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5 Key Factors for Selecting a Help Desk IT Provider

By: Mary Beth Hamilton

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When it comes to choosing an IT technology partner or weighing whether to outsource or build in-house, more information is never a bad thing. Rather than obscure or mislead, a technology partner should prepare you for a long-term relationship dedicated to providing the best support possible. At Dataprise, we have summarized what we believe to be the top five topics to discuss when choosing an IT partner. Summarized as ‘PULSE’, these topics represent the first steps to check the heartbeat of your potential partner.

1. Processes

With many options for help desk providers, you want to ensure you select a provider that has successful and proven processes in place. Selecting a help desk that leverages Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) or Help Desk Institute (HDI) models means that the processes utilized are customizable, repeatable, and efficient which allows them to maintain full ownership of each issue to better enable service delivery. Your provider should have SLA options for program management, trend reporting, and root-cause analysis so they can provide continually improved service to your business.

2. User Experience

As you evaluate a help desk provider, it’s important to know who answers your calls. You should ensure that you’re working with a strong customer service focused team that can supply the support and assistance you need while providing first-rate customer care. Help desk representatives should be trained and knowledgeable in a wide array of different technologies and IT concepts. The ideal staff is also certified and has the real-world experience to better help and support your business. Additionally, providers that offer a self-help option to customers allow for end-users to receive the assistance they need while saving your business money and time.

3. Location of the Help Desk Analysts

Nowadays, many companies outsource their help desk solutions overseas. However, by providing options for both overseas and domestic help desk, you have the ability to choose the solution the best fits your business need. Benefits of an overseas help desk range from reduced costs, to additional availability, and efficiency. While a domestic help could provide specialized service, support for sensitive accounts, and a quicker resolution to complex IT issues.

4. Help Desk Service Offerings

Your help desk provider should offer a wide range of options to create a customizable experience for your business. It’s important that they work with you to create a custom SLA that fits the needs of your company, and promotes continuous process improvement and business growth while continuing to be cost-efficient and beneficial. The provider you choose should offer a variety of service options to support your business needs, such as private labeling.

5. Efficiency

In the world of IT, unexpected malfunctions always occur at the worst possible time, it’s virtually a tenet of the occupation. With this foreknowledge, it’s important to ensure that someone is available to assist quickly and efficiently. Every minute spent waiting for a technical issue to be resolved costs your business time and money. If your managed service provider doesn’t staff a night or weekend shift and you’re locked out of your account on a Friday evening, you may have to wait for your issue to be looked at until the next week.

However, a service level agreement (SLA) with a 24×7 help desk means you receive timely support, and on mutually agreed-upon terms. At Dataprise, SLAs form the core of our service plans. Though we offer several out-of-the-box SLAs, we also have the ability to create custom versions to best fit your organizational needs.

Private labeling is a time-saving and profitable option if your business provides technical support for custom applications or monitoring of proprietary software and infrastructure. With private labeling, a help desk can seamlessly integrate with your brand and identify as part of your organization while echoing your company’s messaging in service delivery and customer care. This allows you to create higher-level SLAs with your customers to provide the support they need, allowing you to focus on running your business.

While these IT help desk selection criteria examples are a starting point for your search, the most important thing to consider when deciding on a help desk provider is that they provide value to your business and allow for improved operational efficiency.

The Benefits of an Outsourced Help Desk

Often the question of on the pros and cons of outsourcing your help desk versus building in-house comes up. Here’s our take.

Although an in-house IT team is physically present and can complete a variety of tasks at predictable costs, there are costs associated with this solution should be considered when determining if it provides the best value for your organization. There are significant costs associated with hiring and retaining IT employees, as well as the equipment they need to successfully perform their job tasks, including a ticketing system, phones, computers, and software licensing. They also require training to stay informed on the latest technologies and industry best practices.

However, outsourced help desks are already equipped with the proper tools and training programs, and are delivered to the customer at a cost that’s shared over hundreds of clients, reducing your overall help desk expenses. Although there are up-front costs associated with outsourced help desk services, in the long term, outsourcing tends to be less expensive and offers better value than its in-house counterpart.

An outsourced help desk offers such benefits as: 

  • 24×7 availability: An in-house IT team often works standard businesses hours, and if you need support after-hours, you’ll have to wait until the next business day. Outsourced help desks are 24×7 to help your staff regardless of the time. 
  • Broad spectrum of technical skills: Outsourced help desks are equipped with a large staff with a variety of technical experiences. This variety allows them to better address your technical issue because they have probably seen it before. 
  • Well-defined procedures and escalation steps: In the event the help desk can’t resolve an issue, they have defined procedures to ensure the issue gets addressed by the right person or team. In-house teams are often limited in that sense, and issues may go unresolved for much longer than necessary due to a lack of technical knowledge and expertise. 
  • Continual improvement: Outsourced help desks typically maintain a knowledge base of recurring issues that allow engineers to be able to troubleshoot user issues quickly and more effectively. As new issues emerge, help desks document these findings, which allows them to provide better service. 
  • Increased call intake capabilities: Outsourced help desks have a phone system that’s capable of handling many incoming calls at a time. When you call, you speak to an available agent quickly to get your issue resolved faster.
  • Service level agreements (SLA): These establish expectations with regard to the level of support you receive. Outsourced help desks have well-defined SLAs that provide benchmarks for service, and include such metrics as average speed of answer and average time to resolution. 

Although each solution has its advantages and disadvantages, outsourcing your help desk reduces costs, provides greater availability, and ensures that your entire lineup can continue performing at their best. 

More Resources on Selecting an Outsourced IT Help Desk Provider

Do you need more IT help desk selection criteria examples? If you’re interested in learning more about how to decide on a help desk, Dataprise can help. Check out our free, downloadable 4 Cs Checklist, that provides additional points and information to help you identify an IT partner as well as these related articles:


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