What is a service desk?

What is a service desk?

With the introduction of the PC in 1981 the IT support centre industry has grown. In mid-80’s Help Desk were known as the “helpless desk” due to the poorly trained employees who had access to none of the tools that a twenty-first century service desk now enjoys. In the reaction to the immature state of IT, The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) was developed by the UK government. This set of best practices introduced the concept of an integrated service desk that the single point of contact for all IT related customer inquiries.

ITIL defines Service Desk as:
A single point of contact (SPOC) which meets the communication needs of both users and IT employees, but also to satisfy both customers and IT provider objectives. A Service Desk handles incidents and service requests as well as providing an interface to users of other ITSM activities (e.g. Incident, Problem, Change or Release Management)

Research shows that the most frequent technical service at a service desk is ‘password changes’ and ‘user generation’. More and more institutions have automated those processes, but they still consume substantial manpower sources (Benson, A. C. (2007). ‘Methods of Implementing Help Desk Services` in IT Help Desk in Higher Education (ECAR Research Study, Vol. 8)

Most Service Desks try to increase the first time fix rate. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the faster the incident is fixed, the quicker workers can start being productive again. This saves the organisation time and money. It has been shown that customer satisfaction is related to the first time fix rate. Secondly, first time fixes also saves the Service Desk money within the constraints of their own budget. If the incident can be fixed at first level and not escalated, there is no use of second or third line resource (Cherwell (2013).  The Thoughts and Options of Today’s Service Desk Professionals).

This means that the Service Desk has to provide the training and development that all staff performing jobs needs to acquire and maintain the skills and knowledge required for their positions (Sawyerr, O. O., Srinivas, S. & Wang, S. (2009). Call Center Employee personality Factors and Service Performance).

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Kate Hamblin

Senior ITSM Consultant +44 0118 324 0620