- – More efficient incident resolution.
– Easier infrastructure setup.
- – You become better equipped to standardise your performance metrics and reporting.
- – Speedier onboarding of end users.
- – Faster training and knowledge transfer between new and existing Service Desk staff.
Metrics to track
The use of metrics to define and improve on baseline performance is a key method for obtaining optimal performance from your Service Desk teams. As a rule, each metric you use should be meaningful and accurate. Precisely what you need to track will depend to some extent on your organisation-specific priorities, the characteristics of the IT estate and the needs of users. That said, the following metrics are almost always ones to focus on:
- – Cost per Ticket. Calculated by dividing the monthly operating expense of the Service Desk by the monthly ticket volume. A rising CPT month-by-month can be an indicator of inefficiency (it may be a sign that you are paying for a level of support that exceeds your requirements).
- – Customer Satisfaction. Your foundational measure for gauging quality of service. A popular and effective way to measure it involves asking customers to complete a follow-up survey on ticket conclusion. Areas to cover in this questionnaire include quality of outcome, speed of response, communication and ease of accessing the service.
- – First Contact Resolution. This refers to the proportion of incidents resolved on the foot of customers’ initial Service Desk contact. A high FCR rate is generally a strong indicator that Service Desk staff have the knowledge and communication skills to steer through problems efficiently.
- – Service Desk Resolution. The proportion of incidents resolved by the Desk without the need for escalation.
- – Service Desk Analyst utilisation. The average time a Service Desk analyst or technician spends directly on requests and incident response in any given timeframe, divided by total hours worked in that period. If a low utilisation rate is accompanied by a high or rising cost per ticket, it is a sign that the department’s resources are being inefficiently deployed.
- – Mean Time to Resolve. The time that elapses between opening and total resolution of a ticket
- – Analyst Job Satisfaction. Important – and yet easily overlooked. High levels of engagement tend to correlate with improved commitment, lower churn rates and better outcomes both in terms of value and user satisfaction.
(The SDI Global Best Practice standard specifies 39 different metrics that a service desk should
measure, monitor, and report on; this question contains 20 examples from the standards.)
If you would like to know more about what metrics your service desk should be measuring, feel free to read our article: “Which metrics should your IT Service Desk be measuring?”.
Part 3: How to Prioritise Your Fixes and address Common Bottlenecks
Problem 1: An absence of structure
A user contacts the Service Desk with an issue. A ticket is opened. It is escalated and resolved. All of this is achieved on an ad-hoc basis. At first glance, it looks as if the system is working (albeit haphazardly). But without a consistent and predictable workflow, it becomes a lot harder to measure whether your IT Service Desk is performing at its best – and what can be improved.
You need to deploy a comprehensive service management solution: one that enables you to define a formal workflow into which all new tickets are fed. This ensures all tickets are handled in a consistent manner with set parameters to govern when and how to escalate.
Problem 2: Not being able to put specific procedures to the test
Is our first response resolution strategy for a particular type of issue working as speedily as we would like? Are we escalating to the right technicians and under the right circumstances?
Your IT Service Desk requires detailed reporting capabilities that provide intelligence on matters such as which type of escalation procedures are resulting in the quickest resolutions and which ones are having the most desirable impact on system performance and uptime. These capabilities make you much better able to create a set of best practices and minimum standards (see above).
Problem 3: Reviewing the efficiency of your Service Desk staff
To track the Service Desk Analyst Utilisation metric, you ask how long staff are spending on each task. You have your doubts about the reliability of these rough and ready estimates.
Equipped with end to end tracking through structured processes and toolset optimisation of the amount of time spent on each incident, you get a much more accurate picture of analyst utilisation. This gives you the ability to take action where required – e.g. reviewing task allocation if technicians are ‘idle’ for long periods – or stepping in to provide extra training and guidance if too much time is being spent on particular tasks.
Problem 4: Too much time is spent on routine tasks
A high first contact resolution rate is usually a positive indicator – the same goes for the Service Desk resolution metric. That said, if a huge chunk of Service Desk resources is currently devoted to minor issues, it may mean that those highly specialist resources are not being utilised to their fullest potential.
Self-help features can help significantly reduce the amount of time spent on routine matters. This may include setting up a knowledge base to allow users to correct simple, commonly-occurring issues themselves. Self-help can also extend to communications; for instance, with a platform that allows users to track the progress of tickets online, thereby removing the need for users to contact the Desk for updates.
Problem 5: An inability to track trends
Your Service Desk handles large volumes of tickets relating to a wide range of systems, devices and applications. This potentially offers highly useful data on the history of your assets, such as failure rates and commonly-occurring glitches. At present though, you are struggling to bring all of this data together to make sense of it.
If you unify your Service Desk solution with your IT asset management environment, you are better able to maintain a complete history of all issues affecting each component of your IT infrastructure. This enables you to make much more informed decisions on such matters as replacements and upgrades.
Problem 6: Communication Silos
To cater for a range of preferences, you offer various ways for users to make contact with the Service Desk (e.g. email, phone and web portal). The flipside is your inability to unify all of this information in order to comprehensively track performance.
You need an IT Service Desk solution that cohesively organises information received across multiple channels. This should make it easier to measure, document and control your processes and procedures.