IT service desk metrics are quantifiable indicators of performance that inform IT leaders about the efficiency and outcomes of support operations. By focusing on the right metrics, navigating the challenges of accelerating digital transformation and coming out on the winning side is possible.
10 IT Service Desk Metrics to Measure
Even if you adhere to overall SLAs, deep-diving into key IT service desk metrics can help identify valuable improvement opportunities. These metrics include:
1. Recategorized incidents/reclassified tickets
The metric for recategorized incidents, the proportion of misdiagnosed incidents relative to the overall number of tickets, is calculated as the count of misdiagnosed incidents at their origination. Instances may arise where automated software tools or front-line customer service agents must correctly identify defects. To further improve this metric, IT teams may purge or discard specific incident categories and subcategories – right at the outset – enabling accurate data collection.
2. Incidents responded within the target
How quickly you react to reported incidents significantly impacts user satisfaction and the impression of IT as a reliable entity among business users. Informing patrons (or your users) that their concerns have been documented and are currently being reviewed is a great first move.
You need to benchmark the percentage of tickets received that you can feasibly respond to within a specified timeframe – e.g., 85% of issues should receive a response in under 2 hours. Then, compare the actual response efficiency with your target.
A favorable situation is when this metric is static or ascending. However, any substantial or protracted decline could call for alterations. Ensure that you exceed expectations by achieving predetermined service level objectives. Aim to boost your success rate continuously through automation, training, more innovative ticket routing systems, and scaling up IT service teams.
3. Ticket volumes
Ticket volume denotes the number of requests or incidents the IT department receives and handles during a specified period. In essence, it evaluates the efficacy and workload of support personnel. Imagine a scenario where the number of tickets is routinely high. This could suggest additional resources to help the team manage the workload. Also, this might indicate latent issues contributing to an unusually high volume of incidents or requests.
4. Lost business hours
Most IT departments monitor service availability to assess the service agents’ overall performance. Sometimes, even if service availability levels are high, the impact of having lost a client continues to be a thorn in the flesh.
Even with a service availability of 99.9%, the business will incur annual losses over eight hours. Monitoring lost business hours brings to light the loss and its effects on the organization.
This metric can be improved by educating IT teams on the possible repercussions of SLA violations, such as revenue loss and lost business hours. This helps prioritize issue resolution and route resources where the business needs it the most.
5. Predicted backlogs
Another critical metric that warrants consideration by a service desk manager or an ITSM help desk manager is the building up of tickets in their support queue. The accumulation of pending requests beyond the capacity to process every week represents a backlog.
Setting up automated protocols while offering a comprehensive knowledge base is an effective strategy to address this issue. Further, you can encourage support staff to proactively tackle ticket backlogs when they have free bandwidth. Whenever suitable, the expected backlog can facilitate retrospective analysis and scheduling for the future.
Robust ITSM tools can determine which individuals or teams are lagging. They can forecast a projected spike or decline in ticket volumes, which can be used to allocate and plan resources correctly.
6. Incident escalation
The overall number of incidents addressed by Level 2 or 3 team members represents escalated incidents. An upward trend in this IT service metric may indicate deficiencies in the skill sets of front-line employees. A rise in escalated incidents could signify the need to broaden your range of services to accommodate more complex and layered requests.
7. First contact resolution (FCR)
FCR quantifies the percentage of service requests or incidents resolved effectively during the first interaction with the IT service department. This is an essential metric as it denotes the team’s capability to promptly and effectively resolve issues.
A high FCR means the team successfully resolves most problems during the initial interaction, positively influencing customer satisfaction. Further, redundant service center calls – all dealing with one situation – are minimized.
8. Mean time to resolution
The mean duration needed to deal with a service request or incident is quantified by this crucial metric, representing IT support’s efficacy. A low MTTR indicates that the team is quickly fixing issues and mitigating incidents’ operational ramifications.
Most organizations use priority levels; therefore, an expected MTTR for a severity one priority is considerably lower than that of a severity four priority. By tracking MTTR, you can ensure you meet these specific SLA terms and conditions.
9. Reopened tickets
Think of a situation in which the user must reactivate a closed ticket because of the incident’s ongoing state or the solution’s temporary character. In this case, a drop in this metric is favorable; customers acknowledge that the issue has been satisfactorily resolved. A sporadic surge can suggest an isolated anomaly, but many reopened tickets indicate that the IT service desk has missed an important issue.
To address this in the long term, IT leaders need to investigate persistent trends in reopened tickets and identify the root cause of the issue, such as an unknown bug or process bottleneck. It may also indicate poor employee performance, which can be rectified through training and a more robust knowledge base.
10. Cost per ticket
Cost per ticket represents the mean expense incurred when addressing an IT support ticket. It helps businesses understand the financial ramifications of their IT support functions and can offer insights for resource allocation and efficiency-related decision-making. For example, a reduction in the cost per ticket after implementing a new support tool or procedure may be perceived as proof that the investment was beneficial.
To determine this, divide the aggregate expense incurred in delivering IT support across a specified timeframe, covering software, hardware, salaries, and other relevant components, by the total count of resolved tickets over that period.
IT Leaders Need to Avoid the “Watermelon Metric” Pitfall
The “watermelon effect” refers to scenarios in which end-user dissatisfaction with the IT service delivery and support they receive persists despite SLA being fulfilled.
Therefore, just like a watermelon, the stated performance looks green at the surface but reveals a shade of red underneath when cracked open.
A monthly reporting bundle is put together by most IT teams and is shared with critical business and IT stakeholders. While there may be the occasional lost target, most of these are “green.” The internal or external IT service provider meets almost all their agreed-upon targets, and the performance is considered satisfactory.
However, if customer or user satisfaction is low and there is a dip in business revenues, the IT service team is actually in the red. It means that the IT organization is consistently falling short of the experience the end-user expects, and that’s a worrying trend in the long run.
To avoid watermelon metrics, IT service desks need to measure customer satisfaction in addition to technical and quantifiable metrics. Measuring a metric called experience level agreements (XLA) can be an effective answer to this pitfall.
XLAs focus on customer-centric metrics like net promoter score (NPS), customer effort score (CES), and open-ended feedback to understand the overall quality of experience the average user receives. This, combined with quantifiable IT service desk metrics, paints a more accurate picture of your operational outcomes than the latter alone.
In Conclusion: Utilizing IT Service Desk Software to Measure and Report on Metrics
In an era of advanced ITSM tools, there’s no excuse for not building a data-driven service desk function. Enterprise-grade solutions like ManageEngine, ServiceNow, Jira, and others include powerful analytics capabilities that let you monitor these 10 IT service desk metrics.
You could even leverage a supercharged collaboration platform like Microsoft Teams to power your service desk. By keeping a watch on the key metrics – both on a quantifiable and customer-centric level – you can make better decisions about IT service delivery and maximize your resources.