The term help desk was already used widely since the mid-80s, but help desk services gained traction over the past two decades as a digital portal for employee and customer support and for improving the customer experience. Many organizations are considering a help desk, but want to have a better understanding of the overall help desk services cost. We’ll cover that, and more, in this article.
Do you need a help desk?
Invariably, a help desk is a vital function for any company that receives requests, must manage issues, and must handle complaints expediently. An internal help desk helps to resolve issues within the business. In addition, an external help desk helps with partner, customer, and vendor requests. The objective is to improve experiences and overall satisfaction.
Here are a few examples of internal help desks:
- IT support help desk
- Onboarding and offboarding HR help desk
- Building and equipment help desk
These are examples of external help desks:
- Responding to consumer requests from any channel as a customer support help desk
- Management of marketing or logistics for business operations.
- Vendor or supplier help desk
What are the typical channels a help desk might offer?
Since many organizations must offer an omnichannel experience to remain competitive, a help desk is designed to offer support regardless of the channel. Here are the most common channels:
- Knowledgebase, chatbots, community, and self-service
- Support via email and phone
- Live chat
- Social media
Does anyone manage a help desk?
In some cases, there is a need for human resources to manage the help desk as listed below.
Support agent: A support agent is someone who helps answer requests and resolve issues on behalf of the organization. A support agent may focus on either general subjects or offer more specialized support. Their skills can range from IT support to technical support to operational support and also customer support. If the issue is too complex for the support agent, they can escalate the ticket to someone with more expertise.
Help desk admin: The individual in this position will manage every system related to the help desk, from tools to processes and workflows. The goal is to elevate the end-user experience.
Support manager: The support manager is often designated as a subject matter expert around Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and managing the end-user support process. Further, a support manager usually supervises a team of agents. The manager ensures each agent is allotted an equal share of work to create an enhanced experience for end-users.
What are help desk services?
Help desk services help to centralize and effectively manage your support requests from one place so that you don’t have to share inboxes or even spreadsheets to handle incoming questions. It may provide a support ticketing system or case system to describe each issue. The tickets manage the life cycle of the issue from submission to resolution.
What are some common help desk service features?
Automation: Many issues are similar such as a server crash, laptop blackout, or other common issues. Automation offers the ability to auto-assign tickets, automate responses to repetitive questions, create automated business workflows, and more. As a result, help desk becomes much more efficient.
Knowledge base management: Using a knowledge base or creating a FAQs site ensures end-users can find answers immediately to the most typical questions.
Ticket management: Ticketing is the most basic function of a help desk. These tickets organize and assign cases with the goal of rapid resolution.
SLA management: SLAs are documented goals an organization has to meet customer requirements. For instance, a question might focus on how soon the end-user should receive their first response. Another goal is how long it should take to fully resolve a ticket. Help desk services can help organizations meet their timeline objectives and provide alerts if a breach occurs.
Asset management: Tracking tickets related to your IT infrastructure, such as hardware and software, is part of asset management. Help desk services will manage your list of assets and understand how each asset impacts your organization’s operations.
Real-time reporting: You can analyze overall support performance with real-time reporting. Further, having instant reporting is critical for enhancing help desk operations and for managing your SLAs.
Advantages of utilizing help desk services
Every organization strives to become more efficient. However, some do not have the resources to do so. While technological advancements have improved various processes, they can also increase the complexity of your IT infrastructure and may not integrate as seamlessly as you would prefer. It also takes a lot of time and investment to keep all systems functional. Therefore, many businesses rely on help desk services to help their already-overwhelmed IT department.
Consider some of the benefits below:
Decrease labor costs
Hiring a full-time and fully-staffed IT department is costly for many companies. These types of resources can bite a massive chunk out of your budget in terms of paying full-time salaries, benefits, PTO, training, and more. Not to mention, there is also the cost of employee churn. Unquestionably, it’s more cost-effective to retain current employees than it is to try to recruit new employees every few months. In contrast, help desk services gives you access to the same level of expertise without the added hiring and salary costs.
In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, your organization may have to shut down temporarily. Yet, your customers will still need support. Help desk services offers support 24/7 since they are not at your office site, and provide a way to meet customer needs and save your credibility.
Reduce IT costs
Outsourcing help desk services can save a tremendous amount in IT costs, from personnel costs to IT facility expenses. You only pay for what you use, and you don’t have to hire more staff.
Gain a competitive advantage
Oftentimes, it is the Enterprise organizations that have the budget to hire a highly-skilled in-house IT department. As a result, they can easily out-compete smaller businesses. The good news is help desk services can level the playing field and offer a competitive advantage.
Access advanced technologies and services
Technology advancements occur at a rapid clip, and there are new product and service announcements made daily. However, you certainly can’t expect to purchase every new technology on the market. With help desk services, you will always have access to new data and industry innovations. So, you can profit from advanced technologies without having to make major capital investments.
Many times, in-house IT departments are already overwhelmed with putting out unexpected fires. Help desk services can lighten the workload and free up your in-house staff to work on more complex tasks such as business strategy and growth. The result is an increase in productivity as your team members can focus on what they were hired to do.
Improve operational efficiency
IT is typically the main contributor to IT help desks. But, then they spend all their time and resources on management. In contrast, help desk services can ensure your organization receives unparalleled service without increasing the workload of your in-house teams.
What questions should you ask before using help desk services?
Before you outsource help desk services, it is essential to answer a few crucial questions such as these listed below:
- Which channels receive the most support tickets?
- Do end-users want a self-service portal as well?
- How many team members need access to the help desk?
- Would your end-users require mobile help desk support?
- How would you organize ticket management?
- Would you prefer detailed and real-time reporting?
Why should you outsource your help desk?
There are many important reasons why organizations outsource help desk services, including:
- The ability to focus on innovation and business growth
- Optimization of support costs
- Reduction in response and resolution time
- Increased automation
- Reduction in ticket volume
- Enhanced scalability
What is the cost of help desk services?
Remote technologies have changed business IT throughout the globe. Almost every IT service and support you use in-house can be outsourced and accessed remotely at competitive prices. How can you know if you’re getting a good deal on help desk services?
Start by calculating your in-house costs versus outsourcing. Another way to think about this is how much it would cost to hire a new in-house team relative to outsourcing. Next, clearly define what types of help desk services your organization needs. Then, itemize every cost related to the help desk function such as supplies, equipment, administration, salaries, benefits, training, and more. Also, think about the in-house costs that can be avoided by using managed help desk services. Don’t include any sunk costs, but do focus on avoidable future costs.
There are two general methods of pricing help desk services:
- Per-incident pricing
- Fixed-fee pricing
- Hybrid pricing
Per-incident pricing is based on ticket volume, projected talk times, call volumes, support hours, and service applications. All of these components comprise the per-incident price. In addition, they can help to create a fundamental baseline for adequate service levels and bandwidth to deliver on any variances. The monthly volume then determines the monthly fee.
A monthly billing structure can include a devoted service desk. For companies that want a clear-cut billing option, this choice is based on resources used.
From a budgeting standpoint, fixed-fee pricing can offer predictability. On the other hand, an organization may end up paying for unused resources.
Although, a per-incident model makes it a bit more challenging to rapidly scale up or down if a surge in volume takes place.
Help desk services can serve your staff and your customers. You gain access to the latest technologies and qualified experts who work as a direct line of support for your organization.