By Vicky Dean, published on 31st October 2011
What is a help desk?
A help desk is put in place by a company to provide technical support to their customers. A customer will either call or email the help desk and they will be allocated a unique number, usually called a ‘ticket’. The ticket is then internally assigned to a member of staff who is responsible for ensuring that it is dealt with promptly and in the correct manner. If the member of staff cannot resolve the problem then the ticket gets reassigned to someone in a more senior position. Managers can use the helpdesk software to monitor staff response times and the level of customer service that is provided.
The help desk is a central hub for all of your team. For example, your front line staff member will log a call and decide what action is needed. They can then place a task on an engineer’s to-do list depending on its urgency. The engineer completes the task and ticks it off his or her list which sends a ping back to the person responsible for the ticket. If the customer is happy and a satisfactory outcome has been achieved the ticket can then be closed.
Who uses a help desk?
Help desks are mainly used by IT and technology companies, though a lot of financial organisations and housing companies are starting to use them in an attempt to improve their levels of customer service.
What are the features and benefits of using a help desk?
- Prioritise calls and actions depending on urgency to ensure that each ticket is dealt with in an appropriate time frame.
- Sync the help desk software with engineers’ and consultants’ appointment diaries.
- Email templates can be used for speed and accuracy.
- A record is kept of all calls and emails to guard against misunderstandings and allow for accurate monitoring.
Is a help desk suitable for a small business?
It really depends on the type of small business that you run. If you have a small technology company or a business that is based purely online then it is likely that a help desk system will be useful to you. Here are a couple of businesses that would benefit and why:
- An estate agents/lettings company. Useful for logging tenant queries and repair requests right through to arranging maintenance appointments and emergency call outs.
- Computer repair shop. Your repair engineers can log calls from customers, book them in for repairs and then use the software to follow up on the customer’s progress once the repairs have been done.
These are just two very quick examples. Any customer-facing business needs to have a process in place for dealing with customer queries and complaints. Help desk software is one of the tools that can be used to help a business improve its overall customer service skills.