Desktop Support Vs Help Desk

Desktop Support Vs Help Desk

Effective IT support is integral for most businesses. Yet one thing many people find confusing is the difference between desktop support and a help desk. This article will explain the difference in greater detail. 

While both are IT professionals who help fix your computer, desktop support is more technical while the help desk is more customer-centric.  Desktop support will display more technical know-how while desktop will show more empathy. 

Differences in the two roles can be confusing, but there are a few distinctive characteristics that define each. Read on to find out how the two IT support roles differ and how each contributes to customer support.

What Is A Help Desk?

The traditional definition of a help desk is a literal desk where customers can come and ask for assistance. While this definition still holds true today, a help desk can also be a telephone line or online chat which customers can reach out for support when they encounter problems. 

The help desk is the first point of contact when a customer needs help. Once the customer reports a problem, the help desk passes it on to the appropriate staff to solve. 

So the primary job of a help desk is to handle complaints and to match problems with the appropriate solutions. In this way, the right staff can be dispatched fast to handle a large array of different problems. 

What Is Desktop Support?

Desktop support is a different kind of help desk. With desktop support, the technical staff have direct access to the affected machine by working via a virtual chat or telephone line to collaborate with the end user. 

Desktop support is common in office settings where IT networks are strictly managed and keenly monitored. The high degree of network management makes it possible to have effective desktop support rather than a technician coming in to physically work on each problem. 

With such office networks, the company will most likely be using one type of uniform hardware so desktop support becomes less of a hustle. Most calls will first come through the help desk then escalate to a particular desktop support staff or team depending on the customer’s technical problem. 

Difference in Roles

Someone working the desk help role typically addresses customer queries on many different issues and works to enhance customer experience on many different levels. They are the support people you talk to when you’re having computer problems, printer issues, phone disconnections, and password access challenges. 

On the other hand, desktop support typically only addresses technical issues. They are the support people you talk to for higher level technical issues which need expert attention. Their primary job is to resolve complex technical challenges and enable a smooth IT workflow.  

In many cases, the help desk attendant only assists remotely. They may never have to leave their desk to help a customer. 

Desktop support will typically start conversations with customers on the phone or via online chat. If they can’t identify and resolve the problem remotely, then they usually have to go over to the complainant’s desk to resolve the problem in person. 

Difference in Goals

The help desk is normally the customer’s first point of contact. As such, the role has a more customer-centric focus. The main goal of the help desk is to enhance customer experience and boost satisfaction. 

To achieve these customer-centric goals, held desk staff may take proactive approaches and initiate communication with end users. The help desk will handle support for general issues, including non-technical complaints. They will then escalate complex technical issues to desktop support or other appropriate technical support teams. 

The main goal of desktop support is to help customers solve technical problems of malfunctioning company products or services. These problems may be actual deficiencies of the company’s the product/service or perceived challenges faced by customers in using the product/service. 

The support desk’s role is to identify the root cause of the reported problem and find the quickest most cost effective solutions and apply them fast. The goal of desktop support is to solve the problem once and for all so the customer will never have to call them again. 

Difference in Approach

The help desk has to listen to customers and put the customer’s priorities first. The help desk works to assure the customer that the team is working on their problem and that the customer matters to the company. 

The help desk doesn’t necessarily listen to fix the customer’s problem. Instead, they listen to offer empathy and recommend possible solutions. The solutions may veer from fixing what is currently wrong to using a new product or using a new approach to tackle the problem. 

Desktop support has a more direct approach to customer complaints. They aim to solve the customer’s technical problem as fast as possible. 

So the desktop support staff listens to the customer with the intent of quickly identifying what hardware or software isn’t performing as it should, then acting to resolve or repair. Desktop support will listen to the customer’s problem and offer a detailed guide with step by step instructions on how to fix the problem. 

Difference in Perspectives

The help desk serves to listen to customer complaints and apply a holistic approach to solving customer problems. Therefore, help desk staff need to have a broad knowledge of the company’s products and services. They, however, don’t need to have expert technical knowledge about how each component functions. 

On the other hand, desktop support serves to resolve problems with a target-specific approach. The technical support staff will typically have expertise in one area. For example, you might have a mix of software experts, hardware experts, and networking experts. 

Once a call comes through, the help desk forwards the call to the appropriate desktop support expert depending on the customer’s complaint. The technical expert can then offer highly specialized solutions for the reported technical issue. 

The Bottom Line

When a customer’s call comes through, the first respondent is usually the help desk. They will listen to the customer’s complaints and try to identify the problem. Desk help may then try to offer technical and non-technical solutions. 

If the customer’s problem is of a purely technical nature, the help desk forwards the call to the desktop support crew. Desktop support may work remotely or go to the customer to fix the technical problem in person. The two support teams work together to solve customer problems, increase efficiency, and boost customer satisfaction. 

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