Support Center Tools, Technologies, and Metrics
  1. Understanding Problem Solving Through Operational Excellence - Course Introduction and Operational Excellence - Support Center Tools, Technologies, and Metrics. Understanding problem solving through operational excellence. This is what we're going to cover today. My name is Theresa Miller, and I am the founder and CEO of Here's an overview of what this will cover in more depth. So first we'll talk about operational excellence and how certifications can support moving toward an operational excellence model, how high impact training can benefit your service desk, and the value of problem solving in the operational excellence formula. Process improvement is also a very important aspect of this topic, and so we're going to take a look at phone call review and metrics to support your processes. So, operational excellence. It doesn't matter the size of your organization. You can be a large organization or a small SMB, and this should be front and center. And you know, sometimes I think that when I'm working with smaller companies, they actually do a better job at this. A smaller organization often is able to give a little bit more toward technical support and service excellence. And so I really want, if you are a midsize or larger organization, to think about how these methods can really take you to the next level. Because I think sometimes the larger our organization gets, the personal aspect of service becomes lost. So what is operational excellence? Well, I did some research and this is what I found. It's an element of organizational leadership that stresses the application of a variety of principles, systems, and tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics. So it really is the heart and soul of the quality and reputation of your business. So when you're running a service center, what should your training goals be that will lead to operational excellence? Well, one, let's have a training budget. I think that this is often either missed or not enough money is put into training budgets. They get cut when the value will go a long way for your service center or any level of employee support. Now, while I mentioned that this is often cut, I have experienced some organizations that do see this value, and the outcome that I've witnessed is that the employee happiness is much higher. I think some organizations are afraid that their employees are going to leave if they train them. But at the end of the day, their employees are going to be happier and they're going to stay. So training budget is super important. It leads to a high-quality support team. Your support team, they're the ones that are answering the calls and demonstrating the reputation of your business. So if they're trained, you're going to have high quality. Another value add is that your service center can allow for a level of career path that can lead into long-term retention in your organization. So you might have a level one support center, level two, level three. Again, giving that career path that employees have to work toward. And lastly, opportunities beyond level one, two, and three can provide the employee to step into more advanced roles such as high-end technical support or even leadership. Employee growth is so valuable to long-term retention in the organization. Staff certifications also lend to that operational excellence and quality of your employees. So let's talk about Robert Keys. He is in a level two support role, with an emphasis in the area of email. To ensure the best service, Robert is pursuing certification training to ensure that he is the most helpful to his customers in the area of email. And over time, the feedback from the surveys that are sent out on his behalf because of this training has improved and grown, and the customers are extremely happy. Now, I have kind of a negative and unfortunate story to tell of an organization that didn't value certifications. In fact, even telling an employee when they had a high-level certification that they didn't care, that it didn't apply to their business and organization in the way that they had hoped. Now, that employee worked really hard to get where they were. That type of feedback did not lend to long-term retention in that organization, because now that employee is interested in pursuing another organization that values that hard work. So when you're looking at staff certifications, it has to be a positive viewpoint like what we see here with Robert. He took his certification and did the best with it. Let's also talk about Kelly. She's in a service role as well, and she just completed her certification path for Microsoft technologies. The more positive note here is that her manager is looking forward to how this additional knowledge will improve support levels for the business. And as with Robert, even though in both cases they were doing an excellent job, when the business has been queried their feedback has become more and more exceptional. And that type of feedback, too, has Robert and Kelly really feeling like they are valued and they want to stay at that company. So what types of certifications can any employee find value in? Let's talk about, more specifically, the service role. So one, ITIL training. ITIL training is a training base that focuses on aligning IT services with the need of the business. And that's what we're talking about here today, making sure that you are following a set of guidelines that provides extreme value to the business. From