Let's take a moment to consider the core purpose of a help desk beyond its tasks and processes. What is its fundamental role?
The three primary objectives of a Help Desk
1. To serve as a centralised point of contact for user support
The primary function of an IT help desk is to provide hands-on assistance to users encountering technical issues with hardware, software, or network connectivity. Help desk staff are responsible for diagnosing and fixing these problems and offering support remotely or in-person to ensure a smooth and efficient IT infrastructure.
2. To provide information & guidance
IT help desks act as a knowledge resource for users seeking advice on optimising their use of technology, tools, or software applications. This includes providing best practices, answering questions, and making recommendations to enhance user productivity and experience.
3. Workflow management and issue escalation
Help desks play a crucial role in handling technical issues and service requests. They are responsible for logging, categorising, and prioritising incidents and requests and tracking response times. This ensures that problems are addressed promptly and, when necessary, escalated to the appropriate teams or individuals for resolution.
So, in short, they typically fix stuff, communicate with users, and monitor and report on things.
Why do we need to state the obvious?
Because in the future, if we need to capture key KPIs, Objectives, or articulate the central premise of the Help Desk, then this is where we should refer back to.
It's our reason for being. It's vital to know overall what you are trying to achieve so that you can start putting stakes in the ground and moving towards it.
The Activities Of A Help Desk
As we deepen our understanding of the help desk's role and capabilities, let's explore the key activities that drive it towards its objectives. Each of these things will be explored in more detail as we move through the course.
In no particular order, these include:
Logging, resolving & escalating issues
More commonly referred to as 'Incident Management'. I've got a whole chapter on this, as it's the bread and butter of the help desk.
Handling and processing service requests such as password resets, software installations, hardware upgrades, or access to specific resources. It's similar but different to incident management, and is often called 'Request Fulfilment'.
Investigating Root Causes
Identifying, diagnosing, and addressing the root causes of recurring incidents to prevent them from happening again is known as 'Problem Management'. Where incident management is about trying to get things working again, problem management is about finding the root causes behind incidents.
Creating and maintaining a knowledge base of solutions, troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and other resources to improve the help desk's efficiency and effectiveness.
Communication and coordination
Maintaining clear communication channels with users, informing them of issue resolution progress, and coordinating with other departments or external vendors when necessary. Customer service and satisfaction
Ensuring customer satisfaction through empathetic and timely support, including feedback collection and analysis for continuous improvement. Reporting and analytics
Monitoring help desk performance and generating reports for management, including key performance indicators, service level agreements (SLAs), and other relevant metrics.
Training and development
Continuously improving help desk staff's technical knowledge, problem-solving, and communication skills through training and professional development.