How To Choose The Right Help Desk Staffing Model ?

help desk staffing model

Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us aren’t as good at it as we think. Refocusing your resources on hiring better will have a higher return than almost any training program you can develop.

– Laszlo Bock, Co-founder and CEO of Humu and Author of Work Rules

The foundation of your company is not you!

Yup, though you are the founder of your company, you cannot be considered as the foundation or the cornerstone of it.

The workforce that you form is the bulwark that you build for your company, and hence, your personnel are the core and crust of your entire organization.

If you fail to claw clamp the best employees, who are going to be the building blocks of the empire you build by spilling your brain fluids (mark this word), you will fail in your business.

As Carla Harris puts it, “your human talent is your most important talent.” You are signing a deal with Satan himself if you ignore this part, (forgive us, but you’ll hear the death toll).

With all that said, here’s our guide for you to do the perfect and pro level staffing that’s going to reduce the turnover rates, turning your IT help desk into a talent pool.

Let’s start from the basics as usual, but you are welcome to ‘skip to the good part’.

For easy navigation, make use of this table of robust content.

What Exactly is an IT Help Desk?

An IT service desk is a help desk that offers support to customers, who are often company employees, in resolving tech-or tech-related issues they can encounter at work.

In order to prevent a reduction in business productivity, IT service desk representatives must address employee issues within a predetermined time range.

Requests for password resets, problems with software updates, computer problems, corrupted data, and data recovery are just a few of the many difficulties that service desk workers deal with.

1. In-House IT Help Desk

  • Due to the necessity to cover personnel pay, training, hardware and software needs, etc., costs are frequently unpredictable and costly.
  • You’ll need more time to set up an internal support desk.
  • Based on your needs, you can continuously modify or upgrade service settings, such as the typical response time.
  • An internal support team is more likely to comprehend your needs and be more familiar with the internal IT system and architecture.

2. An Outsourced IT Help Desk

  • You are charged on a subscription basis, which results in a set fee. The cost is less than in-house workstations since a third-party service provider handles all requirements.
  • As soon as a merchant is chosen, you can begin.
  • The contract you signed with the third-party supplier must be followed, and it is challenging to change the terms in the middle of the arrangement.
  • Agents from a third party might not be as knowledgeable about your IT setup and needs. Additionally, they could be hesitant to update ticket prioritization to meet any changing requirements.

Should You Consider Outsourcing or Maintaining an In-House Service Team?

The next crucial decision is whether to have an internal team or outsource to a third party once you’ve made the decision to establish a service desk.

Although hiring support staff and overseeing their daily tasks can be a headache, outsourcing will give you less influence over how IT problems are resolved.

How Should Your Service Desk Staff be Constructed or Modelled?

Firstly, it’s crucial to realise that most IT help desk staffing levels cannot be determined using a straightforward formula.

Most companies use one of the two service desk staffing models shown below.

1. Tiered Specialist Model:

In this strategy, calls are routed to a single “expert” group.

The Desktop Support group typically fulfills this function.

Their duties include picking up the phone when it rings, entering the call into the call tracking system, and attempting to assist the caller while they are on the line.

They refer the call to another second level group if the issue is too complex for them to handle on their own.

If the issue can be resolved by gaining access to the customer’s PC, they put down their phones and go to the customer’s location.

This approach was chosen in order to address more client issues within the initial call. In fact, it frequently results in lower service levels.

Desktop specialists that have received training in computer maintenance and care would rather be on-site at the customer’s workstation fixing the issue than provide password change assistance over the phone.


Additionally, highly technical staff members are not typically trained in soft skills such as customer service or telephone etiquette, so they are not always the greatest at solving issues over the phone.

Call volume measurements are impossible to assess since they frequently do not capture all calls into the tracking system at the time they receive them.

A significantly lower percentage of calls being recorded is not uncommon.

Determining call priorities is an important step in service level management.

Due to the delays from travel, this paradigm makes managing priorities difficult.

Trained personnel take calls in the sequence they arrive, without having complete awareness of the enterprise’s health at any one time.

