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Desk FAQ





Help Desk or e-Support FAQ

The definitive global resource for helpdesks, customer relationship management and technical support.


The FAQ is not being updated...

Phil Verghis has formed The Verghis Group, Inc. to help companies globally optimize their service delivery. For more information, including a newsletter, check out The Verghis Group.

Purpose of this FAQ

To help computer support professionals around the world. (In other words, if you are looking for help with your application or personal computer, this is not for you.)

Version and visitor count  Information

Version 9.6 of the Help Desk FAQ was released on December 11, 2004. This is the eleventh  year that the FAQ has been in existence.  

The main FAQ page (not counting the mirror sites) has had over 634,592 visitors from 103 countries since August 1996.

Historical background

The FAQ began when in 1993 when I could not find any usable information on how to start or improve a Help Desk. The only sources at that time were consultants, who wanted to sell me information and consulting time, but I suspected had no practical experience in the field.  

It is truly amazing to reflect on how much this after-hours effort has grown over the years.  I still maintain it after hours, on my own time.  It has won multiple awards, allowed me to speak in multiple continents, been cited in books, text books, academic  research, master's theses, and  hundreds of web pages around the world link to it. I still get a lot of mail from people thanking me for this. What more can I ask for?

What is a Help Desk?

A Help Desk is a generic name typically associated with the end user support center. Increasingly, the Help Desk is being seen as an integral part of the service function, responsible for bringing multiple resources to bear to solve issues to the client's satisfaction.

Often the term help desk is used for internal support within the company, though this FAQ and others use this term more generically, used for both internal and external support groups.

Use the glossary for common terms used in the call center/help desk industry.

What is e-Support and e-CRM? How do they relate to Help Desks?

Help Desks and call centers typically handled only inbound and outbound phone enquiries. Over the past few years, with the explosion of Internet usage, and an increasingly sophisticated customer base, Help Desks have had to morph into handling increasingly electronic methods of support, hence e-Support. 

The techniques for handling e-Support are quite different than phone based support, and typical support models do not map to the Internet. But that is the topic of a more detailed FAQ which I shall write at some point.

e-CRM is yet another 'e' moniker added to the traditional CRM (Customer Relationship Management) space --  where every customer interaction is handled, much like 'trouble tickets' and 'incidents' or 'cases' in typical help desk terminology handle all aspects of the customers' technical interaction with a company.

The Internet has made all these somewhat parallel efforts combine, and with some tweaking and re-training, today's help desk is superbly equipped to handle complex, business driven customer interactions, that result in true customer loyalty.

Common Names used by Help Desks

  • Computer Support Center

  • Customer Support Center

  • Help Desk

  • Information Center

  • IT Response Center

  • IT Solutions Center

  • Resource Center

  • Service Desk

  • Technical Support Center

  • Hours of Operation

    They are staffed during business hours and often offer reduced support outside these hours. Some sites have actively started using the World Wide Web as a method of providing service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Multinational corporations are increasingly using a 'follow the sun' model where multiple support groups around the world take over support for the global corporation.

    Don't forget to take into account the differences between 'internationalization' and 'localization'. The former handles things like translations of web pages, documents etc., while the latter does this and adds context to internationalization.

    Check out the various individual and site certification programs available in the link below. 

    See Global Resources section for examples of how some sites are doing this.

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