A help desk provides support for either employees or clients, or both. The help desks takes inbound phone calls and emails, addresses the person's concerns and tries to fix the problem. Help desks focus primarily on technical issues, such as problems with an employee's computer, or with an online ordering system. Some companies choose to outsource their help desk. Outsourcing has several advantages.

 

Reduced Cost

Many companies that provide outsourcing teams offer these services at a reduced rate. Hiring a full staff from these companies may cost less than hiring an in-house staff. If you outsource you help desk on a contract basis, you will not have to provide the benefit packages or other perks in-house staff receives, further reducing costs.

 

Easier Management

If you outsource the help desk through a contracting company, it will do most of the work for you. The third-party company recruits and hires employees, reducing the stress on your in-house human resources department. When an employee leaves, the company will find a replacement, saving you in recruiting costs. The company will also manage the employees including tracking time worked, missed days or performance issues.

 

Higher Profits

When a company has an inadequate help desk, it creates customer dissatisfaction. A customer wants to be able to call in at any hour, speak to someone directly and resolve the problem quickly. By having a 24-hour fully trained help desk, you meet the client's needs. A happy client will stay with your company longer and may do more business with you, which will increase your profits.

 

This is article is located at: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-outsourcing-desk-15977.html

It’s not uncommon for organizations to rely on the “technical guy” in their office to handle this technical support needs; the problem with this is that while they know more than most of your staff, they don’t necessarily know IT in the big picture. Their fluency in all things IT may be actually a detriment to your organization, because their scope of knowledge is limited to just desktop support.

This issue is exasperated even more, when they are asked to implement servers, network devices, develop a backup strategy or disaster recovery strategy. We have seen far too often, when this in house desktop support person has put in a solution, but ultimately fails the business due to lack of expertise.
Outsourcing your IT support or Help Desk needs to D-Tech is one way to protect the business, while gaining a fully outsourced IT department integrated with your business goals.

Top Benefits:

1) Allow your employees to perform their primary job function.
With D-Tech providing the help desk services, your in-house staff can be better focused on their skillset. This may be technical in nature or completely unrelated. If your support is being done by an IT Manager, programmer or developer, their salaries likely reflect higher than they should for day to day support. Outsourcing the IT department, allows best use of function without sacrifice to their primary duties and business objectives.

2) Out of the box IT systems
The D-Tech services for IT support provide you with out of the box service desk, helpdesk and IT management software. All tools for reporting and monitoring will be instantly gained and benefit the business by providing detailed insight as to what exactly is going on with IT. Typically organizations without outsourced IT, do not have any metrics to determine overall health of their IT nor exactly what is taking up the time of their support person.

3) Better functioning IT Department
IT involved many areas and solutions to protect and enable the business. Outsourcing your IT provides you access to an entire team of experts in all these areas. This ensure you have the proper skillset and expertise without having to hire your own full time resource with these skills. The areas you want to have solutions for include: helpdesk, server monitoring and management, network monitoring and management, backup strategy, cloud solutions and partnerships, disaster recovery, asset management, life cycle planning and more. By covering the entire spectrum of IT related decisions and factors, your IT department will run better and in turn, your business.

 

This article is located at: https://dtechconsulting.com/top-3-reasons-outsource-help-desk-support/

 

The world is powered by technology today. We all know that. In business, technology, used skillfully, increases the value your IT department brings to the business—and your IT help desk. Not surprisingly, so does the quality of your IT help desk’s knowledge base (KB) and your technicians’ skill sets.

The IT help desk plays an integral role in how a company completes projects and impacts the bottom line, particularly when customer complaints are involved. The trend, more and more, is to use automation and help desk software that encourages customers to take on some of the more common problems for themselves, freeing up IT to handle high-level technical difficulties.

“Support departments have always been overworked. They can make life easier for themselves by implementing self-service customer support—as long as they don’t take things too far,” says Danny Bradbury, writing for ComputerWeekly.com.

End users are becoming increasingly self-sufficient, thanks to the KBs in help desk tools. Fixing problems fast is what gives the most productive businesses the edge. And while a solid knowledge base that end users can access is a start, your technicians should continually work to increase their skill sets so they can provide the solutions when answers are out of reach for end users. Let’s explore why your knowledge base is so important and what you can do ensure that your technicians skill set moves to the next level.

Refine Your Skill Set

The natural question becomes, “What skills should IT specialists work on to be most useful?” This is a tricky question to answer because technology advances more quickly with each passing year. Each industry has unique considerations. When refining your knowledge base, keep a few questions in the back of your mind:

  • What issues can employees now resolve on their own?
  • What current technologies do employees struggle with? For example, BYOD and the Internet of things (IoT) can still cause confusion without a centralized company policy.
  • What are your colleagues’ specialties?

