Table of Contents

You must have come across the word “help desk” at least once if you have used a tech product: a software system or a web/mobile application. You must have used a help desk, too, either as an employee or a customer. But that hasn’t clarified the concept of help desks in your head. Multiple internet searches have only added to your confusion. You’re still unsure what a help desk is. What does it do? Is it the same as customer service? Why is it important? Or what makes up a good help desk? Don’t worry. You’ve landed at the right place. In this blog, we’ll answer all your questions regarding help desks in the simplest yet effective way. Feel free to jump to the section of your choice or read in chronological order.  Let’s get started. 

» Help Desk Definition

If we take the term literally, a help desk is nothing but a desk offering help. In an organization setup, a help desk exists to help end-users resolve issues that they may encounter during day-to-day operations. Now, these end-users consist of the employees of the organization, as well as its customers.  In simple words, think of help desks as the first contact point for the end-users when they face an issue and need a solution. The help desk can be a physical desk, a virtual desk, or a combination of the two operated by the organization's support team. Typically, the help desk involves resolving technical queries of employees and customers alike. Take troubleshooting a software program installation, for example. Or granting access to new systems and upgrading their security, or fixing a bug you encountered while setting up your computer/laptop. All of these are general scenarios when users reach out to the help desk. With the advent of technology, the ways to connect to the help desk have also evolved. Earlier, help desks would keep buzzing with phone calls from users. Today, it serves users via email, messaging, live chat, and video, apart from the traditional telephone lines. 

» How is Help Desk Different From Customer Service? 

Customer service and help desk are often used interchangeably all around the world. However, there is a stark difference between the twoThe customer service department of a business caters solely to the customers of a company. That means the communication here is limited to the external clients of a business. A help desk, on the other hand, is responsible for solving queries faced by the company’s employees, as well as its consumers and other stakeholders. The interaction, in this case, can be both internal and external. Another primary difference between the two is the kind of problems they deal with. As highlighted earlier in this article, help desks are meant to resolve technical issues of a product a user might be encountering, for example, troubleshooting internal messaging programs or assisting customers with app integrations. Customer service, on the contrary, takes care of non-technical issues raised by customers, for instance, processing a return request for a purchased item or giving more information about a product/service.  

» What are the Types of Help Desks?

Help desks are categorized into the following types based on their ease of use and purpose: 

1. Web-based or Cloud Help Desks

Web-based help desks are help desks available over the web, no matter where you are. All you need is a stable internet connection and your choice of device. Such help desks come at recurring fees. The good thing is, since the service providers host these help desks, you don’t have to worry about its hosting, maintenance, updates, security, and backups. Cloud help desks are ideal for SMBs that require readymade, solid help desk solutions at a budget with minimal personalization.

2. On-premise Help Desks

On-premise help desks are help desk solutions available on the client’s premises. That means the whole infrastructure can be installed, hosted, and maintained on your site. With no involvement from third-party service providers. Such types of help desks provide you with 100% control with an increased scope of customization. An on-premise help desk is ideal for large businesses with greater emphasis on security, given the requirement of managing highly private, sensitive data. What’s interesting is that on-premise help desks are heavy on the budget. You would need to spend a significant amount on IT resources and a dedicated team for a smooth running of the same.   

3. Enterprise Help Desks

Enterprise help desks are systems organizations rely on to cater to their internal team and external clientele. Think of it as a comprehensive solution that can handle user queries seamlessly, regardless of the volume.To resolve technical queries of the internal teams, this type of help desk includes tools, such as IT support collaboration, a self-service knowledge base, and account management. For external customers, such help desk packs in customer communication, ticket management, analytics & reporting tools, and much more to offer better customer service.The best part? Such help desks often undergo integration with the entity’s workflow. That way, teams always stay updated and get to access & manage such support activities alongside their daily operations right from one centralized platform. 

4. Open Source Help Desks

As the name suggests, open-source help desks are developed using open-source software. As a result, these systems are available to any business in need of a help desk with ease. Moreover, it is also simpler to tailor such help desks to your unique needs since they are built using open-source principles.   

5. Internal Help Desks

Internal help desks are designed to provide support to employees within an organization setup. Whether it is system functionality issues, upgrades, or security bugs, this type of help desk can handle it all. The query resolutions are prompt since the system only caters to the internal teams.   Several features that an internal help desk offers include asset management, ticket management, a resource center, knowledge base, and effective collaboration. Therefore, the entire internal support operations get streamlined, which, in turn, enhances the overall organizational productivity.    What’s more? You can also monitor support requests and leverage the built-in analytics tools to improve user experience.                                     Any enterprise, regardless of the industry, size, and stature, can resort to an internal help desk.  We just explored the diverse types of help desks. But are you wondering why you should use one in your organization in the first place? Let us take you through the importance of using a help desk.

» Why is Help Desk Important?

