Service Desk Vs Help Desk: What is a Service Desk and How is it Different From a Help Desk?

The evolution of the customer service industry facilitated the overall working process by bringing numerous tech advancements and communication advantages.. Now your customer support reps can enjoy the many benefits of ticket automation and AI-powered chat. These features eliminate repetitive and trivial work, which gives your team greater  capacity to commit to more complex issues and create positive reviews.

In addition, you can enjoy an incredible increase in employee productivity and satisfaction as well as a higher customer satisfaction score. When you also consider that customer support software can halve your costs, these improvements can skyrocket your annual revenue. However,  due to the extensive diversity in tools and request types, this evolution also brought confusion such as:: service desk vs help desk.

While it has become commonplace to use these two support concepts interchangeably, they are not the same.  In order to provide excellent customer experiences you need to know the difference between a service desk and a help desk. Otherwise, you won’t be able to train your staff properly and customer service mistakes  will most likely happen.

To discover the key differences between a service desk and a help desk, scroll down!

1. What is a Service Desk?

A service desk is responsible for the complete management of a company’s customer requests,internal IT queries, and product- or service-related issues. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) defines a service desk as a “single point of contact between the service provider and the user.”

Its goal is to advance business operations while ensuring maximum efficiency among employees from different departments. In other words, a service desk facilitates cross-organization processes that aim to improve company services while following the latest tech standards.

It deals with requests from customers, support reps, and IT professionals while keeping everyone in the loop on the help desk dashboard, where they can see the request progress. A top-notch service desk uses new generation technology, including machine learning and AI-powered solutions, to streamline customer service processes. The transparency of service desk processes helps customers to quickly build trust in your brand.

Service desk work policy is formed around two major rules from the ITIL: request fulfillment and incident management. ITIL offers robust instructions on how you should organize your service desk staff, assign tasks, and explain the operational responsibilities to your staff to ensure that they exceed customer expectations.

In fact, a service desk is an integral part of the ITIL. It is designed to follow ITIL-recommended practices that reflect the five phases of customer lifecycle.

The five processes that equal the five stages are:

  1. Access Management
  2. Event Management
  3. Request Fulfillment
  4. Incident Management
  5. Problem Management

While problem management, event management, and access management are separate processes most often managed by designated role-specific departments, incident management and request fulfillment fall under the responsibilities of a service desk.

a) Incident Management

According to the ITIL 2011, incident management is an essential trait of any service desk. When a customer incident occurs, or in other words, when there is a company crisis due to a product failure or customer complaint, the service desk staff is obligated to restore the services as soon as possible and neutralize the customer dissatisfaction.

With regard to service desk incident management, ITIL outlines the following responsibilities:

  • Incident Management Support: To ensure immediate and effective handling of the incidents, service desk managers must employ adequate processes, qualified support reps, and the right tools.
  • Incident Logging and Categorization: Service desk analysts are obliged to track each incident log and provide corresponding analyses and categorizations.
  • Incident Resolution: Service desk analysts are expected to answer and resolve all first-level requests via a specified messenger or phone call. In cases where they are incapable of completing such action and the request requires more expertise, they should escalate to their supervisors. When third-level support is needed, the supervisor may require external help and defer to a suitable expert. The third-level support request is also known as a major incident that leads to a massive business interruption and requires an immediate solution.
  • Incident Management Reporting: If a widely complex problem has occurred that requires more expertise and further attention from senior management, the incident request should be passed to an adequate person immediately.

b) Request Fulfillment

Request fulfillment ITIL practices closely resemble those of incident management. For example, lower-ranked service desk analysts in a company should try to fulfill the customer request with regard to certain forms and standards. If their skillset is not enough to complete the request, they should move it along to more qualified service desk employees in accordance with the reporting rules.

That being said, service desk management should empower their team with the right equipment. However, incident-related work weighs a lot more than request fulfillment. Therefore, failure to handle incidents properly leads to much more severe consequences.

2. What Is a Help Desk?

A help desk, as its name indicates, is there to help you resolve company issues quickly and successfully. When it was initially introduced in the early 80s, its purpose was to resolve incidents or immediate,infrequent fixes and to troubleshoot IT issues. In short, it was mainly developed to help IT teams regain a sense of normal when problems arose. Therefore, in the beginning, there was no need to note an exact resolution time nor were there procedures to govern urgency or priority.

This has changed significantly in today’s business world. Now, a help desk’s main task is to assist support reps in resolving customers’ issues in a timely manner. By using the latest tech tools such as AI and live chatbots, you can avoid any delays and make your customers happy with instant, quality solutions.

These modern customer support tools are parts of a help desk engine that aims at delivering outstanding customer experiences with efficient and quick request resolutions. The best help desk on the market also includes a Helpcenter, which is a thorough, help-related search engine where your customers can find answers within seconds.

It’s simple! Your customers just need to type their request in the search box and your Helpcenter will list articles with all the possible solutions, starting with the best match.. Your Helpcenter is essentially your dedicated web page for resolving the most common customer issues.

At first glance it may look like an FAQ, but these two are significantly different. On one hand, a Helpcenter is created to provide your product or service manual, as well as to answer the specific questions related to potential product weak points such as terminology, which can be hard to understand. On the other hand, FAQ’s consist of the exact questions and answers that your customers have asked.

There may be less need for the FAQs page nowadays as your carefully created Helpcenter can cover all the issues. Furthermore, can you assume how much you can save by employing AI chatbot, live Chat, and a Helpcenter? This combo can cut your costs from 20% to as much as 50%! What would you do with all that extra investment money? It is important to note that these tools can be used for service desk request fulfillment too!

Some key functions of a help desk include:

  • Used as a single point of contact (SPOC) for effective IT support
  • Acts as a tracking system for all incoming incidents
  • Effective solution for email notifications, routing, and  ticket tracking
  • Delivers basic support and incident request management
  • Provides external apps or areas supported by specialty groups
  • Easily integrated with important IT Service Management (ITSM) practices  such as knowledge management and configuration management
  • Provides basic self-service options such as a Helpcenter self-service feature
  • If an escalation is needed, it offers pass incident ownership and Levels 1 and 2 support

Help desk is here to help you resolve customer crises rapidly, now you only need to see which features best suit your needs.

3. Service Desk Vs Help Desk

We are now so much closer to solving the service desk vs help desk mystery. Observing the above-mentioned characteristics of a service desk and a help desk, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • A service desk is a broader concept and company practice that includes a help desk
  • Today’s help desk focuses on fixing issues through employee collaboration, while a service desk aims at delivering superb services to its customers that include simple request fulfilments as well
  • Both your service desk and your help desk should focus on incident management
  • To guarantee the success of both your help desk and your service desk, you need to utilize the latest tech customer support tools, such as AI chatbot, live chat, and a Helpcenter to guarantee instant solutions

Employ your service desk today to ensure that incidents are resolved and requests are fulfilled instantly.

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