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

Have you wondered what a Service Desk is? Are you curious as to how a Help Desk fits into your IT demands? Do you question what the differences are? Would you like to know which one will benefit your company the most?

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

The previous posts explained in detail what a Help Desk is and what a Service Desk is. The posts explain areas where companies may perceive overlap and areas that companies see distinct differences. So, now for the tough question, should you use a Service Desk, a Help Desk or both? To answer this question, let’s review the highlights of each function.

A Help Desk is technically focused

As described in one of the previous posts, the Help Desk fixes problems that are taking place at that instant. Any time one of your employees is experiencing problems utilizing your Information Technology (IT) infrastructure the Help Desk is contacted to fix the problem and get your employee(s) operational as quickly as possible. For this immediate response to end user IT needs, the Help Desk must have employees technically trained in the appropriate technologies. The ultimate goal of the Help Desk is to offer first contact resolution as often and as quickly as possible.

A Service Desk is customer and process focused

As described in a previous post, the Service Desk is offers a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and is focused on managing processes. The Service Desk is outward focused on the customer and inward focused on the day to day processes of the business. The ultimate goal of the Service Desk is to reduce costs by having the appropriate personnel working on problems, by monitoring trends and by managing processes.

Your business will benefit the most with both a Service Desk and a Help Desk

Why should you use both? The Help Desk and Service Desk serve different purposes and both add value to your company. It is obvious that a Help Desk is required; when something breaks you need to fix it. However, there are many instances when the Help Desk is getting a call and it is not of technical nature. At that time your company is paying premium dollar to a technical resource when one is not required, and that resource could be helping someone with a technical question.

This is where the Service Desk plays a key role in your business solution. The Service Desk will assist end users with issues that are not of technical nature. This allows technically skilled workers to stay available for the technical problems.

When done with ITIL v3 standards, the Service Desk will be the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and route the call to the appropriate location for resolution. The Service Desk owns the call and will follow it through to ensure the customer who called in the problem is satisfied with the resolution. Having this SPOC and ownership of the call enables:

  • Higher end-user customer satisfaction – The Service Desk is keeping the end-user well informed.
  • Increased end-user productivity – The Service Desk is tracking the problem, enabling the end-user to continue with their daily work.
  • Better cost control – The Service Desk ensures the call is being routed to the appropriate center within the company to be resolved.

The Service Desk also monitors all processes and trends. When the Service Desk notices problems within the processes or worrisome trends, they make adjustments to fix the problem before it is detected by the end-users.

To get the best, most cost effective service out of you IT infrastructure your company should utilize a Service Desk that has hooks into a competent Help Desk.

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