Offshoring IT helpdesk support and Customer Service proved to be disastrous when it was first attempted by companies such as Telstra about 15 years ago. However, since such failures companies including Google and Spotify have been able to successfully implement stellar offshore IT helpdesk support and customer service systems without compromising customer experience.
IT helpdesk support and help desk services are ideal business functions to consider offshoring. IT helpdesk support involves solving the problems/issues customers encounter when using a product or service. IT helpdesk support can be divided into Level 1, 2, and 3. Offshoring is appropriate for Level 1 and 2 support, while Level 3 support requires a level of expertise and knowledge that is best kept in-house. Offshore IT helpdesk support has many benefits for businesses and is easy to implement, especially if the business already has technology and software such as a cloud-based ticketing system and Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone system.
How outsourced IT helpdesk services works
Cloud-based ticketing systems
Ticketing Systems are software programs that assign tickets to individual customer issues. The ticketing system helps to categorise, prioritise, and assign enquiries based on the information collected from the initial inquiry. These systems also help companies to track:
- the amount of time a ticket was open
- which company representatives dealt with the issue
- how satisfied the customer was with the resolution
- what the issue was
- how/whether the issue was solved.
VOIP Phone System
VOIP has been available for decades now. It utilises the internet to make and receive phone calls instead of the traditional phone lines or the mobile phone network. The benefits include:
- Cheaper phone calls
- No hardware requirements like phones - calls can be made via a users computer
- Calls can be made from anywhere utilising local phone numbers
- Because phone conversations are data they can be easily recorded and stored against relevant tickets in the ticketing system
- A VOIP system is not confined to one location, it span multiple locations and countries.
Although the benefits of a VOIP system are compelling, there are some serious considerations to keep in mind:
- Not all VOIP providers are equal. Different VOIP providers offer varying levels of call quality and connectivity and this is generally based on the location of their servers. It is often good practice to understand where a provider’s servers are located as this will give some indication as to whether or not you can expect good quality. For example, Beepo’s VOIP system has servers in Singapore and Sydney (as well as elsewhere in the world); which ensures a great user experience when calls are made between The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Obviously, testing each provider based on where you expect your calls to originate from is highly recommended.
Levels of IT helpdesk
Level 1 IT helpdesk support
Level 1 IT helpdesk support includes all of the basic enquiries customers may have. This level of support is based around gathering information from the customer to diagnose the problem they are facing. The IT helpdesk support employee only needs a basic understanding of the product or service offered and the systems in place. Examples of Level 1 support issues include password resets and updating personal information. It is now common for businesses to install automated bots on their websites to deal with Level 1 support. If the bot cannot help a customer, it then automatically connects that customer to an IT support specialist trained to handle Level 2 support. Frequently Asked Question pages on websites also reduce the amount of enquiries made to live support staff.
Level 2 IT helpdesk support
Level 2 IT helpdesk support requires a higher level of understanding and expertise than Level 1. These problems usually take longer to solve and are more involved than Level 1 problems. Businesses generally require less Level 2 support staff than Level 1 staff as most technical issues are Level 1. More detailed and specific information is required at this point. Level 2 support is often more disruptive to the user and is therefore more time sensitive. As a result, Level 2 support will have a higher priority for resolution than Level 1. If the Level 2 IT specialist cannot solve the problem, they are responsible for escalating the issue to Level 3 and assigning the correct technician.
Benefits of outsourcing IT helpdesk services
Increased staff satisfaction
Offshoring can boost staff satisfaction by freeing local IT helpdesk specialists from simple, repetitive tasks. They can then focus on complex issues and problem-solving, which aligns with their expertise and preferences. Simultaneously, offshore IT support staff find fulfilment in handling process-driven tasks. This increased job satisfaction contributes to higher staff retention across the organisation.
Offshore IT helpdesk reduces labour costs while maintaining quality. With lower wages and ample skilled workers, businesses can expand their team for round-the-clock coverage without incurring overtime expenses or on-call allowances for local employees. This reduction in overtime improves work-life balance and enhances staff satisfaction.
Growth and scaling opportunities
Offshore helpdesk support teams enable business growth without expanding local operations or investing in additional office space, capital and local staff. Scaling the business becomes easier as offshore staff can handle increased customer support demands. This approach minimises business risk and frees up capital for other essential areas.
Provide a work-life balance
Offshoring IT helpdesk enhances work-life balance for onshore IT specialists by reducing call-outs. With a dedicated 24/7 team of skilled overseas support specialists, they can handle customer issues that would typically require local support professionals. This minimises the workload and interruptions for onshore staff.