Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing Your IT Help Desk

Woman with a headset at a desk on a phone call

Assuming your company sells tech products of any kind, it’s very likely that you’ve taken on the responsibility of providing support to your customers whenever issues arise. However, doing so can sometimes put a massive strain on your internal IT team, especially when the team is busy taking care of your employees or completing other business-related tasks.

Providing reliable customer support is vital, so you need to determine how you can offer impeccable service in a way that doesn’t strain your team or produce long wait times for your customers. The answer lies in help desk outsourcing.

What Is Help Desk Outsourcing?

In its simplest definition, help desk outsourcing refers to the process in which a third-party company (usually a contact center services provider) manages your organization’s technology help desk. When customers or employees call, chat, or text for help (depending upon the available communication options) with their one-off IT issues, these third-party agents will help them on your company’s behalf. 

Some of the problems a help desk can help with include the following:

  • Password resets
  • Software installations
  • Operating system updates
  • Device security issues
  • Troubleshooting

It is important to note that help desks, unlike managed IT providers, generally do not take care of ongoing and preventive maintenance.

How Help Desk Outsourcing Is Vital for Your Business Growth

If you ever find yourself asking, “Can I outsource help desk scheduling?” understand that the answer is always yes. The better question, however, is whether you should outsource your help desk tasks. 

Thankfully, many business owners will still respond favorably, citing the numerous statistics that show the positive returns on investment (ROI) of help desk outsourcing. 

With that being said, if you’re unsure whether you and your business can reap the benefits of outsourcing your help desk, read on to learn why choosing to do so might be the best business decision you make this year. 

Help Your Remote Workforce

Freelancing platform Upwork estimates that 22% of the United States workforce (which represents over 36 million people) will be working remotely by 2025. Remote work can undoubtedly help businesses attract high-quality employees and save money on office space, but it can also make work more challenging for IT professionals, given that it has led to a significant rise in employee help desk tickets.

Unfortunately, the more time your IT team spends helping remote employees, the less help they can provide to your customers, which can lead to more significant problems as both customers and employees become increasingly frustrated with wait times. Getting your IT help desk outsourced can help you augment your team and ensure that both your remote workforce and customers have access to the technical help they need.

Increase Team Productivity

Should your IT team be unable to answer help desk tickets promptly because they are busy helping customers, your team’s productivity in every department will likely suffer greatly as a result. In turn, that may cut into your profits, delay the progress of new or existing projects, or hinder your ability to take advantage of new opportunities on the market. 

Ensuring that your team’s work is fruitful requires finding a way to expand your IT staff, and for most business owners, having their IT help desk outsourced is the easiest and most cost-effective way to do so. By partnering with a contact center, you can increase the number of employees that serve your customers without making a single hire, creating more margin for your IT staff to help employees who urgently need assistance.

Reduce IT Hiring Costs

According to research from the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost to hire an employee is three to four times that person’s yearly salary, a statistic that makes hiring a large IT team cost prohibitive for many business owners. Not having adequate IT staff in place often costs your business in other ways, as rising customer dissatisfaction can lead to lost sales and loyalty.

The good news is that outsourcing IT help desk tasks doesn’t carry the same costs as hiring directly. When you outsource, you are given access to an entire help desk team for far less than it would take to hire multiple new employees, who themselves are usually well-trained professionals who can adapt to your business needs and ensure customer care just as your in-house professionals do.

Scale Up (or Down) as Needed

In addition to reducing your hiring costs, outsourcing help desk services also help you save money by providing you with a solution that can grow alongside your business. You’ll never have to worry about the expense of having too many employees during slow seasons — or having too few during busy times — ever again.

When outsourcing help desk tasks, the contact center will add agents to your team or downsize when lean times call for it, meaning you’ll never spend more than you truly need to 

Improve Customer Service

A staggering 96% of customers will leave a business due to a poor customer service experience. In other words, should a customer of yours have to face long wait times to receive help with a product or service, it’s less likely that they will spend money again with you in the future. Losing customers saps your future revenue, and you’ll have to spend even more to target and bring in new ones to replace them.

