What Are Service Desks & Why Should You Have One?

Rahul Roy
November 22, 2022
min read
September 19, 2023
Photo credit
Service desks are a key component of the incident response process. They are the initial point of contact for customers in need of assistance. Investing in an efficient service desk function is key to managing that load and ensuring customers quickly get the assistance they need. In this article, we'll explain what a...
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Service desks are a key component of the incident response process. They are the initial point of contact for customers in need of assistance.

Investing in an efficient service desk function is key to managing that load and ensuring customers quickly get the assistance they need. In this article, we'll explain what a service desk is and why it's important to have one at your company.



What is a service desk & why is it important? 

The service desk function in an organization serves as a central point of contact for customer service requests. It's here where customers can get help with their problems. The main goal of a service help desk is to help people solve problems quickly and save time.

A good example might be when you're trying out some new software but don't know how everything works. Someone on desktop support at the call center could walk you through the process step-by-step until everything falls into place.

In a nutshell, the services desk provides support to customers and internal users by:

  • Managing all customer requests and issues.
  • Providing incident resolution services through automated processes.
  • Incident management.
  • Employee onboarding.
  • Business continuity.
  • Reporting and metrics management.
  • Infrastructure management etc.

IT service desks

An IT service desk is a dedicated team for handling IT-related requests, from minor to major issues affecting the company's operations. It may include:

  • An in-house help desk technician or staff member who answers questions about products and services
  • A system administrator who monitors systems such as email servers and databases
  • A network administrator who maintains network connectivity between departments within an organization.

Why do you need a service desk?

A service desk is a tool that can help you manage your customer service, IT service and team workload. Here is why are some of the reasons why you should have one:

1. For effective IT service management

You may have multiple teams working on different aspects of your IT services. The goal is to ensure they all work together in harmony so that nothing goes wrong with any part of the process. It also makes fixing mistakes easier without waiting for an engineer or administrator from another department.

2. Provides better visibility into business processes

A service desk helps you keep tabs on how your team works and see where they're having trouble. You can also better understand where to improve, where the team needs help, and even ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the task.

3. They reduce operation costs

A properly implemented IT service desk function can help care for a large part of the routine IT workload. It's an affordable option that allows your engineering teams and IT professionals to focus on more complicated work.

With the right service desk, valuable technology experts can focus more on strategic issues without adding to their workload. This reduces the number of inefficiencies and allows more out of any IT resources that your company has.

4. Service desks can help predict problems

Organizations are always striving to provide a high level of customer service. One way to accomplish this is by implementing proactive change management and preventative maintenance. Data tools such as IT tell desks can help identify service issues before they grow into something larger.

Service desk vs. help desk

The two terms are often used interchangeably, making it hard to tell the difference. Depending on your needs, understanding the difference will allow you to select the IT support and service management option that is most suitable.

A service desk focuses on helping customers with their problems and issues, while a help desk focuses on gathering information from customers who already have problems or issues. It then proceeds to provide them with solutions or resources based on that information.

Service desks are usually geared toward a company's specific problems or issues.

For example, if you're making coffee for your office, your service desk might focus solely on ensuring that the coffee is being made properly at all times. If you're selling cars, your service desk might focus only on fixing problems with your engine so that it will run smoothly and efficiently.

You need a service desk, especially if your organization has multiple departments. It ensures customers get support for multiple products and services across multiple departments. 

A service desk also facilitates easy management of incidents, quickly resolves customer problems, and recommends improving workflow or processes.

A help desk will provide the same services but in reverse. It's where users go when they need help desk technical support for their computers or software. Unlike a service desk which caters to broader operations, you only need a help desk as an add-on to pre-existing IT services.

Help desks are ideally useful if you deal with a small group of users who need specific assistance for their problem. You can organize the infrastructure around different help desk tiers to effectively handle incoming support issues.

So, what should your business do about IT support regarding these two? Well, the answer will vary from one company to another. The key is understanding and implementing a support system optimized for problem resolution and organizational optimization.

Common service desk challenges & how to solve them

Every business faces its own set of unique challenges when it comes to providing customer service. Here are the common service desk challenges and how to solve them.

1. Too many requests & not enough resources

You're juggling too many requests and not enough resources. What do you do? Here are key ways to manage your service desk:

Delegate and automate as much as you can. Delegation means assigning some of the tasks to other employees. It means dealing with a specific number of requests and allowing others to handle the rest.

You can make this process easy by automating your process documentation. Scribe and Scribe Pages is one tool that allows you to automate process documentation, saving you hours and money and working 10x faster.

