Why retailers shouldn’t use a help desk

Aug 16, 2016

Despite both being key departments in a business, help desks are commonly mistaken with service desks, but each has different benefits to a retailer and its consumers. Both have a similar objective of solving technical issues, but despite this mutual aim, there are a number of characteristics and functions that differentiate them. Here we set out to dispel misconceptions and discuss why retailers get more benefit from utilising a dedicated service desk.

Service desks are a better option for retailers

A service desk offers a single point of contact for all IT related customer requests and represents the IT department to the customer. It provides a more in depth approach to rectifying problems than a help desk does. Furthermore, rather than just solving an issue immediately, the service desk will work to prevent the issue from reoccurring. The management and improvement of service processes is a central aim of the service desk. This is achieved by being tightly integrated with internal retail IT processes.

Benefits of a retail service desk include:

  • Identifying the root cause of problems and utilising trend analysis to prevent them from repeating
  • Operating 24 X 365 supporting global omni-channel retailing
  • Improving efficiency with existing processes leading to a better customer journey

These are all tasks a help desk doesn’t undertake. Their main responsibility is to collect, log and track information about an issue until it is resolved. Generally, a help desk provides help to customers, whereas a service desk provides help, guidance and support as well as addressing IT issues. In reality, the help desk will pass IT queries onto the service desk to provide additional technical support.

Recently nominated for the ‘Inspirational leader of the year’ award, Jo Thompson is a Service Desk Manager and believes a successful retail outsourced service desk must set the precedent of not just resolving problems in the here and now, but identifies process and system improvements to stop incidents reoccurring in the future. Indeed, it is for this reason that while growing the service desk customer base by 32%, Jo has also reduced the volume of incidents logged by driving improvements through the dedicated problem management team. 

“Our close customer relationships mean we understand their businesses, as well as the wider retail market. We can anticipate fluctuations in consumer spending and ensure that customers have established parameters to minimise risk of sales being lost as a result of an IT malfunction.”

Retail IT support services shouldn’t just focus on fixing problems, they should look to identify ways that can help the business evolve its IT provision. Whether that’s to stop reoccurring problems, or improve business efficiency. Jo says she “regularly meets with clients to discuss how to utilise and mould their existing provision to deliver commercial goals. We use our wider business expertise to identify new solutions or technologies to support the business’ long-term goals.” This is a perfect example of how a service desk can be used to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Why use a service desk and not a help desk?

On the whole, a help desk and service desk both offer a central point of contact for customers, however much more benefit is achieved by collaborating with retail IT support providers and partnering with their service desk; issues are resolved much quicker and services become more streamlined. Resulting in greater customer satisfaction and reduced service costs.

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PCMS Group Ltd
Torwood Close
Westwood Business Park
Coventry, CV4 8HX
+44 (0)24 7669 4455


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