The last point deserves some elaboration. While it’s good to diversify your department’s offerings as much as possible, it can also be beneficial to have some cross training within the department. If for example, your department only has one expert in an industry-specific piece of technology, what happens when they go on vacation? If they become ill? If they leave the company? Let the answer guide your decision.

Get Started

Assessing your answers to the questions above will help guide you to broaden your own skill sets and to provide direction for the techs in your help desk department. Remember to pay attention to current trends in the workplace, and those that are forecast to be strong in the coming year. Gartner has predicted three overarching themes in the digital landscape of tomorrow: intelligence, digital, and mesh. Having an overview of each can prepare your technicians for what is coming next.

Intelligence

In the coming year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to build its role in daily business operations, and we don’t mean in a Hollywood movie sort of way. Advanced machine learning will make our businesses more efficient. Chatbots will help customers through common inquiries using natural language processing and deep learning, while predictive technologies will help pinpoint fraud.

Intelligent apps will also be popular. Virtual assistants will help workers with menial tasks like sorting through and prioritizing emails. Lastly, intelligent objects like drones and autonomous vehicles will usher in the next wave of IoT.

Digital

The term “digital” is a bit broad, and we’ve been in the midst of digital transformation for some time now. Digital is still trending (and evolving) as the lines between our physical, and digital worlds continue to blur. Virtual and augmented reality will become more commonplace in business, as companies leverage this technology to conduct training and create immersive customer experiences.

Also, gaining traction in 2017 is the notion of the digital twin. “A digital twin is a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operations and add value,” according to Gartner. The research firm predicts that within the next three to five years, there will be billions of these digital twins, which will be used to create simulations and improve business operations.

Mesh

Lastly, the digital mesh that binds us all will continue to weave an intricate web. The concept of mesh refers to the idea that our people, processes, and products can combine through intelligent digital systems. The evolution of the mesh will fundamentally change the user experience, both for employees and customers. Adaptive security architecture for businesses is an example of what we can expect in just a few short years.

There are plenty of opportunities for IT help desk teams to further develop their skill sets. Innovations in technology surround us, which not only encourage productivity, but drive further experimentation, development, and investment in technology to build the future of business. KBs help end users navigate common problems—but there are always more on the horizon. Encourage your teams to broaden their skill sets to be prepared for whatever happens next.

This article is located at: https://logicalread.com/encourage-constant-improvement-in-help-desk-tech-skill-sets/#.W2-rM_ZFyM8

With the hundreds, if not thousands of information technology providers around the nation, how do you choose the right partner that will provide a high quality of service that you can rely on?

Here is an overview of the top ten key features you should be looking for in your IT Managed Services provider (MSP):

1. They act like a partner, not a vendor.
A good IT services provider will not try to sell you a product, but build you a solution that solves more than one problem.  If they are truly interested in serving you as a partner, they care about the longevity of your business and will help you consider ideas that you might not have previously considered.  They won’t be afraid to lose a sale if they don’t recommend a certain technology or product for your type of business.

2. They have switched their business model from break-fix to managed services.
Any IT services provider should be able to answer the question: Is your service model break-fix or managed services?  You will save a lot more money in the long run with a managed services provider that is proactive in fixing problems before they turn into large company-wide disasters.  An IT company that still waits for problems to arise before taking action will more likely spend more time (and therefore cost you more money) fixing each issue as it arises.

3. They review problems, solutions and recommendations with you on a regular basis.
Your IT Managed Services provider should have a solid plan of action for providing you with regular reviews of your network.  A good expectation would be to receive monthly reports on the work that has been performed and quarterly consultation reviews to go over areas that could be improved and technologies that could fix recurring problems.

4. They provide you with complete visibility and transparency to the problems in your network.
Can your IT provider pull a report on a moment’s notice of which servers installed the latest security patches?  Can they guarantee that each of your workstations is up-to-date its virus protection scans?  Do you know which servers are close to running out of disk space?  If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to find a new IT Managed Services provider.  A quality MSP focused on providing top quality customer service and will always be proactive in letting you know when to expect a problem, not struggling to patchwork an issue that they never saw coming.  Be sure to partner with an provider that will help you understand what is going on with your environment at all times.

5. They offer monitoring tools and resources to stay proactive on network issues.
Your MSP should utilize a number of different tools and resources for monitoring the activity of your servers, protecting the health of your employee’s workstations, remotely connecting to your systems and reporting on the problems that were fixed.  Be sure to ask about any integrated anti-virus, anti-spam and BDR (backup & disaster recovery) solutions that can help keep your environment in check.

6. Their IT expertise includes more than just desktop support.
Be sure to choose a Managed Services provider that has a wide range of expertise levels in their staff.  Don’t be afraid to ask about their engineers’ certification levels, knowledge of certain technologies, or years on the field.  A good MSP will cover a range of different expertise levels so that they can task the most efficient resource to solve your problem.  At a minimum, look for a company that has all of the above: desktop support technicians, Active Directory and Exchange Server experts, Business Analysts, Virtualization specialists, Server Administrators and more.   This way, when it comes to needing a company to work on your separate IT projects, you’re able to get everything you need all from one place.

