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Should you Outsource your Helpdesk

Many companies underrate the importance of the helpdesk. Your helpdesk is your company's first point of contact with customers-they are the people your customers will most often work with when there's a problem. To the customer calling in, that helpdesk worker is your company-and if they're not knowledgeable or helpful, the customer is likely to think your company isn't, either.

However, many companies simply don't have the resources to maintain a high-quality helpdesk. Because efficiency equals competitiveness for many companies, in-house helpdesk workers are often pressured to wrap up calls as quickly as possible-which could lead to customer dissatisfaction. Call routing and incident-tracking database technology must be top-notch for a good call center-and many companies find it difficult to invest in it in addition to other projects.

Additionally, it can be difficult for companies to find the right staff. Help-desk positions are considered entry-level in most companies, meaning that your least experienced employees are the ones interacting the most with customers. Because helpdesk jobs aren't usually linked to advancement opportunities, and because efficiency needs can make the work environment stressful, recruiting and retention can be difficult.

Size can be another problem. For smaller companies, hiring a full helpdesk including managers, specialists, and enough helpdesk workers to cover the phones in case of sick days, vacations, and other absences can double the company's size. This can put tremendous financial strain on companies that aren't prepared for such rapid growth.

This is why many companies, large and small, decide to outsource the helpdesk. Outsourcing can be a great advantage to companies, saving time and money as well as providing expert employees and cutting-edge technology that the companies themselves don't have the resources to provide in-house.

If you're going to outsource your helpdesk, there are a few things to consider. First, it's often better to keep your operations off-site-not in-house. Many business owners feel they're losing control of helpdesk operations if they allow them to work offsite. Most of the time, however, keeping your outsourced helpdesk on-site negates any cost-saving benefits of outsourcing. In addition, allowing the vendor to choose or manage the location gives them greater control over the process-and allows them to give more accurate reports. In many cases, off-site outsourcing allows for greater control than on-site.

Overseas helpdesk outsourcing can provide significant cost reductions, but there is a chance of customer backlash. Whether merited or not, many customers perceive overseas helpdesk operation as less high quality than local operation. If you outsource your helpdesk overseas, your firm may have to work extra hard to ensure high-quality service that will impress your customers and overcome any objections they may have about overseas outsourcing. It's also important to be vigilant in ensuring that the vendor's helpdesk employees are able to communicate effectively with your customers.

Outsourcing the helpdesk can take the burden of effective helpdesk operation off a company's shoulders, saving them money and delivering their customers better service. With the right vendor, you could see significant benefits from outsourcing.

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