Another solution to managing multiple requests is to train your team members to be more proactive. One way to achieve this is to increase technology adoption among your IT teams and boost their productivity with Scribe’s auto-generated step-by-step guides.

2. Not knowing what's going on

Imagine this: you're at the service desk and get a call from a user. They're having a problem with their computer, and they need help. So, you start troubleshooting, and after a while, you realize that you're not making any progress. You don't know what the problem is, and you don't know how to solve it.

Sound familiar? 

This is a common challenge service desks face. The good news is that you can do a few things to solve it. First, ensure you have all the information you need before troubleshooting. This means getting as much detail as possible from the user, including what steps they've already tried.

Second, use all the resources at your disposal. There's no need to try to solve the problem yourself — we have plenty of tools and resources available to help you. Ask your team for help, check online forums, or contact the vendor for support.

3. Reaction instead of proaction

You know the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? That's not always the best mindset to have when it comes to your service desk. Sometimes it's more beneficial to take a proactive approach. That means anticipating and addressing problems before they even happen.

How do you do that? By constantly monitoring your systems and keeping an eye on your ticket volumes and response times. And if you see any red flags, don't hesitate to take action.

That might mean beefing up your staff or allocating resources to certain areas. It might also mean expanding your hours or issuing a temporary workaround. But whatever you do, don't sit back and wait for things to go wrong. Be proactive instead!

4. Poor communication

Customer communication is the heart of support, just as communication among team members. For example, a technician might receive a call from a customer about a problem but then be unable to resolve it because he doesn't have the necessary information from the call center.

When dealing with multiple people across different time zones, it's easy to have trouble with communication. 

Troubles usually start when you try to manage your business from a distance. You can avoid these problems by designing a knowledge-centered support system

This is a way for businesses to capture, store, and deliver product documentation to customers and employees using knowledge-base articles.

It can save you time from long conversations with a customer service agent explaining step-by-step processes. Instead, customers can follow a link to an article with all the information they need or find it themselves.

Creating a knowledge-based support system ensures that most of your customers' interactions are easily handled by resource articles and video tutorials rather than phone calls.

Service desk best practices & tools

It's important to have a solid service desk function in place if you want to provide quality IT services to your customers. This includes having all the basics of service desk management, such as:

  • Knowledgeable and qualified technicians.
  • The right tools and software to manage requests and incidents.
  • A process for handling requests and incidents.
  • A reporting system to track progress and performance.

These basics require that you include some of the best practices for managing your service desk. You also need some of the top tools and resources that can help you streamline your workflow and improve your productivity.

Let's take a look:

Seek to implement a service desk improvement plan

So, you've decided it's time to implement a service desk improvement plan. Excellent decision! Here's how to get started:

  • Start by assessing your current situation. What are your biggest pain points? What areas would you like to see improvement in?
  • Evaluate your current tools and technologies. Are they meeting your needs? Are there areas where you could use additional support?
  • Create a plan of action. What steps should you take to improve your service desk?
  •  Put together a team of experts. This will help ensure that you have the best possible chance of success.
  •  Implement the plan and track the results. Are you seeing the improvements that you were hoping for? If not, make changes as needed.

Learn to measure success with service desk KPIs

How can you measure the success of your service desk? After all, you want to be sure that you're getting the most out of your IT services. Well, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to measure success.

For example, you can track the number of tickets that are open at any given time or the average response time to tickets. 

You can also track how many tickets are resolved within a certain timeframe or how many new tickets are opened each day. These KPIs will give you a good overview of your service desk's performance.

But it's not just about measuring the success of your service desk. It would help if you also had the right tools and resources to support your team.

Service desk tools & technologies

Customer success software is one tool you can use to optimize your IT services. 

Scribe and Scribe Pages allow you to leverage the best customer success software in automating repetitive tasks like managing multiple inboxes or creating product tutorials.

Never write another manual process doc again. Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that documents your processes for you. Simply turn on the extension and go through your process. In seconds, Scribe auto-creates a visual guide — complete with text and annotated screenshots. 


This software helps you save time, work smarter and meet customer expectations faster. Some common software features to have in this customer success technology stack are:

Another key technology is ticketing software. This software helps you manage and assign tasks and can be used to track the progress of individual tickets. This is especially useful for understanding which tickets take the longest to resolve.

Final thoughts on service desks

A well-run service desk can help you optimize your IT services, improving your bottom line. 

By helping you identify and address problems quickly, the service desk can help you minimize downtimes and keep your business running smoothly. 

It's an important part of an organization's IT infrastructure that can help deliver better customer experiences and grow your business.

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