IT Careers 2014

The help desk is hot again

If you thought the traditional help desk would be outsourced, automated or altogether shut down, think again. Hiring for the help desk is hot.

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Driving Competitive Advantage

Help desk expertise is a competitive advantage for KMD Enterprises, a Seattle-based real-time medical billing company. Billers, mostly contract employees around the country, serve as the help desk staff. They are in constant communication with clients who run doctor's offices, answering questions and training people to use KMD's server network and software.

When a biller gets a question, he evaluates the issue and decides whether he can handle it or needs to pass it on to the technical services group.

"Everything we do is 100% live and instantaneous, and that's the service that we provide. Without it, we would be like everybody else," says Rowland Dennis, CTO and CIO at Stat Medical Technologies Group, part of KMD. "Changes are made very fast -- there's not more than a two-minute delay at the longest. We do not fill out a service ticket and then somebody calls you back in 30 minutes."

The company made two help desk hires in October, and Dennis says he would like to double the number of billers/help desk staffers in 2014 to match the doubling of business in the past year. Those new hires will be seasoned billing veterans with at least 10 years of experience, he notes, adding that turnover on the help desk is very low because the contractors are paid for performance.

Bringing Back the Human Touch

After years of outsourcing the help desk or replacing staff with automated voice response systems, many companies are realizing the value of giving customers more personalized attention.

Brailsford & Dunlavey brought the help desk back under its roof in February after outsourcing it for about 18 months.

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