A Comprehensive and Complete Guide for Help Desk

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In today's competitive business environment, delivering exceptional customer service is vital for a company's success. One way companies can enhance their customer service is through the use of a help desk. But what exactly is a help desk, and why is it important for businesses? In this guide, we will explore the definition of a help desk, discuss the key benefits it offers, and provide some real-world examples to highlight the significance of help desk experience.

So, What is a help desk?

A help desk is a centralized platform that provides support, information, and solutions to customers, employees, or both. It acts as a single point of contact, streamlining the communication process between users and support teams. Help desks are commonly used for managing customer inquiries, troubleshooting technical issues, and resolving problems related to a company's products or services.

Help desks can be either physical, with dedicated staff working at a specific location, or virtual, in which support agents are remotely available through various channels such as phone, email, live chat, or social media. The most advanced help desks employ advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation to provide quick, accurate, and efficient assistance.

Why do you need a help desk?

A help desk can be a valuable asset for any organization, as it contributes to the enhancement of customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and overall operational efficiency. Here are some key reasons why your organization needs a help desk:

Streamlined Support:

A help desk serves as a centralized platform for managing customer or employee inquiries, allowing for quick and efficient responses to issues. This reduces the time spent on resolving problems and ensures a seamless support experience for the users.

Improved Customer Satisfaction:

When customers receive timely, effective support, their satisfaction levels increase. A help desk enables businesses to deliver high-quality assistance to their customers, fostering long-term loyalty and maintaining a positive brand image.

Enhanced Employee Productivity:

For organizations with an internal help desk, employees can quickly receive assistance with technical issues, software, and hardware problems. This minimizes downtime and enhances overall productivity, enabling employees to focus on their core tasks.

Data-driven Insights:

Help desks often come with built-in analytics and reporting capabilities, providing valuable data on user inquiries and support interactions. This data can be used to identify trends, make informed decisions, and improve the support process, ultimately leading to an enhanced user experience.


As your organization grows, so does the volume of support requests. A help desk allows you to effectively manage an increasing number of inquiries without compromising the quality of support, ensuring that your organization remains efficient and customer-focused.

Consistent Support:

A help desk ensures that every support request is dealt with following the same protocols and procedures, providing a consistent experience for users. This standardization makes it easier for the organization to maintain and improve the quality of support over time.

Knowledge Base Creation:

Help desks can be used to build and maintain a knowledge base that contains solutions to common issues and frequently asked questions. This resource empowers users to find answers themselves, reducing the load on support agents and enabling customers to resolve issues faster.

4 Types of Help Desk

There are various types of help desks designed to cater to different needs and requirements. There are four main types of help desks: internal, external, outsourced, and hybrid. Each type serves a unique purpose and offers specific advantages to the organizations that utilize them.

1. Internal Help Desk

An internal help desk is designed to support the employees within an organization. It typically focuses on addressing technical issues, providing software support, and troubleshooting hardware problems. By offering in-house assistance, internal help desks ensure that employees have access to timely and efficient support, ultimately improving overall productivity and operational efficiency within the organization. Some examples of internal help desks are:

  • IT help desk - manage organization IT support function
  • HR help desk - manage onboarding, offboarding and HR grievance process
  • Facilities help desk - Manage support services related to building and equipment

    Here are some examples illustrating a practical application of an internal help desk:

  • A large technology company may have an IT help desk team to assist employees with software and hardware issues, such as troubleshooting computer malfunctions, helping with software updates, and providing guidance on company-specific tools and applications.

  • A university might implement an internal help desk to provide IT support to faculty and staff, addressing issues like password resets, network connectivity, and access to institutional resources.

2. External Help Desk

External help desks, on the other hand, are dedicated to assisting customers who are facing issues or have queries about a company's products or services. These help desks play a crucial role in enhancing customer satisfaction, as they provide timely resolutions to customer inquiries and help maintain a positive brand image. External help desks are often available through various channels, such as phone, email, live chat, and social media, making it easy for customers to get the help they need. Some examples of internal help desks are:

  • Customer support - answer customer requests from any channel
  • Business operations - manage operations of any business unit, e.g., logistics, marketing operations
  • Vendor or partner support - manage communication with vendors or suppliers

    Here are some examples illustrating a practical application of an external help desk:

  • A telecommunications provider may have an external help desk that offers customer support for its products and services, such as troubleshooting network issues, assisting with billing inquiries, and helping users set up new devices.

  • A software company may establish an external help desk to provide customers with technical support, addressing issues such as software installation, bug fixes, and feature-related queries.

3. Outsourced Help Desk

An outsourced help desk is when a company delegates its support operations to a third-party service provider. This allows businesses to tap into the expertise and resources of external partners, enabling them to deliver high-quality customer service without having to invest in building an in-house help desk team. Outsourcing help desk functions can be cost-effective and time-saving, as it allows organizations to focus on their core competencies while benefiting from the specialized skills and knowledge of the outsourcing provider.

    Here are some examples illustrating a practical application of an outsourced help desk:

  • A small business without the resources to create an in-house support team might outsource its help desk functions to a third-party provider, allowing them to handle customer inquiries, technical issues, and product-related questions on the company's behalf.

  • A startup might outsource its help desk to a specialized service provider with expertise in supporting the particular technology or software that the startup has developed, ensuring high-quality assistance for customers without having to invest in building a support team.

4. Hybrid Help Desk

A hybrid help desk combines elements of both internal and external help desks, often involving a mix of in-house and outsourced support agents. This model allows organizations to strike a balance between maintaining direct control over their support operations while still benefiting from the cost savings and expertise of outsourcing partners. A hybrid help desk can be an ideal solution for businesses that want to maintain a certain level of in-house support but also need external assistance to handle increased support demands or specific technical expertise. What are some examples of internal and external help desk?

    Here are some examples illustrating a practical application of a hybrid help desk:

  • A mid-sized company may choose to maintain an internal help desk team for dealing with employee technical issues, while also outsourcing the handling of customer inquiries to an external service provider. This approach allows the company to manage its resources effectively and provide specialized support to both employees and customers.

  • An e-commerce company may have an in-house team to address customer inquiries related to billing and order management, while outsourcing the technical support for their website and platform to a third-party provider with specialized expertise in those areas.

These examples showcase how different help desk types can be employed to address various support needs, tailored to an organization's unique requirements and resource constraints. By choosing the right type of help desk, companies can deliver excellent support to both customers and employees, improving satisfaction, help desk experience, and productivity levels.

Who manages a help desk?

Help Desk Admin:

A person within an organization who configures and manages the help desk processes, workflows, and tools required for the team to successfully deliver a great customer experience

Support Manager:

Usually a subject matter expert and person responsible for meeting service level agreements and managing the customer support process. A support manager supervises a team of support agents. They ensure work is proportionately distributed among support agents and leads up to a great support experience for customers. In a small business, the 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 resolve them 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.

What is a help desk software?

Help desk software is a tool that helps you collate all support requests in a single place and allows 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 a 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.

HappyFox feature to keep evrything together

What is a ticket?

A ticket (also sometimes referred to as a 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 its initial submission to resolution.

What are the popular help desk software features?

Help Desk software offers a variety of exclusive features that are designed to streamline support processes and enhance the overall user experience. Some popular features found exclusively in HappyFox help desk software include:

Ticket Management:

Turning incoming requests into help desk tickets is a fundamental feature that enables the organization, assignment, and resolution of support inquiries. It provides a structured approach to managing user inquiries and ensures that no issue goes unaddressed.

Knowledge Base Management:

Help desk software often includes tools for creating, managing, and sharing knowledge articles or FAQs. By making this information readily available to end-users, they can search for and find instant answers, reducing the load on support agents.


Automation features like auto-assignment, canned responses, business rules, and workflows can significantly enhance ticket management efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks and processes, support agents can focus on providing more personalized and effective assistance.

SLA Management:

Help desk software often includes tools for managing and tracking service level agreements (SLAs). These tools help companies monitor their performance against customer expectations, ensure timely resolution of issues, and receive alerts when tickets are at risk of breaching their SLA.

Real-time Reporting:

Up-to-the-minute reports are essential for evaluating support performance and making data-driven improvements to operations. Real-time reporting features in help desk software allow organizations to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and assess their progress towards meeting their goals.

Asset Management:

Help desk software with asset management capabilities enables companies to track tickets related to hardware and software assets. By maintaining a list of assets and their impact on business operations, organizations can better address support requests that pertain to specific hardware or software components.

Custom Fields:

Custom fields are a popular help desk software feature that allows organizations to capture specific information that may not be available through the default fields provided by the software. These fields can be tailored to meet the unique requirements of an organization's support process or to collect additional information that is relevant to their business or industry.By adding custom fields to support tickets, organizations can gather data that is crucial for understanding, categorizing, and prioritizing support requests more effectively. Custom fields can also help support agents identify patterns, trends, or common issues within the collected data, which can be used to optimize support processes and better address customer needs.

In addition to ticket forms, custom fields can be applied to user profiles, assets, or other objects within the help desk software, providing more granular control and organization of information. Overall, custom fields enhance the flexibility of a help desk system, allowing organizations to tailor the software to their specific needs and streamline their support operations.

What are the most common channels for the help desk?

The most common channels for help desks enable users to seek assistance through a variety of communication methods, ensuring that customers and employees have multiple avenues to obtain support. Here are some of the most common help desk channels:


Many help desks provide support through a dedicated phone line, allowing users to call in and speak directly with a support agent. This is often the preferred method for urgent issues or when more in-depth troubleshooting is required.


