January 23, 2009

Call Centre, Help Desk or Service Desk – I’m confused!

Posted in ITIL tagged , , , , , at 4:53 pm by Molly

What are the differences between these, which one do I implement in my organisation?

Let’s tackle the last question first. Which one do I implement in my organisation? That is the 10 million dollar question. The simple answer is the one that is fit for purpose for your organisation. There is no real advantage to having a Help Desk in a fully ITIL conformant organisation is there, so pick the most suitable ‘function’.

What is a Call Centre?

A call centre handles large call volumes, like a telesales company. Look at what it’s called, Call Centre, so that means calls are centralised here, but does this call centre improve or extend the overall services of a typical organisation?

What is a Help Desk?

Now we are getting a little warmer to the ITIL meaning, but again, we haven’t hit the mark yet. A Help Desk manages, coordinates and resolves incidents fast. Great I hear you say, precisely what I need. Hmm, Umm again slightly missing the point, after all, does this Help Desk interface with all other IT activities? Well if it does, then you should be calling it by its proper name – a Service Desk.

What is a Service Desk?

A global focused approach to handle not only incidents, problems and questions, but also, interfaces with and for the other operational activities within your organisation e.g. Change Requests, Maintenance Contracts, SLM, Availability Mgt, ITSCM. How cool!

Let’s look at the primary aims of this Service Desk, especially in terms of how ITIL describe it:

    to facilitate the restoration of normal operational service;
    to act as the central point of contact (SPoC – Single Point of Contact) between the user and ITSM;
    to handle incidents and requests, and provide an interface for other activities

So in terms of what a Service Desk provides to the business, it identifies and lowers the cost of ownership, supports management of changes, reduces costs via efficiency, supports investments and management of business support services (the ones we mentioned above already Change Mgt, Availability Mgt, IT Service Continuity Mgt, Financial Mgt etc..), it improves customer retention and satisfaction, and it identifies business opportunities.

How does it do all these things, a little word called metrics, or management information or reporting or whatever you wish to call it. Remember we said that the Service Desk is the SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT for users. Well because it is the single place where information flows into and out of, isn’t it great then to have all this user information to hand. It’s how you handle this information that is also a major part of the benefits that the Service Desk can provide for the whole business.

Just because you have a Call Centre or a Help Desk now, doesn’t mean that those functions can’t evolve into a more extendable service and provide the benefits we have already discussed.


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