But how do help desks normally work? What are the typical functions? Why have software? These are all valid and important questions… and questions that should be periodically considered even when a help desk is already established and functioning. Hopefully, this section will answer these and other related questions.
TRADITIONAL HELP DESK TOPOLOGY
- Traditionally calls are received by a helpdesk and passed through various support levels until resolved. Often referred to as first, second and third line support.
- This may require escalations to managers to ensure that Service Levels are achieved against customer expectations.
- Calls are received and logged. A ticket number is issued to uniquely identify the support log.
- The call is assigned to the appropriate person or team for resolution.
- During the life of a call there may be a number of actions required that need to be logged for example;
- Attachments of further information, screen shots showing the problem, related documentation etc
- A series of events often need to be managed –such as ringing back, sending email updates, obtaining more information, escalating, writing notes, arranging visits to resolve the issue.
- Record of the resolutions and a knowledge base search to help resolve similar issues in the future.
THE ADVENT OF SOFTWARE
- Support services that rely on the personal touch alone can not guarantee or report on any service levels. Any records will be incomplete and cannot be relied upon.
- Support staff will be interrupted through out the day with support requests – this is stressful and an inefficient use of resources.
- Each requestor will expect immediate response as there is no evidence of the volume or severity of other outstanding support requests
- A formal helpdesk application allows the support department to record, track and resolve support requests in a controlled environment
- An Internet based helpdesk provides the mechanism to enhance the e-trade business process and provide after sales support and the opportunity to communicate with or promote directly to existing customers.
- Software allows the recording and association of the individual actions involved in the support process.
- Provides a knowledge base of past calls and their resolutions to assist with the support process going forward.
- An audit trail may be kept so that all actions are visibly documented. Some of these may be automated by the system.
- Helps identify trends or major issues for ongoing improvement of products and services.
- Without a formal logging system that contains all support requests it is hard for a manger to justify his departments costs or request additional resources.