Written by Allie Delos Santos
Owning and managing a business is not easy. Handling multiple company functions, such as information technology (IT), while keeping abreast of the latest trends can be challenging.
At a certain point, you will need help. When that time comes, IT support outsourcing is a great alternative if you are overwhelmed by the idea of establishing an in-house help desk.
But before deciding, understand the benefits and costs of outsourcing. This article looks at the step-by-step process of outsourcing desktop technical support for beginners.
Step-by-step Guide for Outsourcing Desktop Technical Support
Nowadays, 74% of companies plan to permanently transition to a remote setup for certain operations. That means companies will need more desktops, laptops, and ways of protecting and sharing sensitive data online.
End-user technical support might not be a core function for many companies. But it plays a significant role in ensuring secure and efficient company operations. Moreover, desktop technical support has many challenges that can overwhelm in-house IT teams.
Well-established desktop support is not negotiable. Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies can transform legacy desktop technical support into modernized, high-performing service desks offering proactive solutions. Outsourcing delivers expertise, resources, tools, and process maturity to resolve most user issues at minimal costs.
Follow the steps below to successfully outsource IT tasks.
1. Begin With the End in Mind
Many outsourcing initiatives fail because companies do not start with the end in mind. You get the value you want by knowing your goals for outsourced IT solutions and positioning your team accordingly.
For example, you can easily reduce your IT costs by outsourcing desktop technical support. But while cost reduction is crucial, it is seldom the only driver for major business decisions.
On the contrary, many companies might be underspending, given the importance of digital transformation in today’s markets. Your company can benefit more from ramping up IT resources rather than focusing on its costs.
Knowing your business driver is key to assessing your vendor’s performance. Do you want to focus on IT and improve service consistency? Or do you instead want to enhance your language skills so that you can expand quickly? A clear vision of your end goal sets the right expectations for your outsourcing initiative.
2. Provide Clear Service Desk Expectations and Scope
Many companies with in-house desktop support do not understand their needs regarding staffing levels, ticket volumes, and operational hours. Outline your expectations and the scope of your outsourced tech solution before selecting a provider.
Here are some key considerations when outsourcing desktop technical support:
- Service desk role. Outsourcing desktop technical support requires clear and realistic expectations. Thinking you can handle a variety of programs and customer inquiries with only a handful of experts is unrealistic. Service quality drops as agents struggle to close tickets and keep track of different systems.
- Service-level agreements (SLAs). A strong SLA helps you and your back-office outsourcing service provider agree on metrics, guidelines, and terms. SLAs help you prioritize. Metrics such as abandonment rate and first-call resolution show your service desk’s performance, which helps you address gaps and measure success.
- Hours covered. Many companies like the idea of 24/7 desktop technical support. But unless your business operates globally, you will not have enough ticket volume to justify the cost of a graveyard or weekend shift. If you do not need round-the-clock coverage, a standard solution will do.
Having a clear idea of your outsourcing needs saves you from unnecessary expenses. Being available to resolve user issues is important, but that does not mean you need to provide 24/7 support. At times, even complex tickets can wait until the next day for an answer.
3. Pick the Best Model for You
Back-office outsourcing vendors offer various models for desktop technical support, with dedicated and shared being the most common. In both models, reliable BPO companies use remote procedures to provide support. They are proactive and act as an extension of your in-house department.
A shared help desk is good for standard solutions. It delivers higher efficiency and cost savings by letting businesses share best practices and resources across similar departments. On the other hand, dedicated agents offer better customization with a third-party team committed only to your account, procedures, and systems.
Although a shared approach delivers more value, companies that need specialized training and skills can be better off with a dedicated model. Likewise, standardization can be an effective strategy for streamlining your desktop technical support. A customized help desk is more expensive and lacks the leverage of shared service solutions.
4. Select the Most Appropriate Location Strategy
A BPO company’s location is important to the success of your outsourcing initiative. Businesses with global operations should look beyond pricing when choosing a BPO partner.
They must ensure the service provider has a good reputation and a consistent track record. Additionally, the service must support multiple time zones and provide round-the-clock help desk support.
Offshoring provides significant savings in labor costs. But BPO companies in countries with low English proficiency or in unilingual countries struggle to support international help desks. On the other hand, onshore companies incur higher costs and struggle to find quality staff willing to work at night.
5. Do Not Just Pick the Cheapest Option
The saying “You get what you pay for” also applies to outsourcing desktop technical support. Services that look attractive due to low pricing might be hiding unpleasant surprises such as frequent ticket escalation or poorly trained agents.
A cheap cost-per-ticket rate works only for companies with high ticket traffic, extremely low service performance expectations, and standardized procedures. Each organization has different needs for help desk support. A one-size-fits-all approach to ticket costs is impossible.
If a service provider offers an extremely low cost-per-ticket, perform your due diligence and analyze the factors affecting its pricing.
6. Choose a Vendor That Shares Your Priorities
Having a clear vision of your objectives makes finding the right service provider easier. Basic requirements such as reporting, analytics, and account management support are obvious. But a reputable vendor should also deliver tested toolsets such as automation, service management certifications, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices that let you work smarter.
Ask what the outsourced IT provider’s plan is in terms of improvement. Think beyond pricing and choose a high-performer that wants to build a long-term relationship with you. The right partner prioritizes exceptional ticket servicing with minimal escalations.
Focus on BPO companies that deliver a proactive approach. They should not only put out fires; they should also address the root cause of recurring issues to prevent fires from flaring.
Consider the following criteria to find a long-term service desk provider:
- Tried and tested toolset
- Extensive knowledge management practices
- Automation capabilities
- Real-time reporting and analytics
- Performance tracking and service improvement
- Robust security measures and quality controls
- High-caliber agents and strong recruitment and retention efforts
- Flexible contract agreements
7. Create a Robust Transition Plan and Documentation Process
Too many companies disregard transition, but it paves the way for long-term success. A Gartner study found that most help desk problems are due to outdated knowledge bases and complicated instructions for operation.
Have a plan and do your preparation work before transferring knowledge and skills from the in-house staff to the next team when you outsource data entry services. Ensure all documentation is up to date so that the service desk functions as an extension of the in-house team.
Doing so creates a service-centric approach, providing agents with easy, repeatable procedures to guarantee excellent performance. Legacy help desks are staff-centric. They struggle to accomplish tasks if a person with critical skills is unavailable.
Challenge potential service providers to outline a strong knowledge transfer process, including training, documentation, and a solution for tool implementation. Examine how the migration takes place and how the provider measures success.
8. Have Faith in the Process
Trends in outsourced IT demonstrate that desktop support outsourcing has proven successful for countless companies. When it fails, the problem is rarely the concept and usually the execution.
Choosing the right service provider, following outsourcing best practices, and using the right tools are crucial to achieving quality support services. Once you check all these factors, you can improve user experience with proactive management and better processes.
Like any new initiative, experiencing setbacks is unavoidable when outsourcing desktop technical support. But the obstacles will become irrelevant if companies clearly understand the value of outsourcing and continue working with their BPO partners.
The Bottom Line
Outsourcing desktop technical support is an excellent solution to various IT and operational problems, regardless of your company’s size. But you must carefully weigh the benefits and costs associated with BPO companies before deciding.
Narrow down your list of prospective service providers by clearly identifying your goals for outsourcing beforehand. Consider the best location (onshore, offshore, or nearshore) and model for your organization. Lastly, prepare a robust migration plan and process documentation.
Businesses worldwide partner with Unity Communications to meet their daily IT needs. We provide outsourced technical support at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team. Our services and top-notch talent allow clients to focus on their areas of expertise.
Book a call with us now to learn how we can help.