What is an IT Help Desk?

IT help desks provide assistance to users with their computer problems. To do so, they need a variety of different software systems. When discussing how best to set up your own help desk, its best to understand the many facets that go into this vital part of your business.

In this article, we'll discover how help desks work and what software they generally use to get their work done in a timely and efficient manner.

Understanding the Help Desk

In an IT context, a help desk is part of a technical support department and exists to help users with their computer problems. Usually, a help desk serves a company, school, or other similar institution. Users can have their problems solved and questions answered whenever they encounter software and/or hardware challenges. Depending on the number of users and/or support tickets created within the IT help desk's system, more or fewer technicians are needed to resolve all of the user needs.

For the help desk department itself, software tools and specific hardware may make the job easier. Technicians often have access to the entire system's computers and can quickly make application changes as needed. Remote access is often available, too, making it easier for organizations to get everything done and for software to stay functional.

How Does a Help Desk Work?

Help desks review user requests for support and then provide appropriate responses. Users may submit requests within the software itself, through a tech support application, or through a communications system or method such as phone, text, chat, or email. Contacting the help desk for support can help users get their work done, stay productive, and achieve their professional goals.

To get assistance from the help desk, users generally follow this process:

  • File a ticket. Opening a new support ticket is generally the first step for getting the help individuals need. They provide all details associated with the problem and submit the request for review by IT staff.
  • IT response. The help desk receives the request, which then goes into the queue for response from a technician. From there, the technician may respond through software or phone communications to the user providing a fix, or may fix the issue through the system itself. In some cases, the user may show up in-person to fix the problem, or log in remotely.
  • Fixing the problem. After the fix, assuming the problem is resolved completely in a single call, the user is now able to go on with their day.
  • Additional calls and troubleshooting. If the fix was unsuccessful, then the technician or the team may need to continue working on the problem or may call for backup if the issue is difficult to solve or requires special permissions.

Help desks are generally accountable to the rest of the IT department, or to management. There may be a CTO (chief technology officer) whom the help desk technicians answer to.

What Software Do Help Desks Need?

Generally, help desks need software allowing them to access the information they need to respond to requests and software that allows them to fix user computers. As such, they need communications software so they can answer questions and obtain the necessary information to help with troubleshooting.

Having the right software available can make the job a lot easier. Here are a few of the different software systems help desks generally use:

  • UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service). UCaaS can make it easier to stay connected with everyone and can enable technicians to communicate with users and with other technicians within the same department.
  • CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service). CCaaS software allows help desks to use a call center if they communicate that way.
  • Incident response. Various types of incident response software allow technicians to manage problems that occur with user computers, eliminate viruses, and manage computer incidents in other ways.

Other software for troubleshooting, communicating with users, and managing user accounts may be necessary. Technicians may be tasked with a variety of different services and responsibilities related to user account management, too.

Getting Started with a Help Desk

IT help desks help improve employee efficiency by solving user computer problems in a quick and timely manner. With the right software, doing this is much easier and cost effective.

Choose a world-class help desk and SaaS technology solution and focus on what's important: growing your business. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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