2. Tiered Generalist Model:

This technique employs a tiered structure. Instead of a Desktop Specialist answering the phone, there is a “generalist” group that answers all call types (phone, Web, email, etc.).

They log the call, resolve what they can, and transmit the balance to the level 2 team. In this architecture, there can be multiple Tier 1 support teams.

A preset severity and an escalation mechanism are used to determine the routing and resolution priority.

This approach is designed to guarantee that the most significant clients or the most pressing concerns are handled first.

For the majority of IT help desk operations, the triage call handling process is the most effective approach.

It guarantees that customers receive service according to their needs. It also enables the support desk to make the greatest use of its resources.

From start to finish, the call flow remains unhindered.

For this strategy to work, clear communication channels must exist between the first, second, and Level 3 support groups.

  • The first level establishes client expectations and relies on the second and third levels to meet those goals.
  • The Tiered-Generalist Model also has several additional benefits that are sometimes forgotten.
  • When the IT Help Desk agents “own” the issue, even though they might not be the ones to fix it, customer satisfaction under this model is frequently quite high.
  • Customers have a sense that they have a champion in the IT department.
  • Regardless of the mode of submission, a customer’s call is answered immediately after they send it.
  • When a consumer calls, they can speak to a genuine person who has a high level of soft skills.
  • Their calls are swiftly answered, and expectations are laid out front and center.

Additionally, the IT Help Desk is developing into a productive environment for training future IT support professionals.

IT help desk representatives thus have a wide range of job options. This results in an IT organization with low turnover and good morale.

How Big of a Team Do You Require?

If your service desk is understaffed, you will have a backlog of tickets that are past their due dates.

Additionally, if you hire too many agents, you run the danger of going over budget. Therefore, there is no correct response to this problem!

Numerous factors, including the volume of requests, the urgency, and the anticipated turnaround time, will affect your ideal staffing level.

The primary factors influencing service desk call volumes have been defined in this section.

1. The Approximate Number of Calls

This parameter describes how many phone calls your front desk employees get in a specific amount of time.

Requests made by callers might range in complexity from basic password resets to complicated system errors.

Instead of counting the number of employees in your company, base the size of your service desk team on the volume of calls you receive.

This will make it easier to develop an estimate that is more closely related to the scope of your task.

2. Average Handling Time (AHT)

The average length of a customer call is known as AHT, or average query handling time. It accounts for all talk time, call hold time, and wrap-up time (i.e., time spent by an agent on after-call work such as documenting call details).

AHT = (Total talk time + Total hold time + Total wrap-up time) / Total number of calls handled)

You shouldn’t compute AHT per agent. To get a more accurate idea of how many agents you’ll need to handle the whole workload, calculate it for your entire team.

3. Service Level

The percentage of anticipated incoming calls that you anticipate your team will answer within a specified amount of time is referred to as the service level.

For example, you might wish to respond to 70% of calls within 30 seconds.

Responding to calls within 20 seconds for 80% of them is the industry standard.

To avoid burnout, set a fair service level expectation so that your employees can answer as many calls as possible within the goal time.

4. Occupancy Rate

The occupancy rate measures how much of your agents’ total logged-in time they spend on calls and responding to employee inquiries.

Keep the anticipated occupancy rate between 85% and 90%. Anything more than this may cause employees to become burned out or even attempt to end calls before issues have been completely resolved.

5. Shrinkage

The percentage of time your customer care representatives will be unable to take calls is known as shrinkage.

It includes lunch breaks, breaks, vacation days, and time used for meetings or training. The more shrinkage, the more agents are needed to handle client calls.

To prevent understaffing and reduce agent burnout, keep shrinkage between 30% and 35%.

6. Traffic Intensity

This amount, sometimes referred to as call hours, represents how long it would take your team to handle all of the anticipated calls if they came in one at a time.

To Conclude, Make the Most of Your Service Desk by Using Software!

Spend money on IT help desk software to increase the effectiveness of your support personnel.

Your staff will be assisted by the software in tracking service requests and timely completion. There are various free solutions to test if you don’t want to buy a paid product.

As an alternative, you might look at the best software for IT help desks and ticketing.
These software programs are rated according to a number of factors, such as functionality, cost, and customer service.

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