Help desks can be some of the most active departments in any organization. Tracking metrics is a fundamental process in customer support, allowing managers and staff to track the effectiveness of their operations. Using metrics and reporting to visualize the impact of internal improvements can keep priorities clear among your team.
Today's help desks are comprised of new devices, services, and software that have been implemented to increase customer engagement. Making sense of all these changes would be nearly impossible without clear metrics that help you understand the context for any improvement. Some help desk metrics can also be used as industry benchmarks to measure your capabilities against competitors.
A standard performance management best practice is to utilize a series of different metrics. By not focusing on any individual measurement, your team can review a complete picture of your operation. To help you select the figures for your reporting, we will examine six valuable help desk metrics that are useful for most situations.
Cost Per Ticket
The cost per ticket is an essential metric for any customer support department. It's a precise measure of the overall cost for your service operation as related to your throughput. To calculate the cost per ticket, divide your total operating expenses by the number of tickets received. This metric is usually compiled and reported monthly for easily tracking trends during the year. Monitoring the cost per ticket and comparing it to other KPI trends can help you understand if your help desk efforts are having a positive impact on customer engagement and customer satisfaction goals.
Tracking the total help desk ticket volume is the best way to monitor the overall demand on your support team. It’s a count of the total number of tickets submitted over any timeframe. The ticket volume can help you plan resources as numbers grow or shrink. The data can also indicate an increase in users or a spike in requests due to a product issue.
Total conversations is a similar metric that includes all forms of engagement with customers across multiple channels, from official support tickets to social media communications. However, it can include irrelevant data, such as tweets your company receives that don't require a response. Ticket volume is a more granular metric, focusing on official help desk requests, making it easier to derive actionable insights.
Average Resolution Time
According to a recent Service Desk Institute report, the average resolution time is a popular metric used by about two-thirds of help desk operations. Nearly all companies track their ticket volume, but resolution time is a helpful metric for measuring the efficiency of service, rather than focusing on just quantity.
Resolution time is the length of time from when an agent opens a ticket to when the ticket is closed. This data can be easily extracted from your service desk software platform and is most useful as an internal benchmark for tracking the impact of efficiency improvements.
Time to First Response
Understanding how long your customers need to wait for a reply can be another valuable insight for your team. Time to first response describes the length of time between the receipt of a service request and the first contact with the customer. Rather than sending a generic message, many experts recommend using a quick but personalized first response. Making a positive first impression is easier when you provide some additional details, even if they are not fully resolved at that time.
Tickets Opened vs. Tickets Resolved
Tickets opened vs. tickets resolved is a metric that represents the ratio of the number of tickets your help desk staff open compared to the number of tickets they resolve. Typically measured weekly, this metric helps identify trends in ticket volume. Generally, the trend lines for each data point should be parallel. If the gap widens with the number of tickets resolved dropping, you should consider finding ways to boost efficiency or hire additional staff. A sudden increase in the number of tickets opened could indicate a service delivery issue or another problem that needs to be addressed.
Customer satisfaction is one of the most-discussed topics for service teams across all industries. To measure customer satisfaction (CSAT), you typically provide a question directly to customers asking them to rate your service from a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low satisfaction and 5 being high. Once you have a baseline, you can track your data over time to identify any triggers that may have caused a change.
Sending short CSAT surveys asking customers to rate their service immediately after ticket resolution helps to identify successful customer interaction. For low CSAT ratings following a help desk interaction, you can dig deeper to determine why the customer wasn’t satisfied and take steps to improve, such as taking action to retain the customer or developing a more effective resolution for similar customer issues. In addition to CSAT, other metrics such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES) can provide more insights into customer satisfaction.
Consistently reviewing your help desk metrics is an effective way to improve your decision making and keep your team informed. Any improvements made to team processes or capabilities can be managed with a focus on impacting your essential metrics. Customer service requires an intense devotion to your help desk activities, and the right help desk metrics can help measure your impact.