Help desk System

The Help Desk is an important resource for all companies, aimed at providing assistance, technical or informational support to the user. Pigro has developed a technology to automatically extract the most relevant content from the company's Knowledge Base, simplifying the work of the Help Desk and Customer Service area.

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Pigro - Help desk
Knowledge management

Content index

What is the Help Desk?

The Help Desk, often also defined as Service Desk, is a point of contact (sometimes multiple) within the company, which allows to solve technical requests, called “tickets”. It can also consist of a dedicated department that handles user requests on various fronts: usually in large companies there are in fact multiple levels of Help Desk (Level 1, Level 2), which classify requests according to their complexity (for example, those of level 1 can be resolved by consulting FAQs, i.e. frequently asked questions).

The software that offers Help Desk solutions receives the tickets entered by the users and classifies them, addressing them to the person in charge of solving them. The main advantage of using this softwares is that they simplify these processes by organizing information and facilitating interaction.

The main role of an IT service desk is to monitor issues that may arise on both the client and employee sides, address support requests and provide a channel of communication between the various departments and service management functions. In addition, it is also useful for keeping track of change requests, third-party support contracts, software licenses, and general troubleshooting.

In some firms, the Service Desk system can be integrated with other systems (such as Knowledge Management software), enabling you to:

– manage employee onboarding;

– coordinate access to Information and Data Management;

– provide support and training to partners/suppliers;

– manage reporting and Key Performance Indicators;

– manage business continuity;

– monitor infrastructure and services.


History of the Help Desk: from the origins to today

How it was born

The birth of Help Desk systems dates back to the 20th century, when people relied on face-to-face interaction to solve customer problems. Customers had to physically visit the store or office with their product to request a solution.

When the telephone was invented in 1876 and the first switchboards were invented in 1890, customers finally had a new way to reach companies and present their problems without having to travel.

Central systems and call centers

Subsequently, between the 50’s and 70’s, many of what are defined as “mainframe computers” or centralized systems were produced, which began to be used to manage user requests, received by telephone from agents. 

In 1960 appeared the first call-center and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, which allowed to realize pre recorded messages, to memorize data introduced through the use of the keyboard thanks to multiple choice menus, to send faxes, to interrogate business databases.

Internet e ticket management

In the 1980’s, with the introduction of the Internet for public use, Help Desk Systems as we know them today were born. Thanks to email and PC desktop it was possible to reach the Customer Service without using paper.

Between the beginning of the 90’s and the 2000 is assisted to the birth of the “ticket management” and of industries specialized in the supply of services of Help Desk: email and live chat come massively used, for this the Help Desk often comes entrusted in outsourcing to specialized suppliers, species from the medium-large enterprise and, like contract, from part of the public administration.

In the mid-1990’s, Iain Middleton of Robert Gordon University conducted research showing that many organizations began to recognize that the real value of their Help Desk Services came not only from their responsiveness to user requests, but also from the unique position of the Help Desk, which interfaces with many customers or employees on a daily basis to gather useful information.

In fact, this gives the Help Desk the ability to monitor the users’ environment, from technical problems to customer preferences and satisfaction, gathering this information for further use in the design and preparation of other IT units.

Help Desk Software

In 2000, the first Help Desk software packages were created and used by companies in their various customer care operations.

More recently, understanding the importance of systems that allow for greater participation, integrations for mobile devices have been developed (2014) and the importance of omnichannel support has been understood, which can ensure users can send and track their feedback more simply and from any touch point.


Help desk

Help Desk Features

The main features that any Help Desk system should have are several:

  1. Multi-channel support for all touch points: i.e., the ways in which customers can contact support. For example, via email, phone, social-media, self-service, community or forums. It’s important to be able to track all customer touch points simultaneously: whether you choose to have one or several, they all need to be working and efficient.
  2. Ticket Management: the primary feature of the Help Desk system is to record and organize client (and user) requests, tracking the progress of the ticket from receipt to resolution.
  3. Access to Knowledge Base and centralized location for all support requests: one of the most important features of a Help Desk software is the possibility to access the knowledge base. This allows you to structure and save frequently asked questions from users in the form of FAQs or how-to content. Once you have information structured in this way, repetitive questions can be directed to these sections, where users can search in self-service mode. In this way, agents will be free to focus on more pressing issues and, at the same time, an always-on (24/7) Help Desk service can be offered.
  4. Sharing with colleagues and other divisions: the Help Desk allows to address requests and consequent research, sharing them with other team members, supervisors or other departments, so as to facilitate problem solving and, as mentioned above, always have a shared knowledge base available.
  5. Automation: The software automates routine, repetitive and predictable tasks, such as recurring user questions or day-to-day tasks like filling out forms and issuing daily reports. Automation can cover the full range of support services, such as converting emails into tickets and routing them to appropriate parties. It also takes care of notifying agents of outstanding or resolved tickets.
  6. Dashboards and analytics: having data dashboards and analytics available helps agents view all the most important data in one place. For example, dashboards can include pending, most urgent or most recent requests. In addition, it’s crucial for top management to be able to get an overview of the most important metrics, covering agent performance, request resolution rate, or number of tickets received monthly, for example.
    The Help Desk can also be an important source of insight from the market and for sales opportunities. Allowing KPIs (such as user requests) to be visually organized can reveal valuable information to Sales and Marketing departments, such as consumer preferences and audience demographics.
  7. Feedback and Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Closely related to analytics, this provides the ability to administer surveys to consumers or request their feedback on services offered. In this way, it will be possible to measure the volume of requests, complaints and understand if the company is proceeding in the most appropriate way.

