SupportWorld, Jan/Feb 2013

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ask the EXPERT a: There actually aren't any "industry standards" for the metrics Members, you can view the 2012 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report online or on your smartphone/tablet, or you can download a free PDF. you specified. Standards are set by official bodies (an example would be 802.11n for Wi-Fi); what we report on are industry averages or medians. You can find the full set of metrics we report on in the 2012 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report. In it you will see that first call resolution, defined as "an issue resolved at any level as long as it is resolved on the initial call," comprises 66 percent of all tickets, 68.9 percent of incidents, and 66.2 percent of service requests. The target for all tickets is 72.6 percent. (Note: These statistics are for phone only.) Q: Do you have any information on how corporations handle IT support specialists requesting a user's password? This is a huge security issue for my firm. a: The first rule of passwords is, "Never share a password." Obtaining user passwords is an extremely bad practice for many reasons, but let me cite just three: Abandon rate varies between industries, from four percent in manufacturing to nine percent in government. Customer satisfaction likewise varies from industry to industry; in retail, 36 percent of customers are very satisfied, compared to 55 percent of insurance customers. Overall, 43.7 percent of customers are very satisfied and 48.9 percent are satisfied. On a scale of one to five, where very satisfied is a five and satisfied is a four, 92.6 percent of customers fall in the four-to-five range. • If I have your password, I may be considered equally responsible for the content of your data store. For example, if I have your password and you engage in criminal activity using your computer, I could be held equally responsible because it would be difficult to tell which one of us did what. Your technicians shouldn't be putting themselves in that position. • Encouraging users to hand over passwords conditions them to believe that this is acceptable, sanctioned behavior. One day, someone masquerading as being "from IT" could easily obtain passwords simply by asking. • What could a fired technician do with users' passwords? (I don't think I need to answer that for you.) Obviously, this practice should be avoided at all costs. If technicians need to access a user's account, they should ask the user to log in. In some cases, a technician may need to reset a user's password, do the work, and then have the user immediately change his or her password. However, consider instead having a technician account on every computer so that upgrades/installs can be done without breaking the shared-password rule. For documentation, refer to the SANS Institute's Password Policy template (, especially section 4.2B. Q : What are the industry standards for first call resolution, customer satisfaction, and abandon rate (phone)? | Q : We have expanded our hours of operation to include Saturday and Sunday shifts (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Do you have any data on what organizations typically pay for shift differentials? a: Shift differentials vary according to geographic location, company policy, and more. Your HR department should have information about what other departments in your organization are paying for shift differentials (if any), as well as information about going rates in your area. And while we don't have hard industry data on shift differentials, you may wish to reference the April 2011 HDI Research Corner report, "On-Call Practices." Members can download a free copy of this report at About the Author Roy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst. He is a certified HDI Support Center Manager and a veteran of both small business and enterprise consulting, service, and support. In addition, he has both frontline and management experience. Roy is a member of the conference faculty for the HDI 2013 Conference & Expo and is known for his social media presence, especially on the topic of customer service. He also serves as the chapter advisor for the HDI Northern New England local chapter. A Professional Journal for the Technical Service and Support Community 19

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