January 16, 2015
The Benefits Of Outsourcing Helpdesk Support
January 16th, 2015, Published by Igor Varnava
The costs in both time and resources when it comes to running your company’s helpdesk can very quickly start to mount, and pretty soon it can become quite an uneconomic venture. Outsourcing is a great solution to combat this. It can solve several IT management problems right from the outset, instantly reducing costs and providing a very quick route to a more streamlined mobility management structure.
Some IT managers actually fear the prospect of outsourcing their in-house helpdesk to a third party provider. And this is quite understandable. The best helpdesks are quality resources designed specifically to provide the customer or end user with support and information related to your company’s services and products. Since the primary purpose of a helpdesk is to provide guidance and troubleshoot problems about products – such as electronics, computers, software or what have you – how can you be sure that the third party providers to whom you turn your helpdesk over are really qualified to provide support to your most valued customers, or indeed your in-house staff?
The concern is of course a real one, but in reality is actually quite outdated. Today, IT outsourcing is a huge industry, and with managed services the helpdesk actually only represents a relatively small part of it. But it is nonetheless one of the most significant factors that SMBs must consider when trying to build a streamlined business that is on hand to support customers and staff quickly and efficiently if business is to always remain running as productively as possible.
The helpdesk is normally one of the very first services that businesses decide to outsource. Indeed, it often proves to be a kind of pilot scheme for outsourcing further managed services in the future.
How Helpdesks Work
Helpdesks typically perform several functions. One of the key benefits is that they offer a single point of contact for users who know exactly where to go for assistance, troubleshooting and support for problems.
Often, a helpdesk will manage its requests via the use of software, such as issue tracking systems. These allow the helpdesk to sort and track user requests, and can even categorise problems by user, computer program, or indeed anything else. This is an extremely valuable resource for any business. Value is derived from helpdesks not only from reactive responses to user issues, but also from the information that they acquire on a daily basis. Massive amounts of data can be garnered with regards to common technical problems, user preferences and satisfaction levels, all of which can be used to help you continually improve your service and your information technology in general going forward.
Large helpdesks can even be structured into different levels to handle different types of user difficulties and queries. For example, sometimes a company will have a first-level helpdesk that is in place to answer basic questions and provide information that can also be found on the FAQ (frequently asked questions) section of your website. If the issue cannot be resolved at this first level, it’s then forwarded onto a second level, which is there to handle the more complex or technical issues. Sometimes an organisation may even have third or fourth levels of support that are there to deal with very specific software needs, such as bug fixes or updates that directly affect a specific client.
Large helpdesks normally have a person or team at their helm who are responsible for managing the incoming requests, known as ‘issues’. These queue managers organise the issue queues, which are set up various ways in accordance with the helpdesk structure. Normally, a large helpdesk will have specific teams who are all specialized in dealing with particular issues. It is the role of the queue manager to assign issues to the according teams.
Sometimes this function is provided by a telephone system with an ACD split that ensures that calls about specific topics are forwarded to the correct people with the appropriate experience or knowledge.
These large helpdesks are normally run on strict rosters. A certain amount of time is set aside to allow analysts to perform the required tasks, such as returning phone calls and replying to questions via instant messaging or email. The idea is that all analysts are available to not only make outgoing calls, but also have the time to take new incoming calls and deal with fresh issues as well.
Outsourcing Helpdesk Functions
As you can see, and, if you are currently running your own in-house helpdesk you will no doubt already be acutely aware, the helpdesk can be a huge drain on resources for a company. They take time to set up, to educate the analysts on the receiving end, and of course many man-hours in ensuring that there is always someone at the end of the line who can deal with any number of problems that may arise.
As mentioned above, a great solution available to you to help ease the toil of managing a helpdesk is to look to managed services to take over this task for your. So let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits of outsourcing helpdesk support that have managed to persuade many companies to get on board with the scheme.
Lowering costs is, as you might expect, normally one of the key factors that aid companies in making the strategic decision to look to managed services for their helpdesk functions. By unloading such a significant proportion of your IT operations onto a third party you can indeed expect to see meaningful savings made on both time and resources, which will ultimately be extremely beneficial to your bottom line.
Freeing Up Resources
By outsourcing your helpdesk, you will have the ability to repurpose your IT team and other resources towards the more high-ordered work that is better focused on the core business functionalities of your business. The helpdesk is an essential part of all businesses – especially those that employee in excess of 50 or 100 people – but it is nonetheless time consuming. With managed services taking over this massive part of your organisation functionality, your in-house IT teams are consequently freed up to handle the more pressing issues for your company.
The call volume for any helpdesk can vary greatly for any amount of reasons – seasonality, for example, or if a certain bug crops up that affects the computers of numerous staff. As such, outsourcing your helpdesk creates a flexible capacity for handling the changes in volume as they occur, so you are not left with your in-house employees either being swamped with issues or sat twiddling their thumbs with no problems to solve.
Managed services and IT firms like V&C Solutions who specialise in helpdesk services are almost invariably in a better position to keep training always updated and current. As with everything when it comes to the helpdesk of your company, training can prove to be a very time consuming venture. But when you outsource your helpdesk, you are also outsourcing all of these little niggly problems that come with it, thusly freeing up your own in-house resources to focus on the core competencies of your business.
Specialized Skills From Experienced Professionals
This comes in particular handy when your helpdesk is set up to deal with employees’ IT usage. By outsourcing with managed services you providing your employees with access to technically talented professionals who will all have very specialized skills and able to combat any IT issues that your team may incur swiftly and efficiently. With managed services, the teams on hand are always right up to date with the latest technology, software and infrastructure that your company will be using.
Increase Business Performance
If you outsource your helpdesk, then your company will be able to focus more readily on your core business matters. Your helpdesk call centre provider will concentrate on the end user experience – be they customers or staff – whilst the rest of your organisation can pay due attention to the more pressing expert issues. Although that it is certainly true that in the short term outsourcing your help desk will require some investment in time while you get things set up, in the long run it make a meaningful and valuable contribution to overall health and growth of your business.
When you outsource your helpdesk to a contracting company, that company will do most of the hard work for you. This includes recruiting and hiring employees and providing their training, all of which reduces the strain on your in-house human resources.
Customer or employee dissatisfaction is quite quickly engendered with an inadequate helpdesk. End users want to be able to get the information they need very quickly. When you outsource, you can always be assured that you have fully manned and fully trained helpdesk ready to tackle any problems that users may encounter at any time of the day. Improved user satisfaction will result in a better reputation, a more motivated workforce, which will ultimately translate into more business.