a more technical perspective, more and more security is front and center from a risk and vulnerability to perspective. So any employee that's willing to learn more about security and enforcing those policies within your organization will go a long way. So security certification should be one of the highly-considered options for employees. Virtualization technologies, as well as even general server technology certification. So Citrix and VMWare are both companies that do application virtualization and server and desktop virtualization. They have certification pads. And if your employees are leveraging any of these technologies, certification would provide an extreme value. Now, Microsoft also has a virtualization platform and technology that can be certified with. So if you're using that, very valuable. But also, their Windows platform, certifications in this space. With most organizations running on primarily Windows, this goes a long way. And networking. Don't discount networking in your organization. And I'm not talking about the type of networking where it's socializing, I'm talking about networking infrastructure that supports your organization's computer network. A lot of value here in the certification space, because one of the things I find is it's actually really hard to find great people to do networking. So, one of the areas to grow strength in. High impact training. Let's talk about this a little bit. So high impact training is the call type measure derived from a root cause analysis. So it's about training that is tied to metrics in your organization, and process improvement. So I mentioned the root cause analysis. So let's take a look at this example. In this case, we are stating that 80% of your organizational average call volume can be linked to 20% of call types. So when you are diving into those top 10 call types, in a high impact training environment making sure those top 20% of issues are documented to make sure that there is a process evolving toward first call resolution. Yes, I said first call resolution. Wouldn't our organizational users love that? And you are accomplishing this process just by providing your team with the documentation necessary for these repeatable and frequently asked questions. I want to talk a little bit more about problem solving through operational excellence. How do we do this? Well, one, incident management. How are we tracking those incidents and calls that we receive? Making sure there is a system that supports our ability to enter those calls, but then also follow-up and run metrics on them. We should offer our organization multiple methods of contact that go to the same channel, the same people, and having people monitor these channels. Use the web, email, phone, or chat. Whatever is easier for that particular user, they should be able to leverage. And I have seen all different preferences in this space. For me, I love just popping open a webpage and submitting a case. Same with email. I find that to be very valuable. Some people completely prefer phone. They'd prefer to pick up a phone and talk to a person than do anything else. And lastly chat, super important for those quick questions that need support. And you can often offer the chat through business-related text messaging tools or right through the web. Offer and always follow through with a fast response. I've always worked on teams where we were the fastest responders. The unfortunate side effect of that was that almost all tickets, regardless of whether or not they were relevant to that team, became submitted there. But with the right controls, you can prevent that situation. And with the fast response you provide your users, there will be a level of satisfaction that is obtained. Now, tied to incident management, which we already mentioned, there is a service level management of incident response. And what I mean by this is when a ticket is opened, if someone hasn't responded to that ticket within let's say one hour, then the team should be notified that that ticket is there. Let's say now the team has responded to the ticket within that one hour window. They've made some notes, they've contacted the user, but now four more hours have gone by and that ticket's still open. In this case, the manager is going to be notified that this ticket is still open. And maybe there'd be a third level of management to that ticket, one where after eight hours if it's not resolved, then this goes to the director of the team. Again, those are just examples. But I've seen those methods used, very effective, and they make sure that tickets are responded to in a timely manner. Standard reporting. Operational excellence should always involve a ticketing system that has standard reporting that can tell you open-to-close time. First call resolution, did it happen? Amongst other metrics that are valuable to obtaining a high level of service. And finally, ticket confirmation and communication management. This is the ability to go back and confirm that the tickets are in the system, they can be used for historical purposes. But also, having a ticketing system that allows the user to go in to get updates is a value, and that is what this is talking about. I'd also like to mention that this is another Pluralsight course that covers much of this in greater depth. Take a look for it. It's called Understanding Customer Service Processes and Procedures, and you should find a lot of really great information that ties the customer service aspect to this type of content.

