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10 IT Service Desk Key Performance Indicators

A service desk is an essential part of any organization's IT infrastructure. In this post, we are going to discuss IT service desk KPIs

April 19, 2023

Many companies have increased their online presence over the past couple of years, which means they've also had to increase their online support for customers and staff. Most service desks use some combination of static support pages and FAQs, interactive chatbots, and live agents. Typically, FAQs and automated chatbots provide answers to around 80 percent of online support questions. Humans tackle the remaining 20 percent.

What Is a Service Desk?

A service desk is an essential part of any organization's IT infrastructure. It acts as the single point of contact between users and the IT department. The primary purpose is to provide support to users and resolve any IT-related issues that they may encounter.

The Benefits of an Effective Service Desk

  • Efficient support. A service desk helps streamline the support process by providing a central point of contact for all users' IT-related issues.
  • Improved communication. With a service desk in place, users have a reliable and consistent way to report issues and receive updates about their status.
  • Centralized knowledge. A service desk maintains a centralized knowledge base of solutions to common IT problems. This enables support staff to quickly identify and resolve issues, reducing the need for lengthy troubleshooting sessions.
  • Proactive maintenance. A service desk helps identify and address potential problems before they become critical.
  • Performance reports. Most service desks offer KPI measurement so that management has insights into the type of support users require and how long it’s taking the team to close out the tickets. 

All of this is important because many users base their opinion of the organization on their interactions with the service desk.  

Monitoring Service Desk Performance

As with all things, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. You need to measure how well your service desk is performing to ensure your customers and stakeholders are receiving quality support in a timely fashion, which plays an important role in account retention and expansion. 

Sometimes service desks use call completion assessments, where callers rate the service desk session. While this can provide a crude indication of overall user satisfaction, using clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs) works much better. KPIs define targets for specific service desk performance areas and measure actual performance against them.

Key Performance Indicators

We can broadly categorize service desk KPIs into one of two types. The first defines overall service desk performance, and the second defines individual agent performance. Some KPIs can fall into both categories. Each is equally important, and the list of KPIs below follows both.

Keep in mind that users are, by and large, not computer experts. The level of support, the agent’s approach to the client, and the way support is offered need to reflect this. It's an important part of the assessment of individual agents, and it's also something to consider when designing chatbots.

Here are a few KPIs that help measure the effectiveness and efficiency of an IT service desk.

"The first call resolution (FCR) rate measures the percentage of calls or tickets that organizations resolve during the first call or the first contact with the support page or chatbot."

First Call Resolution (FCR)

The first call resolution (FCR) rate measures the percentage of calls or tickets that organizations resolve during the first contact with the support page or chatbot. Users are obviously happiest when this happens. Automated chatbots or FAQs can often resolve common problems.

Average Speed to Answer (ASA)

The average speed to answer (ASA) measures the time it takes for a service desk agent to answer a call or ticket. Most service desks have a queuing system. Requests are routed to the first available agent, either by the chatbot or from the start of the interaction.

A long wait time can indicate that the service desk needs more staff or that something else has gone wrong if most requesters are reporting the same problem.

Average Handle Time

Average handle time (AHT) measures the total time it takes to handle a ticket from the moment a user opens it until it's resolved. This is difficult to manage because it depends on the problem and how it's resolved. In a corporate environment, long AHTs might indicate that agents need more training in a specific area or that the FAQs and chatbots need to be updated.

Customer Satisfaction Score

The customer satisfaction (CSAT) score measures the level of satisfaction that customers have with the service desk. If there's such a thing as a key KPI, this is it. It can determine the customer's opinion of the entire organization. You can measure it by asking customers to rate their satisfaction after a call, as mentioned above, or through a follow-up email survey.

Service Level Agreement Compliance

Service level agreement (SLA) compliance measures the percentage of tickets or calls that are resolved within the agreed-upon timeframe.

Many organizations, particularly those with outsourcing arrangements, have service-level arrangements. Because compliance, or lack thereof, has financial implications, it's essential to measure performance against service levels to determine if you need to remediate anything.

Call Abandonment Rate

The call abandonment rate (CAR) measures the percentage of abandoned or disconnected calls before a service desk agent can answer.

Users abandon calls for a variety of reasons. Excessive wait times can tell you that the service desk is short-staffed. Chatbots can help by assessing the caller’s problem and suggesting potential solutions without the need for agent involvement.

Escalation Rate

Escalation rate (ESC) measures the percentage of tickets that are escalated to a higher level of support. This one is important. It indicates that the first-line responses are not providing the support callers need. You might not have configured a chatbot correctly. Agents may need more training. Even so, specialists can best handle certain kinds of problems, so the escalation rate will likely never reach zero.

Incident Volume

Incident volume (IV) measures the total number of incidents or tickets that users open within a certain amount of time. Most service desks expect a fairly stable number of calls that hopefully drops over time as the organization fixes faults. However, this number will increase when you launch new products or during a merger. Any analysis of the IV KPI needs to take these factors into account.

"The problem resolution rate measures the percentage of problems that the service desk resolves within a certain timeframe."

Problem Resolution Rate

The problem resolution rate measures the percentage of problems that the service desk resolves within a certain timeframe. It's related to the service level agreement KPI. You should set out a timescale for problem resolution as an internal guideline or explicitly in an SLA. The amount of time you require will directly affect customer satisfaction. If you set it out in an SLA, it could also have financial implications.

Agent Utilization Rate

The agent utilization rate (AUR) measures the percentage of time that service desk agents are actively working on tickets or calls. Customer satisfaction depends heavily on the amount of time that callers wait for an agent.

The AUR KPI can answer two questions. First, are your front-line agent-free measures effective? And second, do you have the correct staffing levels?

Bear in mind that the AUR can vary according to the time of day, and staffing levels should reflect this.

Managing your IT Service Desk in Slack

By bringing your service desk into Slack, you can more easily manage support requests in your business. Wrangle transforms your workspace into an advanced IT service desk and ticketing platform, which will allow you to:

  • Turn any Slack message into a ticket
  • Instantly allow users to see the status of a ticket
  • Gather all the issue context with an intake form
  • Automatically assign tickets to the right agent
  • Automate reminders to keep agents moving
  • Provide reporting to uncover bottlenecks

Further, Wrangle lets you automate custom workflows in your ticketing system. Check it out today. You can also book a personalized tour with a member of our team.  

Final Thoughts

An IT service desk is crucial for ensuring that organizations know what customers think of them, that corporate systems are functioning effectively, and that users have access to the support they need.

Check out Wrangle if you want to learn about automating your business processes in Slack.

This post was written by Iain Robertson. Iain operates as a freelance IT specialist through his own company, after leaving formal employment in 1997. He provides onsite and remote global interim, contract and temporary support as a senior executive in general and ICT management. He usually operates as an ICT project manager or ICT leader in the Tertiary Education sector. He has recently semi-retired as an ICT Director and part-time ICT lecturer at Ethiopian University.

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