A source of technical support for hardware or software. Helpdesks have people who can solve the problem directly or pass it on to someone else. The Help Desk software provides the means to access and track problems until they are resolved. It also provides management information related to support activities. See technical support and support tickets.
IT support is generally considered more tactical, with the primary objective of helping to quickly resolve the immediate needs of end-users, as well as technical problems and accidents. The helpdesk is reactive in nature, but it should be efficient and fast. IT support can be separated or part of a larger service center operation to improve customer services for the entire organization.
Here are some key help desk features:
- Act as a single point of contact (SPOC) for IT support
- Use of a tracking solution for all incoming incidents
- Automatic ticket monitoring, routing, and e-mail notifications
- Provide basic management of incidents and requests for assistance
- Some (limited) integrations with other ITSM practices, such as configuration management and knowledge management
- Some areas/applications supported by specialized groups outside the help desk
- Provide assistance at levels 1 and 2 and transfer ownership of incidents if escalation is required
- View basic self-service options for end-users
Who could opt for a Help Desk? A toolkit designed for a help desk can provide support for handling incident and service requests and basic change activation functionality. For smaller and less complex organizations, with minimal computer dependency, this is a reasonable and economical option.
I work with many small companies to improve their IT service management skills, and almost without exception, barely scratching the surface using the capabilities of the toolset they bought and implemented. These companies could save a lot of money and get the same benefits with a simple Help Desk solution: a complete service management solution is not for everyone.
The IT help desk obviously has many other responsibilities, but customer service, reporting, and knowledge management should definitely be at the top because:
- Without good customer service, your helpdesk will probably develop a bad reputation and you will have difficulty getting end users to use your services.
- Without reporting, you will not be able to see how people and processes work or how well the help desk meets the needs of the company.
- Without knowledge management, you will depend on what individual agents know and you will never be able to reach a position where customers can solve their problems. A knowledgebase can enable customers and employees to create a more efficient and harmonious work environment.