According to a Gartner report, help desks that fail to effectively use benchmarking metrics risk being outsourced. To find out how our members are measuring the efficiency of their help desks and what they are using the data for, we recently performed a metrics survey. Over 840 members responded, and I am glad to say that the vast majority are regularly collecting and compiling help desk metrics. I was also pleased to see that most organizations are using their metric data to develop and/or improve policies and practices.

A good mix of large and small IT organizations
Figure A shows that the respondents to this survey come from organizations both large and small.

Figure A

Most regularly collect and compile metrics data
I was glad to see that only 27 percent of those who responded to the survey did not measure any help desk metrics, as shown in Figure B. I was also encouraged to discover that of those organizations that do measure metrics, 54 percent reported compiling, analyzing, and reviewing metric data once a week to once a month.

Figure B

A variety of collection methods used
Of the 614 respondents who reported collecting help desk metrics, the majority (43 percent) reported collecting and analyzing their data with a commercial call-tracking system, as shown in Figure C. Other organizations are using a variety of methods to compile and analyze their metric data—respondents also reported using an ACD telephone system, commercial office productivity software, and in-house designed call-tracking systems.

Figure C

Call stats and end-user satisfaction most important
When we look at what type of metrics our respondents are measuring, four data categories stand out: number of calls that employees resolve, number of calls each employee takes per day, end-user satisfaction, and the time it takes employees to resolve a call, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Metrics more often tied to policies than salaries
As Gartner Analyst T. Kirk points out, “The goal of help desk benchmarking analysis is to provide meaningful, implementable recommendations that are determined by analyzing an enterprise’s IT support results against ‘best class’ organizations.” I am glad to report that the majority of those who reported collecting help desk metrics (74 percent) are using those metrics to shape help desk policies and practices, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Don’t risk being outsourced
As I stated, help desks that fail to effectively compile, analyze, and act upon metrics may risk being outsourced. Support organizations that do effectively measure and act upon help desk metrics can, according to Kirk “reduce the threat of outsourcing, achieve improved customer satisfaction, identify service gaps, improve employee retention, and result in an overall reduced total cost of help desk ownership.”