Track the Correct Service Desk Metrics for the Right Reasons

You have successfully created an array of reports and figures that can tell you everything about every aspect of every call ever logged for your organization’s service issues. You now have a great deal of information that will take time from what you should be focusing on: the customer.

I've noticed that there's a tendency in some service desks to drown in statistics, focusing too much on what can be measured and not what should be measured. You have probably heard the phrase, “If it can be measured, it can be managed.” It's a firm favorite for many service desk managers, but this is missing one key consideration, which is this: “Just because you can, it doesn’t mean that you should.”

My problem with this approach: If you measure everything you can find, how do you find the time to prioritize and focus on adding value and benefits to your customer base?

Focusing on the customer

A service department underpinned by metrics runs the risk of compromising customer experience to satisfy a stat or two. The bottom line is that you work at a service desk. You probably  do value and encourage customer satisfaction, but for many staff, when their job requires them to do 10 things, but they are only measured on three of those … how much do they really care about the other seven?

For most service desks, those seven missing things tend to be all the micro tasks that need to take place for a job to be done well and delight the customer. If things like your approach to problem solving, the time you spend educating a customer or passing on what you learn to other team mates isn’t recognized and rewarded -- but finishing up a service desk call in less than five minutes is -- unfortunately finishing up a call quickly will always win.

Consider your average call time, first-time fix rate and how many tickets are closed in a week. Now ask yourself if you are actually reporting on these things to help your customers receive better service or if you are simply trying to ensure that you can turn to them and say how well your team is doing? In cases such as these, make sure your reports are actionable. In so doing, the following three tips should help you get more from the reports you keep.

  1. Put the time into your reporting

Invest the time to make sure you know what you want to discover and develop reports that you can automate at the frequency in which you wish or that you can generate with one click from a template. You’ll be able to get to the point where quickly running a report on Friday afternoon is indeed totally possible, but make no mistake, you need to put the time in initially to dig through spreadsheets and toolset reports to find out what is valuable to you and your organization’s needs. In the beginning this can be tedious, but doing so will give you the strong foundation you need for establishing the reports in which you wish. Alternatively, if you know what you don't need about in your reports, you can take the opposite approach and weed those parts out first.

  1. Only look at numbers that you will care about

If you currently automate any reports, take a good look at if these are actually something you use. If not, just get rid of them. It gets rid of a lot of white noise for yourself, and frees you up to see what you want to see. Make sure you develop reports that you and your colleagues need and want. Think "opt-in" rather than "opt-out." What do your people really need and want to see?

  1. Make sure the numbers are actionable

The important thing to remember is that there must be a purpose to your ITSM reporting and you must provide your team with something that serves to improve your services. Focus heavily on what it is you want to learn about the inner-workings of your services and the skill level changes your staff want to see in themselves. Look for the numbers that tell you about that then use those numbers to inform how you grow.

Remember that using metrics and reporting to improve your work can be a long process, with wide variation between quick wins and almost unnoticeable progress.  It takes a strong vision and uncompromising strategy to get great results.

Ultimately, though, review your reports. There may be some reports that you can cut out or remove, and save yourself the time you need to focus on delivering better services.

Nancy VanElsacker

President at Topdesk USA
Nancy Van Elsacker is president of TOPdesk US, part of the global supplier of service management software solutions.

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