The Benefits and Basics of an IT Help Desk

Everything you need to know to run your tech smartly and smoothly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Any business can benefit from an IT help desk, with user support on a wide variety of technology questions.
  • The right tools and best practices are necessary for a robust and helpful IT help desk.
  • An MSP is a custom-made solution that lets your IT help desk grow with you.

One of the most valuable assets to any organization is its IT help desk. It’s the command center that oversees the technology of the company and keeps it running smoothly. The daily work of an IT help desk may include troubleshooting problems, installing software and hardware, and offering general technical guidance.

When the help desk team follows best practices and has the proper tools at the ready, it can be an enormous asset to your business. It improves the user experience, reduces the time workers sit idle waiting for tech issues to be resolved, and makes the whole operation more efficient. A managed service provider (MSP) is an effective way to provide IT services that are custom-made for your organization and can grow with you.

Here’s the DOXA guide to the features, benefits, and best practices needed for the ideal IT help desk.

IT help desk: The basics

An IT help desk is a software solution that helps members of your team solve their technology issues. They can easily troubleshoot their issues, submit a support ticket if they need further assistance, and track the progress of its resolution.

Unlike in years past, when tech support meant waiting for a human being to arrive with a kit of tools and spare parts, the modern help desk looks quite different. It typically includes a robust suite of self-service portals that let workers take the first crack at solving the problem themselves. It also provides managers with valuable data on what issues most commonly occur, allowing them to tailor their services appropriately.

On a typical day, an IT help desk will handle a wide range of issues, including software bugs, network crashes, compatibility problems, forgotten logins and passwords, scheduled maintenance, and general employee questions. Some support centers have searchable databases that the IT team can use to share knowledge and find quick solutions to common questions.

A variety of help desk options

Every business is different, so there is a wide variety of types of help desks.

  • Automated help desk. A low-cost model that relies primarily on a self-service portal.
  • On-site help desk. The tech gurus are in a set physical location, which may or may not be at your company’s site.
  • Cloud help desk. Entirely online, this solution works regardless of where your workers are located.
  • Enterprise help desk. A higher-end solution consisting of salaried employees located on-site and working exclusively with your business.

Which option is right for you? That depends on what kind of service you need and what kind of resources you can commit.

An outsourced IT help desk technician troubleshooting with a customer over the phone.

Help desk benefits

Let’s delve into some specific benefits of a help desk IT support system.

  • Greater efficiency. When a project screeches to a halt because of a technical glitch, everyone’s productivity suffers. A centralized portal for IT issues allows teams to troubleshoot independently while an IT professional also looks into it, saving everyone time and stress.
  • Better service. An IT help desk allows managers to observe patterns and eliminate blind spots in how their team provides service. They can track response times, performance stats, and other ticket data. It also helps them predict problems before they happen so they can have a solution at the ready.
  • Centralized communication. This keeps the whole team working together smoothly. When the network goes down or the CEO spills coffee on her laptop, you need a well-oiled machine to fix the problem quickly. Many help desk systems integrate with well-known communication tools like Slack or JIRA.
  • Customization. A tech support system needs to grow and change with the companies it serves. IT help desks let team members add plugins, apps, and integrations to the system, streamlining processes so they can tackle issues proactively before they spin out of control.
  • Boost employee satisfaction. When the help desk runs smoothly, employees feel safe and more productive. Some tools to achieve this goal include a searchable help center, live video chat, and messaging apps.

These only scratch the surface of how IT help desks keep companies running efficiently. Now let’s look at best practices for maintaining a top-notch tech team.

Best practices

You can have the best technology and tools in the world, but without best practices, you risk leaving money and productivity on the table. Here are some to consider:

  • Build a knowledge repository where staff can read or watch content to help them troubleshoot problems themselves.
  • Use automation to minimize the time needed for manual, repetitive jobs. This also allows many services to be available around the clock.
  • Keep track of metrics to keep improving service quality.
  • Take advantage of integrations with third-party apps to make sure that the different programs employees use talk seamlessly to each other.
  • Never stop training your team so they’re up to speed on the latest tools and practices.
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Above all, regularly ask your fellow employees for feedback on how the IT help desk team is doing and what they can do to improve their service.

MSPs can help guide your way to outsourcing help desk service

One of the most efficient ways to implement an IT help desk is through a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP is an outside firm that provides technical support on the back end, allowing everything that happens on the front end to run without a hiccup. It’s there to make sure that all the tech inner workings of your company are helping the company achieve its goals, not getting in the way.

MSP experts work hand-in-hand with your IT team, either remotely or on-site. They offer a diverse group of specialists at the ready, which would be difficult for most businesses to afford to have in-house. They can write custom processes and solutions that fit your company’s needs while staying on budget.

DOXA is proud to announce its new service IT help desk, ready to assist your organization in meeting its daily IT challenges. Drop us a line, and let’s talk tech.

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