Helpdesks help customers with technical issues, such as installing and using computer systems, troubleshooting network connections, installing entertainment systems, and resetting passwords. Financial institution help desks can help customers with online banking and commerce, while cable company help desks can solve audio and video problems. A small company generally has a central helpdesk, while a large company may have several.
The main advantage of a help desk is that it improves customer satisfaction. Customers know exactly where to get information because contact information is clearly visible on product brochures and company websites. Some companies outsource their help desk services to offshore companies. Case study that this strategy may not work if clients have poor service, such as long waits and poorly trained staff.
Help desk services can help improve the quality of a company's products or services. When customers call a help desk, specialists often complete problem reports that describe the call. Organizations can use software to tabulate and track these reports from start to resolution. Designers can review these problem reports to implement improvements. If multiple customers call the same problem, the help desk can alert quality control and possibly management to help the company resolve the problem quickly.
A central helpdesk department means that customer calls are routed to the same people. This enables employees to develop their skills and become experts in various technical areas, which in turn leads to faster problem solving. Help desks are often part of corporate IT departments, which can increase the efficiency of the process. For example, if a customer needs help using a particular software feature, the help desk specialist may ask her colleague at the software designer for clarification. As a result, customer concerns are addressed immediately, the specialist expands his knowledge base, and the software designer discovers how customers use his product. Help desk staff can share technical information to learn from each other and solve problems faster.
Employees who work in the technical support department or other support functions may view themselves as an expense and not as part of a company's strategic objectives. They often create rules and block innovations, sometimes to demonstrate their relevance. In an interview with Carmen Nobel, editor of the Harvard Business School for Work Knowledge in December 2010, Professor Ranjay Gulati suggested that managers who support employees should help them become the main drivers of internal change initiatives.