The mark of a successful business is satisfied customers. If a company can keep its customers happy, it has a greater chance of growing and moving forward. Since outstanding customer service is such a high priority, it makes sense to invest in help desk software that can help make delivering this easier.
Customer expectations are constantly on the rise. In fact, 66% of consumers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations right off the bat. This expectation cannot be met without the guidance and insights that help desk metrics provide. Measuring the success of both your help desk and your support team helps keep customer service standards high, and customers loyal and satisfied.
An array of informative data can be gathered from help desk software, so what are the key things to be looking for in order to gauge success? We’ve compiled this useful list of help desk metrics to measure support performance!
What Are Help Desk KPIs & Metrics
Tracking performance is vital in steering your business and its employees in the right direction. Thankfully, this data analysis-heavy task has never been easier. Service desk metrics can be accurately recorded in the background, whilst your support team is busy helping customers with the use of a comprehensive and robust help desk.
Learning the difference between KPIs and metrics is crucial for ensuring you track and measure the performance of your support teams correctly. Whilst the two are very similar, they are not identical and can be used in different ways. A helpful sentence to memorize is: All KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs.
Here’s where everything will become much clearer. A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s something that allows you to measure the progress of your business based on specific goals.
Selecting the right KPIs isn’t always easy, but the operative word is “key”. They should be relevant to your business and the goals it is aiming to achieve. A good example of a KPI might be customer satisfaction rating, or customer retention. Measuring KPIs enables businesses to map out their strategic journey towards growing and moving forward.
Unlike KPIs, metrics are quantitative measurements which focus closely on specific business activities or processes. Whilst KPIs have a higher-level perspective and relate to a broader vision, metrics relate more to the operational level of things.
Usually, metrics are only relevant to the specific department they are measuring, and tend to remain relatively static. Metrics feed into KPIs, taking daily or weekly data and using it to inform whether a KPI is on track.
Why Help Desk Metrics Matter
Measuring help desk performance is crucial for understanding how effectively support is being provided to customers. Help desk metrics can provide insights into how long it takes to resolve customer issues, how many tickets are being processed, and how satisfied customers are with the support they receive. By tracking and analyzing these metrics, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize support operations.
How Are Help Desk Metrics Calculated?
In order to know whether your help desk has everything you need, or whether your support team is performing, you need to know how to calculate metrics.
Since metrics are based in quantitative terms, calculating each one is just like doing a mathematical sum. Let’s look at the metric first contact resolution (FCR) as an example. This metric is perfect for feeding into customer satisfaction KPIs, since customers value their issues being resolved quickly. Companies should aim for an FCR rate of 70% or higher. To calculate this percentage, simply take the number of FCR cases, and divide it by the overall number of tickets that week, month, or whichever timeframe you are measuring. If you had 1000 tickets in a week, and 600 of them were FCR, your rate would be 60%.
Now, manually calculating every single metric across your customer service department would be a never ending task. Fortunately, help desk software can do this legwork for you, generating reports with all the necessary calculations and rates ready to view.
Although the extracting of data and compiling of reports can be handled by service desk systems, it’s still down to people to decide which metrics they track. To help you know which to follow, here are some key help desk metrics to measure support performance.
Identify the number of tickets your service team has received during a certain timeframe can uncover an array of helpful insights that can improve performance. Understanding ticket volume can help show the peak times that your team is likely to be at its busiest. As such, provisions can be made, like ensuring extra agents are available during that peak time.
Tracking ticket volume can help businesses identify spikes in support requests, allowing teams to adjust staffing levels and prioritize ticket processing accordingly. Workload metrics, such as the number of tickets per agent, can help managers ensure that support teams are not overloaded and are able to provide quality support to each customer.
If the ticket volume is higher than expected or hoped, it may be wise to consider looking at the self-service customer help available. Improved knowledge portals could enable customers to resolve issues themselves, reducing the amount of tickets received by agents. It’s important to remember that, when viewing metrics, there are qualitative considerations that should be taken into account. Some queries may simply require that highly valued human contact.
First Response Time
Customers, particularly if your business is global, expect to be able to receive assistance in some form 24/7. First response time is a metric that is directly within the control of your service team.
First response time (FRT) measures how quickly a support team responds to a customer’s initial inquiry. Research shows that FRT is a critical metric for customer satisfaction, with one study finding that 53% of customers expect a response within an hour of submitting a ticket. FRT is typically measured in minutes or hours, and a low FRT indicates that a help desk is providing timely support to customers.
Not every query will be resolved during the first contact. But, for customer service that exceeds expectations, a speedy first response, regardless of whether it solves the issue, will delight the customer and improve overall satisfaction. Providing at least an acknowledgement lets customers know their query has been noted, if not immediately investigated. Nobody likes feeling like they’re talking to a brick wall, after all.
It’s better to be open with customers about longer first response times. During peak times, when ticket volume tends to be its highest, it’s worth letting customers know that they may be waiting slightly longer than usual.
