Contractual helpdesk services, also known as call center outsourcing is a growing industry. Helpdesk solutions, which offer customer service to consumers who have an issue, problem or concern, are an integral part of many organizations' wider service function. For smaller companies, outsourcing helpdesk services is becoming more and more popular given the technical expertise and high investment costs required to develop, implement and maintain the infrastructure needed to support these services. Contracting for helpdesk services helps to alleviate smaller companies from concerns with technical issues, retaining employees dedicated to continuous research on the value proposition of emerging products or services, and in some cases, the need for hiring additional staff. While the basic principles for negotiating an outsourcing contract apply, this paper explores the special considerations pertinent to contracting helpdesk services. These include determining an optimal solution by mapping business requirements to specific call center resource options, determining the optimal call routing structure given budgetary considerations and understanding technical problems associated with the call center environment and developing a satisficing plan to address problems should they occur. As the technologies, including telecommunications and call routing options, that form the basis of helpdesk services evolve, so does the importance of helpdesk services as they move from cost centers to profit generating ventures.
Journal of Service Science`
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