Unfortunately, without a skilled and reliable IT Service Desk, maintaining IT operations is likely to use up more resources than actually running the business. However, when run effectively and with clear objectives in mind, IT support desks can help organisations improve user productivity, scale efficiently, manage IT costs, and streamline processes.
The role of the Service Desk
The IT Service Desk assists end-users with technical problems. It is the customer facing arm of the company’s IT department, designed to keep things running smoothly. Service Desks usually handle individual technical problems , providing at least first and second line support to end users.
- First line support refers to everyday support issues. These are common difficulties most employees encounter when they’re working. Such issues are generally time sensitive (it can be frustrating to wait in line to resolve simple IT queries and FAQs) and so first line support aims to solve problems quickly, at the first point of contact.
- Second line support is for end-user problems that are too time-consuming, uncommon, or technical for first-line support and, as such, second line agents usually have more specialised, in-depth knowledge. Second line support may have a few conversations with the customer in order to help them appropriately.
- Third line support teams will be expert technicians that can understand the cause of complex problems or issues that second line support cannot address, e.g., a certified network specialist or server engineer. If third line support cannot fix the issue remotely, they may visit onsite or send a representative to examine further.
More than technical support, though, the IT Service Desk is a strategic and meaningful window into your employees’ world. It allows business leaders to see, through the eyes of their users, how their systems perform and how this measures up against the organisation’s long-term goals – one of which is likely to be cost control and management.
Below are 5 ways an efficient Service Desk can help add business value and reduce costs:
Training and expertise
Often overlooked, one huge benefit of a strong IT Service Desk is the user education and awareness training on offer. Service Desk engineers are used to coaching end-users, helping them become proficient in certain applications (and therefore more knowledgeable and productive), and they will also reinforce the importance of reporting errors or security concerns.
Remember, a single report or a heads-up from an employee can save an organisation a lot of money and operational upheaval. So, the training employees get from IT support is, in fact, incredibly valuable when it comes to business longevity and regulatory responsibility. Reporting security concerns to the service desk, for instance, will allow them to log the incident with the right team to investigate and resolve, mitigating further risk and potential breaches.
Remember, most outsourced IT Service Desk engineers provide support across multiple sectors and industries, which means they can bring extensive shared knowledge about IT best practices to the table. Furthermore, outsourced IT Service Desks often assign individuals to a company who are well versed in its industry-specific challenges, meaning they can draw from their experiences with other clients and offer solutions that work best in certain situations.
Inefficient Service Desks that provide poor responsiveness can hold up crucial business processes, resulting in a lack of user productivity and lost revenue. Slow resolution speeds can also damage an organisation’s reputation, leaving customers dissatisfied with their service and causing employees to feel frustrated and demoralised.
Conversely, an effective Service Desk will be able to implement many automated features that work invisibly in the background to streamline processes and integrate different software, and ultimately reducing costs. Naturally, this means that employees can get the job done faster and with greater ease, boosting productivity as well as morale (which can also mean less employee churn and reduced recruitment costs).
It also stands to reason that, when employees can do their work without running into recurring IT issues and snags like freezing, crashing, or losing saved work, then productivity increases, and the workforce feels more satisfied overall.
Anywhere / anytime support
Ever since the lockdowns in 2020, we’ve seen the benefits that technology can deliver for the new, hybrid or remote workforce. However, the pandemic also highlighted the need to provide technical support to home workers in all aspects of their computing and communication systems.
Remote working relies heavily on technology and requires additional cyber security measures. If the IT Service Desk is not easily accessible to remote workers or is sluggish to respond to any connectivity issues, this can spell bad news for the organisation’s overall output and information security.
On the other hand, an efficient Service Desk can enable remote workers to work and communicate very effectively, meaning employees can be agile with their time and continue to be productive for the organisation even from a distance (which makes recruitment much easier).
Additionally, being able to seamlessly access cloud-based software, collaboration tools, and video conferencing software is as much a cultural necessity as it is a productivity one, and a strong Service Desk will provide many communication methods (think phone, live chat, self-service portals) and be available for employees 24/7/365.
Service Desks can contribute hugely to the quality of a company’s products or services. They are, after all, working at the heart of business operations – often in close collaboration with the organisation’s employees.
Indeed, consistent monitoring and proactive detection of issues can help an efficient Service Desk to keep organisations ahead of the curve by responding to events and irregularities before they become too problematic or costly for the company. IT teams also keep historical logs of various issues that affect the organisation, providing reports which show reoccurring problems and the financial or operative effect upon the company in black and white.
The Service Desk will also be able to identify problems within a company’s infrastructure and suggest appropriate solutions that funnel resources where they will be best spent or most utilised. Introducing scalability and cost management is one of the best benefits of an efficient Service Desk, ensuring money isn’t wasted on unused resources by appropriately forecasting future needs.
Improved process efficiency
It’s the goal of every organisation to operate smoothly and efficiently with every component doing its part well. The good news is that an efficient Service Desk enhances an organisation’s ability to operate efficiently, since a strong Service Desk is built on consistent processes, proven solutions, and accurate prioritisation of issues.
Serving as a centralised location for all end-users, the IT Service Desk helps companies to pinpoint issues, standardise processes, and instil coherence between different departments (think software versions, security tools, and other infrastructure components). Indeed, many Service Desks can create automated ‘rules’ that action certain things should another occur (e.g. notifying a suitable agent in the event of a particular issue) and consistency across the board allows Service Desk agents to constantly refine and improve their service overall.
Using integrated software will simplify and lower the cost of support and, when all employees are using the same tools, collaboration is also improved.