8. Chatbot: the trend in recent years is to provide users with a conversational interface based on the use of Artificial Intelligence. Through the chatbot, which can be included on various platforms, such as a website, users will be able to ask the simplest questions directly in a live-chat: in fact, the AI is able to resolve these requests immediately or, in more complex cases, direct them to an operator.


Main benefits of using a Help Desk System

Adopting a help desk system can be useful for the company as it brings several advantages, both in the sphere of processes, simplifying the steps necessary to carry out activities, and in the sphere of corporate reputation, improving the efficiency of services to the end customer.

Resolve tickets more accurately and more quickly

Agents can direct technical inquiries to the IT department, or to experts, for accurate answers. By collaborating with other employees, or always having easy access to product sheets and technical manuals, it will be easier and faster to resolve customer and employee inquiries and optimize time and resources.

Prevent some tickets from being lost

Employees will be able to receive daily notifications of new open tickets. Requests that come in through different channels, such as customer emails to support, can also be automatically turned into tickets and channeled into management processes.

Building a Corporate Knowledge Base

Frequently asked questions from users can be collected and turned into FAQ pages, so that this information can be leveraged for Self-Service, for example by adding it to a special section on the website.

Focusing on important tasks

By automating routine and repetitive tasks, such as FAQs and simple administrative procedures, employees and managers can spend their time handling more critical tickets or higher value-added activities.

Resolving tickets effectively

Both frequently asked questions and best practices for resolving unique issues can be recorded and used in the future by anyone who needs them. The next time an employee is faced with a similar request, they will already know how to address it.


What issues can be resolved with a Help Desk solution?

Only Customer Service uses the Help Desk

Very often other departments see the Help Desk as the preserve of the customer support team. However, implementing a solution that properly engages all business divisions can bring many benefits, starting with multi-tiered collaboration between sales, marketing and IT departments. In this way, you can maximize the potential of these systems for rapid problem resolution and gain insights from your target market.

Security threats to sensitive data

Help Desk systems, which collect all sorts of sensitive data about users, could be targets of hacking threats. That’s why vendors of such solutions, both on-cloud and on-premise, provide firewalls for data protection and backup systems for unexpected events. 

Low customer satisfaction and retention

A customer (or potential customer) who contacts the company through the support channels expects to receive clear and immediate information to solve their problem. If this does not happen, the customer will have to, for example, bounce between call centers and email to get clarification. So response times are lengthened and, consequently, customer satisfaction decreases.

Agent productivity slowed by repetitive operations

Having an interface to quickly reference materials, such as product sheets, manuals, procedures, website content and other documents, can make all the difference in speeding up employees’ work. When you don’t know the information you need to complete a task, you may have to rely on colleagues or other departments to help you, which can add to the burden on others.

When, on the other hand, operators are able to provide timely responses by accessing the information they need, customer satisfaction benefits, increasing the rate of customer loyalty and, consequently, the brand reputation of the company in question.

To avoid having to respond to repetitive requests, it is therefore useful to always have access to the firm’s knowledge base, so that each employee can more easily find the information they need to do their job.

Making decisions without relying on data

Agents and supervisors need a top-down look at caring operations, and by having up-to-date charts and data, they can make informed and accurate decisions. 

All business divisions can benefit from the Help Desk in the decision making process, such as the following:

– The CIO (chief information officer): IT professionals can better understand what benefits and issues are involved in adopting new technologies, as well as the cost of their development. Help Desk platforms can automate many tasks through workflows, which can also benefit the IT department by reducing the number of requests from other departments.

– The CFO (chief financial officer): The role of the CFO is to control the income and expenditure of the company. This is why the information they are most concerned about is the ROI of possible new solutions such as the Help Desk. This is why it is essential to know the role that a Help Desk software can play in Data and Asset Management: you can always have useful information and analysis on impending problems, resolution times and customer requests, in order to propose solutions actively and quickly, taking into account the budget you have available.

– The CEO (chief executive officer): vision from the top is the watchword. How can a Help Desk solution increase a company’s competitive advantage and be beneficial overall? By improving customer service performance, the Help Desk can also increase customer satisfaction, thus affecting engagement and retention levels. Furthermore, by speeding up repetitive tasks that previously required dedicated time and resources, employees will be able to perform higher value-added activities, increasing productivity.


Help desk

Solution Types

A Help Desk solution can be directed both towards the inside of the company, to solve problems of employees in various departments, and towards the end user, when, for example, we talk about operations related to Customer Service.

