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Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

IT Help Desk and Customer Service Metrics and Reports

Here are some metrics to measure your help desk and customer service operation by:

What kind of help desk or customer support organization are you running? As you can see the cost per call is significantly different. This will impact the Return on Investment (ROI) of your help desk or customer support organization. Of course, the strategic stage help desk has the highest customer service and the highest first call resolution rate.  Customers also call the help desk or customer service organization less often as the strategic organization has taken many proactive steps to reduce call volume by addressing the root cause of calls to the help desk or customer service organization.

 

help-desk-bar

Reprinted from CIO Magazine

Here are two great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/customer-service-best-practices.htm

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/help-desk-best-practices.htm

Measure Results -Strategic Customer Service and IT Help Desk

Here's the last thought on making your customer service or help desk strategic:

 

> Demand accountability and measure individual agent performance. Every help desk must operate with a sense of urgency. Individual agents must be measured against a set of performance goals such as calls per month, customer satisfaction and first-call resolution rate. By establishing individual goals in each area, a manager can ensure that agents are both efficient and effective in delivering service.

Meet with users. Close the cycle. Internal marketing improves customer satisfaction—even without any improvement in the variables typically associated with happy customers: average speed of answer, call abandonment rate and first-call resolution rate.

Becoming strategic doesn’t happen overnight. In most cases, the process takes one to two years. Additionally, the cost of support often increases during the transition phase. If you are prepared for this and are willing to stick with it, the rewards of being world class will more than justify any short-term increase in cost.

 

Some related white papers on this topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Strategic IT Help Desk and Customer Service

Here are 2 more thoughts on how to make your help desk or customer service center strategic:

> Establish performance goals. Goal setting is a necessity in any project undertaken to improve help desk performance. At the very lease, the help desk should have performance goals for customer satisfaction, cost per call, call abandonment rate, service-level compliance, first-call resolution rate and cycle time.

> Focus on customer communication. Failure to manage customer expectations may be the most common problem in the industry. Over communicate with users—before, during and after each call—to ensure that their expectations are properly set. Every user should have a copy of the help desk SPL. During any call, make sure users are advised where they stand in prioritization. First-come, first-served queuing can work when there is no backlog of callers, but all users throughout the enterprise should be appraised that the company’s business needs are key to any incident severity ranking system and projected resolution time. Finally, when closing an incident, agents should ask callers for some quick feedback on help desk performance.

 

Here are some great white papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

IT Help Desk and Customer Service Software (ROI)

Giva may be able to significantly increase the Return-On-Investment (ROI) of your current Help Desk or Customer Service call tracking and reporting system.  In order to help you determine this, Giva hired an independent 3rd party to build a Best Practices ROI Model that will enable you to compare your current help desk or customer service software system to Giva. We need some inputs from you so that we can run them through our ROI calculation model.

After you provide some inputs, Giva will perform an ROI analysis and our professional services organization will summarize the results for you in a custom report. We know that you will find this ROI Analysis Report very helpful to justify whether Giva will generate a higher ROI than your current system.

Please take a few moments to read Steps 1, 2 and 3 and quickly review the entire Excel and let me know if you have any questions before you go off and start the exercise.

Open up a request and ask us for the Return-On-Investment (ROI) Excel tool at https://www.givainc.com/sales.htm

IT Help Desk Reactive, Transition or Strategic?

Here are 10 questions that will help you determine whether your help desk is reactive, in transition or strategic.

1. Have help desk managers created and distributed a supported product list (SPL) so that callers and agents can share an identical understanding of the help desk’s boundaries of responsibility? READ MY LIPS: STANDARD HARDWARE, STANDARD SOFTWARE, CDOE (COMMON DESKTOP OPERATING ENVIRONMENT)

2. Has help desk management established a SLA (Service Level Agreement) with customers and is all of the IT organization measured by it?

3. Does the help desk play an active advisory role in critical IT functions such as change management, product development and purchasing?