Outsourcing IT help desk tasks can help you avoid such a scenario and any potential negative impact it would have on your business, as an outsourced IT team can help you build better relationships with your customers and keep them returning for more. 

Compete in Your Sector

On a more positive note, 93% of consumers are more likely to purchase from your business again after receiving excellent customer service. Therefore, if your competitors provide lackluster customer service, providing outsourced help desk services could allow you to distinguish yourself from the competition. 

For instance, say that your contact center has omnichannel capabilities that allow its workers to provide service via multiple channels (such as telephone, email, chat, and SMS) and tend to those channels around the clock. In that case, you’ll be able to provide a stellar experience for your customers and better compete with the businesses in your sector who have not gone the extra mile to offer what today’s customers want.

Gain Insight About Your Product and Customers

One of the most important perks of outsourcing help desk responsibilities to a contact center is that you will have access to robust reporting and analytics features. Not only can these help you understand whether agents are meeting your productivity and customer service goals, but they can also help you gather insight into the pain points of your customers.

Whether there is a common complaint that many customers are facing with your product or a particular feature that starts to fail at a common point, you can gather qualitative insights from your outsourced team and use them to address customer concerns and improve your future offerings.

What You Need to Be Aware of When Outsourcing Your Help Desk

Although enterprise help desk outsourcing has the potential to affect your business positively, you should know that you may still face challenges on the journey to creating the best IT help desk experience for your customers. Below are four common issues business owners encounter when outsourcing their help desk operations:

Loss of Control for Business Owners

As a business owner, it’s important to remember that pursuing help desk outsourcing means you won’t be able to control who the contact center hires as agents. For outsourcing to work well, you need to place trust in your chosen contact center and know that they will only allow their very best agents to work with your customers. 

Solutions Not In Line with Your Processes

If agents have yet to be adequately trained for IT help desk outsourcing, they may sometimes offer customers solutions that are out of line with how you do business. If a customer has a problem that an agent cannot solve, for example, you may want that agent to escalate the issue to a different team instead of offering a refund. Without proper training, they may neglect to follow your preferred processes and give the customer their money back.

Location and Language Issues

In some cases, you may encounter contact centers conducting business from a different country, which means they may hire agents who speak a different language or engage in different culture-based customer service practices than you are used to. You need to make sure the contact center you choose for help desk outsourcing can help your customers in a way that they can understand and that aligns with their expectations.

Agents Not Aligned with Your Business 

In seeking out help desk support outsourcing services, you run the risk of having agents not aligned with your company’s goals or culture, which often creates an incongruent customer experience that can lead to significant issues with customer retention. Below are some best practices you can follow to avoid these issues and ensure your customers get what they need every time.

Five Best Practices for Help Desk Outsourcing

To reap the most benefit from their help desk outsourcing ventures, business owners need to follow these best practices:

  • Take time to evaluate the needs and goals of your business so you can set clear key performance indicators for your agents
  • Compare your top contact center options, weighing the pros and cons of each and seeing the features each offers
  • Speak with your chosen contact center about your company’s culture and processes, as well as what you expect from agents in terms of the services they provide
  • Prepare your in-house IT team for the transition by clearly defining the new roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Understand that outsourcing is not a “one-and-done” business task, which means you will need to monitor your outsourced team’s progress and make adjustments as needed

Outsourcing Increases Productivity and Profitability

Why outsource your help desk? Expanding your IT team through outsourcing not only creates a better experience for your customers; it can also ease the frustrations of your in-house team, making everyone happier and more productive.

Nevertheless, if you want to benefit as much as possible, you must take the time to prepare well and fully engage in the process. In doing so, you’ll significantly increase your chances of avoiding potential pitfalls and make it more likely that you’ll receive the return on investment you’re looking for.

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