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Service Desk Reporting and Analytics

Updated: Apr 26

Measuring performance with help desk reporting and analytics


In any business environment, measuring performance is vital to understanding how well your team is doing and whether the desired outcomes are achieved. Help desk metrics provide a quantitative way to assess your team's efficiency and effectiveness in handling customer inquiries, resolving issues, and ensuring overall customer satisfaction.



By tracking specific metrics, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in your team's performance and address them accordingly. Good help desk reporting and analytics will enable you to optimise your team's workflow, improve training efforts, and adjust your approach to problem-solving.


You're probably looking for metrics, KPIs and reports, so let's give you those up front, and then we'll look into methods and approaches.


Suggested Dashboard Metrics

Metric

Variants

Process Stage

Why?

# Incidents logged in the past 24 hours


# Incidents reported by customers

# Incidents logged by alerts

Record Incident

Measures levels of incoming incidents. Has there been a sudden rise? If so, what’s causing it?

Average first response time

By team

By Person

Classification & Assessment

This shows how quickly your help desk agents are responding to incidents on average, giving you insight into their responsiveness.

# Incidents waiting for first response

By priority

Classification & Assessment

What is the backlog build up of uncategorised tickets?

# Incidents approach SLA

n/a

Investigation & Recovery

Having a visual counter and ability to drill into this can help, but there is also an assumption that the ITSM will escalate any incidents approaching an SLA limit to a team leader.

# Open incidents


By team

By person

Investigation & Recovery

Helps identify if there are any backlogs building up in the system

# Incidents in resolved status


By team

By person

Contact Customer with Resolution

Captures how many tickets are waiting for user confirmation that issues are truly resolved

Average resolutions time

By team

By person

Contact Customer with Resolution

This reflects the time taken to resolve incidents, allowing you to gauge the efficiency of your help desk.

# Incidents closed in past 24 hours


By team

By person

Contact Customer with Resolution

Volumes of closed tickets coming through process. Is it significantly less that # in?

Suggested Daily Reports

Report

Variant

Why?

List of priority 1 & 2 incidents

Group by team / person

Shows a succinct list of high priority issues and if any need communication within the team or special attention.

Remember, a service / help desk should be tracking incidents across all teams on behalf of the customer.

Incidents that have been open beyond X days

Group by team / person

Looking specifically at the oldest open incidents and focusing on how to unblock them.

Incidents that are out of SLA ordered by priority and age

Group by team / person

Allows you to pick up on the issues that have failed SLA but in a prioritised list. Therefore you should look at what's top of the list and start to address them daily.

Suggested Key Performance Indicators (Monthly)

So, these are some suggestions in terms of the KPIs which you might want to consider for monthly review. These will show trends, especially as the data build each month. KPIs won't offer answers, and it is important to remember that; they will only trigger the questions.

KPI

Reason

Monthly incident volumes

To track the number of incidents occurring each month and identify any trends or changes in volume.

Incident resolution rate by SLA

To monitor how many incidents were resolved within the agreed-upon Service Level Agreement (SLA) timeframes and ensure that customer expectations are met.

Mean time to response

To measure the time it takes for a service desk to respond to incidents, which can impact customer satisfaction and service level agreements.

Mean time to resolve

To measure the average time it takes to resolve incidents, which can impact customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and compliance with SLAs.

Monthly SLA achievements by Priorities

To ensure that SLAs are being met based on the priority level of the incident and to identify any areas where improvements are needed.

Incidents by category

To track the types of incidents occurring and identify any patterns or trends in incident categories. This information can be used to focus on specific areas for improvement or resource allocation.

Escalation rate

To monitor the rate of incidents that require escalation to higher levels of support or management, which can indicate gaps in processes, knowledge, or resource allocation.

First contact resolution rate

To measure the percentage of incidents resolved during the initial contact with the service desk, which can impact customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. High first-contact resolution rates indicate effective training, processes, and tools.


Getting Started With Metrics


This section will discuss some of the most important help desk metrics you should monitor as a help desk manager.


These metrics will provide a comprehensive view of your team's performance and help you make informed decisions for improvement.


So, here are some of the big ones...


First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First Contact Resolution (also called 'First Time Fix Rate') measures the percentage of customer inquiries resolved during the initial interaction with a support analyst.


A high FCR rate indicates that your team efficiently addresses customer issues without requiring multiple interactions, increasing customer satisfaction and lessening the load on some of the other technical teams. To improve FCR, focus on training, providing up-to-date knowledge resources, and streamlining processes.


Average Handle Time (AHT)

Average Handle Time is the average time an analyst takes to resolve a customer issue, including the time spent interacting with the customer and any follow-up work.


While resolving issues quickly is important, be cautious of emphasising speed at the expense of quality support.


Balancing efficiency and thoroughness is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction.

To optimise AHT, review your team's processes, identify bottlenecks, and ensure agents have the necessary tools and resources.


Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction measures how satisfied your customers are with the support they receive from your help desk. This prevalent metric can be gathered through post-support surveys or direct feedback.


Tracking CSAT can help you identify trends in customer sentiment, which can be used to improve processes, training, and communication.