4. Do help desk agents log ALL calls, track the number of incidents that are escalated outside of the help desk department and calculate the percentage of calls that result in a technician being dispatched?

5. Do help desk agents capture problem solutions in a reusable knowledge base?

6. Does the help desk use continuous, event-driven surveys to measure customer satisfaction?

7. Does the help desk post key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, first-call resolution and call cycle time?

8. Do help desk agents have performance goals in these areas?

9. Do help desk agents practice continuous planning in order to reduce costly call volumes?

10. Do help desk personnel meet with key customer groups at least annually to explain important help desk services and offerings?

 

If you answered yes to eight or more questions, congratulations. You have a strategically mature help desk. Less than 20 percent of all desks fall into this category. If you answered yes to least five but fewer than eight questions, you likely have a transitional desk. Most fall into this category, which helps explain the recent increase in help desk budgets.

Finally, if you answered yes to fewer than five questions, you are probably operating under the reactive model. Some help desks operate in this mode because of sheer resource constraints.

Here are great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Three Stages of an IT Help Desk-Help Desk Institute

In 1992, according to the Help Desk Institute, help desk budgets averaged 1.25 percent of corporate IT spending. Today, that figure is nearly 3 percent. With costs going up 10 to 20 percent every two years, it is easy to see that there has been a shift in customer support. The Help Desk Institute further states that there are approximately 300 million help desk calls per year and with the average cost of a call being $20, a conservative estimate of $6 billion is spent per year on internal customer support! Also, there has been a doubling of the percentage of employees dedicated to customer support in the last six years. Here are just some of the reasons for this growth:

> The increasing complexity of new applications including the shift to client server computing.

> Shorter life cycles of hardware and software challenge the deployment and learning practices.

> As help desks have matured, they have gotten better. As they get better, employees opt to calling rather than reading instructions or trying to fix it themselves.

> IT organizations are realizing that significant efficiencies can be gained by solving customer calls the first time.

With these pressures have come changes in the way help desks do business. This is a shift from the 911-break/fix position to one of becoming proactive about meeting customer’s needs. Rather than simply respond to user problems, the strategic help desk minimizes incoming calls by anticipating and addressing user problems before they occur and when the call does occur, using tools and processes to optimize agent time.

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Help desks typically evolve through three stages, as they become more strategic.

1) REACTIVE. High abandonment rates, low customer satisfaction and rampant employee turnover because of agent burnout characterize the first stage. In addition, help desks are often referred to a “Helpless Desks.” Because of a low status, cooperation with other IT departments is a major problem for the help desk.

2) TRANSITION. In the second stage, typically the help desk practices various call prevention techniques, providing users with self-help tools such as automated password resets and effective user training, and working with development groups to ensure better design and testing of new applications.

3) STRATEGIC. In the third and final stage the help desk realizes its full potential as part of the IT value chain. Customer satisfaction is high, call cycle time is low, turnover is low, and the help desk is looked upon as the “conductor” who manages the IT orchestra.

Here are some great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Knowledge Base Best Practice Features-Help Desk Institute

If you are looking for a knowledge base for your help desk or customer service software, consider these features:

Knowledge Base Record Spelling and Grammar Checker

This provides for a spelling check on all proposed knowledge base records to maintain the usability of the knowledge base software system.

Knowledge Base Record Action Notification

As knowledge base records moves through the approval process, designated approvers are automatically notified via email.

Knowledge Base Source Tracking

Defines the source of the knowledge base record such as a service group and agent. This is used to measure who is creating knowledge base records.

Knowledge Base Record History Field

A knowledge record history field keeps a permanent record of all changes to the record as well as who did the change as well as the date and time of the change.

Search Scope can be Widened or Narrowed

If the knowledge base search results are not satisfactory, you can widen or narrow the search scope to generate new knowledge base records without having to start the search from the beginning.

