Service desk allows your support and development teams to directly connect with your customers via email, with no external tools needed. Everything is done in GitLab. It pulls your customers directly into your DevOps process, since their feedback becomes issues right inside GitLab, potentially even in the same project where you are developing your product or service.
Service desk currently works via email. Many similar support tools offer a web channel as well. In particular, if you submit feedback via a web form, you can more easily request and track structured fields and information. So the next feature is exactly that, allowing development teams' customers to contact them, via a web form served by their GitLab instance, with submissions that turn into issues, just like email feedback right.
Zendesk and Freshdesk are popular tools to do customer support management, and we can learn from these tools used by many organizations. Jira Service Desk leverages the existing Jira issue tracker to get customer tickets into Jira.
GitLab Service Desk takes inspiration from Jira Service Desk to also get customer tickets into GitLab. In GitLab, the benefits are even more pronounced since a single customer ticket is turned into a GitLab issue which can be incorporated into both broader portfolio management features of GitLab, and also downstream with product-development team sprints.
We have yet to engage more closely with analysts in this area. As this product category is prioritized for improvements as our Plan product and engineering headcount grows, we expect to engage more with analysts.
Customers want to further use Service Desk like a CRM tool. One way to do this is to leverage GitLab labels to automatically filter tickets/issues as they arrive from customers. Another way is to start to track users as they send in issues. See Automatically label Service Desk issues and Customer Database for Service Desk.
Automatically labeling issues is popular with users. See Automatically label Service Desk issues.
GitLab team-members have found it difficult to use Service Desk since it is not powerful enough to do so currently. The legal team is using Service Desk and they are interested in these issues.
We have engaged with the GitLab Support Team (Lee M in particular) in the past to ask if they can adopt Service Desk. Unfortunately, we haven't had enough bandwidth to support incremental improvements to make this realistic. As we scale our product development teams and can prioritize Service Desk again, a pivotal goal will be re-engage the GitLab Support Team and establish a list of issues/features they need to use GitLab Service Desk and work together on a migration plan to help them eventually move off of Zendesk.