Giva Blog Categories : Insights For Customer Service Leaders

Service Level Manangement and Satisfaction Surveys

Checks and Balances

There is a tendency when first starting service level management to focus in on the response performance. It is easy to make the numbers look good. All you have to do is close a case within the time specified without doing anything. While this makes the numbers look good, in the end you will have customers upset. Customers do not really care about the numbers. They only want their issues taken care of to their satisfaction.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys are one way to provide checks and balances to the empirical numbers of SLA compliance reports. Another way to make sure customers are taken care of is to have a policy for re-opening a case if the customer calls in to say they are dissatisfied. You should then have a report that shows re-opened cases. Management should use this for continued training.

Here is an example of a good Customer Satisfaction Survey Report:

Full_Customer_satisfaction_Report

 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Service Level Agreements-SLA Compliance Trends Reports

This report shows SLA compliance over a period of time. Managing trends toward a higher goal can dramatically increase customer satisfaction. This SLA Compliance Trends Report should be part of your standard reports that you study every week.

 

Example SLA Compliance Trends Report

 

SLACOMPLIANCETRENDS

Service Level Agreements-SLA Compliance Reports

Measuring Success

Success of service level management can only be measured by reporting on what percentages of cases by Severity Level were resolved within the goals of the SLA. The reason that you want to measure each Severity Level is that it is absolutely critical to resolve high severity level cases consistently within the SLA. However, sometimes lower severity level cases can fall outside the goals. In other words, we would like to say that we resolve 100% of all Severity Level 1 cases and 90% of Severity Level 4 cases within the times stated in the SLA. Customers will appreciate the process more when they know that if they are really in trouble, there will be resources there to help them.

 

Example Service Level Agreement Compliance Report

SLACOMPLIANCE

 

See Dashboard Reports at https://www.givainc.com/help-desk-dashboard-charts.htm 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Implementing Service Level Agreements-IT Help Desk

Need help in implementing your Service Level Agreements?

1) Pre-SLA. Before you announce the SLA, practice as if you have an SLA. This includes the following:

a. training the Support Center staff,

b. monitoring response time to ensure SLA compliance,

c. resolving cases in accordance with the SLA,

d. setting customer expectations,

e. managing the work flow within the Support Center and between the second level.

2) Training the rest of the department.

a) Weekly meetings. For the first month it is beneficial to meet regularly to find ways to improve communications and workflow, review Cycle Time Reports and exception reports.

b) Service Group Feedback. Ask other service groups to review their cases for the proper Severity Levels. If they find discrepancies, ask them to provide a list of case types and the appropriate Severity Levels. This will be the basis for Support Center training and documentation.

 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Benefits of Service Level Agreements for Service Desk

Every day each one of us experiences the setting of expectations. The following are all examples of setting expectations: setting an appointment time, asking for a delivery time and asking for the wait time at a restaurant or car repair shop. Why should your customer service/call center or help desk organization be any different?

The benefits of an SLA are many for the Internal IT help desk or service desk:

· Improves customer service. You will find that cycle times (time to resolve cases) dramatically decrease.

· Facilitates communication. The Support Center staff will be able to set customer expectations in two ways. First, they can refer to the SLA document for definitions on how priorities are set and the maximum time the support organization has to resolve the case. Secondly, they can refer to periodic performance reports to inform customers how the support organization is actually performing. Average time to resolve is usually much less than the maximum time goal.

· Negotiated and mutually accepted. Since internal customers and the support center jointly created the SLA all customers will more easily accept the SLA.

· Documents agreements. With the SLA posted to your Intranet or in customer handouts, it becomes an “official” agreement.

· Defines procedures. Procedures should be defined and followed by both the service groups and customers. When there is a question or disagreement, the SLA can be used as a written reference.

· Sets standards for customer service. This is a powerful tool. It says “Mr./Ms. Customer, this is how I am going to provide support to you and this is what you must do in order to receive my support. I am ready to be measured on how I do and I will provide everyone with a report on my performance.”

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm 

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Needs Assessment Tool-Buying Customer Service Software

Giva radically reduces the complexity of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) buying process by offering a vendor-independent Needs Assessment Tool that allows companies to make a more rigorous and objective comparison of vendors based upon a prioritized list of feature requirements when buying customer service, call center and IT help desk software.

Customer Service departments, Call Centers and IT Help Desk professionals looking to purchase IT help desk software or customer service software encounter a myriad of problems and obstacles in the purchase process.  Giva is offering its new Needs Assessment Tool on a complimentary basis.

Industry Leading Help Desk & Customer Service Software

This vendor-independent tool allows evaluation teams and senior executives making important business decisions to approach the purchase of software in a much more rigorous and analytical manner. The Tool provides the information essential to negotiate a services contract, avoiding the difficult struggle to understand the differences between software products and assess vague claims.

