Service Desk vs Help Desk: Do you know the difference?

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When you need IT support, most managed IT service providers offer two options: service desks and help desks. While they may seem synonymous, there is a difference between the two. When you are deciding which is best for your IT needs, here are the main differences between a help desk vs. a service desk.

Service Desk vs. Help Desk: Do You Know the Difference?

Both solutions handle communications with the users and manage incidents and service requests.  The main difference between a help desk and a service desk has to do with the scope of service provided.

Basically, help desks provide quick fixes to IT issues, while service desks focus on comprehensive customer service and overarching business needs.

What is a Help Desk?

A help desk service operation assists with quick fixes to end user IT issues. For example, if you forgot your password and needed to reset it, you would contact a helpdesk for assistance.

Typically, smartsourced help desk representatives don’t get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with your business, resulting in limited integrating potential in your company and the inability to offer overall business process support. Their primary goal is to get your specific problem resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Help desk support is for simple break fix services, such as:

  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for each product’s service lifecycle
  • Problem management
  • Incident tracking
  • Self-service options for end-users (your employees can call in for immediate assistance)

Typically, help desks are a small part of broader service options.

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Help Desk vs. Technical Support

In the IT support hierarchy, the help desk is a simpler level of support for basic, quick fixes. Technical support dives a little deeper and is used for more complicated issues requiring more comprehensive technical knowledge.

For example, if your printer wasn’t working, you would call a help desk. If all your printers weren’t working because of network communication issues, you would contact tech support. Both focus solely on problem resolution without delving into overarching business process support. 

The main difference between the two is that tech support issues are often more complicated than help desk issues.

Help Desk vs. Desktop Support

Desktop support is a more specific service. While a help desk can fix a broad range of IT issues, desktop support is dedicated to fixing only desktop or laptop issues. It can’t help with printers or networks, but it can help you install programs or get a broken computer running. Desktop support is typically included in the help desk function.

Resolve IT issues quickly with reliable outsourced help and service desk operations from Buchanan.

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What is a Service Desk?

What is a Service Desk?

Service desks offer a broader overall level of service compared to help desks. A service desk manages incidents beyond basic IT fixes and includes much broader support options and serves as the primary point of contact between the service provider and the client for any IT-related need, including:

  • Account management
  • Service level agreement (SLA) organization
  • Asset management
  • Informational assistance
  • Configuration management
  • Incident management
  • And much more

A service desk can definitely help you resolve your printer issues, but it will also look at your current setup and make improvements to promote business efficiency. While help desks focus on only the immediate problem, the goal of a service desk is to resolve big-picture issues and help improve overall IT functions.

Service desks can also provide assistance outside of technical support. It is becoming increasingly common for organizations to adopt service desks that offer business process support.

For example, many colleges and universities are implementing service desks to a “one-stop shop” to accommodate students with class enrollment and financial aid services, as well as answer, direct, or escalate general inquiries.

Types of Service Desks

While most managed IT service providers offer service desk support, they do not handle them the same way. There are three types of service desks you might encounter:

  • Local Service Desk: Located in or near the area of the clients. Local service desks are great because the agents understand the local environment and can offer more customized support.
  • Centralized Service Desk: One service desk that serves the entire region. Centralized service desks are generally more efficient and cost-effective because they require fewer staff to handle the same call volume.
  • Virtual Service Desk: Using advanced service desk software, agents can work remotely from anywhere. Although it retains a centralized service desk feel—including the efficiency and cost-effectiveness—IT support personnel are scattered throughout the area and work to resolve issues remotely.

Service Desk vs. Help Desk: The Final Thought

Help desks and service desks both help you resolve your IT issues. The only difference is the scope of the service delivery.

If you need IT support for your business, trust the experts at Buchanan. We’ve provided unmatched IT support to North American businesses for over 30 years.

Whether you’re looking for service desk support or comprehensive managed IT services, Buchanan is here to help. Ready to resolve your IT issues for good? Contact us to get started today.

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