Once a case has been opened by a support agent, resolution time is a metric that can help track how long it takes for cases to be solved. This is a simple metric to calculate, and can be done for a range of time periods. Simply find the number of resolved tickets in that time period, and divide it by the number of tickets received in that period.
This metric is vital for knowing how long customers generally have to wait to have their query solved. As this has a direct impact on the customer experience, it’s a metric and KPI that should be closely measured. Longer resolution time can suggest a number of things, including the potential need for further agent training. Or, it could indicate that the ticket logging process needs to be updated and adjusted.
First Contact Resolution
Ideally, a business should aim for their support team to be able to resolve tickets after just one interaction. This is a metric known as first contact resolution (FCR). It’s a view commonly held that the higher your FCR, the higher your customer satisfaction levels. A query must be solved during the first interaction, and within the SLAs outlined by your business. This means that if a call takes 45 minutes to resolve a simple query, it won’t go towards the FCR.
Comprehensive and thorough training of support agents can result in a higher FCR rate. If support staff is able to access the necessary information quickly, as well as stay informed of any product or company updates, there is less need for back and forth or escalations.
Tickets Open vs Tickets Solved
A great help desk metric to measure support performance is the number of tickets open vs tickets solved. These two stats should be around parallel with one another, with some room for fluctuation allowed.
If these two numbers are vastly different, this could alert you to some areas that may need addressing. For example, if the number of tickets solved is drastically lower than expected, it may suggest the need for improved efficiency across service. Additional training or resources could then be given to help tickets get solved more consistently.
Average Handling Time
The SLAs set by your business should be met by every one of your support agents. Otherwise, you’re breaking promises made to your customers, which is sure to lead to reduced levels of satisfaction. A metric to measure the performance of agents, and see whether they are maintaining SLAs, is average handling time (AHT).
Getting to grips with your AHT can demonstrate how much effort is required by agents to handle tickets. A good benchmark AHT to aim for in tier 1 support tickets is around 20 minutes. This includes actual call time, hold time, and any work done after the call or interaction. Understanding this metric can inform the level of resources required to complete a ticket.
Ticket Backlog/Backlog Prediction
Another amongst the list of IT service desk metrics to measure is ticket backlog. This refers to the building queue of tickets, which occurs if you are receiving more tickets than can be handled. Understandably, backlog should be kept minimal or avoided altogether.
Tracking backlogs can prepare you in the future, letting you know to utilize additional resources during busy periods. Equally, keeping an eye on ticket backlogs can indicate whether your current help desk solution is right for your business. If ticket queues continue to worsen, it’s probably time to seek out a help desk that offers customizable automated features. This way, pressure can be alleviated from support agents, by automating simple tasks and responses.
Customer Satisfaction Rate
Perhaps one of the most important metrics and KPIs for a help desk to measure, customer satisfaction rate, lets you know whether your agents are delivering quality service and delighting customers.
This metric usually comes in the form of the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). The happier the customers are, the higher this score is. Since customer satisfaction is the driving force and ultimate motivation for support teams, it’s a crucial metric to track. Additionally, customer satisfaction rate has an impact on KPIs across an organization. Customer service has an influence over sales, marketing, and other departments. This is why close attention should be paid to the CSAT score in order to grow a business successfully.
So much emphasis is placed on customer satisfaction that agent satisfaction can, all too often, be overlooked. This would be a mistake, as happier agents are more inclined to provide stand-out customer service and be shining ambassadors of a company.
Higher agent satisfaction can also reduce costs. If employee turnover and absenteeism is greater, more time and money is required for hiring and training support staff.
This metric can be measured similarly to customer satisfaction, although usually less frequently. Monthly or bi-annual surveys can be sent out across customer service teams, helping to gather insights and feedback relating to agents’ experiences of work.
Cross-referencing agent satisfaction with other metrics provides a clearer picture of motivation levels within your service teams. Low levels of agent satisfaction can be remedied with professional development programs, incentives and bonuses, as well as rewards for excellent performance.
Escalation rates measure the percentage of tickets that are escalated to a higher level of support. High escalation rates may indicate that front-line support staff are not equipped to handle certain types of issues, or that there are gaps in training or knowledge. Businesses can use escalation rates to identify areas where additional training or resources may be needed, and to improve overall support efficiency.
Measure Support Performance with Wavity
Looking for an effective help and service desk solution for your business? Knowing the top help desk metrics to measure support performance is all well and good, but are they currently available to you? A robust help desk software can track all relevant customer service metrics, as well as compile data into insightful reports, and even analyze findings.
You don’t need to spend huge amounts on expensive developers, or even possess any complex coding knowledge. With fantastic SaaS help desk tools, simply drag and drop the applications you need to build a fully customized service desk. Wavity makes it easy for your service teams to work collaboratively, resolve tickets faster, and improve overall customer service without any stress.
Whether you’re a growing business that needs help scaling, or you’re just looking to upgrade your help desk solution, see how Wavity can help today!