A help desk is a place where people go to get answers to their questions. In the real-world - typically a place you can walk up to and ask questions but in the virtual world help desk is a lot different. A modern help desk consists of many channels of communication that allow people to raise a support request and get it answered.
A service providing information and support to computer users, especially within a company. Often also written as a "Help Desk" (noun).
The term was commonly used from the late 80s but has become very popular in the last two decades with the emergence of CRM (customer relationship management) and focus on customer support and customer experience.
A help desk is an essential function in an organization that is required to resolve requests, issues, or complaints promptly. An internal help desk helps to resolve issues within the organization, and an external help desk is needed to service customer, vendor, or partner requests. The goal is to improve customer experience and customer satisfaction.
Internal help desk examples:
External help desk examples:
A help desk channel is a medium of communication that your customer chooses to submit a support request. Here are the most popular support channels:
Help Desk Admin: A person within an organization who configures and manages a help desk
processes, workflows, and tools required for the team to successfully deliver a great customer
Support Manager: Usually, a subject matter expert and person responsible for meeting service level agreement and managing customer support process. A support manager supervises a team of support agents. They ensure work is proportionately distributed between support agents and leads up to a great support experience for customers. In a small business support team or IT team usually has only one support manager while in a large call center setup, there would be more than one support manager.
Support Agent: A person who responds to customer support requests and helps resolves on behalf of the business. Support agents can be both generalists or specialists. Their job core skills can range from technical support, IT support, or business operations support depending on the support function. If support agents are unable to resolve an issue, they escalate the request to a support manager or another specialized support agent.
Help desk software is a tool that helps you collate all support requests in a single place and allow your team to respond to each of the issues in an organized and timely fashion. Most companies that are starting their support team rely on shared inbox or even spreadsheets to manage support requests. Help desk software is also often referred to as a support ticketing system or customer support software.
A ticket (also sometimes referred to as case) is a term used to describe a specific customer request, issue or complaint. Ticket Management is the process of managing the life cycle of a ticket from it's initial submission to resolution.
Ticket Management: This is the most basic function of any help desk software. Ability
to turn incoming requests into help desk tickets to organize, assign, and take tickets to a successful
Knowledge Base Management: Ability to create knowledge articles or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and make it available to end-users to search and find instant answers.
Automation: Most support tickets are repetitive questions. By using automation features like auto-assignment, canned responses, business rules, or workflows - ticket management becomes exceptionally efficient.
SLA management: SLA or service level agreement are goals companies set to meet customer expectations. Example: How soon should the end-user receive the first response? What is an acceptable timeline to completely resolve a ticket? A help desk system would provide the company how often they meet their timeline goals and even alert them when tickets are likely to breach their SLA.
Real-time Reporting: Reports help analyze support performance. Having up to the minute report is essential to improve support operations and manage SLAs.
Asset Management: Helps track tickets related to hardware and software assets. Manage a list of assets and how it impacts your business operations.
A service desk is focused on IT service management using the ITIL framework. Some service desk teams that don't necessarily follow the ITIL framework but would still require features like asset management, change management, and approval management.
Choosing the perfect customer service software isn't easy. A typical help desk includes a ticket management system, a self-service portal, reports, and community forums. To help you narrow down on the ideal customer service tool, we at HappyFox have curated this handy scorecard.Download Scorecard →
Some of the best help desk software available is cloud-based (SaaS). Some of the most popular help desk software includes Zendesk, HappyFox, Jira, Spiceworks, and Kayako.
As help desk ticketing system is often used with the following business SaaS apps:
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