What Is an IT Help Desk and 10 Ways It Can Help Your Organization
If you’ve ever experienced an Information Technology (IT) issue at your business, you probably wished you had someone by your side who could show you how to fix it. That’s exactly what an IT help desk platform does. Instead of tracking down an IT support technician when you experience an issue, you can log on to an online platform. Through your company’s virtual support portal, you can get the help you need without leaving your location or waiting for help to arrive.
A help desk offers many benefits to small and medium businesses. From cost savings and scalability to improvements to the technology you use every day, your IT service desk can give your company an edge. Once you’ve resolved a confusing technical issue in a few minutes, you’ll immediately recognize the importance of help desks in the business world.
What Is the Function of an IT Help Desk?
An IT support desk is a combination of software and human resources that works together to resolve end-users’ issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s like the IT department’s front end, serving as an access point for any employee that needs help.
It’s common for many businesses to consider outsourcing its help desk, especially if there isn’t a large IT team in-house. When using a third-party service, the company can access responsive technical experts whenever it experiences an issue. Staff members always have somewhere to turn, and the internal IT staff can focus on problems demanding more attention.
A company can find similar benefits using an in-house support desk. The software enables faster, more effective service, and entry-level IT staff members handle the bulk of requests to keep senior IT staff focused on enterprise-wide improvements. An IT service desk serves many purposes, including:
Automation for Manual Tasks
IT help desk software automates many labor-intensive tasks involved in an IT specialist’s job. It organizes information and streamlines communication for teams assisting employees. The support desk team members are the ones tasked with resolving issues. They answer questions and provide detailed directions to help users fix their technical issues, all through the service desk platform.
By simplifying workflows and automating processes, help desk software makes the IT team more efficient. It can log and track issues and streamline status updates. IT personnel can communicate with end users in one centralized platform. The software will automatically create tickets and assign them to the correct support specialists, ensuring requests won’t slip through the cracks. These processes ensure users always get assistance quickly.
From your end-users’ perspectives, they can access IT right from their location. Instead of calling a technician to their site or making a trek to the IT department, they submit an email or fill out a web form. The IT help desk software automatically will direct the message to the right technician, so users can be helped right away.
When recording information about the issue, the technology enables end users to log the problem, and even self capture data to allow IT technicians to resolve it faster. A support desk can also maintain a self-service portal, so users can quickly resolve their own issues, and IT can reduce the volume of incoming tickets.
IT Staff Management
Once a ticket is in the system, the help desk software can route it to the appropriate staff member and facilitate transfers between staff members as issues escalate. It creates an easy interface where staff can update the status of issues, so users always know when progress has been made on their ticket. Meanwhile, IT managers can easily pull reports on overall performance and dig into individual technicians’ achievements. They can see what different team members’ workloads look like, and gauge end-user satisfaction with their service.
10 Benefits for Your Organization
The help desk lets companies resolve various technical issues, from password resets to network security breaches. With any IT problems that arise, the service desk will likely be the first to know about them. By making your IT department more efficient and resolving employees’ issues as quickly as possible, the investment offers many benefits. From the ability to maintain a leaner IT staff to the need to implement company-wide improvements on hardware and software infrastructure, a support desk can enable a lot of progress. Here are the top 10 benefits of help desk software, staff, and services your organization can experience:
1. Cost Savings
A help desk involves human resources, software, and hardware to support its processes. While implementing an effective help desk can be an investment, it’s one that results in cost savings over time. The first way is by helping employees get back to work after technical issues. The longer it takes for employees to resolve the problems on their own, the less time they spend doing their job. Plus, after an employee successfully resolves their own issue, they probably aren’t sharing their solution with the rest of the company. Therefore, anyone who experiences the same problem may spend just as long resolving it.
With an IT support desk, professional, tech-savvy personnel can respond quickly to issues. Every issue contributes to a database of problems and solutions, which the IT department can refer to when similar incidents arise. So, they can solve the issue quicker the first time, and even faster whenever it recurs. All that saved time translates into saved labor costs.
Within the IT department, a help desk can also result in cost savings because low-level issues can be transferred away from senior IT personnel. Entry-level support technicians can fix simple problems, leaving the rest of the department to tackle challenging IT issues and add value to the organization. Resolving the average service desk ticket costs an organization $22. That number increases to $69 if the case escalates to desktop support, and $104 for IT support. A robust self-help portal, enabled through the service desk, lets an organization resolve issues for as little as $2 per incident.
2. Disaster Recovery and Support
When a disaster strikes, the IT department plays a huge part in maintaining operations. IT’s role in disaster recovery can be as varied as the type of disaster at hand. For example, a burst pipe could cause water damage to a company’s servers. In that case, the IT department needs to recover lost data. If a local emergency makes it impossible for workers to get to the office, IT will need to set up remote connectivity for the affected employees.
The service desk team will be in charge of fielding IT questions from those affected by the disaster. They might also be tasked with reporting an IT emergency to the appropriate personnel. Help desk software can come in handy during this process by streamlining communication. It can even store a master contact list, making it faster and easier to contact the right people in an emergency.
When a disaster damages the IT infrastructure, which is common in cybersecurity breaches, many new issues can occur. Your support desk can track and document these issues and their solutions quickly, using what it learns to help the organization become more resilient. When a business invests in a third-party IT help desk, they can be even more prepared for a disaster. A contracted tech support service may not be affected by the same issues that impact your physical location. The company can prove to be a reliable partner in times of dire need.
3. Work Efficiency Increases
With an easy-to-use platform, your employees can quickly and effortlessly submit help tickets. The automated workflows provided by the help desk mean issues can be resolved faster, letting employees get back to work. A fast, streamlined IT process allows your employees to be more productive.