  2. Process Improvement - During the course Understanding Help Desk Processes and Procedures, we talked about business process management and process improvement. So in this particular module, we're taking a look at it from more of a phone call review and metrics review. But if you're interested in learning more about process improvement from a customer service perspective, I'd also recommend taking a look at that Pluralsight course. So phone call review. It's one thing to have the phone calls and record them, but it's important to go back and review them. I can think of a situation where I was a user that called in for assistance, and I was passed along to multiple people along the way. And in the end, I had been on the phone with about five different people over the course of an hour, and I still didn't have an answer. That to me is not how to do business, it is not how to handle customer support, and I felt extremely frustrated in that situation. Now, I completely understand that sometimes a person doesn't have the answer to the question, and I might have to talk to other people. But in the case of talking to five people and having been on the phone for an hour and still not having a resolution, I was not happy. So when you're looking at phone call review, take a look at how you can leverage these recordings to improve customer satisfaction. It will also improve your processes if you're taking a look at it from the right angle, and you won't have a person that's been passed along to five different people without getting an answer. First call resolution should be front and center. Get that question answered correctly with the first call. That ties back to the documentation that you put in place and the training your provide your support center. Phone call review can be beneficial with cross training. I actually watched an episode of Undercover Boss recently and witnessed the worst customer service I've ever seen. You thought the situation with being passed along to five different people was bad? This was horrible. They almost bullied the person on the phone. They were not going to let that person on the phone get their way. And I can tell you, in that case where there were product sales involved, that person was never going to come to that company again for a purchase. Now, in that particular situation they did leverage that recording as a cross training opportunity, and provided that employee the training they needed to be successful next time around. So that leads to my final point with this particular topic. Always be willing to listen to feedback and make productive changes. It'll only benefit you in the long run through professional growth. And that's how phone call review can help. Metrics are also important when problem solving. And I talked about making sure that your system that you're leveraging for call monitoring and ticket tracking gives you this type of detail. When your ticket is complete as a user, you should be able to fill out a satisfaction survey. Based on that satisfaction survey, metrics can be put together explaining these types of things. So in this example, we have satisfaction with service, resolution within a reasonable time frame. Support representative, were they courteous and professional? Was the support rep knowledgeable? And was this issue resolved to satisfaction? This type of charting goes a long way. Here's another one. Did we answer all the phone calls, or did the person calling in for help end up in a voicemail box? So looking at the percentage of calls answered, we can see in this example that back in 2010 only 65% of the calls were being answered. But through process improvement, operational excellence as well, we were now able to get, in 2016, 95% of our calls answered the very first time they called in. To highlight what all of these points have meant, if you're meeting your organizational support needs you will provide long-term value to the organization and business you are supporting.

  3. Summary - So in summary, we now know the value of operational excellence. We can see how problem solving can positively impact the customer experience. And we've looked at some of the metrics and talked about process improvement in a way that we can continue down the path of becoming better and better at supporting the organization. Coming next, we're going to talk more specifically about the Service Center Toolsets you can use to achieve many of these goals.

  4. Service Center Toolsets - Course Introduction Service Center Toolsets. My name is Theresa Miller, and I am the founder and CEO of 24x7ITConnection. I'm looking forward to talking about the types of tools that you can leverage to ensure that you have the right checks and balances in place for your service center needs. Here's an overview of what we'll cover today. One, the value of service center toolsets. Two, how ticketing systems can tie into the toolsets you need to use. And content management systems.

  5. The Value of Service Center Toolsets - So first up, The Value of Service Center Toolsets. Why are they important? Why do I care that I have the right set of tools in place to provide support to my organization? Well I like to take this to its simplest form. A service desk cannot sustain on a phone and email alone. A set of tools to your support team is critical to your environment. Let's talk more about why. So, some of the service desk tool set necessities that you need to have front and center when you are growing and expanding this part of your business, are your ticketing system. Your ticketing system should be able to do the following things. It should be able to track problems from start to finish, have the right amount of information that can lend to process improvement. A level of reporting should exist that helps you get information out of everything that's been inputted by your support center team. Lastly, it should be able to deliver metrics. Another angle to service desk toolset necessities ties around content management. Where are you storing your documentation, and how are you sharing that information? Let me give you an example of a startup that first of all only had a phone and a person to manage the organization. In this situation, the person didn't have time for process improvement. They were always firefighting and running around helping users. The other disadvantages, they weren't always at their desk to answer those phone calls, because they were helping people. Regardless of the size of the organization, and maybe this is okay if you're teeny-tiny, five-person, then you probably can keep track of who to call and when to call, but you need the right toolsets to make sure you can support those users. Now in that small startup, they wouldn't have had content management either, because if you have one person supporting, let me give you an example, of 300 users, you're not going to have time for documentation. You're never going to answer the phone, and so you really need to take a step back and decide what type of value you're trying to provide the organization. Also, how productive are you trying to ensure the organization to be? People aren't doing their work anymore with pens and paper. Maybe a little, but 99% of what we do goes into a computer. If your computer is not working right, that's dollars lost for the business. So I mention all of these things because without the right tools, your team will struggle with ensuring long-term success of your business.

