Today's world is about readiness for anything. As we've learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, anything can and will happen. Is your business ready? Are your IT systems ready to transform on a dime? Can you ensure your networks are always up and running so you can keep your customers happy?

In addition, satisfied employees are an essential component of every successful business. And in today’s hyper-competitive markets, keeping your employees happy is more important than ever. In the age of instant gratification, everyone expects to have their voices heard and problems resolved quickly. They expect your solutions to be tailored to suit their needs. That makes help desk services a critical addition to your business.

A well-managed help desk service provides practical, efficient support for all your technology needs. It can be a defining feature of your company experience and help eliminate unhappy customers, boosting your bottom line. It also facilitates real-time communication, enhancing engagement with your employees, and naturally, your customers.

But finding the right managed help desk services partner for your business can be a frustrating, confusing experience. With so many vendors, products, and features in the market, it can all feel overwhelming. Which features do you need? What services offer the best value for money? Here are some critical questions you should consider when selecting a help desk services provider.

What does managed help desk services mean for your organization?

When you’re choosing a help desk services vendor, it’s essential to consider what “excellent customer service'' means in the context of your business and brand. After all, every organization is unique. Your company’s IT infrastructures strategy forms the support network for your service culture, and can determine whether that culture is outstanding or underdeveloped and non-responsive.

What makes your technology experience better than that offered by your competitors? It could be your rapid response to queries, extensive product knowledge, creativity, or personalization--all powered by various applications and systems. Whatever the answer, make sure the help desk services vendor you partner with supports your brand’s customer service strategy.

What makes the most sense for your business?

For many, customer service representatives are no longer the first port of call. Many people now prefer to resolve problems themselves. Community forums and blogs are a common source of assistance, allowing end-users to learn from one another. Consider whether your chosen help desk solution will enable your employees to solve their problems in the way they prefer.

Is your help desk scalable?

Even if your business is small at the moment, you probably have plans to scale. That’s why it’s vital to choose a help desk services solution that will grow with your business. Ensure that your managed help desk services will handle large numbers of customer queries in the future.

Critical help desk features

Managed help desk services offer a wide range of features in varying combinations. But a few features are essential. At a minimum, an effective help desk solution should include the following features:

Real-time tracking

To make sure technology issues don’t fall through the cracks, your help desk services solution should include a practical tracking function. Each end-user query should be logged in a ticketing system and transmitted to the most appropriate support agent. Each ticket should be easily trackable, from an initial question to resolution.

Centralized inbox

Your help desk software should include an email-like interface that provides access to customer messages. Support agents should have access to a shared inbox, ensuring all employees can easily find and resolve their issues. Your team can easily collaborate to solve technology problems, and individual queries will never go unanswered because they’re stuck in an individual inbox on somebody’s day off.

Collaborative assistance

A customer-centric business doesn’t work in silos. Your help desk should facilitate collaboration among everyone in your business, including every business unit. Effective collaboration is the best way to resolve your technology issues quickly and easily. It also ensures that all of your people are aware of any recurring problems and business-user concerns.

Live chat support

Live chat is quickly becoming technology users’ preferred means of communication with help desks. With a live chat feature, you can deliver real-time customer support while improving user engagement.

Since the technology boom of the 1980s, IT services of all kinds have become an essential aspect of daily life. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, becoming more and more complicated, your employees need access to fast, reliable IT support. That’s where managed help desk services apply.

What is an IT help desk?

The concept is relatively self-explanatory. An IT Help Desk is here to help! It assists users with IT-related issues, including answering specific questions and troubleshooting problems. It’s there when you can’t connect to the server, your software keeps crashing, or you’re getting an unusual error message.

However, this kind of essential assistance isn’t enough. It would help if you had a real managed help desk services dedicated to supporting your business as you integrate IT into your everyday operations. Along with general support, your managed help desk service should be able to handle the following tasks:

Handle all of your IT requirements

It’s a common misconception that the IT Help Desk is only there to deal with tactical IT issues. Of course, there are always immediate issues that need fixing straight away. If your IT system isn’t working, chances are, your employees aren’t working either. A practical help desk must be able to get your business running smoothly again without delay.

But your managed help desk service provider should do more than step in when the system crashes or somebody can’t log in. A good help desk provider should be there to help plan for your company’s future. That includes strategic consultation, employee training, cybersecurity solutions, and everything in between.

Provide always-on support

Today’s IT teams can’t just answer the phone with a sigh and ask, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” They have to be customer service professionals. Help desk support agents may need better customer service skills than most other professionals.

In any case, your managed help desk services should be available to provide exceptional customer service 24/7..

Offer competitive and transparent pricing

A competitive managed services provider is fully transparent with their billing models. The most competitive providers will generally offer support plans in ‘tiers’ to suit individual IT budgets and needs. Ensure you know which services are included in each tier and always check for a 24/7 help desk. If a service package doesn’t have a help desk, move on to another vendor.

Provides extensive industry knowledge

Many IT service providers offer the same generic service to every customer. While some aspects of IT are consistent across industry lines, it’s best to avoid providers that can’t deliver personalized services to your business. Your managed help desk service provider should have experience in your industry and offer a tailored IT action plan.

Only a solid industry understanding will ensure your IT professionals can provide superior customer service and ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations. For example, if you’re running a healthcare company, your information-sharing obligations are much more stringent than those that apply to financial services. Would your IT service provider know the difference? If not, you could end up in a whole lot of trouble.

On top of the latest technology trends

Technology is changing in leaps and bounds: From big, bulky desktop computers to palm-sized smartphones in a span 20 years. All that change is exhilarating, but it’s also hard to keep up. An effective help desk service needs to be on top of it all. That means your managed IT services provider should be abreast of all the latest technology trends and advances. That way, you know your help desk services team is always operating at the cutting edge with the most effective remote access, most efficient storage systems, and much more.

What can effective help desk services do for your business?

Managed help desk services can have a range of benefits for your business. Primarily, you can access highly experienced technology professionals on call to respond to IT problems and business questions. Yet, the advantages go much further than that. An effective help desk services partner will also:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Implement systemic fixes
  • Provide ongoing support
  • Analyze current and future IT trends

Final thought

An effective help desk solution can empower your team to deal with any customer issue. Still, it will take time and planning to select the right help desk solution for your organization. The considerations mentioned above should give you a good starting point. In addition, you should consider how you want to manage backups and whether you need scalability right away.

It's time to take the complexity out of IT. With managed help desk services, you enable your IT infrastructure to do more with less. When your systems do more, so can your employees. Thus, your teams can access the tools they need to focus on what they do best. IT is complicated, SSI can simplify it for you.