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A help desk, in the context of IT, is a department inside an organization that is responsible for answering the technical questions of its users. Most major IT companies have set up help desks to respond to questions from their customers. The questions and their answers are usually transferred using e-mail, telephone, website, or online chat. Additionally, there are internal help desks aimed at offering the same form of help, but only for the employees within the organization.
A standard help desk offers a single point of contact for users to get assistance. Normally, the help desks handle requests by using help desk software, or issue tracking system, which enables the help desk operators to keep track of the user requests using a unique identifier, easily find solutions to common queries, prioritize cases, and so on.
Larger help desks make use of different levels to manage different kinds of questions. The first-level is usually set up for answering probably the most common questions, or for offering answers that typically belong in a knowledgebase or FAQ. If the help desk technicians cannot solve the issue at the first level, the issue is then transferred to the second level, which will usually have better trained staff who are able to handle more complex queries. Organizations may also use a third higher level, a group that usually handles software-specific requirements, for example, bug fixes and updates that have a direct impact on larger clients.
Some standard titles associated with the help desk include IT Response Center, Computer Support Center, Information Center, IT Solutions Center, Customer Support Center, Technical Support Center, Resource Center, etc.