Most IT departments don’t know how much they spend on support. There are several metrics that come to mind when we talk about IT service management: call duration, resolution time, customer satisfaction, etc. However, there is one metric that stands above all others in importance, and that is the cost per ticket (CPT).
The cost per ticket is a mean average rather than a median average. As you will see in later calculations, it considers the total operating expenses and divides them by the number of tickets resolved.
Whether you have an in-house service desk or outsource it, knowing this metric will help you make better business decisions. That’s why here we’ll provide valuable information on this topic.
What is the cost per ticket?
The metric indicates the average cost of resolving a ticket. First, calculate the total service desk operating costs you had in a month. Then divide that number by the number of all tickets created in that month. This is the formula:
CPT = total operating cost / total number of tickets registered (opened, reopened)
When we talk about operating costs, we need to consider the main cost items of a service desk:
- Salaries and benefits for agents and indirect personnel such as team leaders, supervisors, managers, auditors, control and quality personnel, and even security personnel
- Technology and telecommunications costs include computer equipment, software licenses, and peripherals such as headsets, mice, etc
- Expenses for office use, rent, insurance, cleaning, and utilities
- Travel to the site, or visits to customers and training
The following chart shows the average weight each of these expense items has on total expenses in 2021:
The great forgotten in the formula: the loss of employee productivity
To calculate a more accurate CPT, we should also consider another important variable: the loss of productivity of employees. According to the Global IT Experience Benchmark published by HappySignals in 2021, end-users report that they wait for an average of 2 hours and 50 minutes for a resolution.
If we apply this lost productivity data to a company with 4,000 employees, we are talking about 11,333 lost productive hours per month. Annually, statistically, that’s 136,000 hours. If we use the average hourly wage of a worker in the United States in 2021 ($35) for this example, the annual lost productivity of this company’s employees due to IT incidents is $4,760,000.
Pay close attention to this productivity loss variable, as it often represents a cost even higher than the direct cost of support.
The balance between cost per ticket and customer satisfaction drives the service desk
Cost per ticket and customer satisfaction (CSAT indicator) are the two fundamental metrics in customer service and support. While CPT represents the cost of containing the problem, CSAT measures user satisfaction with the service desk.
The goal of a world-class service desk must be to find the perfect balance between cost and satisfaction levels.
How can you lower the cost per ticket without increasing pressure on the support team?
To lower CPT, you do not necessarily have to cut back on salaries, technology, or any of the above operating cost items. We’d like to share some strategies you can use if you want to reduce your CPT.
- Use all available staff. The more agents you have handling customer inquiries, the higher the productivity of the service desk. If the percentage of customer-facing agents is above 60%, you are well on your way to reducing CPT and achieving effective agent utilization.
- Increase the number of tickets that are resolved on the first call. This will help you reduce average handle time (AHT) and allow your agents to handle more requests.
- Implement a shift-left strategy. Give your Tier 1 team the opportunity to resolve as many tickets as possible and not escalate them to higher tiers where the CPT is much higher. We talked about this in one of our previous posts.
- Promote the most cost-effective channels. In the current multichannel or omnichannel models of the service desk, some channels are more cost-effective than others, so CPT varies widely by channel. The following table shows the average cost per ticket, differentiated by channel, using the United States as a reference. Do your research and decide which channels yield the best results for you.
- Automate your processes and workflows. Automation helps you improve ticket turnaround times by eliminating repetitive tasks and processes and minimizing human error. This way, agents can focus solely on providing value to customers and finding solutions.
- Combat absenteeism and job-hopping. The fewer employees available at your service desk, the more overtime you’ll have to pay, driving up operating costs. If you have high staff turnover, the cost of training new employees will also be higher. We recommend investing in professional development, coaching and work flexibility programs to counteract layoffs and absenteeism.
How can you reduce the cost per ticket with an in-house remote support tool?
Remote support solutions are the most powerful tools available to support staff to resolve all requests. In this last part of the article, we would like to show you how a professional remote support software like ISL Online can be your best ally in all your cost per ticket reduction strategies.
- Use all your available agents. ISL Online allows you to create three different chat distribution rules (Random, Round-Robin, Least Busy) to utilize all available agents and reduce wait times to 0.
- Resolve more tickets on the first call. A picture is worth a thousand words. So if support staff have access to the desktop of the user’s computer or device, they can identify problems immediately. In addition, ISL Online enables collaborative support with its remote session invite and transfer feature. This allows us to easily transfer the session to a more experienced technician or higher level while we resolve the user’s issue without wasting time.
- Remote support is key to your shift-left strategy. ISL Online helps agents resolve incidents and allows them to record a remote support session to document their work. This is key to training and empowering your agents and resolving most requests at the first levels of support. If you’d like to learn more about how to implement this strategy in your organization, here is a link to a post where we talked about it.
- Chat as an ideal support channel. Chat should be a fundamental channel in your service and support strategy. Not only does it ensure a good user experience by providing immediate answers, but it is also one of the most cost-effective channels as it allows agents to have multiple conversations at the same time. Not to mention, ISL Pronto Live Chat allows you to start a remote desktop session with a remote client with just one click. You can integrate ISL Pronto Chat with any corporate website or your ticket management tool.
- Automate all your support processes. ISL Online integrations with your ITSM ticket management tools will help you increase the productivity of all your employees, improve service levels and centralize all support processes.
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