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3 Myths About Outsourced Help Desks

3 Myths About Outsourced Help Desks

Handing over your customers to an outsourced help desk is bound to cause some trepidation. You likely have come across some negative stereotypes about outsourcing.

But as it turns out, the most common stereotypes about outsourced help desks are actually myths.

So, let’s clear away the fog. Here are the top three myths that companies believe about outsourced help desks—debunked.

Myth 1: Outsourced Help Desks Are Sweatshops

If the phrase “outsourced help desk” conjures in your mind a crowded, dimly lit, poorly ventilated, hot, underground call center somewhere on an archipelago in Southeast Asia, it’s time to reconsider. Yes, some commodity businesses offshore their manufacturing to factories in Asia, China and Central America to take advantage of cheap labor and lax labor laws.

But the outsourced help desk industry doesn’t work that way.

The industry is incredibly competitive, offering a high-value service that can only be delivered by highly trained workers. Employers who want to retain top IT help desk talent must offer wages, benefits and working conditions that attract and retain competent help desk staff.

Today’s outsourced help desk facilities are well-appointed. And the workers who handle tickets are engaged and productive. They are respected by management. Their ideas matter. And their contributions are appreciated.

Guide: How to Choose an Enterprise Help Desk IT Support Company

Myth 2: The Best Outsourcing Model Is Low-Cost and Overseas

Some businesses think outsourcing is primarily an exercise in cutting costs, and that to save money they must outsource to cheap suppliers outside of North America.

But the reality is different. The focus of outsourcing your help desk must be cost-effectiveness, not cost. Sure, outsourcing to a cheap supplier will lower your payroll and overhead, but it will quickly add to the costs associated with poor customer service, increased miscommunication, a rise in shadow IT, and plenty of other problems. Low-cost seldom equates to high quality.

The other part of this myth is that cost-effective outsourcing must take place overseas. The truth is that some of the best outsourced help desks are located right here in North America, staffed by US-based, full-time agents who speak fluent English.

Myth 3: Outsourced Help Desks Have High Agent Turnover

The third and final myth about outsourced help desks is that their agents never last long. Agent retention is thought to be weak, turnover is high, and users will always be dealing with freshly hired agents who are new to the job.

Here’s the bald truth: Some agents do use their position on the IT help desk as a springboard to another career, but this is true for in-house help desks just as much as it is for outsourced help desks. The reality is that the best outsourced help desks know the causes of agent attrition—and take active measures to prevent them.

They hire based on emotional intelligence, not just IQ, for example. They onboard and train agents well. They recognize and reward good performance. They give their agents the tools they need to be happy and productive. And they monitor the causes of absenteeism, since absenteeism is a common precursor to turnover.

Related Reading: 5 Things to Screen for When Hiring an IT Help Desk Support Company

The Reality of Help Desk Outsourcing = Creating Value

These three misconceptions about outsourced help desks obscure the reason for outsourcing in the first place.

Outsourcing isn’t just about cutting costs. It’s about adding value.

The best outsourced help desk partner helps you primarily with the latter, while also delivering on the former.

This focus on adding value has practical implications when searching for a suitable outsourced help desk partner. Look for a company that:

  • Knows how to increase your user productivity in measurable ways.
  • Focuses on increasing the overall productivity of your company without adding significant expense. 
  • Has a culture of continuous improvement, both for their employees and yours.
  • Is proactive before and during the engagement in suggesting how things can be done better.
  • Approaches your engagement with empathy. They should know that some of your staff will be afraid of losing their jobs or be fearful of change in general. The best partner will help you cast a vision for your company that mitigates some of these concerns.

Outsourcing your IT help desk is a smart move. But it’s a step that you must take with both eyes wide open, understanding all the pros and cons involved in your decision, while refusing to believe the common myths and misconceptions about outsourcing.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your help desk function, you’re likely wondering about the ROI you can expect. Get answers and a lot more by reading our comprehensive Guide to IT Help Desk Outsourcing.

IT Help Desk Outsourcing