  6. Ticketing Systems - So let's talk a little bit more about Ticketing Systems. I'm going to actually jump right in here and we're going to talk about a couple of business owners, and when working with them, I was able to collect some information about what they preferred, and were looking for in a ticketing system. So ticketing systems are not one size fits all. They don't have everything that every business needs, so let's talk about Elaine Wisper. Elaine works for ABC Ticketing, LLC, and they're working on choosing a solution. Here's what they care about. Here are some of the questions you can be asking yourself when you're choosing a ticketing system, or a new one. Maybe the one you're using is not providing you the value you need. So one, ABC Ticketing wants to make sure that they have web-based services for their users. They want to make sure that the solution will work for any type of issue, whether it's easy or complex. This is tied to all hands on-deck alerting. So for the simple issue, you probably don't need the whole organization, or the whole technical team to know about it, but for a complex issue with many moving parts, this system should be able to notify those on-call that their assistance may be needed. So that's what Elaine is looking for when she's choosing a ticketing system. We also have Kelly Wilderson. Kelly works for Mission Helpdesk, Inc, and they're looking at a few different things when they're selecting a tool. So one, they want to make sure that after tickets are entered and resolved, that they have the right level of information gathering to help with their operational excellence model. Criteria number two is that this system will work even in a disaster, meaning that, maybe it's a cloud-based solution that has system-level paging or texting in it that will work regardless of the on-prem environment working. Because I think in their case, Kelly told me that it really becomes about being able to reach the team even if the internal systems are down. Finding a tool that would do that would be very important to their company. Lastly, they're looking for advanced reporting. They feel that the helpdesk tool they're using today, they're not meeting these advanced requirements, and so, that's what they are looking for. So here are some additional considerations toward ticketing system value. Self-service is more and more relevant these days. I haven't worked at too many organizations that do not want a level of self-service. Most users, if they can figure out an issue themselves, and get back to work, they're much happier. There are exceptions to that. Some organizations function differently, but at least offering this provides a layer that can lead to quicker resolution of issue. Disaster recovery, in terms of how a ticketing system interacts and functions during a true disaster in your organization. Maybe your ticketing system functioning during a disaster is not important, and then maybe it's more about the communication aspect, making sure you can reach the business during that situation. Advanced reporting is oftentimes a very high need in businesses that are looking to achieve operational excellence, so keep that in mind when you're choosing your solution. And, making sure the tool can provide metrics that you can evaluate on an ongoing basis, that help you with continual process improvement. Here are some of the ticketing system must-haves that I personally feel have a lot of value to the customer. To me, a ticketing system must meet all of these needs. It has to have chat for quick questions, provide a simple interface for opening tickets This should not, opening a ticket should take two minutes. It should not take a half-hour. It should have the ability to integrate with your e-mail system for notification and response purposes, and it should promote great response times. If not, then it's not the tool for you. Then, finally, it's really important for the customer to be able to view status updates, but even more importantly, your service center staff needs to be putting these updates in the ticket, so that the user doesn't need to call back in or open a chat window. Effective communication is key here, and that's what status updates can provide. Okay, so let's talk about some of the benefits to the organization. One issue I've seen is users will often get great support from one particular person that they really loved working with. Then, going forward, they keep contacting that person instead of using the system. In those cases, you're not getting the metrics then recorded that are necessary to do process improvement, and operational excellence in your business, but also, that person you're contacting directly wasn't on-call. Now, it's taking away from other work that they should be getting done, and they're not. Reporting, we've talked about this several times during this part of the module. I just want to reinforce that reporting benefits go a long way to process improvement. Again it's about going back to the basics and reviewing information to make sure that users are getting what they need when they call in for support. Incident tracking is also important. From a documentation perspective, metrics perspective, reporting perspective, it's all about that operational excellence, and the value the service center can place on the business. The more data you have tracked, the better you're going to be able to respond and improve those processes. All of these things then become tied back to organizational success, and keeping your employees, who need to do their job and make money for your company, working and functional without losing money for the business.

