Help Desk Models Term Paper

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Defining the characteristics of and motivations of companies looking to increase the performance of their Help Desks by expanding beyond simply the areas of a web-based portal to a more multi-channel based approach is the primary objective of this study. There is an abundance of secondary research that shows the benefits of moving beyond simply relying on a Help Desk model to one that encompasses multiple channels of support. These multiple channels include enabling web self-service, intelligent routing and real-time chat. Best practices in Help Desk support, whether staffed with personnel or completely electronic, needs to have a complimentary set of channels including Web self-service, intelligent routing, and real-time chat. Traditionalists argue that only a Help Desk is required yet there is an abundance of research showing the need for offering multiple channels of support, as they are critical for interacting with customers specifically how they want to be served. The user of Help Desk services is quite different than the one needing only intelligent routing through the use of guided solutions. The latter set of customers is becoming more pervasive as the Internet makes quick response to service requests more commonplace. There is also a growing level of recognition that the higher the gross margin generated on a given product or service, the more companies are putting trained and more senior personnel in Help Desk and service roles. In fact AMR Research has found that the more face-time and personal attention to service at the front of a sales cycle, the greater the level of corresponding personalized service during the customers' length of product ownership or service subscription (Columbus, 2001). Correspondingly, with lower-margin products and services, there is the explicit expectation that automated Help Desk and other forms of service will be used (Columbus 2001). What emerges from this research is an elasticity of service demand, with the elasticity being highly elastic in the lower-priced and lower-margin products, which equates to many alternatives being acceptable to consumers, whether they are from the consumer or business sectors. The highly inelastic nature of service at the upper end of the product and margin spectrum is driven by expectations of service aligning with the price paid. This is the area of the market where face-time invested in the beginning of a sales cycle must be kept constant, and at a high level, throughout the products' or services' life. The inelastic nature of service at the higher end of the market is one of the primary market drivers or forces for multi-channel service strategies. Revamping simply a Help Desk Model, or selecting from its many variations in terms of staffing vs. automating one, is a critical decision, yet the expansion into multiple channels of support is even more critical. The architecting, defining, and executing of a multi-channel self-service strategy building on Help Desk is the best strategy for attaining best practices across multiple industries.

As a result, that is an explicit objective of this research; to qualitatively and quantitatively show the performance of a multi-channel-based self-service strategy. This will also contribute to the current state of knowledge as to how companies are aligning their self-service strategies to align with how customers choose to interact with them.

Also in the context of this study, the concept of expanding Help Desk to self-service strategies, specifically those Web-based self-service approaches that rely on a single database or version of the truth for populating and completing all inquiries, tasks and processes.

It is critical to realize that a Help Desk is just one part of a multi-faceted and often highly effective multi-channel approach to delivering service.

The objectives of this study are to specifically focus on the following:

To define and quantify the top reasons companies choose to pursue a more multi-channel based approach to Help Desk and in the broader context, Self-Service strategies.

To validate, quantify and either support or refute the commonly held assumptions regarding the advantages and disadvantages to companies regarding the use of Help Desks, and from a broader perspective, self-service strategies that are implemented across multiple service channels.

To determine both the customer satisfaction and financial implications of a company expanding from a Help Desk model to a Self-Service Model, including the role of synchronizing all relevant information for use in responding to customers' requests.

To measure through primary, quantitative research if Help Desk models and broader self-service strategies they are part of are effective in making consumers more productive. The implicit assumption in many Help Desk strategies and the use of multi-channel-based self-service strategies implicitly make consumers more productive.

Problem definition with research questions/hypotheses

The primary problem definition is one of looking at the productivity pay-off of having more than a single Help Desk strategy for serving customers, and specifically looks to quantify a multi-channel approach to Help Desk and broader self-service models.

The initial level of research focuses on defining the unmet needs of those customers who are using only the Web Portal today. This unmet needs analysis is next used as the basis of a GAP analysis to quantify the development of a multichannel self-service strategy, of which the Help Desk will be a single component. This initial level of research specifically looks at the role of web self-service, email, chat and voice as components of the multi-channel solution.

Technology is on pace with this evolution by enabling web self-service, intelligent routing, real time chat and other similar advances.

As part of the initial problem statement and hypothesis testing the 3 C's (Customer, Competitors and Cost) will be quantified through the use of primary research, specifically focusing on how companies are using call centers and multiple support channels to address customer needs.

Companies have responded to these cost pressures by utilizing fewer agents and having them support multiple channels. This has allowed them to reduce overall expenses associated with the call center. The move to the multi-channel call center agent and a more multi-channel-based Help Desk strategy has allowed the top performing companies relying on this strategy to address the issues that their competitors are also doing it. The multi-channel call center agent has now become a competitive requirement.

Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention are Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for any call center. They are utilized to measure the current state and any change to the existing processes. The proposed research study will quantify and trend both Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention as part of the primary research into Help Desk users as a first phase of research, and those companies actively using Help Desk multi-channel strategies on the other.

In addition to the expansion of Help Desks into a multi-channel strategy of service and support, there are the significant technology issues relating to coordinating information across all these channels. Many industry researchers have noted that Help Desk-only strategies fail due to a lack of focus on data integration, with a direct impact on the quality of customer service delivered. This study will specifically look to quantify the predominance of home-grown or in-house systems that many companies use to support Help Desk and broader self-service strategies, and second, will look to quantify the impact of customer satisfaction, customer support costs and agent retention as it relates to having an integrated it strategy. In fact the role of it integration will make or break any integrated approach to self-service, and is the primary reason why stand-alone Help Desk operations often fail. They fail due to a lack of integration at the system level.

Taking into account all these factors as it relates to defining an initial Help Desk selection and a broader multi-channel strategy, the following hypothesis are defined:

There is significantly greater effectiveness and higher KPI performance when a Help Desk is part of a broader multi-channel-based self-service strategy.

Stand-alone Help Desk strategies are anachronistic by definition and fail to deliver the necessary level of customer service and support, and also lead to declining levels of morale and performance by call center agents and service staff.

Multi-channel-based self-service strategies where Help Desk is a component of a broader strategy are more cost effective and save on long-term customer retention costs by minimizing customer churn.

There is a statistically significant difference between those Help Desks that have integrated it platforms and those that do not. The role of data and system integration has a statistically significant effect on customer satisfaction and call closure rates due to accurate and timely data being available.

Literature review/appropriate background with primary and secondary data, theoretical basis for your proposed research project

Throughout the last fifteen years there has been a clear movement from self-service to technology-based self-service (TBSS) (Dabholkar 1994; Meuter and Bitner 1998; Anitsal, Moon, and Anitsal 2002b). In this rapidly emerging, technologically oriented service concept, customers provide the service for themselves by utilizing technology with or without help from an employee of the service provider (Meuter, Ostrom, Roundtree, and Bitner 2000; Reda 2000; Henderson 2001). This includes the use of Help Desks specifically as the first… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Help Desk Models" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Help Desk Models.  (2007, March 23).  Retrieved February 16, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Help Desk Models."  23 March 2007.  Web.  16 February 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Help Desk Models."  March 23, 2007.  Accessed February 16, 2020.