The IT help desk can seem like a mysterious place. It is directly connected to IT and will feature workers with technical expertise, but it's only sort of a branch of the IT department. Instead, the help desk is the intermediary between business users and IT teams. When the help desk faces a simple issue, it solves it without making IT workers deal with the issue. If the help desk comes across a more complex issue, it identifies the right part of the IT department to forward the issue to and moves on from there.
In effect, the help desk is like the IT department's ambassador to the business. From a technical perspective, this creates huge challenges because process efficiency and streamlined communication are critical when trying to ensure help desk success. The challenges that come with getting the most value out of the help desk has led to plenty of myths about the support unit.
A few misconceptions about help desks are:
1. A homegrown help desk is fine for a small IT setup
Sure, your organization may have a simpler IT configuration than larger organizations, but the point of the help desk is to ensure business users get the most effective support possible. As such, you can't afford to have help desk workers dealing with a cascade of emails or SharePoint communications that need to be sorted through to identify what issues need to be dealt with, prioritize responses and hope nothing gets missed.
A basic ticketing solution that comes with a help desk can be a huge improvement over a homegrown system, creating considerable value.
2. Help desk workers need to be tech experts
Yes, a help desk employee will interact with technology and needs some solid knowledge there, but the core competency is really customer service. If your help desk team is great at interacting with people and helping them deal with frustrating problems, then you have the foundation for a solid support team. Technical knowledge alone is not enough to make a good help desk.
3. Service desks are just help desks with more marketing hype
A service desk and a help desk are two distinct solution models that enable organizations to develop ITSM capabilities. A service desk is a more robust support solution that offers advanced functions that may not be needed for organizations with a simpler configuration. The help desk, on the other hand, will give smaller companies precisely what they need to ensure a good end-user experience without overstretching itself.
The right help desk can create considerable value for an organization, but avoiding help desk misconceptions is key to choosing a good solution.