Service desks typically evolve through three stages as they become more strategic. The first stage — reactivity — is characterized by high abandonment rates, low customer satisfaction and rampant employee turnover because of agent burnout. In the second stage — transition — typically the service desk practices various call prevention techniques, providing users with self-help tools such as automated password resets and effective user training, and working with development groups to ensure better design and testing of new applications. In the third and final stage — strategic — the service desk realizes its full potential as part of the IT value chain. To gauge how well your service desk is operating and where it stands in the three stages of development, answer these questions: Have service desk managers created and distributed a supported product list (SPL) so that callers and agents can share an identical understanding of the service desk's boundaries of responsibility? Yes No Has service desk management established service-level agreements with non service desk experts throughout the organization so that callers can receive seamless reference to Level 2? Yes No Do service desk managers play an active advisory role in critical IT functions such as development and purchasing? Yes No Do service desk agents log all calls, track the number of incidents that are escalated to Level 2 support personnel and calculate the percentage of calls that result in a technician being dispatched? Yes No Do service desk agents capture problem solutions in a reusable knowledge base? Yes No Do service desk managers use continuous, event-driven surveys to measure customer satisfaction? Yes No Do service desk managers post key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, first-call resolution rate and call handle time? Yes No Do service desk agents have performance goals in these areas? Yes No Do service desk agents practice continuous planning in order to reduce costly call volumes? Yes No Does service desk personnel meet with key customer groups at least annually to explain important service desk services and offerings? Yes No Δ If you answered yes to eight or more questions, congratulations! You have a strategically mature service desk. Less than 20% of all desks fall into this category. To stay in this category, it’s important to benchmark at least annually. Learn about MetricNet’s benchmarking solutions. If you answered yes to at least five but fewer than eight questions, you likely have a transitional service desk. Most fall into this category, which helps explain the recent increase in service desk budgets. We can help you improve performance at a revolutionary pace! Learn about our One Year Path to World Class Performance! If you answered yes to fewer than five questions, you are probably operating under the reactive model. Some service desks operate in this mode because of sheer resource constraints. We can help you improve performance at a revolutionary pace! Learn about our One Year Path to World Class Performance! Finally, download our whitepaper The Zen of Support to learn three character traits that any organization can adopt and cultivate to become more strategic, and three sources of value that any organization can leverage to their advantage.