IT Help Desk Reactive, Transition or Strategic?

Here are 10 questions that will help you determine whether your help desk is reactive, in transition or strategic.

1. Have help desk managers created and distributed a supported product list (SPL) so that callers and agents can share an identical understanding of the help desk’s boundaries of responsibility? READ MY LIPS: STANDARD HARDWARE, STANDARD SOFTWARE, CDOE (COMMON DESKTOP OPERATING ENVIRONMENT)

2. Has help desk management established a SLA (Service Level Agreement) with customers and is all of the IT organization measured by it?

3. Does the help desk play an active advisory role in critical IT functions such as change management, product development and purchasing?

4. Do help desk agents log ALL calls, track the number of incidents that are escalated outside of the help desk department and calculate the percentage of calls that result in a technician being dispatched?

5. Do help desk agents capture problem solutions in a reusable knowledge base?

6. Does the help desk use continuous, event-driven surveys to measure customer satisfaction?

7. Does the help desk post key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, first-call resolution and call cycle time?

8. Do help desk agents have performance goals in these areas?

9. Do help desk agents practice continuous planning in order to reduce costly call volumes?

10. Do help desk personnel meet with key customer groups at least annually to explain important help desk services and offerings?


If you answered yes to eight or more questions, congratulations. You have a strategically mature help desk. Less than 20 percent of all desks fall into this category. If you answered yes to least five but fewer than eight questions, you likely have a transitional desk. Most fall into this category, which helps explain the recent increase in help desk budgets.

Finally, if you answered yes to fewer than five questions, you are probably operating under the reactive model. Some help desks operate in this mode because of sheer resource constraints.

Here are great White Papers on the topic: