Part 4: When should you use a Service Desk vs. a Help Desk or do you need both?

In addition to defining the individual functions of both the Service Desk and the Help Desk, we have also tackled the crucial differences of each. With enough technical knowledge, it is time to delve into the application process and gauge how we can use Service Desks and/or Help Desks to improve our company service.

Before we begin, here is a quick overview of the important details discussed in previous articles:

A Service Desk focuses on the customers and the process.

Serving as the single point of contact (SPOC) between IT users and the IT management, a Service Desk is focused on managing the processes that keep the IT system in place, making sure it doesn’t collapse in on itself. It must be able to handle daily IT processes and functions while catering to the needs of the users.

The main benefit of using a Service Desk is that the overall IT performance is made better and more efficient, as there is always a skilled group in standby, ready for any problems that may arise. A Service Desk must also be able to monitor trends in the IT network and manage the lifecycle functions of different processes.

A Help Desk focuses on technical details.

Help desks provide instantaneous solutions for real-time problems. When the IT system is experiencing downtime errors, the Help Desk is the first one to be contacted by end users. In order to be able to provide efficient and accurate assistance, a Help Desk must be composed of technically skilled and knowledgeable employees.

The ultimate purpose of a Help Desk is to aid in the issues experienced by end users, allowing the problem to be resolved in the users’ first attempts in troubleshooting.

Having both a Help Desk and a Service Desk is recommended.

Both Service Desks and Help Desks have specific purposes and functions, which when used together, are considered valuable assets to your company.

Either way, a Help Desk is mandatory. When there are errors within the IT management, the services that a Help Desk offers would aid greatly. However, there are times when the end user’s issue transcends the bounds of the capabilities of a Help Desk, in which a Service Desk would be the solution.

When encountering an inquiry that is not of technical nature, you’ll find that a Help Desk would be of little help. This is where the Service Desk comes in. For issues that are not covered by the Help Desk, a Service Desk would do well to cover the gaps, allowing for an efficient IT service through the combined efforts of both.

Help Desks deal with technical issues, while Service Desks deal with non-technical ones. This way, technically skilled workers are able to maximize their skills, aiding in issues related to technology, while the employees at Service Desks cover the rest.

Service Desk ITIL v3

Following the guidelines written in ITIL v3, the most efficient and effective Service Desk must be able to serve as the single point of contact, redirecting end user calls to the appropriate receiver able to provide an accurate resolution with the problem being experienced.

By serving as the SPOC and owning the call, companies are able to:

  1. Ensure the satisfaction of the end user by keeping the users informed and up-to-date about the solution process of their inquiry.
  2. Increase the productivity rates of end users, as it takes care of the technical aspects, allowing the users to redirect their focus on their daily duties.
  3. Provide a better cost control system by allowing a quick and accurate resolution of the problems. This way, no further effort and resources are exhausted in order to solve issues that have repeatedly been experienced before.

Aside from these, a Service Desk must also be able to monitor all IT processes and trends, identify discrepancies in the common network pattern, and solve any minor issues before they escalate to negatively affect end users.


Keeping the functions of both Service Desks and Help Desks in mind, the most efficient IT management system should utilize both of them. A Service Desk that is hooked to a Help Desk is able to maximize its potential, allowing for quick resolutions to end user inquiries while managing the overall IT system.

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