The key performance metrics you should know about if you work in tech support

It’s common knowledge that all major business decisions need to be backed up with numbers. Your help desk is no exception. A help desk key performance indicator, or KPI for short, is a metric you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your customer support. Tracking the right service desk metrics allows you to identify weaknesses and strengths of your support and improve your business, as well as build customer loyalty.

To help you get started with KPIs and take your help desk to the next level, in this article we will introduce you to the top 5 help desk KPIs that measure agent performance and user satisfaction.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

No KPI has a greater impact on customer satisfaction than resolving the issue on the first call. Some research even goes so far as to say that every 1% improvement in FCR leads to a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction.

FCR is the percentage of tickets that are resolved by the service desk during the first interaction with the customer. When we talk about calls or chats, these are all incidents that are resolved before the customer hangs up the call or ends the chat. On the other hand, if we are talking about registered emails or tickets, these are counted as resolved during the first call if the cases are resolved within the first working hour.

Ticket Handle Time

Ticket handle time is the average time an agent spends on each service desk ticket they open. It includes talk and chat time, remote assistance, logging, follow-up, and resolution notes.

The ticket is the basic unit of work of a service desk. Therefore, the average ticket handle time is the amount of work required to complete a unit of work. At the same time, it is an indirect measure of the complexity of a ticket. For example, while a ticket for a password reminder may take only 2 minutes to process, another ticket involving an enterprise application issue may take 15 minutes or more. According to MetricNet benchmark data, the average enterprise handle time is 8.6 minutes.

First response time (FRT)

This is a classic KPI when it comes to managing your help desk. It measures the average wait time for a customer to open a chat and be served by a support agent, excluding abandoned chats and automated responses.

FRT is important to your business because it provides insight into how accessible the service desk is and directly impacts customer satisfaction. Customers don’t like to be kept waiting and appreciate responsive support. This metric can give you a good idea of how many employees you need to provide responsive support.

However, you cannot take FRT for granted. There is a belief in the industry that the more we can shorten FRT the better, but beware! That would be true if shorter response times were free, but that’s not the case. In fact, there is a significant cost associated with shortening response times. Let me give you an example. Imagine that your FRT takes 40 seconds and your average cost per ticket is $25. You want to reduce the response time and hire 5 additional L1 agents in your support team. This way you manage to shorten FRT to 20 seconds, but at the same time increase the average cost per ticket to $30. Before you decide, weigh whether it’s worth it.

Support Agent Utilization (AU)

Measuring agent utilization is one of the most important levers for managing and controlling service desk costs. As we explained in our previous article on cost per ticket, support agent salaries account for more than half of total service desk costs. So when agent utilization is high, the cost per ticket is lower, and vice versa, when agent utilization is low, the cost per ticket increases.

To accurately calculate agent utilization, variables such as work days, breaks, vacation days, and sick days would need to be considered. However, there is a simple formula that provides a very good approximation of agent utilization.

Source: MetricNet

In very simple terms, if an agent works 4 hours on support tickets during their 8-hour shift, their utilization is 50% (4 productive hours/8 capacity hours). According to the MetricNet benchmarking database, the average agent utilization for service desks worldwide is about 48%.

Be careful not to push agent utilization too high (once it approaches 60%, it’s no longer healthy), as this means you are putting too much pressure on agents and leading to higher agent turnover. This can ultimately lead to higher service desk costs.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This indicator allows us to measure the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers. Its goal is to determine the likelihood that a person will recommend our company, brand, product or service to others.

You can calculate the NPS score by asking all your customers to rate your service on a scale of 0 to 10 by asking a simple question “How likely is it that you would recommend our service to a friend or colleague?”. Based on their answers, your customers will be divided into three categories:

  • Promoters: customers who rate your service a 9 or 10. These are very satisfied and loyal customers who will recommend your company’s support to others.
  • Passives: customers who rate your service a 7 or 8. These are satisfied but not loyal customers. They would possibly opt for another support source if offered.
  • Detractors: customers who rate your service a 6 or less. These are dissatisfied customers who may spread negative word of mouth.

To calculate the NPS formula, you must completely exclude passive customers and convert promoters and detractors into percentages.

Source. MetricNet

An NPS that rises above 50% is an excellent result. Any positive number is a good result, while a negative NPS means you need to do something about it.

What influence does professional remote support have on the KPIs of the helpdesk?

Remote support software is the most commonly used tool by support departments to resolve all technical issues reported by customers. It is also one of the fundamental tools to ensure the continuity of IT services and business operations. Given the importance of this enterprise software, it is not surprising that it can have a direct impact on the help desk’s business metrics and KPIs.

How can you improve first contact resolution rate?
Remote support software allows an agent to see the remote screen and control the remote computer. This alone results in faster identification of the problem and its resolution. In addition, remote support software such as ISL Online offers a number of features, such as administrator mode, remote computer reboot, file management and remote system information, that make agents’ work more efficient and contribute to a higher first-contact resolution rate. If we need to escalate the support case to another technician at a higher level, we can use features such as “Transfer Session” or “Invite New Operator” to ensure that another technician joins the session immediately and resolves the issue in that first interaction without interrupting the ticket.

How can you reduce ticket handle time?
Automating support processes is essential to maintaining a profitable and continuous improvement of your help desk. ISL Online provides you with a fully integrated and automated solution for conducting your chats and remote sessions that not only helps you resolve tickets in less time, but also centralizes all the information and documentation of the case.

You can start an ISL Light remote desktop session with just one click from ISL Pronto Live Chat. Your customer simply clicks on the link, allows the connection to their computer and you are connected.

How to shorten the first response time?
We all know how important it is to make a good first impression. If we can provide a good customer experience from the start and make sure our customers are not waiting in line to get support, that’s our first win. With its automatic chat assignment feature, ISL Pronto Live Chat helps you minimize wait times for your customers by automatically routing them to a specialized agent based on the nature of their inquiry or incident.

The information displayed on the live dashboard (the image above) is automatically updated and includes (from left to right):

  • The number of active chats and the total number of chats predicted for a given day.
  • Chat Success. A percentage shows the number of answered chats versus the number of unanswered chats on a given day.
  • The percentage of resources used. A pie chart shows the number of active chats, calculated from the maximum number of chats and the number of available supporters.
  • Chat activities on a given day.

How can you make better use of your agents?
If you want to maximise your agents’ engagement and the number of tickets they handle per day, you need to provide them with the right tools. Support tools like live chat and remote support software allow them to handle multiple customers at once and shorten the customer queue. An ISL Online license with the multisession option enabled allows an agent to start multiple remote sessions from one computer and connect to more than one remote computer at a time.

With ISL Pronto live chat, an agent can answer one or more support calls from customers.

How can you measure customer satisfaction?
With ISL Online, you can send your customers a short survey at the end of each live chat or remote support session, or simply ask them to rate your support service. This way, you and your agents will get valuable information about customer satisfaction and can suggest improvements that will help you turn more of your customers into promoters who can become ambassadors for your company.

The main role of a help desk is to provide timely and appropriate assistance to your end users with their problems and inquiries. By familiarising yourself with KPIs and measuring the right ones, you can make data-driven decisions for a help desk service you’ll be proud of.

Are there other KPIs you think we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

To try out ISL Light, start a fully-featured 15-day free trial.

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