Intro to Helpdesks

An organization’s employees and customers alike are going to encounter challenges which give rise to questions—a lot of them. How can your team best organize these queries, resolving everyone’s immediate needs and technical issues with the ease and efficiency that people have come to expect?

Enter the helpdesk.

Helpdesks are multi-faceted resources for business owners. All a user has to do is submit a ticket to your team via email, a web-based form, or through your helpdesk directly. Upon receipt, the software will log the ticket and automatically assign the matter to the person who can help. With their ability to streamline processes, organize information, and simplify interactions, helpdesks prevent important requests from slipping through the cracks.

Other features and benefits include:

  • A central location for all support requests. Users can create tickets, check on the status of their issue, and close out the ticket after resolution. Transparency saves time by eliminating unnecessary status report requests.
  • Proactive development of solutions to long-term technical concerns. Information gathered can identify weaknesses in your product or service and enable you to correct them.
  • Creation of detailed submission records, making it easy to track responses and confirm what work was done.
  • The ability to prioritize issues, so the IT department can allocate its resources more effectively—e.g., replacing an employee’s laptop trackpad is much less important than troubleshooting the email server that handles customer correspondence.
  • Faster resolution of office personnel tech issues, which enables your teams to be more productive.

What is an employee helpdesk?

Team helpdesks are usually managed by company IT teams to support employees. They enable both asset and incident management, and most demonstrate ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) compliance with automation, documentation, and function. As internal helpdesks, they deal with issues like workstation breakdown, software problems, inability to access company email, etc. Some larger organizations opt for department-specific helpdesks, for example, an HR helpdesk dedicated to resolving HR-related matters.

What is a customer helpdesk?

A customer helpdesk is a support solution used to assist external customers. They convert questions and support requests into tickets, which are then assigned to an available support agent. Due to the customer service aspect, these helpdesks are often referred to as service desks. However, as these terms can occasionally refer to platforms that carry significant differences, it’s important to fully explore the differences.

Helpdesk vs. service desk.

Those researching helpdesk solutions will also come across the term “service desk.” Although many businesses and customers alike regard the two terms as identical, there are fundamental differences between the two resources.

Traditional helpdesks are designed to focus on troubleshooting customer problems, typically within your company. They operate on a break-fix model, meaning that they react to mission-critical incidents, such as server failure, backup restoration, and problems with the organization’s email or other communication tools. In essence, they are for the benefit of employees and are maintained by specialists in information technology and network security.

Service desks, on the other hand, are a point of contact between a service provider and its end users. They handle questions like, How do I activate my new software? or, What does XYZ error message mean?

The general consensus is that the service desk is an evolution of the helpdesk, but there’s more to it than that. With their user documentation lists, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and more user-centric approach, helpdesks emphasize the use of soft skills, which is why they are usually managed by support staff with a background or training in customer service.

Business owners who implement the right helpdesk solution for their needs will protect their brand reputation by ensuring both support personnel and helpdesk software facilitate a more positive customer service experience.