Building a Help Desk from scratch

Building a Help Desk from scratch or redesigning an existing Help Desk requires thoughtful planning and efficient execution. Many core and secondary components make up an award-winning Help Desk at times it will seem like you are juggling tasks. However each of the components we will be discussing will have inter-dependencies with other components and will have to be considered when building a Help Desk from scratch. Almost thirty Help Desk core topics are covered by author Wayne Schlicht in the Help Desk Management book found on Amazon. These 30 core topics will not only allow you to build a Help Desk from scratch but you will be able to increase the maturity level significantly.

Help Desk structure

Determine your Help Desk structure and where it will be located when you are building a Help Desk from scratch. It can be centralized in one office, decentralized into multiple offices with all Help Desk Agents logging into one call system, or it can follow the sun with offices around the world directing the calls to the office during daytime hours. Help Desk structure can also include the Help Desk organizational structure and not just the physical structure. This includes supervisor-to-staff ratios, skill levels, and job descriptions.

Help Desk contact channels

The Help Desk contact channels need to be identified, documented, and eventually publicized when you are building a Help DeskBuild a help desk from scratch from scratch. The primary contact channels will typically be phone and email. Additional contact channels should be considered once the Help Desk matures such as a web portal, event monitoring, chat, and project tasks from the Project Management Office (PMO). Avaya, Cisco, Lucent, and Nortel are just a few examples of companies that provide excellent communication and collaboration systems.

Help Desk issue tracking

Active and historical tracking of contacts and issues raised to the Help Desk is critical for the Help Desk to stay organized and efficient and to maintain an audit trail. An investment into a Help Desk ticketing system is crucial for issue tracking. Please avoid using a spreadsheet or an internally developed database. Help Desk ticketing systems have matured over the years and will provide instant work efficiencies. There are also many options such as a hosted web-based platform where you can avoid large initial capital investments if you so choose. Zendesk, Spiceworks, Cherwell, Track-it, and BMC Remedy ARS are just a few of the mainstream Help Desk ticketing systems available to choose from.

Help Desk knowledge base system

Typically a Help Desk Agent can be described as a jack of all trades with great communication and customer service skills. However just because your new Help Desk staff is knowledgeable does not mean you don’t need a knowledge base or knowledge management system. A knowledge management system will store support solutions so Help Desk Agents will have available repeatable solutions and customers will receive support consistency from any and all of your Help Desk agents. Most Help Desk ticketing systems will offer a knowledge management module. There are also stand-alone systems available.

Implement a Help Desk Ticketing System

Having a spot to record all of your customer support interactions is critical. Creating a customer contact record or ticket is an industry standard for Help Desks. Every customer contact with the Help Desk needs a ticket created. There are many ticketing applications. Some examples of popular ticketing systems are ServiceNow and FreshDesk.


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  2. thanks a lot for this post, after a long search i finally found some thoughts to help me think about and concept our first helpdesk from scratch!

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