Unplanned Obsolescence

To stay relevant, tech support teams must adapt--fast.
Measure Twice, Cut Once

Service desks also must measure their performance using criteria important to the business. That's the only way to show the value of support services, including how they contribute to business goals, increased margins, lowered costs, improved productivity, and increased customer satisfaction.

Yet more than three in 10 service desks typically don't know their performance in terms of resolution rate (64%), call abandonment (67%), and average speed to answer (71%). Beyond the business implications, not having a firm grasp of key operational metrics means you can't accurately schedule staff or forecast the cost of meeting a given service level.

Finally, only 32% of service desks report an improvement in customer satisfaction, while 43% report no change, and 11% say satisfaction has decreased. One possible reason for the dip could be that service groups have focused too sharply on responsiveness and not enough on service restoration. When customers call the service desk, they typically are having a problem that's keeping them from getting their work done. Restoring service and getting them back to work is a critical metric for customer satisfaction levels. Seems obvious, but we're not measuring success here.

Employment Trends

Even in light of new challenges stemming from mobility and other factors, just 22% of respondents say that their support groups are increasing staff, while 44% can only fill vacant positions. Faced with a growing workload but no corresponding increase in staffing, IT must make process changes and improve infrastructure stability to have any hope of maintaining and enhancing the service that they're providing.

This isn't a question of how hard the IT support staff works, but rather how smart it works--where efforts should be focused and whether services are aligned with business goals. Response measures activity; resolution measures results. And results are what matters.

chart: Top 7 drivers of Increased Support Incidents

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Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing