An IT help desk is a service that provides technical support to users of technology products. It is often the first point of contact for users needing assistance with their technology, although some help may be performed by other members of an IT team, such as a desktop administrator. 

IT help desks typically provide problem diagnosis and resolution to software, hardware, and other information technology (IT) issues. They also offer user account management, application management, and inventory management. 

There are two primary types of IT help desk services: Internal help desks and external help desks. An organization’s IT department often manages an internal help desk to use its employees. An external help desk is managed by a company that offers these services to customers to support the products they sell or the services they provide. 

Employees are your business’s most valuable resource. They are also your most expensive. Outsourcing services like IT help desk is a great way to keep costs down while maintaining both quality and productivity for your team. 

Why use IT help desk services?

Lower costs: An on-site IT department can cost tens of thousands of dollars per month. Outsourced IT help desk services can cost a fraction of that, depending on your needs and the number of employees at your business. 

Expertise: The advantage of an outsourced help desk services is that you’re tapping into experts in the field who know how to solve problems quickly, accurately, and efficiently. This often results in a faster turnaround time for your employees’ tech issues, giving them more time to focus on their jobs without waiting on hold or being put on hold by an internal department. 

Scalability: You pay only for what you need when you need it with outsourced IT help desk services. If there’s a sudden increase in technical issues during the holiday season, or if you have seasonal employees with tons of questions about their new systems, then using an outsourced help desk allows you to scale up as needed. 

But, how do you find the right partner? Keep reading to learn more! 

Determine your budget

The IT help desk is the first point of contact between your employees and your company's IT department. It handles all questions, problems, and requests related to your company's technology resources. 

As an outsourced system, the help desk functions as an external service available to be contracted by companies on an hourly, monthly, or yearly basis. Companies may also choose to pay for a more comprehensive package that incorporates other services, such as monitoring and maintenance. 

The cost of outsourcing your IT help desk will vary depending on how you structure the contract and what other kinds of services are included in the package. 

How much should you budget for IT help desk services? It's a tricky question to answer. Cost is essential, but it's only one factor in the decision—and without a clear understanding of what you need, you can't make a decision that's right for your business. 

However, having a budget in mind will help you determine how much you can spend on services, and it's critical for setting up your company's operations with the provider. Without a budget, you may find yourself overspending or accidentally signing up for services that aren't within your ability to pay. 

Perform research and due diligence 

When your company decides to outsource its IT help desk, you don't want to go with the first vendor you find. You want to ensure that you're getting the best service possible for your money. 

How do you find a good match? 

First, do your research by checking out vendor reviews. Find out what other people are saying about the companies that offer IT help desk services. You can also contact vendors directly and ask them questions about their IT help desk services to get a feel for how they will work with you. 

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential vendors, look at their pricing model. Some vendors charge an hourly rate, while others charge per-incident or user. Make sure that you understand what each vendor charges before making final decisions about which one will be best for your business needs. 

The next step is to evaluate their customer service skills by asking how long it takes them to respond when there's an issue and whether they have someone available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find out what their typical turnaround time is on questions or requests from customers to gauge whether they'll meet your expectations and meet deadlines quickly without hassle. 

There are many things to consider when looking for the right fit, and you need to make sure that you can get the most out of your relationship with your service provider. 

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to outsourcing your IT help desk. It would help if you had a partner who would take the time to understand what your company needs and offer solutions that match up with those needs. 

Consider the scope of services you require 

The best way to get started is to consider the scope of services you require and the level of support you need. 

When determining what services you want and how much support you need, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. How much internal support do I have for my IT help desk?
  2. What are my peak usage hours? 
  3.  Do I need onsite or remote support? 
  4.  Do I need 24/7 coverage? 
  5. How many users do we have? How many are considered peak users? 
  6.  What is the ticket volume per tier? 
  7.  Do we receive any other types of requests outside of tickets and calls (i.e. emails, live chat, etc.)? 

