Help Desk Analysts vs. Technicians - Who's Who in the IT Zoo

In the hierarchy of the technical support "animal kingdom", help desk analysts and help desk technicians are often mistakenly considered birds of a feather, but they are actually horses of different color. If you are a corporate employee having issues with your laptop, mobile device or business applications, it may seem like seem like a trivial difference at the time. If you are an analyst or technician yourself, your role in the help desk or support ecosystem is likely much different.

Many job postings even blur the lines between these roles and use the terms interchangeably. Let's take a closer look and explore the nuances in their responsibilities, what they do, and how users can make their lives easier by interacting with them differently.

Help Desk Analyst vs. Technician

When you need technical support, you likely call a hotline number, walk down a few flights of stairs to the basement, or you might open an electronic ticket through an app like Zendesk. Most help desks have a hierarchy of support people. Level I is usually made up of Analysts; Level II is comprised of Technicians, Level III would be your Senior Technicians, and so on.

The help desk analyst is usually the person who interacts with the user or customer in the early stages, depending on the organization. They may take the initial call from the IVR, and go through an assessment of the end user's technology issue.

Support analysts usually have a knowledge base to use for common issues, and they often walk the user through some high-level troubleshooting to try and resolve the problem with tried and true methods. Examples include rebooting the system, trying a different browser, or waiting until the power comes back on after a blackout.

The depth of support which analysts will provide typically depends on:

  • The volume of support requests which come into the support queue
  • The expertise of the analyst relative to technicians
  • The policies of the organization

Whether the help desk ticket requires replacing parts, installing software, or opening up the device or computer

If a help desk organization were a funnel, analysts would be the top of the funnel, and technicians would be the lower part of the funnel where more complex, hands-on repair or complex configuration work is done. A technician may physically pick up the computer and take it to their office, or some technicians can resolve issues with remote desktop applications like TeamViewer or GoToAssist.

Help Desk Ticket Management Applications - Enhanced by Unified Communications or Contact Center Software

In the case of Zendesk and 8x8 Virtual Contact Center, the integrated services allow support analysts and technicians to manage a series of tickets and have visibility to the support history for each client. Specific tickets might be recurring issues, which can expedite the resolution process. By having the 8x8 Agent Console embedded into the Zendesk user interface, it allows helpdesk employees the convenience of call/messaging control in the same browser window as their assigned tickets and customer histories.

  • Integrations between help desk and contact center applications also help to capture performance data, such as:
  • How many interactions analysts are having with customers or users relative to tickets passed on to technicians.
  • Average or combined talk time for each analyst, which could determine that analysts are going above and beyond their responsibilities to resolve tickets if they should be passing tickets to technicians to resolve.
  • How long it takes for technicians to address tickets and customer issues. Are some tickets being closed, but the support issue is recurring?
  • Are there tickets which have been in the queue for a long time, exceeding their promised completion dates and causing customer satisfaction issues? Do some technicians have several tickets in the "red zone"?
  • Are there specific customer problems which are pervasive, which should be either added to the analyst knowledge base, or brought to the attention of product management, or the device/computer vendor?

SaaS-based help desk software doesn't only facilitate the transfer of information between customers, analysts, and technicians. It provides intelligence into what challenges users are having, what the best practices are to resolve those challenges, and how help desk staff are performing to address those challenges.

From an end user perspective, it helps to understand that help desk analysts deal with a high volume of interactions, and they typically have limitations which govern the complexity of technical problem they can support. Though as users we want our devices and applications to work as we want and when we want, it is usually better, in the long run, to adhere to the help desk analyst vs. technician process. It ensures our issue will be addressed properly, and improve supportability for everyone.

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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