Here is a quote from a company that used the Excel Tool:

"At Patient Care Technology Systems, we used Giva's Tool to document our requirements across multiple work groups to generate a single prioritized list. We shared this list with a number of vendors and were able to make a more rigorous and defendable vendor recommendation to our senior team," said Jim Kline, Vice President of Client Services, Patient Care Technology Systems. "The Needs Assessment Tool provided the objective criteria we needed to evaluate several vendors on an apples-to-apples basis."

Patient Care Technology Systems used this tool in 2005 to sort through their requirements and select a vendor. They have been a very happy Giva customer for three years. Here is a customer case study. A great deal of their satisfaction is due to the fact that Giva is a great fit for their requirements. Do your homework now to document your requirements.  See https://www.givainc.com/case-study/customer-service-pcts.htm for the medical industry success case.

This Giva Needs Assessment Tool can be a starting place and the single document to drive cross-functional consensus of all the departments involved in the purchase of customer service, call center or IT help desk software. We listened to many companies struggle with this process and they asked us for our help. This vendor-independent Tool really helps management teams make an objective comparison of vendors based upon their prioritized list of requirements.

See the following link for free Access to the Needs Assessment Tool at:  https://www.givainc.com/free-needs-assessment/index.htm

Creating Service Level Agreements (SLAs)-Part 2

1) Escalation procedures. State the escalation path and time for each severity level.

2) Telephone, Web and Email response times. For example: Phone requests will be answered in less than 20 seconds, Web requests within 30 seconds and email within four hours.

3) First contact resolution by the Support Center. For example: The Support Center will resolve at least 70% of all cases it receives.

4) Reporting methods.

a) Weekly management reports on the Web

b) Monthly performance metrics on the Web

c) Quarterly Customer Satisfaction Surveys results on the Web

5) SLA contract period.

a) When the current draft is effective

b) When it will be reviewed?

c) How to request changes

6) Examples of cases by severity level and case type.

7) Sample of the customer satisfaction survey questions.

 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Definition of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for IT Help Desk

Here is more on getting your SLA written.

1) Definition of terms. Do not assume that everyone will know what you are talking about. You need to define terms to the lowest common level. Be as specific as possible.

2) Service delivery elements

a) Service coverage times. State clearly what business hours are supported and what is supported after hours. Failure to do this will mean you can be called at any time of the night for the most minor of problems or requests. Be sure to consider the various time zones you cover. Keep consistent and list the time zone you are in (e.g., 7AM – 7PM EST).

b) Environment(s) included. What do you cover? If you only support standard hardware and software, be sure to state it here.

c) Environments excluded. If the Support Center will take cases for non-standard hardware and will charge back costs to the customer, then list that here.

d) Specific applications and network services coverage. List specific applications by name, the times they are supported and the times they are not supported. If there are maintenance windows for databases and servers when they will not be available, then make sure to list these windows.

e) Methods for requesting service. For example, for all level 1 and 2 cases the request for service may be via the phone. For example, for level 3 and 4 cases the request for service shall only be via the Web.

f) Customer responsibilities. Some examples are: How to submit a request, what standards are supported, and when customers should be available for the technician.

g) Service tracking and reporting procedures. Some examples are: IT will log 100% of all requests, phone calls will be randomly recorded for quality and performance metrics will be posted on the web.

 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Creating Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Customer Service

Creating a rough draft

There are several components to an SLA. It is important that the language is familiar to your environment. Use a straw man to introduce the concept to your organization. This will help the rest of the project team understand the complexity and importance. The following is an example of the categories that should be included in your SLA. However, remember that it must be clear, well written, and easy to read and not very long.

1) Introduction

a) Purpose of the SLA

b) Mission of IT (This is not just between the Support Center and customers)

c) Customers covered under the SLA

d) Locations

e) Owner of the SLA document and communications path

f) Services covered. This is only a high level statement.

2) Service Goal.

a) Overall goal. Example: Resolve 100% of all severity level 1 and 2 cases in the timeframe specified. This is the first place that you are making a statement about what is important. You cannot be a success treating all cases equally. Level 1 and 2 are high severity level cases that directly impact the productivity of a number of customers/locations of the company. You must make sure these get done on time. Getting the others done on time is a bonus.

b) Specific goals. List the severity levels and the time the case should be responded to and the time it should be resolved.

 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Measuring Service Level Agreements- Mutual Expectations

Service Level Management is a formal way for setting customer expectations BEFORE the customer has the need to request service. It is a methodology for introducing and implementing reasonable expectations between you and the customers you support. These are most often contained in a document called a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA establishes a two-way accountability for service, which is negotiated and mutually agreed upon. It is really a contract that documents operational and interpersonal relationships, establishes mutual expectations, and provides a standard to measure performance.

Without SLAs in place, you are effectively telling your customers that you will provide support to them, at any time, under any conditions, without any limitations to the systems and services they have. However, this is not the worst part. The worst part is that you cannot possibly ever meet your customers’ service expectations because every customer will have a different expectation and that expectation will change every time they call.

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm 

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

 

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