Find out about their IT certifications and training programs 

Yes, your chosen partner should be certified experts in help desk services. 

And here's why: These are trusted IT partners to so many small and mid-sized businesses. They are the experts that organizations rely on when they can't afford an in-house IT department. 

Help desk services vendors need to have a deep understanding of the technology their clients use and the problems they face to provide practical solutions and preventative measures. 

Not all vendors are created equal. Many companies that call themselves "MSPs" may only offer a handful of services.  

So if you're looking for a help desk services vendor to partner with your business—whether it's because you don't have the budget for an internal team or need an expert business advisor—make sure they're certified professionals who know what they're talking about! 

Inquire about their help desk software systems 

The right help desk software systems are essential for any and all businesses. IT teams have to be able to handle even the most routine of calls and requests, and the right software can make that happen with ease. 

Let's take a look at some of the things that can go wrong when an IT team has to handle these calls: 

  • A customer is having problems with their computer; they've been trying to contact their IT department for hours, but no one is responding. 
  • An employee is having trouble accessing email and other business-related websites; their boss is getting very antsy about it. 
  • A company is experiencing a service outage, and nobody knows what's going on or how to fix it. 

These are just a few examples of the types that need to be dealt with from the help desk, so companies must make sure they get the right software to handle those kinds of calls. 

Further, the best IT help desk system will also have a robust knowledge base feature that houses all of the most common customer issues, as well as instructions on how to deal with them. This is important because it allows customers to find answers without having to wait for a customer service representative to service their ticket. 

Look for IT experience and expertise 

When you're outsourcing your IT help desk, only two things matter: Experience and expertise. 

Check out their client list. A company with a long history of delivering outstanding results will be able to point proudly to their most satisfied clients. If a company is new or has had problems in the past, they may try to hide this information. 

If you're looking for experience, here's what to do: 

  • Look for companies that have been around longer than 10 years. Even if they haven't been delivering IT services for that whole time (for example, if they started as an accounting company and then shifted focus), this type of longevity means they have a better chance of providing excellent service over time than a newer one company does. 
  • Ask about their team members. See how long each person has been there and what training or certification they've received. These are good indicators of experience since experienced employees will tend to stick around longer than inexperienced ones do. 

 You can tell a lot about an IT service provider or help desk team just by how long they've been around. They're probably doing something right if they've been serving clients for years. And if they've been doing it for decades? That's great news for you—it means they have the expertise to handle whatever situation you might find yourself in. 

Think long term 

When you outsource your IT help desk, you're not just solving an immediate problem. You're thinking long-term. You're looking at the big picture and deciding that the best move for your company is to partner with a third party for necessary functions like help desk management and customer service. By outsourcing your IT help desk, you're freeing up time and resources to focus on what matters most: growing your business!

We all have limited hours in the day. As a business owner, you can't do everything yourself. Why spend your time worrying about something as complex as IT when you could be investing in bigger, better things? 

Outsourcing IT help desk is a good way of reducing expenses while getting quality service 

Outsourcing IT help desk can be a cost-effective option for businesses with fluctuating demand for IT assistance but don't have the budget to hire full-time employees. You get skilled technicians who are available to resolve your issues in real-time, ensuring that your business runs smoothly and efficiently.  

Using an outsourced help desk solution will reduce costs associated with hiring staff members on an as-needed basis and provide better support services to your customers.  

Final thought 

In today's world, the role of IT is growing more and more critical by the day. This means that the demand for IT services across industries—from tech to healthcare to education and beyond—is also increasing. 

The only problem? There is a severe shortage of talent to meet this need. So what's a company to do? 

Many are turning to outsourced IT help desk services for support. And for a good reason: Outsourcing help desk services can save you time, money, and many headaches. 

SSI's IT help desk services provide efficient solutions to deliver immediate support to our customers — and our customer’s customers. We deliver comprehensive IT consultancy services to businesses of any size with 24-hour help desk support available year-round. Now, your company can focus on offering next-level customer service.

Contact us to learn more about our help desk services.