  7. Content Management Systems and Summary - Now let's talk about Content Management Systems. This is about that one-stop shop where all searchable information can be located. This is more than the customer, this is about the business as well. Centralizing a location for all documentation. From the customer perspective, it can become a knowledge base for them, so it's all about how the business can resolve their technology issues through one location of a knowledge base. You can put how-tos in there, how to fix this, how to open a ticket, how to change your voicemail password. Really straightforward items that are how-to related can go in the knowledge base. Self-service. I have a quick question on how to setup Outlook on my computer. If there's an article in there about how to setup Outlook, I've now provided a level of self-service to my users that keeps them working. Having a knowledge base for the customer also reduces time to resolution. There's a quick, easy place to find the information. They probably don't even have to call you. Another aspect of content management is data copy management, so here's what this means. From a content management perspective, you're going to determine your processes, develop procedures, and document them. But here's where data copy management comes into play. How do you manage this data? How many versions of the document are you keeping, or do you want to keep? Do you know where all of your data is located? How are you going to make sure that data is always there? Are you backing it up and retaining that information for the future? Or, if there was some level of serious failure to the equipment, would everything be lost? How do you manage your data? I'm certain, from a backup and retention perspective, with all of the hard work that you put into your content management system, that you're going to want this information to be backed up and confirmed to be recoverable. A backup is one thing, but did somebody test that you can get your information back should a severe situation occur? So I'm strongly advising that you check with your infrastructure backup team and work with them to test and confirm that your content management system can be recovered during an unforeseen event. Now let's talk about e-mail. E-mail is for communication. It is not for team content management, or organizational content management. Here's why. If you were using e-mail for content management, you're going to lose track of your document versions very easily. People aren't always renaming the file to keep track of the version, and you could have an e-mail thread going with five different people, and end up with a total disconnect on what the most recent and accurate version is. So, e-mail is not good for this reason. E-mail also lacks a level of efficiency. In today's day and age, we have multiple levels of communication. We have chatting, we have social media, we have document libraries, so what I'm finding more and more is that people are telling me, they're not looking to e-mail for real-time instant communication, and because of that, there's a level of efficiency that is just lost. Now with e-mail, you can have a centralized option. There are things like public folders and shared mailboxes, but if you're looking at business-wide, it can be really challenging to navigate this and apply the permissions needed to be successful. So I would not recommend e-mail for this. It is strictly for communication with other people. With a content management system, your data should be searchable, actionable, and easy to use. So, in summary, we talked about these things today. We talked about the help desk toolset value. What should you look for in a ticketing system? And content management system dos and do nots. Coming next, we're going to talk about Metrics Evaluation Through an Operational Excellence Model. See you soon.

  8. Metrics Evaluation Through an Operational Excellence Model - Course Introduction - Metrics evaluation through an operational excellence model. My name is Theresa Miller, and I am the founder and CEO of 24x7 IT Connection, and I'm looking forward to talking about this topic with you today. Here's an overview of what we're going to cover. We're going to talk about what key performance indicators, or KPI's, are, and how these factor in to the work your team is doing within your service center. We're going to talk about Six Sigma, and how this can also influence the decisions that you're making for your team. And, the last portion of what we're going to talk about today is making sure you're keeping an eye on the metrics once you have all the right tools for evaluation in place.

