Measuring Your HelpDesk

Often one of the more difficult things in running a help desk is measuring performance. It’s right up there with trying to find talented staff, but often doesn’t become an issue until everything else is in place.

If you’re part of a reasonably sized company, no doubt your employee reviews contain some sort of performance measurement, so everyone gets judged and maybe even rewarded. In some parts of the business, it’s fairly easy to measure an employee’s work e.g. marketing could get rated on new customers and the sales team by how many extra widgets you sold this month.

As a team offering a service, rather than a product, to their customers, the help desk team often solely gets scored on the number of phone calls or tickets they receive or close. Pretty soon these measurements will create behaviours among your staff trying to increase their performance in these metrics. Team members will go for the high volumes of the easy fixes, or calls that can get handed on to 2nd or 3rd level areas, to pump up their stats.

The only person who knows if your help desk are successful in each phone call or ticket is the customer on the other end. In some cases, it doesn’t matter if their issue was fixed in 30sec or 2 days, they might still be satisfied with the level of service they received. You must engage with these people as soon as possible when their issues are closed to get their input.

A simple survey is one of the best and simplest methods of collecting this performance data on your help desk. Most help desk management systems will include a survey option, but even if your’s doesn’t, it’s easy to create one using free tools or websites. However, it’s important to put some thought into the questions being asked, and not to ask too many questions. You must extract the most valuable data in around 10 simple questions – maximum.

Ideally you would be collecting survey information before and after any help desk changes, on a random basis, using the same (or very similar) questions over a few months or more. Changing questions renders data invalid for comparison and new data takes time to build before you can make decisions on it. Reading too much into the answers customers provide is easily done, hence why the questions need thought.

Data from surveys does not provide black-and-white stats like call numbers but is often more valuable in running a truly successful help desk. While you’re patting your team on the back for a month of great ticket volumes, you might find that your internal customers are unhappy, or worse, your external customers are heading to a competitor.

When judging performance we need to look at the complete picture before making decisions, and sometimes it’s just not easy. Missing information can affect the behaviour of your staff and the effectiveness of your business.

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