Helpdesks are an intermix of people, processes, and technology. The concept of helpdesks varies from one organization to another. Depending upon the service provided, helpdesks either offer support to internal staff or to external customers. Any resourceful operations manager knows that technological breakdowns can immediately hamper operations and drastically effect productivity. Most companies make efforts to keep every computer operational for each office worker to maintain high output levels.
Consequently, given that most companies utilize a complex network of computer systems to run operations, helpdesk managers understand the importance of maintaining a smoothly running infrastructure to avoid operational pitfalls.
The concept of helpdesks can be primitive or even nonexistent in smaller organizations. Here, a designated helpdesk agent typically looks into a variety of service requests, error reports, and a wide range of assorted operational activities. The intercom or telephone is the primary means of reporting problems. The helpdesk then records these problems for action.
In larger organizations, attending to problems just based on phone calls is cumbersome. Larger organizations implement a sophisticated software program to implement helpdesk systems. Here, helpdesk managers attend to problems in accordance with the priority and magnitude of the problems reported.
Improper helpdesk services can badly obstruct operations, escalate problems, or even cripple operations entirely. Therefore, helpdesks are critical management functions that need constant attention. Proper implementation of helpdesks not only improves the operational ability of an organization, but also its competitive advantage.
In most companies, management often views helpdesk vacancies as entry-level positions. Often, this leaves crucial positions open to inexperienced personnel. Owing to various undercurrents flowing in the organization, helpdesk personnel do not receive adequate training in handling the complex software and hardware systems that comprise the helpdesk.
Moreover, most organizations do not have proper HR policies in place that define topics like career progression and job responsibilities for helpdesk personnel. Most helpdesk agents end up operating in gray areas. They often quit early, seeking better career opportunities elsewhere. The resulting situation is that top management in many companies is reluctant to initiate a helpdesk culture in operational and other extensive decision-making areas.
Helpdesk operations need competent staff and technology that seamlessly integrates the existing technology levels within the organization. In many instances, management faces the tricky question of diverting helpdesk operations to external vendors.
Organizational red tape and infrastructure constraints are the only likely obstacles to helpdesk operations. Whatever the situation, may be, service-industry managers should recognize that helpdesk operations are the backbone of the organization's seamless operational capabilities. Putting proper helpdesks into service will go a long way in extending crucial support to organizations in the service industry.