Introduction to Service Desk

I believe that if you get the service desk structure and implementation right, half your job is done. Service desk is the most important unit of any organization, and they make or break your business. So, beware, and take extra care on how the service desk is put in place.

Service desk topic is huge, and this post is just the beginning. I will briefly introduce the service desk function and state some of the functional characteristics.

What is service desk?

Service desk is the single point of contact for end users, vendors, government and legal entities, contractors and other stakeholders for any IT related concern. As NetLawMan eloquently puts it on their articles, it is the face of an IT organization, and the end user sees, experiences and feels IT support through the service desk. Hence, the importance of getting the service desk right.

Generally service desk personnel work remotely, answering phone calls, emails, chat pings and through other forms of communication. They are ideally well placed to resolve incidents, fulfill service requests, follow up vendors, get actions completed and a host of other things – as envisioned by the process architect.

The way I would see a service desk is as L1 support. Anything that needs to be done, goes through service desk and once it is decided that higher competencies are needed, the issue gets functionally escalated.

Any input coming into an IT organization must enter through the service desk including invoices, escalations, acknowledge slips etc. There are always exceptions – contract documents, survey reports, and new business must come directly to respective managers.

It is not a call center…

At one point or another, we would have called a call center to sort out issues or request additional features. Note that service desk is not the same as a call center. While call centers mainly receive calls and act accordingly, service desk not only receives phone calls but take ownership of issues, make calls to concerned people, drive actions and liaise with a number of different entities. Service desk is much more than a call center.

Equating call center with a service desk is a common misconception, which is a hogwash for those aspiring to move into the service management domain for a career.

It is not a helpdesk either…

A helpdesk is a function which routes issues to the right people. Let’s say that in banking sector, a help desk personnel would lead customers to a different agent for loan queries and another customer to a teller. He/she may never do anything by themselves but would delegate or point towards the right direction. Once again, service desk is a whole lot better and bigger than a helpdesk.

If you are calling your service desk as a helpdesk, don’t do it. It’s heresy.

If you have any queries or concerns on this post, use the comment feature to express them.

My next topic on service desk : How does an organization without a service desk look?

Recommended reading material:

ITIL Study Guide : Introduction to Service Desk

Follow the Sun Service Desk Model

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Incident Management Lifecycle – Triggers – Abhinav PMP December 10, 2018 at 9:39 PM

[…] some people are archaic. They still like to pick up the phone and call the service desk. Normally those who call are those who have faced service outages that impact their work. Rightly […]

Different Roles in ITIL Service Desk Management – Abhinav PMP December 10, 2018 at 9:50 PM

[…] Prerequisite Reading: Introduction to Service Desk […]


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