  9. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - So as promised, we're going to start out with key performance indicators, let's talk about what these are. KPI's evaluate the success of an organization, or of a particular activity in which it engages. So just think about that for a moment, think about your service center, and let's dive deeper into what this means. So, key performance indicator values. Here's how we need to be evaluating them. So, one, they're a metric that will drive your organizational success, or your service centers success. If you have too many indicators, this can actually be a really bad thing, it can be overwhelming to manage and monitor over time. So keeping it simple is extremely helpful. Your KPI's are going to measure performance towards strategic objectives of your team, and make sure that the KPI's you choose are controllable. Meaning that if you decide to take steps to make progress, or change the outcome of that measure, that you can actually make progress on it, otherwise there is no value. And then, educate your team. So, let's talk just a little bit more about how you can handle KPI's. So, I mentioned, make sure you have controllable KPI's in place. So when somebody is placed in charge of KPI's for their portion of any organization, we need to make sure that it's something they can really control. Is this particular individual that's in charge of monitoring these things empowered to make the necessary changes in order to drive the performance of the KPI? Sometimes this is forgotten about, and it needs to be in place for successful operational strategy. What you measure is what you get. Again, back to that control thing, it must be controllable in order to obtain the strategic objectives you desire for your team, and for the outcome of the business success, in this case, your service center. Finally, when selecting and implementing KPI's, be certain to train your employees. We talked about this here, educating them that they're working in a KPI-driven environment, so that they know the success, or lack there of, is being measured. Sometimes what can happen is you can roll out the latest and greatest KPI's for your production environment, and without that education to the team on what it can take to be successful, KPI's will provide no value at all. Now, there are some concepts that should be kept in mind for measuring KPI's. So, one, the goal is to evaluate performance over time. Tracking and trending performance over time will go a long way, and I think that as we continue to talk about this, the reasons why will definitely stand out. Measuring your strength sand weaknesses of your service center, or service desk, will really, also, provide a level of value to ensuring that there are not any underlying drivers that have been missed, or performance gaps, that are affecting your outcomes negatively. Making sure you're measuring in a way that's actionable to the individuals on your team. So it's both individual accountability, but also team level accountability. You can take these concepts and then establish performance goals across the board. Other measures that should be considered are, one, what is your first contact resolution rate? When your service team picks up the phone to help a customer, are they able to answer that question? How about customer satisfaction? Are you doing surveys to measure how happy they were with the outcome of the particular issue that they had resolved by the team? Or did it not get resolved. Knowing what it costs your business when somebody has to take time out of their day to open a support call. And finally, first level resolution rates. First contact and first level are different. So first contact means the person that picked up the phone resolved it, first level means that the person that picked up the phone needed to move that issue to another team member, which is considered first level. And knowing when that's been resolved, again, extremely valuable.

  10. Six Sigma - Now let's talk about Six Sigma. What is Six Sigma even? What does it mean to me in a support role. So, it's basically a set of techniques and tools that was created for process improvement. Introduced by an engineer named Bill Smith who worked at Motorola back in the 80's. So here are some of those quality measures. So, for Six Sigma you're going to measure through customer satisfaction surveys, that was one of the tools that was used when this particular process was developed. There are quantitative quality measures as well. So, quality matters, but quantitative, ones that you can actually measure against. So, for one, knowing the resolution time from ticket open to ticket close for those level one engineers. Knowing the average cycle of time for your level two support team. How long does the average call last? How long are people being placed on hold, and what are the number of calls that are being taken on any given day or time? Six Sigma also is based on a very lean help desk model. You may recall that we've talked about having levels that include level one, level two, and level three support. Six Sigma says, you don't need level three, so let's talk about this a little bit more. So, first of all, we have the web-based self-service. This was introduced for knowledge management, and frequently asked questions functionality, which has the potential to significantly reduce the calls to the help desk. Making sure your customers first search the support section of the website to see if their question was already answered for another customer. If not, they're going to enter the question and wait for an answer by email. Over time your knowledge base is going to cover more and more FAQ's, or frequently asked questions, of commonly seen problems. And calls to the help desk also become reduced. Since a knowledge base is intended to be available 24 by seven, it provides convenience to those customers with questions as well. So you can see that Six Sigma has really placed a lot of thought into the web-based self-service area of a call center. Next, if you look at call received ticket opened level one support, you're also in a Six Sigma model, looking to improve first call resolution, to ensure