What is a help desk?

A help desk is a centralized department or group within a company – or in some cases an automated tool or software – that answers employee or customer questions, and helps to troubleshoot issues as they come up. 

The use of a help desk shows internal and external customers alike that your company is committed to providing them with the best customer experience possible.  

What does a help desk do?

Most of the time, help desks offer basic technical support or customer service, such as resetting user passwords, but functions can vary depending on business needs. 

A support helpdesk is used to assist external customers answer inquiries such as help with a product or software setup. 

An IT helpdesk or service desk is used for internal customers or employees, and is used to answer inquiries such as providing assistance troubleshooting a new security upgrade. 

What makes a good help desk system?

The best help desks rely on automation for efficiency, accuracy, and reporting. 

In a lot of cases, incoming help requests are automatically assigned help tickets, which are then routed to the appropriate support agent for resolution via ticket queues. 

When possible, some tickets might be routed to an FAQ page or another self-service resource designed for external customers. 

“Ticketing workflows put the emphasis on conversations not tickets”

In addition to a ticketing system, help desk automation usually includes an issue tracking system, enabling employees to identify and flag common or systemic problems. Some help desk systems also include personalized support pages for individual customers, giving employees a glimpse into a person’s request history.

Historically, customers were assigned case numbers or tickets as they progressed through their journey to find a resolution. Help desk software was then used to track that customers’ query on the backend which may have made procedural sense for the company, but the experience for the customer was less than ideal. 

Ticketing workflows put the emphasis on conversations not tickets, providing customer support teams the ability to categorize, prioritize, and assign issues as they arise. 

Ticketing workflow benefits customer support in its ability to:

  • Route conversations to the right team ensuring the customer gets the right response in a timely manner. 
  • Get all the needed context to answer the inquiry in one place.  
  • Triage issues like complex queries, tricky technical issues and emotionally charged complaints with powerful workflows through the use of conversation data.  

While some companies keep their help desk public for convenience to both internal and external customers, most keep their help desk systems private or invisible so that the experience they provide can be personalized – only providing customer support agents access to the help desk system. 

What is a help desk as a service?

Help-desk-as-a-service or HDaaS is the process of outsourcing common customer support inquiries to an external team of customer support experts. 

Using a HDaaS solution allows you to free up time for your in-house IT team to focus on bigger and more strategic objectives in support of the business. 

HDaaS is also good for the broader organization as it eliminates the need to spend money and time on the necessary resources to onboard and train an in-house team to operate a dedicated help desk.