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How to Outsource Your Help Desk: A Step-by-Step Guide

Home » IT Operations » Help Desk » How to Outsource Your Help Desk: A Step-by-Step Guide


Adriana Bombaci

With more than 70% of organizations planning to permanently shift at least some operations to a Work From Home (WFH) model, a well-run IT help desk is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have” in the post-pandemic era.

Since the start of COVID-19, most help desks have been called on to handle an exploding number of requests – while also speeding issue resolution, reducing ticket volumes, maintaining user productivity, and keeping costs down. At the same time, CIOs face mounting pressure to transform IT into a Business Enablement Powerhouse, focusing resources on the core competencies and strategic tasks that will help organizations prosper in the post-pandemic era.

Meeting these competing demands is a tall order. And that’s pushing many CIOs to reconsider their current IT support model – turning to outsourcing as an easy, cost-effective way to drive modernization in the help desk while freeing internal staff to focus on innovation.

End-user support isn’t a core business function, but it represents the face of IT to the rest of the organization. Unfortunately, internal help desks carry many pain points that can sour the relationship between business and technical teams.

The severe IT labor shortage has left many IT Departments stretched thin, without a dedicated service desk structure. Service levels from these reactive, understaffed models are typically poor and inconsistent, with high costs, inadequate service schedules, outdated knowledge bases, and limited documentation and metrics.

The WFH model made service delivery even more challenging, with many organizations lacking remote access and diagnostic tools or the ability to automate the most repetitive, manual tasks. 

Outsourcing the help desk to a reputable third-party provider can instantly transform outdated help desks into modern High-Performance Service Desks, offering the high levels of proactive support companies need to thrive in the “new normal.” Outsourcing can instantly provide the process maturity, tools, resources, and expertise to resolve a high percentage of end-user issues at the most optimal costs – as long as it’s executed properly.

Follow these key steps to outsource your help desk successfully in the WFH era:

10 critical steps to maximize the value of help desk outsourcing

  1. Start with your end goal in mind. Too many outsourcing projects fall apart because organizations didn’t begin with an end goal in mind. Identifying your business drivers for outsourcing – and aligning your leadership team and outsourcing provider behind them – ensures your service desk delivers the value you need.
  2. Clearly define service desk scope and expectations. Most organizations run their help desks informally – without a clear understanding of ticket volumes or the staffing levels, hours of operation, and technologies they need to provide quality support. Unfortunately, a cloudy vision of what your service desk should look like makes it nearly impossible to achieve the right balance of coverage, quality, and cost from your provider.Before outsourcing, invest time in thoroughly defining scope and expectations for your service desk. Determine what coverage hours make sense and be realistic about the provider’s role. It’s also important to create robust SLAs that track critical help desk metrics like first-call resolution rates, average speed to answer, and call abandonment rates – offering visibility into performance and ensuring gaps in service are quickly addressed.
  3. Don’t fall for the myth of cost-per-ticket. The old adage “you get what you pay for” has never been truer than with outsourcing vendors. Solutions that look attractive on the surface like cheap Level 1 ticket servicing often hide ugly surprises, like poorly trained staff and frequent ticket escalations.For a low cost-per-ticket model to work, organizations need high volumes, extremely standardized systems, and low service delivery expectations. Every company has different technologies for service desks to support, making it impossible to create a one-size-fits-all model for ticket costs. If a vendor is offering very low cost-per-tickets, make sure you do your homework to understand what’s happening behind the scenes that makes that pricing possible.

To learn the 7 other critical steps – and receive more detailed insights on the three steps above – download our “Step-by-Step Guide to Successfully Outsourcing Your Help Desk.”

Step-by-Step Guide to Successfully Outsourcing Your Help Desk

What’s included in our “Step-By-Step Guide to Successfully Outsourcing Your Help Desk”?

Download our Help Desk Outsourcing Guide to learn everything you need to know to maximize the value of an outsourced service desk in the WFH era. Its 10-step roadmap expands on the above steps and more, including:

  • Determining levels of support and escalations beyond Level 1
  • Choosing the model that’s right for you – dedicated or shared resources?
  • Identifying the best location strategy based on your business footprint – nearshore, onshore, or offshore?
  • Comparing apples to apples when quantifying your business case
  • Establishing a robust process documentation and transition plan
  • Finding a partner who defines what’s most important to you
  • Learning to trust the process

Written by

Adriana Bombaci
Adriana Bombaci is part of the Sales & Marketing organization at Auxis. She started her career in Management Consulting by supporting the delivery of multiple client transformation initiatives across different industries before moving into sales. She has been working closely with CIOs and IT executives in helping them design customized solutions to operate their organization. She previously worked for organizations such as KPMG and Accenture. Adriana holds an MBA from IE Business School.

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