Top 5 Best Practices for your Help Desk

A Help Desk is designed to be the first point of contact for customers when they have requests or problems with their technology services. And you, as the technology service provider are responsible for addressing those issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is essential, then, to ensure a strategic method of managing this single point of contact for requests and issues. This will include tracking inbound and outbound ticket processes, escalation procedures, and ticket resolution.

Good luck finding clients that are ok with issues slipping through the cracks and hanging out there for extended periods of time. People just won’t stand for it, so to ensure this doesn’t happen, check out our Top 5 Best Practices for your Help Desk.

Everything is a Ticket – All incidents and requests must be a ticket to properly capture all work performed, regardless of length, nature, or severity of the request.

Keep Customers in the Loop – Leverage Closed Loop to communicate with the customers. You should be updating them on progress and the status of their service requests.

All Roads Lead to Rome – Rome being your service boards, everything ends up as a service ticket on your service boards regardless of the source. The service board is what then controls your next step through workflows.

My Life is My Service Board – Help Desk employees work service tickets on their assigned service boards in order of assignment and the service level agreement’s priority, urgency, and impact.

All Time, All of the Time, On Time – All employees must enter all time worked, on everything they work (all of the time), as it happens (on time).

Service Desk vs Help Desk Services – What’s the Difference?

Service Desk vs. Help Desk. Hmmm. But…aren’t they the same thing?

If that’s your reaction, you’re not alone. It’s generally agreed there’s some gray area involved. So why make a big deal about it?

While strikingly similar at first glance, a closer and more practical look reveals differences that go beyond tomato-tomahto, potato-potahto wordplay. Because each represents a distinct strategic approach, determining whether you need one or both—and understanding why—can impact how your IT organization operates and satisfies customers. Our goal here is to help uncomplicate the topic with some break-it-down basics.

By Definition

In differentiating between the two, ITIL looks at the IT process from beginning to end, mapping how they should be integrated into the overall business strategy. The service desk is a key component of managing the overall process from a strategic ‘big picture’ cross-organizational perspective. It reviews the overall IT processes and functionality. The help desk feeds into the service desk with a tactical, day-to-day role in responding to end-user needs. An overview of specific functions helps clarify.

Service Desk Focus – Client Strategy

Being the first point of contact in an organization for all IT questions, best practices service desks are process and company strategy focused. Functions can be outlined in five ITIL Core Service Lifecycles:

  • Service Strategy: Evaluate current services, modifying and implementing new as required
  • Service Design: Evaluate new services for introduction into business environment and ability to meet existing/future needs
  • Service Transition: Ensure minimal business interruption during transitions
  • Service Operation: Ongoing monitoring of service delivery
  • Continual Service Improvement: Analyze opportunities to improve IT processes/functions

Help Desk Services Ultimate Goal – First Contact Resolution

The help desk is a component of the service desk, most concerned with end-user functionality and providing incident management to ensure customers’ issues are resolved quickly. Tasks include:

  • Computer or software consultations
  • Change and configuration management
  • Problem escalation procedures
  • Problem resolution
  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
  • Service level agreements
  • Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems

Do You Need Both?

A help desk is an absolute essential for providing actionable, technically skilled resources for problem resolution. Since a service desk generally takes a more proactive stance, addressing issues of a less urgent technical nature, some companies may not yet have need for its broader offerings.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of strategic and tactical differences, the bottom line is help desks and service desks share a common ‘reason for being.’ Their purpose is to meet the ever-heightening expectations of technology users—both internal and external to your organization—for the best possible service experience. If that goal is being successfully accomplished, you can most likely relax about sweating the semantics.

This article was provided by our partner Labtech