticket management interface for both customers and agents. While admins can also manage tickets in the WordPress backend, agents use this frontend interface to work with tickets.
This frontend interface uses AJAX, which makes for quick navigation between your overall ticket list and individual tickets. Additionally, this AJAX interface offers a tabbed-view for switching between multiple tickets, which is convenient.
From this frontend interface, agents can:
- Write a response
- View basic details about the customer
- View file attachments
- Change assigned agent, status, or priority
- View a history of ticket responses
- Create a private note
uCare also lets you automatically close tickets after a certain period of inactivity.
While you can perform important basic actions, notable exceptions here include:
- No option to insert a canned reply
- No way to quickly insert product documentation/FAQs
For a busy helpdesk, the lack of these features might slow down your productivity.
Awesome Support's main ticket interface for agents sits inside the backend WordPress dashboard, rather than the frontend like uCare.
This interface is based on the core WordPress editor for ease of use, but includes a number of modifications for important ticket functionality.
From this interface, you can:
- Write replies using the core WordPress WYSIWYG editor
- Create internal notes
- Transfer to a different agent
- View file attachments
- Insert documentation/FAQ links
- Manage status, due date, and service level agreements
- View basic customer details
- Add to a to-do list
- Insert a canned response
Awesome Support's canned response templates also let you insert dynamic information about the customer/ticket for a more personalized touch.
For example, you can automatically address your customer by their first name by using a template tag in your canned response.
Awesome Support also includes some more unique actions that let you:
- Split a single ticket into multiple tickets to handle large issues
- Merge two tickets into a single ticket to handle duplicate issues
Like uCare, Awesome Support lets you automatically close tickets after a certain period of inactivity. And you can also choose to send out a series of warning emails to your customer before automatically closing the ticket.
Email Piping And Notifications Options
Both plugins let you import emails as tickets in the interface and, to a certain extent, reply to those tickets via email.
In this section, we'll compare aspects like:
- How much flexibility you have for importing tickets via email
- What options you and your customers have for replying/managing tickets via email
- The actual email notifications that you can send to your customers to keep them up to date
uCare lets you import emails sent to your mailbox as a new ticket. You also get some options to:
- Automatically assign emails to a specific ticket category
- Choose whether or not to delete guest users after 2 days of inactivity (this helps you handle situations where you get an email from someone who isn't registered at your site).
While the basic functionality is there, there are some limitations:
- You can't import emails from multiple email addresses, which is a problem if you, for example, use separate emails for presales and technical support.
- There's no way to filter out emails from unregistered users (just delete them after inactivity).
Once one of your customers has created a ticket via email, they'll also be able to reply to that ticket by sending emails, rather than needing to work with the actual ticket interface.
To send out email notifications to your users, uCare sets you up with preset emails for scenarios like:
- Ticket closed
- Ticket created
- Agent reply
- Automatic close warning
You can also set up notifications for agents like:
- Customer reply
- Ticket assigned
For all of these emails, you can customize the template using the core WordPress Editor, including easy custom CSS.
While the template customization is a nice feature, you lack any ability to add your own custom email triggers.
Beyond email, uCare also lets you send internal Slack notifications whenever customers create a new ticket or update an existing one.
Like uCare, Awesome Support lets you import emails as tickets. However, Awesome Support takes this feature a bit deeper by letting you import tickets from multiple mailboxes and assign those tickets in different ways depending on the mailbox.
This means that you can properly handle a situation where you use different email addresses for different products/support request types.
Depending on which mailbox a ticket comes from, you can assign different:
Awesome Support also lets both you and your customers respond to tickets via email.
To help you better manage your tickets, you can even create filters and rules based on the content of an email. Using these rules, you can do things like:
- Close or transfer a ticket via email
- Assign a specific agent based on keywords used in an email
- Filter out tickets with abusive language and put them on hold
- Filter out obvious spam
If an unregistered user tries to send you an email, you can leave the email as unassigned or automatically create a new account for them.
Similarly, if a user tries to respond to a ticket that's already been closed, you can choose whether to reject that email or re-open the ticket.
With respect to the email notifications that you send to your customers and agents, Awesome Support comes with a number of pre-built email notifications. You can edit the template for any of these notifications to customize them to your needs.
You can also create new email notifications for each custom status that you add, which gives you some additional control over which email notifications get sent out:
And, as we mentioned earlier, you can also choose to CC third-parties that aren't a direct part of a ticket:
Beyond email notifications, Awesome Support also lets you send notifications via:
- SMS (via Twilio)
- Any other service supported by Zapier
Security Functionality For Sensitive Data
For some products, notably digital products, you might need to collect sensitive account information from your customers in order to offer them better support. A common example would be a customer's username/password for FTP or cPanel.
For security reasons, it's not safe to store these details as a plaintext ticket reply that any agent can see.
To explore how each plugin handles security, we'll look at:
- The options each plugin gives you for handling sensitive data.
- How you can control which tickets each agent can access.
Unfortunately, uCare doesn't offer any functionality to store and encrypt sensitive information. Your only option would be to treat it as a regular ticket reply.
There's also no way to limit access to specific tickets. uCare comes with three custom user roles for:
- Support User
- Support Agent
- Support Admin
But Support Agents are automatically allowed to view, respond to, and manage all tickets.
So if you're dealing with sensitive tickets or need to create different tiers of agents with different access, uCare doesn't have any functionality to help you.
Awesome Support, on the other hand, gives you a lot more flexibility for handling sensitive data or restricting access.