Addressing negative feedback and continually striving to enhance the customer experience is essential. But, again, we'll come back to customer satisfaction in a section on its own, as it's such a big bone to chew.


Ticket Volume and Backlog

Ticket Volume refers to the number of support tickets your help desk receives within a specific timeframe, while backlog represents the number of unresolved tickets at any given time.


Monitoring these metrics can help you assess your team's workload, identify trends in ticket volume, and allocate resources accordingly. In addition, managing backlog efficiently is crucial for ensuring customer issues are resolved promptly.



Time to Resolution

Time to Resolution measures the average time for a support ticket to be resolved, from the moment it's created until its closure. This metric provides insight into the efficiency of your help desk's issue resolution process.


To reduce resolution time, you can review and optimise workflows, ensure analysts have access to necessary resources, and invest in training to help analysts resolve issues more effectively.


Analyst Utilisation and Occupancy

Analyst Utilisation refers to the percentage of an analyst's working hours spent on handling customer inquiries, while Analyst Occupancy represents the proportion of time spent actively resolving tickets versus waiting for new tasks.


Monitoring these metrics helps you assess your team's capacity and productivity, ensuring you have the correct number of agents to manage workload effectively. This can lead to better resource allocation, workload balancing, and overall team performance.



 

Some Suggestions & Guidance

Don't Beat People Up With Metrics

people holding stop signs

Be careful about how data is published back to the team and how it is used. It shouldn't be weaponised, for example, "Our open incidents have gone up! Everyone work harder!" it should be "Our open incidents have risen steadily over the past month. Let's try to understand what's happening." KPIs are a tool for understanding, not a conclusion.


Identifying areas of improvement

Metrics can help you pinpoint areas where your help desk team is underperforming or struggling. By analysing trends in key performance indicators (KPIs), you can identify patterns that may indicate a need for additional training, improved processes, or resource reallocation. With this information, you can implement targeted improvements that will directly impact your team's performance and customer satisfaction.


Aligning team efforts with organisational goals

Help desk metrics can serve as a valuable tool for aligning your team's efforts with your organisation's broader goals. By establishing performance benchmarks and setting specific targets for your team, you can ensure everyone is working toward common objectives. This alignment fosters a sense of purpose and shared responsibility, driving your team to achieve individual and collective goals.


Senior management always loves it when you tie the objectives of the Help Desk or a process to the broader organisation's goals. A common goal is usually 'optimise and automate processes where possible'.


Ensuring customer satisfaction

At the heart of help desk management is a focus on customer satisfaction. We'll pick this up in the section specifically around customer satisfaction, but recognise its importance here.


Metrics provide an objective way to measure how well your team meets your customers' needs, allowing you to make informed decisions about improving the customer experience. By tracking key customer satisfaction metrics such as First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores, you can identify areas where your team excels and areas that require improvement, leading to a more satisfying customer experience.


Baseline as soon as possible

As soon as you can measure aspects of the service, do so. This will let you know how changes you make to processes, tools, services, or people impact performance. It also lets you understand what can be done and current performance levels rather than picking targets out of the air.


So many times, people set an SLA target of 95%, not knowing if that's achievable or not...


Only measure what you can measure

Too many people outline metrics or KPIs that sound great, but they have no way to measure them. So save the dreams for bedtime.


Keep it simple

I know, I keep saying this... but it's important.


When implementing an Incident Management system, the temptation is to start measuring everything. It is recommended that you resist the temptation and pick just a few KPIs or basic metrics that you are interested in, the results of which might drive behaviour.


Automate your reporting wherever possible.

You want to avoid manual reporting and collation of reports where possible.


Using reporting tools and analytics software to automate gathering and presenting data will save time and reduce errors. Most ITMS systems have them built in. If you are using something like SharePoint, then go straight to PowerBI.


Make your reports easy to understand

Use clear and concise language, avoid technical jargon, and present your data in a format that is easy to read and interpret. Use charts and graphs to help visualize the data.


Do share your reports with stakeholders

Share your reports with all relevant stakeholders, including management, help desk staff, and customers. This will help to promote transparency and collaboration.


Remember, you'll hold back if you think data is a weapon. But on the other hand, if the mindset is that data is an enabler, then it can help everyone to review it.


Keep an eye on trends in your data, both positive and negative.

It seems a bit obvious, or why measure anything, but trends can help you identify areas where improvements are needed or where you can capitalize on successes.


You need to put your analysis hat on, look at the data and say, 'What is it telling me?'.


Don't present data without context

Always provide context around your data. Explain what the data means, why it's essential, and how it can be used to improve performance.


Are there seasonal trends, specific points in the year where incident volumes drop, or lots of holiday impact resolution times?


Make sure any anomalies are highlighted and explained before someone draws their conclusions.


Investigate outliers

Look for outliers in your data, as they can provide valuable insights into areas where improvements are needed.


Continuously Improve

Maybe another statement of the obvious, but use your reporting and analytics to identify areas where improvements can be made and take action to address these areas. Then, continuously look for ways to improve your service desk reporting and analytics.





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