Call Center or Help Desk?
The line is blurring between the Help Desk and the Call Center. Which came first? Both, the Help Desk and the Call Center, are fairly recent phenomena, but broadly speaking the Help Desk as we know it today started to take on that form in the mid-1990's. PC's have evolved as relatively user friendly, and corporations started to use them instead of mainframe-attached CRT's. This led to an explosion in desktop computing, with inexperienced users needing assistance with complex software, new printers, routers and a wide spectrum of other technologies.
The Call Center, using advanced computer and telecommunications technologies, is by comparison to Help Desk centers, have been around for many years. It is the Call Center Market that has fostered the new technologies of Interactive Voice Response and Computer Telephone Integration.
Now we have Help Desks adopting Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and other essentially Call Center practices. Why are so many companies combining their Help Desks into their call Centers rather than offering the existing IT Help Desk manager the opportunity to start the new Call Center? The answer is a simple one - money. The Call Center was born as a sales aid, so it was a profit Center from the beginning. It had different management and a different mission. But it had something else that most Help Desks still lack - a cost-benefit justification.
It is not that the Help Desk does not have a financial justification, it is just that many companies have not found it yet. The Help Desk has become a cost burden to keep sophisticated systems running. Therefore, the Help Desk has become a logical candidate for business to outsource. Apart from history, mission and financing, the two other main differences between the Help Desk and the Call Center are the use of knowledge and telephone method.
Knowledge management is a particularly important distinction, for it partly dictates how the two functions deploy that most essential of service resources, namely people. Both functions use knowledge to impart information to callers. However, the Call Center's knowledge is usually extracted from a finite, known pool of knowledge. Typically, this will be a catalog of products and services, their features, pricing and availability. Occasionally, Call Center operatives may have to glean that information from a variety of sources, in the way the old Information Centers of the eighties DP departments used to do, but essentially the knowledge is still already in existence somewhere.
The Help Desk is different. True, they will also impart pre-manufactured knowledge, but they also have another way of producing knowledge, namely diagnosis. Unlike the typical Call Center, the Help Desk is a problem-solving resource. This simple fact separates the two departments most starkly, in that they must use different staff with different skills. One does not usually need a manufacturer's certificate or profound technical knowledge to work in a Call Center - use of a knowledge base or recitation of a set of pre-scripted questions is a competence that can be gained relatively quickly. The Typical Help Desk operation of defining a technical problem, while comforting a distraught computer user, requires a peculiar mix of skills which are quintessentially mission critical for Help Desk, and not usually associated with the Call Center.
This diverts us into the realm of crossover Help Desk / Call Center services, where the terminology starts to blur. The importance of knowledge, and its skilful deployment is paramount in all service Center definitions. The value of diagnostic ability coupled with a customer service ethic is pushing up salary levels in Help Desks. Yet although the call Center is a profit engine, salaries there are notoriously low.
Probably the biggest difference between the Help Desk and the Call Center, the Help Desk gets a call requiring diagnosis outside the script, which requires specialized software to track the problem/solution histories. Therefore, the traditional Call Center operation must adopt flexible software that makes the crucial information readily available to the Help Desk/Call Center operator. But because it happens so often in the true Help Desk, we tend to engineer our skills to go for a first-time fix, where possible. In the Call Center, the limited nature of the knowledge makes the first-time fix the exception.
Although Help Desks have come to use Call Center-style telephone technologies for incoming calls, the Help Desk does not have anything like the Call Center's need for the management of inbound calls and agent/operator productivity. But the Help Desk tends to allow or encourage the customer to open a service negotiation.
The concepts of Help Desk and Call Center are not interchangeable. Although they borrow ideas from each other, they serve different purposes and use different practices to achieve their end.
Access'S outsourced call center and Help Desk service are ranked best among clients, and consultants. Call center and Help Desk services are also available for all of California, especially Los Angeles County and Orange County. Access has operated call centers for over 50 years providing service to over 10,000 clients. Access works with each client on an ongoing basis to customize our service applications to assist you in meeting your business objectives.
Our Call Center and e-Commerce Includes Call Center Services along with e-Commerce with Custom Message Delivery. Our Offsite Receptionist Call Center are perfect for Overflow Reception Call Center traffic. We offer 24 x 7 Live-e-Support and our Call Center can perform Order Taking. In addition, our Call Center can provide Help Desk as though it were your in-house Call Center. We can help you with brochure Fulfillment and Market Research. It is quiet remarkable how a Call Center can not only provide Telemarketing, but a Call Center can also be a Reservations Call Center. We can even be an Emergency Response Call Center Dispatch Service, more over we offer Appointment Booking or Seminar registration and we include Database Management services. Plus, we do it all Nationwide, including Nationwide e-Commerce Services.