What is a help desk?
Definition: A help desk is software that centralizes a company's ability to support customers and employees while they use their products or services.
It is the main source of all the customer support efforts provided by the company in one interface operated by an experienced support team.
What does a help desk do?
A help desk's main purpose is to be a place where customers and employees can get help with their product/service use. This is achieved in many ways depending on the company’s and customer’s needs and the help desk’s architecture.
The main task of a help desk is providing technical answers to customers and employees by combining all support channels and efforts into one platform.
On this platform, customers/employees can find FAQs, live chats, support emails, blogs, and categories for all of their potential problems. And if the problem is complex, a customer can easily contact the support team through the platform.
Conversely, it enables support teams to monitor all support channels at once, allowing them to track customer behavior, manage tickets, and make changes to their support resources.
Types of help desks
There are five types a company can choose from based on their needs:
- Web-based - Hosted on an external server and offered as a service (SaaS) by another business which the company pays a monthly fee to keep up and running. The service provider takes care of security and maintenance and is great for small businesses that can’t build their infrastructure.
- On-premise - Purchased software hosted on the company’s devices, allowing for high customizability and integrations into the company’s systems. It is owned by the company requiring a team to maintain and manage the software.
- Enterprise - Designed for large companies that operate with many support teams. They offer deep customization of every support channel while integrating into a company’s workflow, allowing for collaboration on a scale.
- Internal - Used by the company’s employees in the support, IT, and HR departments primarily and are not available to customers. They allow for quick resolutions to problems employees may have and help in solving customer problems by connecting support with the right department.
- Open source - Based on open-source software, allowing for complete customization and flexibility of their help desk, but the company needs a specialized IT team that can build the help desk from the ground up.