The key to long-term success in the technology services industry is to continually engage and satisfy customers so that they trust and rely on you for every new technology need. A critical component of nurturing sticky customers relies on having an effective, responsive Service Desk.
Do You Need a Service Desk and a Help Desk?
Have you heard the terms ‘Service Desk’ and ‘Help Desk’ used interchangeably? Or perhaps you think of them as equivalent yourself. However, both a service desk and a help desk are vital to your company’s success as a technology services business. So what’s the difference?
According to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL):
- The service desk is a key component of managing the overall process from a strategic ‘big picture’ cross-organizational perspective. It reviews the overall IT processes and functionality.
- The help desk feeds into the service desk with a tactical, day-to-day role in responding to end-user needs. The help desk is a component of the overall service desk. The help desk’s mission is to be the single point of first contact for your customers when it comes to problem resolution.
What Are the Functions of an Effective Service Desk?
The service desk functions as the first point of contact within your business for all IT questions. Service desk personnel are focused on processes and company strategy, and should include a Service Desk Manager, Service Desk Supervisor, and Service Desk Analyst. Some of the functions fulfilled by an ITIL service desk include:
- Incident management
- Problem management
- Configuration management
- Change management
- Release management
- SLA management
- Availability management
- Capacity management
- IT service continuity management
- Security management
3 Best Practices for Service Desk Support of the Customer
The responsibilities of the service desk are enormous. Books can be written about what it takes to run a really effective service desk, but let’s start with some basics. Establish these three critical service desk best practices up front, before moving on to finer points of service desk optimization.
Establish an Effective Onboarding Process
Once a customer chooses your company to provide their technology solutions, your service desk must execute an efficient, thorough on-boarding process that ensures a smooth launch of services for the customer. Anything other than a well-oiled onboarding process will frustrate new customers and quickly erode satisfaction and trust. An essential step in the process is collecting the required data in order to set up the client’s account and configure the remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, professional services automation (PSA) solution, billing and communications systems to support them. You’ll also need to conduct a thorough needs assessment and ensure that your provisioning process runs flawlessly.
Train Your Team and the Customer Before Go-Live
Training should be a regular component of your process for spinning up new customers. Prior to go-live, your help desk and service desk staff need to be trained so they become familiar with the new customer’s infrastructure and support requirements. The customer and end-users need to receive training about how to work with your organization. This should include how to open service requests, details about their SLAs and reporting they should expect, and how your service desk processes and incident management processes will work.
Leverage the Value of Automation
If you can insert more automation into your service desk processes, you’ll enable your service team to operate with greater efficiency and productivity. That can add up to better profitability for your business overall—with the happy side effect of extremely satisfied customers! Automation to consider includes an RMM tool, PSA system, communication aids such as chat support, and solutions that enable remote support of your customers.