First off, Awesome Support has a built-in private credentials vault that:
- Has extra encryption to ensure that no sensitive data is stored as plain text in your interface or database
- Automatically purges the contained information when the ticket is closed. You'll still be able to view the regular ticket history - but any sensitive information will be removed from your database and server as soon as the ticket is closed
And for a more granular approach, Awesome Support offers something called Security Profiles that allow you to control which types of tickets different agents can see via the interface:
If you're working in an industry with sensitive data, or if you have privacy-conscious clients who don't want all of your support agents to be able to view their ticket history, these features are very important.
Reporting And Data Functionality
In order to improve the efficiency of your helpdesk, you need to understand where you're doing well, and where bottlenecks are slowing down your support.
In this section, we'll compare what types of data and reports each plugin offers to help you perform that analysis.
uCare offers a basic Reports area that lets you see:
- Overall number of tickets that were opened/closed (on a line chart)
- A table of each agent and the tickets assigned, closed, and what percentage of the overall workload that agent handled
While that data can help you see the basic health of your helpdesk, it's fairly barebones as far as WordPress helpdesk plugins go.
Awesome Support gives you two different ways to access information about your helpdesk.
First off, you get a general reports dashboard that includes a wide variety of widgets for different types of data.
This data uses the core WordPress dashboard widget functionality, which means that you can rearrange the widgets using drag and drop or use the native Screen Options control to hide individual widgets:
Beyond these high-level widgets, Awesome Support also offers a detailed Reports area that lets you drill further into your helpdesk's productivity with 6 pre-built reports:
- Ticket counts – the number of tickets by each status
- Productivity analysis – the average, median, and maximum number of replies needed to close a ticket
- Resolution analysis – the average and median time (in minutes) it takes to close a ticket
- Delay analysis – the average time it takes to first respond to a ticket
- Distribution analysis – the number of tickets that contain 1, 2, 3,…N number of replies
- Trend analysis – the number of tickets opened/closed over a certain period
For each of these 6 core reports, you can use the detailed filtering options to create hundreds of different report variations. You could see:
- A department's productivity
- How responsive your entire support staff is for a specific VIP clientHow specific agents perform
- Hundreds more variations
Other Smaller, But Relevant, Features
This section is a catch-all for features that you might find important, but that weren't broad enough to get their own category.
- Advanced Easy Digital Downloads integration - lets you validate receipt numbers and pull up a customer's order history.
- Knowledge base - uCare can help you create a basic frontend knowledge base.
- Customer satisfaction survey - lets you automatically send a survey to your customers when a ticket is closed and view the data inside your dashboard.
MailChimp integration - lets you add a new user to your MailChimp list if they check a box to agree.
- eCommerce support - dedicated integrations for WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and Envato (including the option to restrict tickets to only users with a valid license).
- Issue tracking - track how many tickets relate to a specific issue.
- Satisfaction surveys - you can send 4 different types.
- Public tickets & Instant FAQs - quickly make a ticket public and searchable. Or turn it into an FAQ.
- Documentation - create a documentation template that you can use to create self-help articles to reduce your support workload.
- Time tracking - let agents track their time, including an option for billable hours.
- Ticket limits - limit the number of open tickets a user can have.
- Smart replies - use smart searches and artificial intelligence to create automated replies via email, Facebook chatbots, or your own website chat.
- Service level agreements - you can assign these to individual tickets.
- Scheduled Tickets - you can set up ticket templates that will create tickets on a set calendar schedule
- Personal Identification Numbers - confirm that a user has access to a support account before making changes to it
The core version of uCare is available for free at WordPress.org.
To add additional functionality, you can either purchase individual add-ons or buy a bundle that gets you access to every single add-on.
Individual add-ons range from $15 to $99, while the bundle itself costs $99.
Like uCare, the core Awesome Support plugin is free and available at WordPress.org.
For additional functionality, you can purchase individual add-ons or choose from 4 different pre-built bundles.
Individual add-ons range from $19-$49 each, and here's the pricing for the pre-built bundles:
- Standard – $149
- Pro – $229
- Enterprise – $289
- Agency – $409
Final Thoughts On uCare vs Awesome Support
To finish out our uCare vs Awesome Support comparison, we've created a table to give you a more quantitative look at how each plugin performs in key areas. Each area is rated on a scale from 1-3 where:
- 1 = below average depth of functionality. An overall score of 10-19 means below average functionality.
- 2 = average depth of functionality. An overall score of 20 means average functionality.
- 3 = above average depth of functionality. An overall score of 21-30 means above average functionality.
|Minimum Start-up Cost||Free||Free|
|Ticket Response Interface||2||3|
|Stats and Data||2||3|
While uCare offers a quick-loading interface that might work for smaller helpdesks with only one or two agents, it lacks the deeper functionality that allows you to create a truly customized helpdesk that's unique to your business.
Some examples of where you might run into issues with uCare include:
- No options to add custom fields or customize your ticket creation forms.
- Only lets you import tickets from one email inbox.
- No option to customize your ticket interface if you need to display custom information in a column.
- No canned responses to deal with common issues.
- Shallow reporting.
- No options for restricting ticket access for agents or handling sensitive information.
To see how Awesome Support can offer deeper functionality in these areas and others, you can try the fully-featured Awesome Support demo to experience things for yourself.
About The Author: Colin Newcomer
Colin Newcomer has been working with WordPress for over 11 years. Since September 2016, he’s been working full-time as a freelance writer focusing primarily on WordPress and digital marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing engaging, well-researched blog posts. You can contact Colin through his website at: https://www.cnewcomer.com/
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