On your IT department’s side, they have to rely on fewer manual processes to assist users. They don’t have to document issues by hand, prioritize requests that arrive in their inbox, or assign tickets to technicians. With these tasks out of the way, IT can focus on helping users and initiating improvements that make the technology infrastructure even better.
4. IT Task Prioritization
There are many ways to ensure your end-users get fast, efficient service, and a help desk can prioritize your requests. For example, if an IT technician is visiting a particular department, they can add several issues from that area to their roster.
Also, the service desk can categorize issues by importance. If a router is down, resolving it should take precedence over an issue affecting one person. With a help desk, the IT team can quickly sort through low-, medium-, and high-priority tasks, so the big problems get fixed first. Further, it can automatically queue requests so users who have been waiting the longest are served first.
5. Trend Analysis
An IT help desk can help the department track many trends. A critical benefit of this is the ability to identify the most reported issues and catch spikes in requests. Access to this data allows the IT department to act on new problems as they develop. For example, if several requests come in about one of the copier machines, it can indicate that it’s time for preventive maintenance. If you notice a third-party software is experiencing more outages and glitches than usual, it can suggest it’s time to change providers.
You can also track internal trends within the IT department for an even more efficient service. For example, you can take benchmarks for how many tickets you close each week to help the team improve. You can track the average time it takes to resolve requests and break this out by request category. You can also notice if individual technicians seem to excel at different kinds of requests, and assign them to those tickets in the future. The software provides all the internal metrics you need to improve your IT services and infrastructure in an easy-to-understand format.
6. Evidence-Based Improvements
An IT help desk stores crucial data the IT team can use to improve technology, software, and services. One way to do this is by analyzing recurring issues, especially in cases involving the same user. Recurring problems might indicate that the initial solution wasn’t complete, and other factors are at play. More in-depth analysis, rather than continuing to use temporary fixes, can enact improvements that solve the root cause.
IT service desk software can visualize data about common problem categories, specific applications, or hardware. By revealing which processes and technology cause requests, an IT help desk enables smarter enhancements. Better data can even uncover less expensive or faster solutions, allowing the IT department to become even more effective.
7. End-User Customer Service
Whether you have a contracted or internal IT support desk, the best practice is for it to operate like a business. The business’s employees are essentially your customers. With most people used to lightning-fast service everywhere they go, IT can’t afford to drag its feet, especially with quick issues. Framing the experience as customer support ensures technicians are providing the best results possible.
An IT help desk works much the same way as a customer service platform and can provide many of the same benefits. Some of the ways that an IT service desk can serve its end-users most effectively include:
- Communication: A familiar frustration users experience when working with IT is communication. They might not know how to describe an issue, resulting in a back-and-forth email chain answering questions. An IT help desk uses a request form, giving IT the right information and customers a better communication tool. In a central platform, customers won’t be confused if issues bounce between different technicians or communication formats. They experience it all within the IT support desk portal.
- Customer data: As a help desk collects data, it learns about your employees’ common frustrations and questions. IT has a wealth of knowledge to base their service improvements upon. They can prioritize those frustrations and develop helpful answers to questions.
- Post-service surveys: The IT help desk can send surveys to users after their issue closes. Even if a technician solved a problem in record time, the end user might perceive it as relatively slow. If that’s the case, the team has more work to do to improve customer service. Data from post-service surveys give the department insights into how they treat their customers.
An IT department bogged down by manual processes has little room to grow. A service desk expands the department’s ability to serve users in several key ways. First, it automates critical operations, like logging issues and assigning technicians to cases.
Second, through detailed logs of previous issues and solutions, it builds an internal knowledge base to solve problems faster. If they know a solution works every time, they can even send a canned response to users with that particular issue. They can use solution data to create a robust self-service portal with FAQs and how-to guides. Users can then solve their own IT difficulties without contacting the help desk.
All these benefits of the service desk open up IT staff to do more that demands human attention. They can efficiently handle more support tickets, allowing them to stay lean even as a company scales. If your business chooses to contract a third-party support desk, you have even more room to grow. That’s because a managed IT help desk is already built to scale. They can take on all the issues your employees have — whether you have just a few or several thousand — without missing a beat.
9. Quality Improvements
Most IT teams, even those in-house, function as a service in and of themselves for those within your organization. Much like your company’s customer service portal, the help desk is a crucial source of data for improving IT quality in general. Some key metrics for IT service quality improvement are the reduction in response and resolution times.
A service desk can dramatically improve both. When a new request comes in, it can be automatically routed to the first available agent or the agent with the best service record for handling issues of that nature. The first method can reduce the response time. The second can reduce the resolution time.
10. Single Location for All IT Requests
The IT help desk provides a central platform for end users and IT technicians alike. From your employees’ perspective, they have a single portal for their IT services. They can create a help ticket, view its status, and learn when their issue is resolved just by logging in. That portal can also serve as a message board for announcements about known errors or planned downtime. This platform can even develop into a self-service portal, where users can answer common questions without contacting IT.
On the IT department’s side, technicians can view a record of all communications with a user requesting assistance. Instead of asking employees to repeat themselves as issues escalate from one technician to the next, the help desk provides a complete log of the situation and all previous solutions attempted.
IT Help Desk Solutions From Consolidated Technologies, Inc
Consolidated Technologies, Inc. is proud to offer comprehensive, proactive support services for your business. You can empower your internal IT team to run their own IT help desk with our powerful software, or rely on us for world-class technical support when you need it. Our help desk services are staffed 24/7 and have a 90-second response time, so your technology problems disappear faster when you contact us. We use data from our tickets to catch issues before they spread, so you can avoid more incidents that wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure.
Whatever you’re looking for in a support desk solution, one of our CTI Advantage Plans has what you need.