Help desk software is used by internal IT departments and dedicated technical support providers. It is also used by help desk staff and technicians to log and track customer calls. There are many choices in help desk software, including web based, server based and hosted solutions. Getting to know some of the key terms used in help desk processes and software can help you make a decision before purchasing a help desk software package.
Call loggingCall logging is the first step in creating a help desk trouble ticket. Accurate call logging is essential to solving problems and making the process easier for technicians and end users.
Trouble ticketA trouble ticket is created when the help desk call is opened and follows the process until the problem is solved. Some of the fields to include on a ticket include the date and time of the call, names and user identifications, contact information and call priority. Updates to the problem are added by technicians as they work on the problem.
Knowledge baseIncluding a knowledge base, or at least a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) can allow end users to find answers immediately and save time for help desk and technicians. A knowledge base includes how-to information, solutions for solving common problems and other training and support data.
Asset managementAsset management is used to track inventory and resources like computers and equipment, software programs and other technology. Asset management is often integrated with help desk software.
Business criticalWhen setting up a help desk database, one task is assigning priority to incoming calls. One way to do this is defining processes that are business critical or mission critical; processes that, if interrupted, could cause the whole business to screech to a halt. These processes always take top priority in a help desk database.
Sacramento State Environmental Health and Safety provides a worksheet to use in identifying and prioritizing business critical applications.
Service level agreementA service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider and a customer that specifies how quickly technical issues must be addressed and fixed. An SLA is most often used between companies and contracted service providers. The warranties and guarantees in the SLA will determine the priority of the call and resolution.
Sun Microsystems offers a guide for creating a service level agreement.