The lowdown on the help desk

What is it? Help desk software accepts problem reports from users and assists IT staff in assigning tasks, tracking progress, documenting work and noticing trends.

What are the benefits? Users know how to get problems resolved. The IT staff has a simple way to track tasks. The agency can save by automating some fixes, helping users help themselves and preventing problems from recurring.

What are the trends? User access by the Web, in addition to network, e-mail and phone; IT staff access by wireless handheld and Web, in addition to network,
e-mail and phone. Other trends are Web hosting of help desk systems, encouraging user self-help, and using self-healing and preventive applications.

What should I look for? Programs that are compatible with existing systems and platforms, don't force you to buy unwanted features and are simple for users and IT staff.

Must-know info? Help desk systems can do more than solve PC problems. They can track recurring complaints, anticipate the most common ones and be applied proactively to scan clients for common problems. They also can be combined with customer relationship management, human resources and other applications.

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