7. They are able to provide a clear method for you to manage your annual IT budget.
ROI is an important factor for businesses to evaluate when trying to decide which is more cost effective – hiring internal resources or outsourcing your needs to a specialized firm.  Your Managed Services provider should be able to provide you a package with all the support you need for one fixed monthly price.  The days are over where you should wait in anxiety until the end of the month when you receive a higher-than-expected bill from your IT provider.

8. They have clients of all different sizes.
There’s nothing wrong for a company to have a specific target audience or a niche industry or company size they service.  But, think twice about hiring an IT provider who only deals with one avenue of business as that typically means they are not as well-versed in knowing what technologies work best for different types of businesses.  If an IT provider deals only with small business clients under 50 employees, what happens when you grow above that benchmark?   Will they be able to recommend the appropriate technologies to fit your growing business?  Likewise, if an IT provider deals only with large enterprise clients, will they be able to meet the budget and flexibility needs of a small to midsize company?  Look for a company that has a portfolio with a mix of small, midsize and enterprise clients.  Chances are they will be much more knowledgeable about what technologies will suit your current and future business needs.

9. They understand that your business is unique.
No two businesses are alike.  Your MSP should be able to understand your business model, the way you work and the way you communicate with employees and customers.  Each business has unique short-term needs and long-term goals including: connectivity, security, data storage, disaster recovery and more.  Don’t follow a company that tries to sell you blocks of hours of service at an hourly rate.   No two companies are alike and it’s hard to know how much or how little support you will need.  Instead, find a Managed Services provider that will provide you a fixed monthly price based on the number of users in your company.  This way, you no longer have to spend time each week calculating how many hours you have left in your service package, holding off requests for help because you’re afraid of being overbilled, etc. 

10.  They are responsive, highly available, and quick to resolve issues.
Your Managed Services provider should have an SLA agreement that guarantees certain levels of response times for standard ticket requests, ticket resolutions and emergency issues.  Your MSP should have some type of automated ticketing system or customer portal that provides you access to a historical record of your ongoing service requests. They should have the tools available to connect remotely to any system in a matter of seconds, not billing you for travel time all the way to and from your location.

 

This article is located at: http://www.infinitconsulting.com/166

 

Support roles are dynamic. No two days are the same. Your day-to-day tasks on an internal support team are entirely contingent on what everyone else is doing—and struggling to do.

Your fellow employees rely on you to get their own jobs done. The problems on the plates of your coworkers are your problems, too. You field questions that can’t wait for answers, handle problems that only you have the tools to resolve.

It’s a lot of pressure, so it takes a very particular set of qualities and skills to succeed in a support role. When hiring support staff—or working to improve the service you provide—use these 15 help desk skills to define stellar support in the workplace.

1. Empathy for coworkers and their concerns

One coworker is dealing with a tech issue that’s preventing him from finishing an important project. Another is struggling with newly implemented software, and a third doesn’t understand the specifics of a new IT policy.

To you, these issues may seem like minor annoyances. But what seems like a minor annoyance to one person may be a huge burden for someone else.

An empathetic support employee is reassuring. She doesn’t belittle coworkers or make them feel embarrassed for needing help. She expresses an understanding for coworkers’ problems, provides support and guidance, and leaves people feeling happy that they asked for help.

2. An approachable personality

It pays to be a people person in an internal support role. That doesn’t mean you have to sit at your desk and smile all week, but it does mean coworkers should feel comfortable coming to you with concerns.

The more approachable a company’s help desk staff, the more likely employees will come forward with problems before they snowball out of control.

3. Patience for problems, questions, and the unexpected

Patience isn’t just helpful for support staff; it’s crucial. You’re constantly being bombarded with questions—questions you’ve probably answered a million times before. And you’re dealing with people who are stressed and frustrated, so it’s important not to let their heightened emotional states impact your calm and collected approach to finding a resolution.

4. Active listening skills

Being a good listener is another crucial help desk skill. First, you need to fully understand the problem before you can solve it. Doing so requires that you take in and understand exactly what issue is being reported, what problems it’s causing, and how to help.

But it’s not enough for support personnel to be good listeners. They need to be active listeners.

There are two ways that people listen to others. The first is passively. When we listen to people passively, we’re already formulating a response in our heads. We’re not really focused on the substance of their messages.

On the flip side, active listening involves taking in every word, reflecting on what you’ve been told, and relaying it back to someone. This sort of listening results in meaningful dialogue and a complete understanding.

Whether it’s a call, face-to-face conversation, or service ticket, coworkers deserve the undivided attention of the help desk employees they’re working with.