Help Desk for customers

The so-called Customer Service Help Desk, or 1st level Help Desk, is aimed at providing support and assistance to the company’s customers with information about the company’s products or services, especially in the pre- and post-sales phases.

The goal of the Help Desk is to provide a centralized source of knowledge to answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and facilitate the resolution of known issues. This type of assistance can be provided in various forms: call-center, email support, live chat and chatbots embedded in the website, FAQ sections, etc.

Usually, the benefit given by adopting technological solutions such as chatbots and AI-based conversational interfaces is their 24/7 availability.

Employee Help Desk

Level 2 Help Desk is the service that goes to support the work of employees in various business departments. It is often managed by the IT department. In this case, too, the objective is to respond to employees’ requests for assistance, providing information on procedures, documentation, solving technical problems and thus facilitating the work of the entire organization.

Of fundamental importance is therefore immediate access to the company’s knowledge base, in order to consult manuals, product sheets and any type of document, so as to accelerate problem solving.

Even the 2nd level Help Desk can be automated, thanks to Knowledge Management solutions that allow centralized access to knowledge. For example, portals and chat, which, as in the case of Customer Support, can remain active 24/7.


Help Desk vs Service Desk: some clarifications

When people talk about Help Desk, they often encounter the term “Service Desk” as a related solution. This is because although they are now used synonymously, they were originally designed with a different focus.

Help Desks were created to solve specific problems related to customer support, typically within the company. So, they focus on responding to particular situations defined as “incidents”, which are reported by company employees to the IT department.

The Service Desk represents, instead, the point of contact between the end user and the company ICT world. It covers all situations in which a user requests assistance from their service provider, even if only for indications or instructions on the operation of programs in use in their office.

In essence, the Service Desk would be an evolution of the Help Desk, but now the latter has acquired many “hybrid” characteristics, such as the possibility of creating lists of documentation for users, lists of FAQs, which highlight how the approach is increasingly user centric. It’s no coincidence that the professionals who manage Help Desk functions in companies often have a background related to Customer Service.

For this reason, developing Help Desk solutions suitable for your business also contributes to the definition of a positive brand reputation and customer satisfaction.


Help desk

Knowledge management in support of the Help Desk

The objective of the Help Desk is to provide answers to user questions and problems. To be effective, a Help Desk solution should always be supported by a broader Knowledge Management strategy.

The adoption of a Knowledge Management system allows, in fact, to increase the productivity of individual departments, which will be able to communicate more easily, decreasing the response time to user requests.

Benefits of a Help Desk Knowledge Management System

– Provide consistent and effective responses

In order for the problem posed by the user to be resolved, the answer provided by the Help Desk must be relevant to the question and contain all the necessary information. As a result, the more complex the problem, the more the IT department needs tools to speed up this research and be able to respond to the user.

Even in Customer Support, it is critical that the customer receives immediate and consistent answers to similar questions, even if they are asked differently through different business channels, or at different stages of the Customer Journey. 

In order for this to happen, it is necessary that all Help Desk operators at level 1 (responsible for managing the relationship with the end customer) have efficient and rapid access to information.

In any type of Help Desk it is therefore essential to manage a large amount of requests and, to do so, it is important to have all the necessary information: having a well built Knowledge Management system in the company can make the difference.

– Speed of response

For services such as Help Desk and Customer Service, the time factor is decisive in every phase of the contact;

– before the sale: in which the potential client makes use of every aspect to evaluate the brand and decide whether to deepen the interest in buying;

– during: a late response would not only put the company in a bad light, but would risk losing customers who have a quick purchase decision;

– after: a satisfied customer will come back to buy that product again and, in this choice, is influenced by many factors, including the speed of resolution of his problems.

By searching for answers within a single repository, the Help Desk division will be able to solve customer problems quickly, reducing the workload of operators who can concentrate on solving the problems with the highest added value.

– Use natural language

Users come to the Help Desk through a targeted question. Why not consult the Knowledge Base directly by asking that question?

Knowing how to query the documentation already, without the need to rephrase the question or identify keywords, speeds up the process and provides timely responses to the customer. All this is possible when a conversational interface is implemented that is specifically designed to be queried in natural language, without the need to use technical terms or keywords.

– Having a centralized Knowledge Base

In order to provide answers to users, you need to know where to find the information you need. However, it is difficult to be quick and efficient when you have a huge amount of files and documents. Often, this means having to search for documentation in different repositories or asking other colleagues or departments.

A valid Knowledge Management solution allows you to create documentation within a centralized system, guaranteeing the immediate availability of knowledge to the entire company through a single platform. In this way, it will be possible to optimize time and resources by increasing the productivity of employees and thus increasing customer satisfaction and brand awareness.


Conclusions

Help Desk solutions make it easier to carry out internal company and external customer activities. A help desk platform or software makes it possible to organize business processes, collect data and information, select the most relevant ones and facilitate the tasks of the Customer Service. When the user’s requests are resolved quickly, satisfaction with the brand increases and, consequently, the possibility of loyalty.

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