that the person who's receiving that call has the skills needed to solve the problem right away. This improvement minimizes total resolution time, increasing the customer satisfaction. Level two support is only going to receive calls if the self-service portal, or level one support was not able to answer the call. This is for more complex issues, and again, a level of education is required in advance to make sure that this model in Six Sigma will be successful. I've seen many organizations take a level three approach because their level two support was not trained up enough. And then finally, through this model, you would expect that after level two, the case would be completed and the ticket would be closed successfully, and the customer will be happy. So here's what your organization needs to do to implement Six Sigma. So, first of all, we're going to spend a lot of time promoting the self-service options. Offer encouragement and incentives for customers to try the web-based self-service knowledge base. Promote the site with customers at every opportunity, and ensure that it is always available when they log in around the clock. Job rotation. Seen this used, I've used it, it really does help. Job rotation takes every level of person, even in some cases executive level, and what you're doing is switching from a help desk where the first responder passes the call to an expert for resolution, to a system where the resolution is attempted on the first call. It requires a population of agents that have the diverse set of skills. This is likely to involve more extensive training agents, and some help desks are designated for first call resolution, use this type of approach where agents work as a team on difficult problems, leveraging the skills of the more experienced agents. Now, this description talks about level one and level two, switching around their jobs. You may have heard me mention, even executive level. Where I've seen job rotation with executive level come into play, executives often want to know where the issues lie, and that will help them promote strategic direction for your team as well. You need to give your agents more authority with problem resolution as well, empowering them. Because a lean help desk involves giving more authority to resolve problems. That means full understanding of the organization and how cutting across functional areas can help with resolution and influence these issues. So, giving authority to these agents is very important. Teamwork incentives. Incentives and awards in traditional help desks are more attuned to agents working on problems individually, but a lean Six Sigma help desk model, should emphasize teamwork. This provides a velocity of problem resolution and customer satisfaction in a way, with more metrics for evaluation, more KPI's that are tailored to the individual. So, again, it's individual incentive and team incentive, in a way that provides progress. Six Sigma provides the tools to measure variation in critical-to-qualiy metrics and monitor the level of statistical control, helping companies improve their help desk processes. And when you really step back to think about these particular options, it really makes a lot of sense. For some organizations, this could be a huge change in a positive direction that will provide the value to the business you're looking for. I keep thinking back to a small organization just getting started with a phone and email to support their users. I think in the beginning that's great, that's wonderful. Your person that's running that ship is learning so much, but you're also going to burn that person out, and without somebody at those phones all the time, you're going to have a lot of challenges from a customer satisfaction perspective. Now, where I've also seen issues in large organizations, is oftentimes the phone support is just a call forwarding center, and then they're not even forwarding the phones on to the right person sometimes, or opening a ticket for the right team. You don't want a call forwarding center, it's just a useless and wasteful step, and it's in the wrong direction.

  11. Keeping an Eye on the Metrics - Keeping an eye on the metrics. So we talked about KPI's, we talked about some of the valuable ones, we talked about Six Sigma and how change of your process can actually really help with those KPI's at the end of the day. And so now let's talk about some of the primary metrics you should be monitoring closely, ongoing. So, first of all, cost. Cost per inbound contact, cost per minute to handle the call, and first level resolution rate, all apply to cost. If those things cannot be done in a timely manner, it costs money. So understanding that will go a long way. Quality, are my customers happy? Is there customer satisfaction? Are they getting resolution at first contact or first level? And then also, through call recording, knowing if that conversation was of high quality or not. Call handling. Again, making sure that the call is being handled in a way that is not condescending, that is extremely helpful and positive. Leaving that customer feel like they were number one. Service level. This can be measured through the average speed of an answer, call abandonment rate, or dropped calls, ones where there was no call-back number collected, so they couldn't call back. The percentage of answered questions in 30 seconds. These types of levels in metrics, if they're measured ongoing, again, will help you understand where training needs to occur. The agent. The person answering the call. What does it take for me to train that new agent, how many hours per year, do I need to spend to make sure that that person is getting what they need to take care of my customers, like they are number one. Also tracking turnover. Obviously if agents are not getting what they need, they're going to leave. Productivity. How many inbound contacts per agent per month? Is Susie answering 600 phone calls per month, but Sally is only answering 500? Why is that? What types of tickets is Sally taking that has made her call volume lower? Agent utilization across the board, from an hours perspective. And, agents as a percentage of total service desk head count as well.

