Even before COVID, help desk outsourcing services were a popular solution – offering an easy, cost-effective way for CIOs to modernize technical support and free internal staff to focus on value-add priorities.
But pandemic challenges like the remote workforce are slamming help desks with an unprecedented number of demands. At the same time, it’s more vital than ever for IT to function as a Business Enablement Powerhouse, focused on the core competencies and strategic tasks that help businesses thrive in the hyper-competitive business world.
Unfortunately, IT staff overwhelmed with technical support issues don’t have time for the strategic and innovative projects that grow your business or help insulate it from future disruptions. And there’s no sign of help desk requests abating: Gartner says 82% of executives plan to continue at least some remote work indefinitely.
The severe IT labor shortage compounds the problem, leaving many IT Departments stretched too thin to create a dedicated support structure. Poor and inconsistent service levels typically accompany this “break and fix” approach, with high costs, inadequate service schedules, an outdated knowledge base, and limited documentation or metrics.
Many internal teams also struggle to support remote workers, lacking remote access and diagnostic tools or telephone-based capabilities.
Outsourcing to a reputable provider delivers instant access to the process maturity, tools, resources, and expertise needed to transform ineffective help desks. With the right outsourcing partner, organizations can expect High-Performance Service Desks to resolve 80% of user issues through proactive support.
Let’s examine six big benefits your company can receive from outsourcing your help desk.
Deliver quality technical support to every end user.
With deep experience defining, developing, and maintaining help desk procedures for a variety of organizations, outsourcers resolve the issues that stop reactive internal teams from delivering consistent, quality support.
The best help desk partners drive end-user satisfaction and productivity with turn-key solutions that include:
- A service catalog mapped to business needs with clearly defined support levels
- Flexible customer interfaces that enable end-users to access support via multiple channels
- Predictive capabilities for demand forecasting
- Remote access support
- Asset and configuration management databases
Exceptional outsourcers operate service desks that are process-dependent vs. people-dependent. Detailed documentation and repeatable processes deliver consistent performance even if a valuable team member leaves or doesn’t show up for a few days.
These outsourcers also build a knowledge base based on previous interactions, providing information help desks need to resolve problems quickly or offer self-service support.
Dramatically improve help desk response times.
Poor help desk service sours the relationship between business and technical teams. Yet without a formal support structure, response times from IT teams juggling multiple priorities can be frustratingly slow.
Even worse, failing to quickly resolve technical issues can create costly business disruptions.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) hold outsourcers accountable for achieving specific service levels. By meeting contractual response times and other metrics, they avoid penalties and build relationships that drive referrals and long-term work.
Having the right tools and processes speeds response times as well. For instance, reactive help desk teams may task any staff with any issue that comes in. As requests pile up, prioritization is often given to whoever complains loudest.
Quality outsourcers utilize a triage system with clear processes for prioritizing, routing, and escalating tickets – ensuring requests are quickly handled by the right team member with the right skillsets in the right order. Automation like chatbots can also help users instantly resolve standard issues like password resets with self-support.
Outsourcers are better equipped to provide robust coverage hours like 24/7 support as well. This ensures end users in different time zones or working off-peak hours receive the same rapid response – and urgent requests never languish on voicemails.
Leverage existing expertise for a well-run service desk.
For outsourcers who provide technical support, help desks are their core competency. They are committed to hiring top-notch talent with the right skillsets to provide high-quality support.
Outsourcers ensure their help desk teams are continuously updated with the best practices, technical tools, service management processes, and training on new technologies. With experience supporting a wealth of organizations, outsourced agents are experts at troubleshooting and resolving technical problems.
One of the main benefits of outsourcing help desk services to a nearshore location like Costa Rica is that it further mitigates the troubling attrition rates that plague the technical service and support industry in the U.S. Frequent turnover not only increases costs, but impacts help desk expertise, as seasoned agents are constantly replaced with resources who need time to get up-to-speed.
North American help desk teams experience a whopping 40% average turnover rate, according to the Help Desk Institute, as the IT labor shortage makes it easy to jump to new opportunities. The situation is only marginally better in offshore locations like India, where an abundance of help desk jobs incentivizes experienced workers to continuously seek incremental salary increases.
Nearshore providers benefit from a less competitive job market. Tech hubs like Costa Rica also have access to a deep pool of highly skilled, multilingual talent that makes it easier to recruit and retain quality resources.
In fact, so many multinational tech companies have been drawn to the quality of Costa Rica’s labor market that it’s been dubbed the Silicon Valley of Latin America.
Infuse your help desk with flexibility.
IT issues are never consistent. During a transition to a cloud solution, for instance, help desk call volumes will most likely increase. Outsourcing help desk services makes it easy to scale resources up and down as demand changes.
Not only does this flexibility guarantee reliable support in any situation, but it ensures you never have to scramble to hire and train resources during an uptick. It also controls costs, enabling you to only pay for processed tickets instead of carrying pricey support teams with inconsistent work.
Gain valuable insights through reporting and visibility.
Robust SLAs keep you and your outsourcer on the same page – establishing mutually agreed-upon terms, guidelines, and metrics that ensure expectations are met. Reporting critical metrics like First-Call Resolution Rate and Average Speed of Answer delivers important visibility into service desk performance – measuring success and ensuring gaps in service are quickly addressed.
In fact, service desks that use analytics to track support team metrics reduce response times alone by an average of 16%. In contrast, internal help desks rarely have the tools or processes to ensure quality service, drive a performance-improvement mindset, or even measure service delivery costs.
Exceptional outsourcers also provide insight by monitoring predictive trends that can lower ticket volumes. While traditional help desks simply react to requests, High-Performance Service Desks strive to proactively identify, resolve, and prevent problems before they lead to service-impacting incidents.
Focus internal teams on innovation and strategy.
When technical issues arise, IT Departments can be consumed by non-core business activities. As a result, the business loses its strategic focus – risking revenue and productivity loss and, ultimately, unsatisfied customers.
Another benefit of outsourcing help desk services is that it allows IT resources to focus their talents on innovation and strategy. From cloud computing to intelligent automation, new and advanced technologies are emerging every day that can help your business innovate faster.
Instead of scrambling to stay on top of mundane technical issues, outsourcing gives internal teams the bandwidth to take advantage of emerging opportunities to drive business results.
With technology integral to business success, a well-run service desk is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a necessity. Among companies already outsourcing their service desks, a staggering 95% plan to increase or maintain their level of service.
Exchanging “break and fix” support for proactive service desks drives end-user satisfaction and productivity by ensuring smooth operation of core business services. It can also optimize operating costs through labor arbitrage, automation, process efficiencies, and a consumption-based pricing model.
But arguably most important, at a time that CIOs face mounting pressure to innovate faster, outsourcing frees internal IT talent to focus on what matters most to your business.