It’s time to rethink the traditional support metrics, used by a majority of service desks to measure how successful they are. And the reason to that is the value that the support organization creates cannot be measured inside the support organization. The value is on a higher level, just as it should, and the support is creating real business value and not only internal support value. It is also time to stop focusing to much on activity, and instead start measuring the outcome of our activities.
The outcome and real business value is what we want. A challenge with this new metrics is that we are not used to measuring on this high level, and that it’s always easier to present what activities you do and then prove that you are creating business value outside the support organization.
The worst part of not measuring the outcome on a higher level is that the metrics can be contra productive and embrace the wrong behavior.
More and more service desks and support organizations are creating organizational value with the help of a healthy knowledge base that includes an effective self-service, frequently used by the customers. If this is working really well, the effect is that a big quantity of the easier tasks is solved by the user themselves with self-service, before becoming an incident in the service desk. The result of that is that the questions to service desk are more qualified and more advanced, and take longer time to answer. Good for your organization on a higher level, but probably challenges all your traditional service desk metrics.
A service desk that only measure metrics on a lower level will see all their metrics go the wrong way as a result of self service. Longer calls, lower number of cases solved, and higher escalation rate to level one and two. The cost per solved case will rice. But this is only an effect of measuring the wrong activites. Using self service requires new metrics for your support organization, like the ones below, to create and present real value to the organization.
Recommended new self-service measurements
Support cost as a percentage of total revenue – the ratio of support costs to total company revenue; used to normalize the cost of support in a dynamic environment. This is a good high level metrics.
Total number of solved cases – Measure the total number of solved incidents including self service. Self service is normally increasing the number of solved cases with 100-150%, if implemented right.
Customer satisfaction – how satisfied are your customer with the support on a higher level.
Call deflection – the value of solving customer issues on the web, for which they would otherwise have opened an incident. (This represents a small subset of the total customer success on the web.)
Self-service use – percentage of customers who use the web before opening an incident.
Self-service success – percentage of time customers find what they need on the web.
Time to publish – how long it takes for new issues to be posted to the web. This is important as a part of the KCS (Knowledge Centered Support) work and the knowledge lifecycle.
If your organization is increasing the use of self service, and you struggle with your traditional support metrics, it could be a sign that you are on the right track and that you actually create high level value to your organization. You should then start identifying which metrics to use. Hopefully some of the metrics above can be helpful.
The knowledge methodoloy KCS (Knowledge Centered Support) and Consortium of Service Innovation describes this really well, and I recommend reading the KCS Measurement Matters document for more information on how to measure the work in your support organization.
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If you want some additional reading, I recommend reading my popular blog post The Hero is The King – Not Content.
Per Strand –Founder and CEO, ComAround