 

Here are two great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/customer-service-best-practices.htm

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/help-desk-best-practices.htm

Knowledge Base Key Features

Are you looking for help desk or customer service software?

When looking at the Knowledge Base module here are a few features to look for:

Automatic Customer Profile Creation

When a new customer requests someone contact them, besides creating a service request, the knowledge base software application automatically creates a new customer profile.

Capability to Designate Knowledge Base Records as "HOT" Knowledge Base Records Bypassing Approval

Some knowledge base records need to be available immediately without going through the approval process. A knowledge base proposer can designate any record as "HOT.” The knowledge base record is then immediately available for others to utilize. Later, if the knowledge base record is approved, the "HOT" designation can be removed.

Assign a Scope to a Knowledge Base Record

Record Scope is a field used for grouping knowledge base records for a single service desk, multiple service desks and parent/child companies.

Knowledge Base Record Redundancy Avoidance

When knowledge base records are initially proposed and also during the approval process, the knowledge base software automatically searches all existing approved knowledge base records to identify possible redundancies. This allows the knowledge bas record proposer or approver to consider these possible redundancies.

Here are two great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/customer-service-best-practices.htm

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/help-desk-best-practices.htm

Cloud/SaaS/Hosted or Traditional Software Licenses?

Here is a great white paper with a comprehensive look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis any decision maker should complete before making a choice between a SaaS or a traditional software deployment.

The key cost drivers for any software implementation are the cost of the software application, the hardware required to run the application and the people services required to design, deploy, manage, maintain and support the application.

> Traditional software pricing is limited to the cost of the software application, in most cases an upfront fee in exchange for a perpetual user license. It is up to the customer to determine the cost of the hardware and the people services.

> SaaS applications are charged on a subscription basis. The subscription fee includes the cost of the software application, the hardware and the people services.

This difference in pricing models can make an apples-to-apples TCO comparison “tricky”.

Software and hardware costs are well understood but the people resources associated with traditional software applications are often underestimated or omitted in a TCO analysis. As a result, the usage driven subscription cost of SaaS applications can seem to be the more expensive solution over a multi-year period. However, when these people resources are correctly associated, deploying a SaaS application becomes – in many cases – the more cost effective option.

This white paper helps in better understanding all the different cost factors and includes a TCO calculation for you that will help influencers and decision makers to better estimate the true TCO of a SaaS versus a traditional software deployment. The ultimate goal of this paper is to educate the reader that in some cases traditional software applications remain the right choice, but in other cases deploying SaaS applications provide a better business case.

Please see https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Most Successful CIOs Use SaaS

It's not easy to become a wildly unsuccessful CIO or CTO. TechRepublic asked around to find out how this can be done. They found seven habits of wildly unsuccessful CIOs. I want to mention just one very important habit.


Wildly Unsuccessful CIOs and CTOs Create Solutions in Search of a Problem


With any wildly unsuccessful CIO or CTO, any problem that arises is handled, always, in-house. Always. "They think that what they do is so absolutely special that nothing off the shelf could fill their needs," said Scott Testa, Chief Operations Officer for Mindbridge, a leading provider of Enterprise Intranet Software solutions.  "They expend a lot of energy building a solution that could have been bought right off the shelf," Testa said. These same CIOs often are not open to other vendors or anyone else "who may have other ways of solving certain problems," Testa said.


This hardly reflects well on the IT department, which can lose quite a bit of credibility with the other non-IT departments and personnel. In time, this can spell smaller budgets and work staff. However, that isn't the only reason this CIO is unsuccessful. This habit also is a very expensive one. Their in-house custom solutions cost more time to develop and launch. Those same "solutions" could well be abandoned a short time later if a higher C-level executive gets wind of a better way—or even a worse way—if the in-house solution is genuinely a bad idea.

Smart and successful CIOs and CTOs look at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to fill needs and voids quickly, painlessly and at a much lower cost to the company.

 

See the following link for a great White Paper on saving money with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

 

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