SupportWorld, Jan/Feb 2013

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ask the EXPERT by Roy Atkinson • Phone: "Eighty percent of calls will be answered in thirty seconds or less." Metrics, Standards, and Policies Q : We're planning to retool our SLA to include industry standard KPIs that lend themselves more toward customer contact than incident resolution. We're looking for information on the following: industry standard KPIs for the service/help desk, preferably for IT-related businesses; industry-standard service/help desk SLAs, preferably for IT-related businesses; and SLAs related to contact versus resolution (e.g., "The customer will be contacted within four hours."). Where might I find this information? a: Service level agreements should always be negotiated with those to whom the services will be delivered, and customers must agree to the service levels. Since every support center has different customers, the idea of an "industry standard" doesn't really apply. For a good foundation, I would recommend reading Steve Dreyer's excellent SupportWorld article on the topic, "Implementing an IT Support Metrics and KPI Program: A Practical Approach to Metrics and Key Performance Indicators" (November/ December 2009). One of the most common ways to align with your customers is to take a metric like average speed of answer and state in the SLA that "X percent of calls will be answered in X [time]." This same approach can be used for other channels, like email, chat, and so on. 18 | Suppor tWorld January / February 2013 • Email: "Customers will receive a response in four hours or less." • Chat: "We will respond to chat inquiries in fifteen seconds or less." You can see how support centers are performing with regard to these metrics in the 2012 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report, released in October. By breaking your performance down into actual versus target, your customers can see how you're doing and how many times the SLA has been breached (if it has at all). The range of relevant KPIs includes: • First contact/call resolution (almost every study shows that what customers want is a correct answer quickly, regardless of the channel of contact) • Mean time to resolve • Reopen rate (tickets that are reopened because they were closed prematurely or the applied fix didn't work) So, first, open up a dialogue with your customers and figure out what's important to them. Next, pick KPIs that align with their wishes and report actual versus target, similar to what you see in the 2012 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report (p. 54 in the digital edition, p. 56 in the PDF).

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