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Lesson 1-Introduction to the Help Desk


Introduction to help desk. Characteristics of users. Problems experienced by users with technology. Components of a successful help desk. Measuring help desk performance.

Introduction to Help Desk

The introduction of personal computer (PC) in early 1980s
increased the need for technical support.

Technical support refers to services that enable individuals and

businesses to effectively use technology.

Introduction to Help Desk

Origin (continued):
Increased requests for support led to the creation of telephone
centers, called hotlines or help lines, staffed by support personnel.

Formal procedures for tracking incoming calls were developed,

leading to the development of sophisticated help desk processes.

Introduction to Help Desk

A help desk is a single point-of-contact in an organization

that provides support to individuals who use technology to perform their jobs.

It is a service organization. The two primary types of help desk are internal help desk
and external help desk.

Introduction to Help Desk

Technology in use:
The types of technology used in business are categorized as
hardware, communication devices, and software.

Hardware includes computers, printers, cables, and modems. Communication devices enable two or more computers to
exchange data, instructions, and information with each other.

Introduction to Help Desk

Technology in use (continued):

Software refers to operating systems and applications

Major categories of application software include word

processors, spreadsheet, database, Web browser, graphics, scheduling and planning, and e-mail.

Characteristics of Users

Experience with technology - Some users may have little or

no experience using computers, while a few others may possess a high level of skill.

Exposure to technology - Users also differ in their exposure

to different types of technology.

Reliance on technology - Some jobs necessitates the

regular use of technology, while others demand less frequent use.

Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Hardware problems:
Hardware problems usually occur when a change is made to
the current configuration by adding new hardware or upgrading existing equipment.

A typical hardware setup consists of products from different


Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Software problems:
The majority of software problems are related to installation,
compatibility, and performance.

Most software includes an automatic installation program.

Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Software problems (continued):

The program writes the necessary files to the users hard
drive, and makes changes to the operating system so that it will recognize the new software.

Software programs do not always run at the same speed, and

performance may vary widely depending on various factors.

Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Network problems:
A network is a group of two or more computers linked together
by a communications device.

Due to the complexity of network communications, errors may

originate from a variety of sources, making network problems difficult to diagnose.

Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Security problems:
One of the most common forms of computer security is to limit
access to the companys network, which is accomplished by creating user accounts.

User accounts contain a variety of information, and include a

user ID and password for signing on to the network.

User accounts also limit users access to certain areas of the


Problems Experienced by Users with Technology

Operating system problems:

Operating system errors manifest themselves in different ways
including a frozen cursor or screen, a blank or flickering dialog box, among others.

These errors may occur due to conflicts between software and

hardware, computer viruses, and corrupt files.

A few problems may be a direct result of the users mistakes

or the users ignorance about the software.

Components of a Successful Help Desk

People skills. Process management. Help desk tools.

People Skills

Communication skills:
Listening - It is an interactive process of hearing and

Questioning - The process of extracting information from the

user that will help resolve the problem quickly.

Communicating - It involves active interaction with the user,

which may be verbal or written.

People Skills

Problem-solving skills:
The basic steps in the problem-solving process are defining the
problem, analyzing the facts, generating possible solutions, evaluating solutions, and developing a plan.

The support specialist uses a variety of skills, including criticalthinking skills and decision-making skills to solve problems.

People Skills

Customer-service skills:
Customer service is the process of satisfying customers. Customer satisfaction depends on the customers expectations
of the service and the actual service provided.

People Skills

Customer-service skills (continued):

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) has been developed to help
manage customer expectations.

SLA is a formal, quantitative statement of the scope and level

of services provided by a help desk.

People Skills

Technical skills and business skills:

Help desk personnel are required to have technical skills to
support the technologies used in the business. They are also required to possess communication or interpersonal skills.

Help desk personnel are also required to learn about the

industry they support.

Process Management

Problem management is the process of receiving,

monitoring, and resolving problems that are reported to the help desk.

Request/change management is the process of responding

to user requests for hardware, software, or services.

Process Management

Asset management is the process of collecting and

maintaining data about a companys technology assets, which includes hardware and software.

Security management is the process of providing and

maintaining security for the organizations assets, which pertains to information.

Process Management

Knowledge management:
Knowledge management is the process of collecting,
organizing, analyzing, and distributing information.

Help desks collect and manage the knowledge they gather to

create a knowledge base.

A knowledge base is a database of related information used as

a resource by help desk personnel and end users.

Process Management

Network management:
Network management is the process of managing and
controlling the network configurations within the organization.

Network management software monitors the amount of traffic

on the network and the level at which the network is performing.

Help Desk Tools

Problem management tools:

Problem management tools log, track, route, and record
information about problems reported to the help desk.

A major component of a problem management system is

computer telephony.

Computer telephony describes tools that combine telephone

and computer technology into one system.

Help Desk Tools

Problem resolution tools:

Problem resolution tools are used to determine the cause of
users problems and to develop effective solutions.

Diagnostic tools are used to identify the source of a users


Self-help technology provides users with the resources to solve

their own problems.

Measuring Help Desk Performance

Effectiveness of the help desk is determined by analyzing

the efficiency of the help desk itself and the satisfaction levels of the customers.

Metrics are quantitative measures of the efficiency of the

help desk.

Customer satisfaction ratings indicate end users perception

of the help desks value.


A help desk is a service organization that provides support

to individuals who use technology to perform their jobs.

Help desk personnel should possess communication,

problem solving, customer service, technical, and business skills.

The processes common to help desks are problem,

request/change, knowledge, asset, network, and security management.


Help desk tools can be categorized into problem

management tools and problem resolution tools.

Effectiveness of the help desk is determined by analyzing

the efficiency of the help desk itself and the satisfaction levels of customers.