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Service Desk and Help Desk, what’s the difference? When it comes down to that 2 am call, the difference is enormous!

Service Desk and Help Desk, what’s the difference? When it comes down to that 2 am call, the difference is enormous!

Why it matters to have a well-trained help desk.

Let me paint you two very different pictures.

Imagine you can’t get into your email (your password just expired and you need someone in IT to reset it)—it’s late at night and you really need to get a few emails out to your team. You call your IT department and talk with Rita from Arizona (your office is in Philadelphia). She asks you a couple of questions and then tells you that someone will call you back within 5 hours. Even though Rita is profusely empathetic that you can’t get your work done, there is nothing she can do. You hang up, more frustrated than earlier- knowing that you can’t deliver what you had promised all because of a stupid password needing to be reset!

What you’ve just experienced is Rita from the Service Desk.

Service desks essentially are call services. Think of the last time you or one of your kids was really sick, but the doctor’s office was closed. You still called into the doctor and got someone that would notify your doctor of your problem. A service desk works pretty much the same way—they field your computer headache problems and pass them along to someone in the IT department.

Maybe that sounds okay at first, but here are just some of the issues with a service desk:

  • Multiple Points of Contact— When you call in to your service desk, you share your problem with someone trained to take your call, but not to do much more about it. If your problem is urgent, they will call whoever is on-call from your IT department, but that leaves at least two points of contact to solve easy problems.
  • Lack of Technical Knowledge Base— Since service desk workers just field calls—like an operator might—they really cannot help you resolve your issue. You are left to wait until someone with more technical acumen is available to assist.
  • Slow Issue Resolution Time— Because multiple people are involved in identifying and fixing your issues, the amount of time it will take to fix your problem has at least doubled. More frustration and less productivity all because you have a ‘go-between’ rather than a ‘get-it-done’-type worker fielding your after-hours call.
  • Wrong Escalation Path— Often service desk folks don’t even understand who to call for which emergencies. If your IT department has a variety of specialties, the service desk person may try to contact the wrong one. For instance, if you’re having that email login problem at 2 am and the service desk calls your database specialist, they might not be very happy or even able to help! Wrong escalation can result in a waste of your time, but also in disgruntled workers—that very well might be some of your most talented people!

Now, imagine you have the same problem as above, but when you call in and speak with Lisa, she is able to reset your password on the spot and you have instantaneous access to all of those emails that needed your attention.

How do helpdesks differentiate from service desks?

  • Real-time problem resolution—Since help desk workers are trained in a variety of IT problems, most often, your problem will be fixed while on the phone (for instance over 90% of our help desk calls are fixed within the first call).
  • Single Point of Contact—There’s no keeping track of the line of people you’ve talked with just to fix one simple problem. You have one person that gets you the fix you really need at that moment.
  • Clear Problem Resolution and Escalation Procedures—Our help desk already has processes in place on how to resolve all sorts of problems (this means quicker resolution times!) AND there are set escalation procedures in place in the event that someone from your IT department needs to get involved. We know who to contact and make sure the right specialist on your team is kept up-to-date when bigger issues arise.
  • Clear Ticket Tracking—Unlike inefficient ticket handoffs from service desk that may result in misplaced or undocumented tickets, our help desk has a built-in ticket tracking system that ensures your ticket gets closed.
  • Extensive Technical Knowledge Base—A help desk has a developed and growing knowledge base to ensure your problems get resolved quickly. We have over 18 years of knowledge—that’s thousands of documents—to ensure we can get your users’ problems resolved the first time.

So, Which sounds better to you?

If you’re like most people, you don’t have time to wait on a call service to relay your message to yet someone else. You expect that your computer problems don’t linger—especially if your job depends on them being resolved.

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