Email support enables users to send inquiries or report issues directly to the help desk team. Support agents can then reply with detailed instructions or solutions, allowing users to reference the email as needed.

Live Chat:

Live chat functionality enables users to interact with support agents in real-time through a website or app. This channel allows for immediate assistance and is often preferred for its convenience and efficiency.

Self-Service Portal:

A self-service portal is an online platform that provides users with access to a knowledge base, FAQ section, or troubleshooting guides. Users can find answers to their questions or resolve issues independently, reducing the load on support agents and enabling faster resolution.

Social Media:

Many help desks now offer support through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Users can send direct messages or mention the company in their posts to receive assistance.

Ticketing System:

A ticketing system allows users to submit a support request through an online form, which then generates a unique ticket number. Users can track the progress of their request and receive updates on the resolution.

Community Forums:

Some help desks offer community forums where users can post questions or discuss issues with other customers or support agents. This channel enables users to benefit from the collective knowledge of the community, often providing quicker solutions to common problems.

By offering multiple help desk channels, organizations can cater to the diverse preferences and needs of their customers and employees. This ensures that users receive prompt, effective support, resulting in higher satisfaction levels and an enhanced overall experience.

Customer service software

Customer Service Software – Feature Comparison Scorecard

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 →

How is a service desk different from a help desk?

A service desk is an IT support solution designed to act as a single point of contact for managing and delivering all IT-related services within an organization. It handles not only incident management (which is often also done in help desk software) but also integrates various IT service management (ITSM) processes, such as change management, problem management, and configuration management. The primary goal of a service desk is to ensure that all IT functions work seamlessly and efficiently, aligning with the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) guidelines to deliver value to the organization and its users.

8 questions you should ask yourself before you start looking for a helpdesk solution

Before you start searching for a helpdesk solution, asking yourself the following questions can help you identify your organization's needs and requirements, ensuring you select the right solution:

  1. What are your business's specific support needs?
    Identify the types of support requests you receive from customers or employees and the challenges your support team faces. This will help you prioritize the features you need in a helpdesk solution.
  2. What is the size of your support team?
    Consider the number of support agents who will be using the helpdesk system. Choose a solution that can handle your team's size and grow with your organization if needed.
  3. What is your budget?
    Determine your budget for helpdesk software. Keep in mind that there are various pricing models, such as subscription-based, one-time purchase, or even free options with limited features.
  4. What integrations are essential for your organization?
    List the tools and software your organization uses, such as CRM, project management, or communication platforms. Make sure the helpdesk solution you select can integrate with these tools to streamline your support process.
  5. How important is customization?
    Consider whether you require a helpdesk solution that allows for customization to match your organization's branding, workflows, or specific support processes.
  6. What level of reporting and analytics do you need?
    Evaluate your reporting and analytics requirements. A helpdesk solution should provide insights into key performance indicators, allowing you to monitor and improve your support operations.
  7. Do you need a cloud-based or on-premises solution?
    Determine whether your organization would benefit from a cloud-based helpdesk solution, which provides flexibility and accessibility, or an on-premises solution, which may offer more control and customization.
  8. What level of security and compliance do you require?
    Consider your organization's security and compliance requirements. Ensure the helpdesk solution you choose meets these standards to protect sensitive data and maintain regulatory compliance.

By addressing these questions before you start looking for a helpdesk solution, you can identify your organization's unique needs and find a solution that best aligns with those requirements, ultimately leading to more efficient support operations and enhanced customer satisfaction.

When selecting help desk software, it's crucial to keep in mind the key features that can enhance your support operations. Features such as ticket management, multi-channel support, automation, knowledge base management, and reporting capabilities are essential for streamlining processes, improving response times, and providing a seamless user experience. Additionally, consider integrations with other tools used within your organization, customization options, security, and scalability to ensure the solution aligns with your specific needs.

While evaluating potential help desk software, take into account factors such as budget, team size, and any unique requirements your organization might have. Engage in product demos, request trial periods, and gather feedback from your support team to gain a comprehensive understanding of the software's usability and suitability for your organization. It's essential to select a help desk solution that not only addresses your current needs but can also adapt and grow as your organization evolves.

HappyFox Help Desk management software stands out as a powerful, flexible, and user-friendly option for businesses of all sizes. HappyFox offers an extensive range of features, including advanced automation, easy integrations, and a robust knowledge base management system. Its focus on providing a seamless and efficient support experience makes it an excellent choice for organizations looking to optimize their help desk operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive long-term growth.

What are some popular apps that work alongside help desk software?

Help desk ticketing systems are commonly integrated with sales CRM, eCommerce platforms, telephony systems, and remote desktop management solutions such as Salesforce, Shopify, Ringcentral, Logmein Rescue, and more.

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