ot sure what is the difference between the help desk and service desk? Often, these two terms are used interchangeably when referring to customer support tools. While some may say there is only a semantic difference between the two terms, there is more to it in reality. A deep-dive into this topic reveals some interesting points.

If we look at this from the business point of view, both help desks and service desks support our IT goals. The lines explaining the two concepts may even seem blurred at times. And, we might ask help desk or service desk – how does it matter? Well, it does matter. Especially, when your firm is dealing directly with customer issues on a daily basis. We all know the value of IT support services to our customers and its implications on our business. Help desk or service desk – the software tool you deploy should have the capabilities of meeting your tech support requirements. 

Help desk concept

The origins of the IT help desks are traced back to the 1980s when firms started integrating IT tools into their existing business models. That is when the firms realized the need for dedicated help centers to resolve service-related issues. The conventional use of help desks was restricted to addressing basic software running issues, ticket resolution, incident management, and assisting users with the application of the IT tools. The focus on end-user was completely lacking. Moreover, the help desk also failed to provide dynamic features to support integrated business management solutions. The scenario has changed dramatically, though. The help desk concept today encompasses sophisticated tools designed for customer support excellence. 

Service desk focus

The service desk is a more recent concept that has evolved with the growing complexity of the IT tools and infrastructural networks used by firms today. As per the ITIL definition, the service desk refers to a “single contact point for Customers and Users and is there to log, track and manage any issues that are brought to its attention.” Hence, service desks not only provide the primary level of support to system users but also enables efficient management of IT as a service. Instead of simply responding to support requests, service desks provide an integrated solution aligning your IT goals with business objectives.

The service desk model evaluates your present as well as evolving business requirements. Service capabilities are designed to ensure optimized business processes. Service strategy, system design, service delivery, and continuous improvement are hence, some of the important dimensions considered while designing service desks. Essentially, service desks are help desks with a strategic business focus and provide a comprehensive solution for your growing business needs.

Difference between help desks and service desks

We have listed some important and basic differences between the help desks and service desks below.

  • The help desk offers assistance to system users. Whereas, service desks offer comprehensive business solutions to end-users. 
  • Help desks are more tactical in their focus. Whereas, service desk focus is more strategic.
  • Help desks support limited features and functionalities. However, service desks contain all help desk features plus additional functionalities to support your business goals. 
  • Help desks offer users a single point of contact to troubleshoot their IT problems. On the other hand, service desks offer the scope to integrate with multiple applications to streamline existing processes and improve business performance.
  • Help desks are, in many ways, a subset of service desks. In essence, service desks are dynamic business applications that can be customized and enhanced to cater to emerging business opportunities.

What do you need for your business

Help desks or service desks -both serve specific business objectives. Essentially, the interpretation of these two terms varies in context to its application and deployment within your organization. Ultimately, your choice is based on your business needs. If your business requires simple help desk features, it does not make sense adopting a complicated service desk that supports multiple features, most of which, are of no use to you. In the end, it is all about how it impacts your business performance. 

Help desks are the initial points of contact with your customer. It responds to your customer requests or issues. It will escalate complex issues to the next level of support. You can also ensure your support agents respond within the given time period in SLAs or Service Level Agreements. Service desks offer all these features and plus more. It integrates with different departments to offer a more optimized platform for your business. It streamlines customer interactions and proactive solutions to improve your business performance. You can even automate certain tasks or adjust workflows to suit your business requirements.

And finally

Now that we have some idea about help desks and service desks, the next question is which one suits your business requirements perfectly. Well, it is difficult to provide a generic response to that one. Why? Because we are operating in a complex and dynamic business environment. Business conditions change and the way we do business also has to change. But, most of us will agree that simple and smart solutions save a lot of energy we spend on configuring or adapting systems to match our requirements. Keep it simple.

And, we at ngDesk believe in making things simple for you. Simple interface with multiple features that cater to your diverse business requirements. You will be amazed at how the platform optimizes your workflows. It is a help desk powered with service desk capabilities. Use it as a stand-alone help desk platform or deploy it for customized solutions tuned to meet specific customer-support needs. 

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