5. Willingness to work as part of a team

Help desks are integral to the success of all departments. A willingness to work across teams not only makes your job easier, it also ensures that every department reaches its goals.

Team players thrive in help desk roles because they embrace collaboration, which results in more closed tickets and resolved issues.

6. Respect for coworkers’ time

According to Gallup, most employees don’t feel that their coworkers value their time. But valuing other people’s time is crucial for help desk employees because timing is everything.

Phenomenal support employees strive to be efficient not only for their own sake, but also because they value their coworkers’ time. Responding to a ticket in a timely manner signals respect and is a sign of proactive worker.

Being a help desk speedster isn’t a surefire sign of a great support, though.

“There is definitely a connection between quality and speed, in that quality service cannot be slow or inefficient,” notes HelpScout’s Gregory Ciotti. “However, correlation does not equal causation—just because service is fast doesn’t mean it is good, as it overlooks customers’ feelings on how well they were cared for.”

While timing matters, so does empathy.

7. A positive attitude

Some of your colleagues might feel embarrassed at the idea of approaching a help desk. They might even be afraid that their concerns will be met with apathy or annoyance.

Reassure your coworkers that it’s okay to bother you by responding to them positively. Just because something’s wrong with their equipment doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with them.

8. Grace under pressure

The degree to which today’s workers are bogged down is staggering. According to the American Institute of Stress, 40% of workers cite their jobs as “extremely” stressful and 26% are on the verge of burnout.

And since help desks essentially absorb the problems of their coworkers, stress becomes a two-way street. Not are only are you worried about your own responsibilities, but also the stress of anyone who comes to you with an issue.

That’s why grace under pressure is among the most important help desk skills. A well-staffed help desk essentially works behind the scenes to make sure problems don’t spiral out of control.

9. The ability to juggle multiple tasks

Rarely do complaints, concerns, or tickets come one-at-a-time. And supporting other employees may not be your only responsibility. Many IT personnel not only provide support, they also perform evaluation, implementation, maintenance, and repair of technology infrastructure to keep their companies running smoothly.

Juggling your own responsibilities with your coworkers’ needs can be daunting, but it comes with the territory. The ability for support personnel to find a reasonable balance is essential.

10. Knowing how to prioritize

Not all workplace requests are created equal. From the number of people impacted by a problem to the severity of the issue itself, support employees must practice proper judgement when it comes to deciding which issues are critical and which can wait.

Prioritize tickets based on urgency and business impact.

11. Flawless communication

As part of a help desk, you’re expected to be accessible. How you respond to coworkers should not only reaffirm that you’ve heard their concerns, but also that you’ll also keep them in the loop regarding what happens next.

Help desk employees need to articulate the solution, provide expectations on how the problem will be handled, and let people know when to expect follow-up communications.

Clear communication skills make providing support easier and assure coworkers that they’re being taken care of.

12. Keen critical thinking and problem-solving

Sometimes, coworkers’ problems can be solved by following a script. You’ve seen the issue before. You know exactly how to fix it.

Other times, problems will be new, bizarre, or difficult to recreate. There may not be a pre-existing solution. In these situations, it’s crucial for support staff to be able to lean on their natural critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to provide the support coworkers need.

13. Attention to detail

As noted by Kent Blake, many IT help desks are plagued by an “obsession with zero.” Blake asserts that placing excessive emphasis on the metric of closed tickets, businesses put too much pressure on their IT staff. This results in tickets being prematurely closed and issues ultimately going unresolved.

“Don’t obsess over zero,” Blake notes. “Generally speaking, better productivity results from focusing on authentic, realistic metrics and recognizing your technicians for their achievements.”

Help desks should take a “quality over quantity” approach to addressing coworkers’ concerns. Give those concerns the attention they deserve rather than risk rushing them.

14. Decisiveness

Between support requests, meetings, and other responsibilities, time can be scarce. While support staff shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of their work for the sake of time, they should also strive for efficiency.

This means making decisions and sticking to them. Achieving this level of confidence might take some time, but it’s the sign of a true leader in the office.

15. Persistence to see a task through

A good support employee always sees their tasks through to the end.

This means not closing tickets until every aspect of a request is completed. This means not only resolving a problem, but also following up later to make sure the problem stayed resolved.

As part of a help desk, your role has a direct impact on how well others can do their jobs. The more invested you are in providing the best support possible, the more your company will benefit.

Building the skills that define exceptional support staff

Help desks are critical to making sure a company runs like a well-oiled machine. When your support roles are filled with people who have the skills outlined above, the entire company is set up for success.

And bear in mind that each of these skills can be learned and refined over time, too. Even if you haven’t mastered all of these skills already, it’s never too late to learn, grow, and improve.

This article is located at: https://www.askspoke.com/blog/support/help-desk-skills/