Below you will be able to get a quick overview of the types of services provided by a typical third-party technical support.
Before you begin, it is worth clarifying that this is basically a personal view of generalizations. Different providers may have different service proposals and different process structures.
Nevertheless, it should give you a good foundation and help you choose your online helpdesk support provider.
Helpdesk - passive versus active service. The helpdesk service providers usually create their services in one of two billing bases:
A call service for passive call recording and communication, An active center for diagnostic / remedial excellence.
Passive helpdesks. Lets first look at the former. Basically, when you call a help desk, you can do it for one of a number of reasons.
Some organizations set up the help desk essentially to register your call, track it to ensure it is not overlooked, assign the problem to an appropriate technical diagnostician and then coordinate the process by dissolving. This may mean that they escalate to senior executives within their company if there are any delays in answering your call.
They will also note things as time-to-fix and will use it as a basis for their monitoring of their performance against any service level agreements in place.
Typically, this type of help desk is often staffed by administrators rather than technically qualified personnel. The process here is often the Helpdesk-to-Diagnostic-to-Technical Specialist.
Active helpdesks. These services differ significantly from the above.
They will perform all of the above features but they can also be highly educated so that they can diagnose the nature of the problem to a high degree of accuracy and they may have enough technical capabilities to solve many problems themselves instead of having to call a specialist technician.
This type of help desk can have great benefits to the customer, as it can usually lead to faster access to someone who basically knows what theyre talking about rather than someone who works in a useful but largely administrative capacity.
Online support. The term online helpdesk support is often bandied around quite impartial.
Clearly, in its simplest form, it may simply mean that instead of contacting help desk via phone with your problem, you may want to email them or maybe use something like Skype to get in touch over the web.
If it meets your expectations of support for online support, its fine.
However, some people may expect online help or support for the service to have access to the system causing problems and to perform diagnostic and corrective activities directly online.
Again, this definition of online helpdesk support will likely lead to much faster resolution times on average than just a service that allows you to mail your concerns and misery instead of calling them.
There are many providers of help services around. You choose your based on a number of criteria that are unique to you.
Be sure, however, that you know what you want and what you get out of online support support. In a crisis, some of the above differences may make a big difference to you and your business, so you should be clear exactly what you get for your money.