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Establishing Support Desk Metrics

Establishing Support Desk Metrics

February 2014

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Establishing Support Desk Metrics

Managed Services Austin, TX

support desk.jpgBuilding out a Managed Services practice for Citrix and all things IT you quickly realize that the way you handle the tickets that come into your Support Desk determines not only your customer service scores, but your efficiency, your costs and ultimately your ability to stay in business.

I recently got a reminder of what great “support” can do to create a story-worthy memorable experience on what would normally be an unmemorable event.

Sunday night at a hotel ahead of Citrix Summit, I did something I never do which is order room service. I forget exactly what I ordered, but 25 minutes after my order was placed a young woman knocked on more door with my tray and my requested bottle of Coke.

The meal was good and I thought nothing else of it.  The following day, I headed over to the show and I decided to get something to eat, this time stepping into the hotel restaurant.

I ordered my meal and a Coke.

“I am sorry sir, will Pepsi be OK as the hotel only serves Pepsi products” was the response I got.

“But I got a Coke with my room service order last night, how is that possible if you only sell Pepsi products?” was my response.

The woman thought about it for a minute, smiling a bit as she finally arrived at an answer.

“She must have gone over to the gift shop and got a bottle of Coke there and put it with your room service order.”

A few minutes later my lunch showed up with a bottle of Coke, and a lesson worth sharing.

The lowest cost resource on the hotels staff, a server, was empowered to step out of the box to quickly solve a problem that I did not even know I was presenting her with.

A version of the same scenario plays out when our end users have a problem and call our respective Support Desks.

The response our end users get, though, is often quite different because the way we measure and train hospitality staff is different than the way we measure and train our Support Desk staff.

Are you enabling your lowest cost support resource, your help desk personnel, with wide enough latitude to solve customer support issues without being forced to escalate that ticket to more expensive IT staff?

Are you measuring your IT Support Desk?  Are they plodding along unnecessarily increasing what it costs you to deliver IT support and irritating your end users, or are they being measured and incented to resolve issues quickly and step out of the box when necessary to go the extra mile for your internal customers?

To provide that latitude and still be able to sleep at night you need KPIs to measure and incent the support staff to deliver a better quality level of service.

If you do not know what a support ticket costs your organization, or if you have not established any KPIs for your own Support Desk, these four will get you started.

Cost per Contact – This metric is arrived at by totaling all costs associated with answering a call or otherwise handling a contact divided by the total number of calls or contacts.

Support Staff Utilization – This metric is a great measure of staff productivity.  When agent utilization is low, your support costs increase.  Conversely, when agent utilization is high, your support costs are low relatively speaking.  You can arrive at this calculation with the following formula: (Average number of calls, per agent, per month x Average call handle time in minutes)÷ (Average number of days worked per month x Number of hours worked in a day x 60 minutes/hour)

First Contact Resolution Rate – Measuring the percentage of tickets resolved on first contact with support staff.

First Level Resolution Rate – Measuring the ability of the Support Desk to resolve tickets at Level 1 without escalation.

Done right, this is a win-win for everyone.  Solving problems at the Support Desk level, on the first call when possible and not engaging additional staff members that are all more expensive than your help desk team makes financial sense, and delivers a better level of customer service to your end user.

Typically, the most expensive way to resolve a ticket is by way of vendor, averaging $471 per ticket according to research conducted by MetricNet, while tickets resolved at a Level 1 Support Desk cost on average, $22 per ticket.  The cost savings is enormous.  A ticket that rolls to Level 2 Support, on average, raises your cost an additional $62 per ticket, again from the same MetricNet research.

Is your Support Desk more like a Formula 1 pit crew, quickly returning every end user back to being productive as quickly as possible or are they just the pits?  Next time you open one of your favorite beverages, you might think about it.

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