Help Desk Support: Best Practices to Hire the Right Support

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help desk support

Whether you’re on a business trip struggling to connect to the office via company VPN or you are having trouble accessing your Outlook inbox, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to complete your tasks because of unexpected technology or connection issues.

Clients and workers across businesses of all sizes demand seamless support experiences that make them feel valued.

A help desk is an often-overlooked component of a positive customer service experience, whether internal or external.

However, success needs more than just having a help desk; it also demands knowing what a help desk means to your company and providing your help desk agents with the resources they need to execute their jobs properly.

Key Takeaways 

Help Desk Support is Essential: It serves as the frontline for customer service, addressing technical issues and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Levels of Help Desk Support: There are multiple levels of help desk support, each with increasing expertise and specialization to handle more complex issues.

Features of Quality Help Desk Services: Comprehensive technical knowledge, exceptional problem-solving skills, effective communication, scalability, and proactive maintenance are crucial.

Desktop vs. Help Desk Support: Desktop support focuses on individual workstation issues, while help desk support covers a broader range of customer service inquiries.

Benefits of Quality Help Desk Support: Improved resolution times, increased customer satisfaction, cost efficiency, access to specialized knowledge, and the ability to scale and adapt are significant benefits.

Hiring the Right Help Desk Support: Aligning with business goals, proven expertise, communication skills, scalability, comprehensive services, and security measures are key considerations.

Integrating Help Desk into the Information Technology Strategy: This involves assessing current infrastructure, understanding user needs, setting objectives, choosing the right solution, training staff, and implementing proactive support.

What Is Help Desk Support?

what is helpdesk support

Help Desk Support refers to a centralized team or service within an organization that provides assistance and information to users encountering issues with products or services.

It typically involves managing ticket tracking, organizing, and resolving inquiries or problems through various channels, including phone, email, chat, or help desk software (ex ticketing software). The goal of help desk support is to ensure client satisfaction by offering timely and effective solutions.

Help Desk Support Level 1: Basic Support

Level 1 support, also known as basic support, represents the first line and the initial response to customers’ inquiries and issues. It includes:

  • Answering common questions.
  • Resolving simple problems that have known solutions.
  • Providing guidance through self-service resources. Ex: with the use of help articles or chatbots.
  • Escalating more complex issues to higher levels of support.

Example of Help Desk Support Level 1 – Imagine a user is unable to log in to their email account. They contact the service desk, and the Level 1 support technician:

  • Answers the common question: “How do I reset my password?”
  • Resolves the simple problem by guiding the user through the password reset process.
  • Guides the user through self-service resources by directing the user to a knowledge base article on password resets.
  • Escalates the issue to Level 2 support if the user’s account is locked due to security protocols.

Help Desk Support Level 2: Advanced Support

Level 2 support, or advanced support, deals with more complex support tickets and more complicated issues that require deeper technical knowledge. It encompasses:

  • Diagnosing and resolving complex tickets that are beyond the scope of Level 1 support.
  • Utilizing specialized knowledge of the product or service supported.
  • Collaborating with other teams or departments when necessary.
  • Implementing fixes or workarounds for new or uncommon issues.

Example of Help Desk Support Level 2 – A user reports that their specialized software application is crashing. The Level 2 support technician:

  • Diagnoses the issue, determining it’s not a common problem addressed by Level 1.
  • Utilizes specialized knowledge of the software to identify that a recent update is causing compatibility issues.
  • Collaborates with the software development team to understand the problem.
  • Implements a workaround by rolling back the update and reports the issue for a permanent fix.
  • Escalates the issue to Level 2 support if the user’s account is locked due to security protocols.

Help Desk Support Level 3: Expert Support

Level 3 support, known as expert technical support, is the highest level of technical support within an organization. It involves:

  • Handling the most complex and critical issues.
  • Providing expert analysis and problem-solving.
  • Developing long-term solutions to prevent recurring problems.
  • Working closely with product development teams to address underlying issues.

Help Desk Support Level 3: The company’s network is experiencing intermittent outages, affecting all users. The Level 3 support expert:

  • Handles this complex and critical issue by analyzing network logs and patterns.
  • Provides expert analysis and identifies a deep-seated configuration error in the network’s core switch.
  • Develops a long-term solution by redesigning the network’s architecture to prevent future problems.
  • Works closely with the network equipment vendor to address the underlying hardware issues.

