What Does an IT Help Desk Do?

What Does an IT Help Desk Do?

By on Oct 14, 2021 in Technical

Responsive day-to-day tech support is just one benefit of an IT help desk partnership.

One of the most visible features of a managed services solution is the IT help desk. Sometimes called an IT services desk, the concept is to provide businesses with a centralized team of people and technologies, whose sole focus is addressing the day-to-day IT support and management challenges that a company encounters as they work.

Staffed by a team of specialized technicians, the help desk doesn’t just answer support calls though, they provide empathy for your team as they struggle with their technology issues, help your business maintain peak productivity after technology problems occur, and coordinate the effort of senior engineers so that major problems are addressed efficiently.

Why is Remote Help Desk Better than Onsite IT Support?

In the past, businesses that ran into an IT problem would call a team of IT support technicians who would come onsite and diagnose and fix the problem in person. Times have changed. The increased importance of technology to your business’s day-to-day function, combined with the complexity of modern networks environments, makes onsite support too slow and too inefficient for most businesses.

IT help desks utilize a suite of technologies to do their work remotely. These specialized tools allow a help desk partner to gather detailed information about your technology, diagnose a problem, then solve most issues — also known as IT support tickets — without having to ever come to your office. That means less interference for your team, no matter where they are working from.

The Miniature Guide to an IT Support Ticket
For the help desk technicians to do their work, they must first create what’s known as an IT support ticket. This ticket is a detailed profile of the support request along with a unique request identifier that allows tickets to be tracked and updated as they move through the IT support/resolution process.

These tickets are stored in a specialized support ticket platform, which provides the help desk team and the network engineers supporting them with a single source of truth for all your IT issues, allowing them to prioritize urgent requests and ensures strong collaboration.

The ticketing platform also gives your IT support provider a lasting record of each request your team has made so they can develop a big picture, data-driven picture of your network’s health, locate latent issues, and make continuous improvements to your network operations.

What are some of the common IT issues that a help desk can help you solve?

  • Password problems
  • Printer issues
  • Accidentally deleted files
  • Network connectivity issues
  • “Blue screen of death”
  • Adware and slow PCs
  • VPN connectivity issues
  • Application installations

What Makes a Quality IT Support Desk?

Not all help desks are created equally, but that may not be obvious to a company who hasn’t shopped for help desk support in the past. What are the hallmarks of an effective IT help desk solution? Here are some of the things that separate a great help desk from a lackluster one.

A Combination of Hard and Soft Skills
Qualified help desk technicians will hold certifications from leading accrediting bodies like CompTIA, or documented familiarity with an IT service management frameworks like ITIL. They may also have passed courses from hardware or software vendors, like Cisco, Microsoft, or Google.

These certifications are an important way for technicians to demonstrates competency with the latest technologies, which makes them a useful tool for vetting a new IT help desk service.

But, in addition to technical skills, there are intangible qualities that help make a good IT technician as well. Soft skills like active listening, empathy, and attentiveness are important to calming frustrated employees, ensuring that their issues are thoroughly diagnosed, and restoring them to full productivity with minimal stress.

Reliable IT Help Desk Metrics
All the work a help desk does is documented inside a ticketing system, which provides any potential help desk vendor with a rich dataset that they can use to make improvements to their service and resolve your IT issues faster.

Some of the most popular IT help desk metrics that any help desk should be tracking and improving upon include:

  • First Response Time
    This measures how quickly your staff gets a response after reaching out to the help desk team. This metric has obvious importance in the IT service industry, as making people feel supported and listened to is the best way to establish a positive help desk relationship based on trust.
  • Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR)
    Your team’s time is valuable, which is why it’s important for any help desk to measure how long it takes to service or “close” the average IT ticket. By measuring MTTR, the help desk team will have information it can use to make continuous service quality improvements and further improve MTTR.
  • Customer Satisfaction
    The customer satisfaction (CSAT) score measure how the help desk is perceived, how effective their overall support process is, including both technical and non-technical dimensions, which makes it another metric that you should inquire about when choosing a help desk partner.

How to Choose the Right IT Help Desk for Your Business

As we just mentioned, the heart of a great help desk is a satisfied customer. The best way to develop a short list of prospective help desk partners is by doing some simple due diligence on Google and sites like Is the vendor getting positive feedback from their clients? That may be a good sign that they’re worthy of consideration. Are they a local MSP? Working with a national chain or franchise almost always means impersonal, lackluster support.

When it’s time to conduct interviews with your short list of managed service providers, ask probing questions about the technical qualifications of their staff, while also trying to evaluate the culture of their team.

Does their leadership team share similar values to your own? Do they have quick answers to your questions around responsiveness, or do they vacillate on their answers? Do they feel like people that you can trust them to help ferry your company out of complex IT problems, in the throes of major downtime? It can take time to identify the best IT services firm, but it’s worth it.

20 Years of IT Services and Support to Ohio Businesses

For decades, businesses in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati have trusted the Astute Technology Management team to help them take a proactive approach to technology management, which includes responsive and friendly IT help desk support.

Is your team looking need an IT partner who has decades of experience and positive customer feedback? Contact us today to discuss.