A robust help desk takes the complexity out of resolving the technical issues users come across when using your products/services. Once you resort to a help desk, the scenarios of long queues of unanswered queries, missed user follow-ups, ineffective responses, or losing out on customers due to dissatisfaction will minimize and gradually vanish over time. Here are some more good reasons to switch to a help desk:
    • Simplifies & streamlines customer interactions

With a help desk system, all your customer interactions (both internal & external) are available in one single platform. From previous communication to present open tickets, everything is accessible with merely a few clicks. That enables your support team to troubleshoot and resolve problems quickly.  
    • Boosts customer satisfaction

A faster and more effective response to a query makes customers feel valued and heard. That not just improves their experience with your business but also significantly increases their satisfaction, turning them into loyal consumers. 
    • Increases efficiency

Help desks become a centralized place to manage all your support queries. That helps you save a lot of time which would have otherwise been lost in collating and understanding issues for a response. There are real-time updates & access to queries that help take up & resolve problems faster, boosting the overall organizational efficacy. 
    • Contributes to a positive brand value

With quality, prompt user support, it becomes possible for your business to build a good reputation. That, in turn, can help gain loyal customers, which adds to your brand’s goodwill even more. This ongoing cycle of positive brand value helps attract new customers. And the circle continues to help you realize your growth dreams. 
    • Helps save costs

A powerful, advanced help desk system can automate your routine support tasks. Besides, it can route tickets to the relevant support professional/department on its own. That helps save you both time and cost.  Now that you know why a help desk can be a critical part of an organization, it’s time to discover its functions.

» What are the Help Desk Functions?

You now know that a help desk helps resolve customer support queries. Here’s how it does so.  
    • Request acceptance: 

Help desk team can accept support requests raised by users in real-time using a single interface. The requests tend to come from multiple channels, including phone calls, emails, and text messages.

    • Ticket creation: 

The team then creates a ticket to monitor the status of the user request and provide them with a quick, effective response. In case the issue takes time to resolve, this ticket helps track the duration accurately.
    • Ticket categorization & management:

The help desk system matches the ticket with the member of the support team best-suited to provide help. In other words, every ticket is assigned to the right person for effective resolution. Also, the system categorizes support tickets into multiple groups for better management and tracking. Once the issue is resolved, the ticket is closed by the support staff. 

    • Escalation: 

In cases where the help desk staff isn’t able to solve customer queries, the tickets are routed to a higher department for efficient support. Apart from that, help desks also pack in feedback functionality. It enables users to provide feedback about the support they receive from the team. Such reviews help organizations improve their support operations, whether they are provided by the support team or through self-service portals or knowledge base resources.    

» What are the Characteristics of a Good Help Desk?

The help desk offers an elaborate set of functions. But since there are many options available out there in the market, it often becomes difficult to tell the good system apart. No worries, though. We’re listing down some of the essential traits that make a help desk powerful so that you can pick the right one.

Help desk essentials 2023: 

    • Support to multiple communication channels   

A good help desk provides multi-channel support for issue escalation, such as emails, phone calls, messaging, web applications, and social media. This provides ease & convenience to end-users. 
    • Ticket management 

For a help desk to be effective, it has to have solid ticket management functionality. From ticket creation, categorizing, and management to its tracking & closing, the process must be smooth to operate.

    • Customization 

Every company is unique, and so are its help desk operations. Hence, every help desk system that offers enough personalization to suit your current workflow can be called a good solution.

    • Automation 

A tech-advanced help desk system can be a boon to your business. It automates your routine support tasks and admin work, freeing up your executives’ time for more vital customer queries.

    • Collaboration 

A help desk with a powerful pack of collaboration tools is essential. It allows your team to work together seamlessly and improve user experience.  
    • Self-serve portal

Today’s end-users like to help themselves. Therefore, it is critical for help desks to have a self-serve portal enriched with relevant information & guides for its users. Remember, such self-service centers should be easy to read and comprehend for better utility & reliability. 
    • Analytics & reporting 

Regular analysis and reporting of your help desk efforts are crucial to measuring where you stand and understanding what you need to improve. Robust help desks offer built-in analytics & reporting tools to simplify this process.

    • Feedback 

User feedback is important to enhance your help desk offering. Thus, ensure that the help desk you are about to choose provides users with the ability to share feedback on the support services across channels. 
    • Integration 

Using a help desk system doesn’t have to be complicated. Or it should not take all your time wherein you keep switching between different solutions. That’s why top help desk tools offer seamless integrations with other apps and tools for you to streamline your support and business operations and meet your goals. 

» Final Thoughts

A help desk is a vital aspect for an organization that wants to provide its end-users with a pleasant experience. It not only helps resolve queries faster but also streamlines support operations, enhancing your team’s productivity. Strategic implementation of the help desk also helps boost your reputation. If you’ve not yet used one for your organization, now is the time to consider it.

Read Similar Blogs

Who Uses CRM Systems ?

There are hundreds and thousands of companies, from SMBs to enterprise-level, who use CRM software. 40,097, to be precise. They are all leveraging CRM systems to take their businesses to new heights. But what is actually a CRM system? Why

Read More

7 Best Practices to Maximize Financial Reporting Automation

Lengthy, error-prone financial reporting processes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. As we lean more on data than ever before, finance professionals are ditching inefficient manual processes to leverage financial reporting automation. What is automated financial reporting? It’s

Read More

What is Omnichannel Customer Service and How Does it Work?

Would you like to get your consumers more engaged and provide them with the support they need? Then, you need an omnichannel customer service strategy. With this strategy, your customers can easily communicate with your sales and support staff through their

Read More