  12. Cost-driven KPI - Now let's take a look at cost driven KPI. So here's an example where we're comparing agent utilization versus cost per contact, let's take a look. So, in this diagram, on the left you have cost per contact, and you have agent utilization percentages. So if we start out with the very first orange diamond on the chart, we know that this particular agent is costing about $36 per call. But if we go all the way down to the bottom, they're only being utilized about 25% of the time. So does that makes sense? Are they more of an advanced engineer that doesn't get a lot of calls, for example? Or, is this a person that's supposed to be doing first call resolution, and isn't. Now, if we go all the way down to the other end of the chart, at the $15 cost per contact amount, we have 80% in terms of agent resolution in this case. To me, this agent is the one that's answering the phone the very first time. And this particular person, this agent, is extremely valuable to the business.

  13. Balanced Scorecard - Now let's take a look at the same data in a format that's a little bit easier to read. This format is called a balance scorecard, and this particular service desk balance scorecard is related to the diagram we just saw, so let's look. So, here's what we can tell. Cost per contact, metric weighting at 25%. You'll look at the metric rating column, and all of the different performance metrics will add up to 100%. So we have customer satisfaction, agent utilization, first contact resolution, agent satisfaction, and average speed of answer per second. So that's the value, the percentage of weight in terms of how much I care about each of those metrics. Now, the benchmark performance range for cost per contact in this case shows that the worst case is that it costs me as much as $35 per call. The best case is $6. From a customer satisfaction perspective, my worst case is 60%, and my best case is that my performance is at 97%. How much am I leveraging my agents? The worst case is 30%. You might want to be taking a look at that particular agent to see why they're being so underutilized. But, the best case is 85%. First contact resolution rate, worst case 25%, best case 95%. That is a really wide range. So, diving in a little bit deeper would provide a lot of value here. Agent satisfaction. Are my agents happy? So, we have somebody in the worst case is that they're only 34.6% in terms of overall satisfaction, so you have an unhappy agent. This is probably a big reason why some of these worst case numbers are low. Best case numbers are 88.3, and those are going to be your top performers. Average speed of answer, worst case 140 seconds, and the best case is 10 seconds. Now honestly, I think 10 seconds is a little bit fast, but if that's possible, great, right? Now, the next column of the scorecard is the actual performance. It puts a little bit more reality around some of these high and low numbers. So, cost per contact is $18.44. Customer satisfaction, around 73.2%. Agent utilization is only 51.7%. First contact resolution rate, 68.3%. Agent satisfaction is 74%. And the average speed of an answer per second is 52 seconds. So, not bad, but you can actually really see where the performance improvement is needed. Customer satisfaction, you could definitely go up. Your agents are underutilized, so some training and performance tweaks could take that to the next level. First contact resolution rate, means that at 68%, means that you should be considering ramping up that knowledge base and education. Agent satisfaction is only 74%, you're going to be losing some employees with those types of numbers. And the average speed of an answer is 52 seconds, that's a little under a minute, which really isn't actually that bad. Next I'm going to hop over to the balance score, letting you know where that all sits as a whole. So your balance score for all of these items, based on the weight, is only 54.5%. There's some work to do in this case. Now, how do you trend that balance scorecard? So this is the monthly performance, and a little bit more of a chart. So, it shows a balance scorecard for one service desk over 12 months. With this type of visual you can see at a glance which months had improving performance, and which months had declining performance, based on the higher and lower columns in the chart. The purple background on the chart represents the 12 month trailing average score. And the good news for this service desk is that the overall trend is in a positive direction. Compared to the other scorecard that we looked at where they were only looking at about 53% in terms of success with their scorecard, this particular service desk is moving in the right direction.

  14. Summary - Wow, we've really covered quite a bit today. So first we talked about key performance indicators, Six Sigma, and how we can rethink our approach to our service center. Key metrics were also discussed, and we looked at some balance scorecards to help us better understand the data we're collecting as we are monitoring and evaluating our process improvement structures overall. Thank you, and I look forward to sharing some additional information with you on additional courses with Pluralsight.