Is a technical support call center the same as a help desk?

OABPO Blog Team Published on April 14, 2014

Here’s a quick answer to the main question: No, a technical support call center is not the same as a help desk.

It’s a common mistake to interchange the two terms because these units essentially have the same function—they answer queries from people to fix their technical problems. Certain aspects of their duties, however, separate them from each other.

technical support call center agents talking to customer over the phone

To clear up the longstanding confusion between call centers and help desks, here are their main differences:

  •     Call centers answer the service requests of people outside an organization or basically, the customers.

  •     Help desks provide technical assistance to fellow employees of the company where they operate.

Similarities and connection to each other

A tech support call center and a help desk can exist in the same company. They also require almost the same skill sets used in delivering customer service and technical support, but each of them excels in some areas over the other.

For one, technical support call center agents and help desk technicians must both have people skills. However, technicians don’t have to be highly proficient in articulation over the phone because unlike agents, their job doesn’t bind them to provide support over that channel alone.

Call centers and help desks personnel also need technical expertise. However, the technical knowledge of agents is most of the time limited to the product and services that the company provides to customers. Tech support representatives may even rely on scripts or a finite knowledge base to answer questions, solve problems, or troubleshoot products.

On the other hand, technicians have a more diverse technical knowhow that is not limited to the company’s products. They fix, update, replace, or maintain any hardware and software that the organization and its employees use. For having a vaster understanding of technology, a help desk sometimes assist a technical support call center in solving a customer’s problem when it’s beyond the agents’ expertise.

To answer the main question again, a call center is different from a help desk, but the two have some aspects that make them similar and beneficial to each other. A wise organization would let the two units borrow best practices from each other to be able to provide topnotch support both to the internal staff and the customers.

Looking for hands-on guidance in understanding the differences between these services? Get in touch with Open Access BPO today to start your own tech support and help desk teams.

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