Help Desk Support Level 4: External Support

Level 4 support, or external support, refers to the involvement of outside vendors or partners. This level is typically involved when:

  • The issue requires specialized expertise not available in-house.
  • The problem is related to third-party hardware or software.
  • Vendor-specific knowledge or parts are necessary for resolution.
  • Collaboration with external entities is needed for comprehensive problem-solving.

Help Desk Support Level 4: External Support Example A user’s laptop is experiencing hardware failures that are beyond the scope of the in-house team. The Level 4 support involves:

  • Contacting the hardware vendor as the issue requires specialized expertise.
  • Describing the problem, which is related to a component of the workstation.
  • Arranging for the vendor to supply the necessary parts for resolution.
  • Collaborating with the vendor’s technicians to replace the component and ensure the workstation is operational again.

Understanding Desktop Support vs Help Desk Support

desktop support vs help desk support

Desktop Support and Help Desk Support agents, while often overlapping, serve distinct functions:

  • Desktop Support focuses on resolving hardware and software issues directly related to an individual’s workstation or computing environment. It often involves hands-on troubleshooting, installation, and maintenance tasks.
  • Help Desk Support is broader, encompassing all types of user service inquiries, including software, hardware, and service-related questions. It serves as the first point of contact for users seeking help and may involve directing users to appropriate resources or escalating issues to specialized support teams.

Both are integral to maintaining an organization’s IT infrastructure and ensuring a smooth user experience. However, desktop support is more specialized in the physical and technical aspects of a user’s immediate computing environment, while help desk services cover a wider range of customer service functions.

The Benefits of Quality Help Desk Support 

benefits of quality help desk support

Improved Resolution Times

Top-notch help desk support service is what makes a company’s customer service stand out, head and shoulders above the rest, offering many advantages to the company and the clients as well as ensuring better resolution times.

An organized help desk that provides fast response to requests leaves end users happy and with minimum downtime.

Increased Client Satisfaction

In addition to that, resolving issues with remote staff quickly not only helps clients resume their work sooner, this also helps increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

The moment they have the chance to find the answers to their issues, client satisfaction will go up. This sense of satisfaction often becomes the basis of a renowned company name, as clients happy with the services are more likely to recommend it to friends and acquaintances.

Notably, a recent study by Zendesk found that as much as 60 percent of clients consider fast resolution times among the most crucial factors when choosing a brand.

Cost-Effectiveness

The implementation of effective service desk support generates economical use of resources and, therefore, reduces operation costs. It is the case that the addition of automated systems leads to a reduction in the costs of dealing with common queries as well as simplifying troubleshooting.

A centralized data and efficient workflow remarkably cut the time needed to resolve problems, thereby also cutting down costs.

Hence, on-time issue resolutions can restrict or even prevent server outages that are detrimental to financial health. Research from Statista in 2020 found that nearly 25 percent of organizations lost at least $301,000 – $400,000 when one hour of server downtime occurred. Resultantly, this downtime should be avoided to ensure the preservation of the company’s revenue.

Access to Specialized Knowledge

The level of technical expertise that support staff holds is priceless, especially when confronting a complicated matter. Ongoing training guarantees the knowledge of these personnel about the most recent information, technologies, and developments that enable them to provide professional support when it is needed.

Scalability and Flexibility

Moreover, scalability and flexibility undoubtedly are the key traits of quality help desk support. The company’s growth will lead to adjustments in the help desk support as the team must be able to adjust to the inquiries that will increase in volume.

However, the service desk system also should be flexible in a way that will respond to the changing business needs and clients’ demands, keeping the support system as relevant and effective as possible. These values are the bedrock of a business that is ambitious and adaptive to market trends.

Key Features to Look for in IT Support Help Desk Services 

key features of IT support

Comprehensive Technical Knowledge

It is the cornerstone of any IT support service. The team must have a deep and broad understanding of the various technologies within the organization’s infrastructure.

This knowledge should not only cover current technologies but also extend to emerging trends and potential future needs. The ability to stay up-to-date on technological advancements and understand how they can be applied to improve services or resolve issues is invaluable.

Exceptional Problem-Solving Skills

Prompt problem-solving skills are what set apart a good tech support service from a great one. The ability to quickly diagnose issues and come up with effective solutions is crucial.

Not only technical skills are involved, but also critical thinking and creativity to navigate complex problems that may not have straightforward solutions. A service desk team that can think on its feet and handle unexpected challenges will significantly enhance the efficiency of IT operations.

Effective Communication

This is another vital feature. The IT support team must be able to communicate complex technical issues in a way that is understandable to non-technical users.

They should be able to convey empathy and patience, ensuring that users feel heard and supported throughout the resolution process. Clear communication also extends to documenting issues and solutions in a way that is accessible for future reference and escalating problems when necessary.

Scalable Support Solutions

It ensures that as an organization grows, its support capabilities can grow with it. The service desk should be able to handle and manage an increasing volume of requests without a drop in service quality. This scalability is crucial for businesses that are expanding or have fluctuating support needs.

Lastly, Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance can help prevent issues before they impact users. By actively monitoring the IT environment, the help desk can identify and address potential problems, often before the user is even aware of them.

This proactive approach can save time and resources while also improving the overall user experience.

Best Practices to Hire the Right Help Desk Support 

best practices to hire help desk support

Ensure Alignment with Business Goals

The help desk support team should understand and align with the company’s broader business goals.

This alignment ensures that the tech support provided contributes positively to the overall strategy and objectives of the organization, such as improving customer satisfaction, reducing response times, or streamlining IT operations.

Look for Proven Expertise

It’s important to seek out candidates or services with a track record of success in help desk support.

Proven expertise in the field indicates that they have the necessary skills and experience to handle the challenges and responsibilities that come with the role. This includes not only technical abilities but also a history of positive customer interactions and problem resolution.

Assess Communication and Responsiveness

Effective communication is the backbone of help desk support. Assessing a candidate’s ability to communicate, empathetically, and efficiently is essential.

Responsiveness is also key; the right help desk support should be able to promptly address and resolve issues, demonstrating a commitment to service excellence.

Consider Scalability and Flexibility

The help desk support should be scalable and flexible to adapt to the changing needs of the business. As the company grows, the support team should be able to handle an increasing volume of requests without a decline in service quality.

Flexibility in adapting to new technologies and processes is also important for maintaining an up-to-date and efficient support system.

Check for Comprehensive Support Services

A robust help desk support offering should include a wide range of services to cover all potential customer needs.

This includes the ticketing system, management, incident resolution, self-service options, and proactive client outreach. Comprehensive services ensure that all user issues are addressed under one unified system and single point.

Evaluate Security and Compliance Measures

Lastly, data security and compliance cannot be overlooked. It is vital to ensure that the help desk support department adheres to industry standards and regulations, like GDPR and PIPEDA to protect sensitive customer data and maintain trust.

Integrating Help Desk Support into Your IT Strategy

Integrating Help Desk Support

Assessment of Current IT Infrastructure

Begin by thoroughly assessing the existing IT infrastructure to understand the current support system’s capabilities and limitations.

Understanding User Needs

Gather feedback from end-users to comprehend their needs and the challenges they face. This will inform the features and level of support required.

Setting Clear Objectives

Define clear objectives for the help desk support that align with the overall IT strategy. This could include improving response times, increasing user satisfaction, or streamlining support processes.

Selecting the Right Help Desk Solution

Choose a help desk solution that offers the necessary features, such as ticket assignment, automation, and reporting, and that can be seamlessly integrated with other IT systems.

Developing a Scalable Model

Ensure the help desk support model is scalable and can grow with the organization. It should be flexible enough to adapt to changing technologies and business needs.

Training and Support for Staff

Provide comprehensive training for IT staff to effectively use the help desk system. Continuous learning opportunities should be available to keep up with evolving technologies.

Implementing Proactive Support

Incorporate proactive support measures, such as monitoring and maintenance, to identify and resolve issues before they impact users.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly review and refine the help desk support strategy based on performance metrics and user feedback to ensure it remains effective and aligned with business goals. 

Summing Up!

Help desk support is an integral component of an organization’s IT strategy, playing a vital role in maintaining operational efficiency and ensuring user satisfaction. By following best practices in hiring, integrating help desk support into the IT strategy, and understanding the distinction between desktop and help desk support, organizations can provide a high level of service that meets the needs of both customers and the business.

Looking for top-notch help desk services in Mississauga? Wingman Solutions is here to provide you with the tech and support services that you need. Don’t let technical issues slow you down. Contact us today and experience seamless, professional assistance that keeps your operations running smoothly. Reach out today and let us handle the rest!

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