Help Desk Reporting Metrics: The top 10 questions

There are specific industry-standard Help Desk reporting metrics based on commonly accepted key performance indicators (KPI). These Help Desk reporting metrics are used to understand how the agent and the team are performing against a baseline. The baseline is a snapshot of current performance and similar industry Help Desks. This means a manager of Help Desk agents can review performance with quantifiable data and make decisions.

Help Desk Reporting Metrics Process

Question 1 – Do you have a Help Desk reporting metrics process?

A basic immature Help Desk may only know when they have callers waiting and how many open tickets they have. A mature Help Desk has an established process to pull key performance indicators together and present them into meaningful reports. These reports are used by management to understand how the team is performing. It is important to ensure you are capturing accurate data to measure, manage, and implement continuous improvement efforts.

Most of your data will come from your phone system, ticketing system, customer surveys, and Help Desk audit program scorecards. Performance reporting is not just one snapshot of a point of time but a group of all those points in time to determine trends. By comparing the trend data, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your Help Desk. It also will allow you to compare your performance reporting against industry standards.

Improvements Driven by Reporting

Question 2 – Are your reports used to make business or process improvement decisions?

Help Desk reporting metrics provide a good baseline of past performance. Based on trends, the reporting metrics can assist you in forecasting future performance. Reporting metrics are used to identify areas of improvement needed. For areas that need improvement, projects can be proposed. The reporting metrics can add a wealth of supporting detail to establish justification for the improvement project. Once approved, these improvement projects will typically receive funding for the next fiscal year. Once implemented, quantifiable data would establish if the project actually improved the process, system, or service in scope.

Automatically Generated Reports

Question 3 – Are most of your reports automatically generated with little or no human intervention?

Reporting metrics are great, but they can be time consuming if they need to be gathered manually. Manually creating reports can be labor intensive. Manually generated reports require resourcesLearn the Help Desk call handling process. to gather the data and generate the reports. When a report is created manually, it is likely you will have to export and format the data into a report format. Formatting a report can take some time to get it just right.

One reporting best practice is to use an automatically generated reporting process. An automatically generated report normal starts as a manual report. Once the manual report is designed and used for a few months, adjustments are made as requested. Once you have the report adjusted as needed, then it should be automated. Automated reports will reduce or remove the manual effort out of the process. It will also reduce or remove the human error factor. There are many reporting systems that can automatically generation reports once configured. While the upfront cost of implementing a reporting system may be expensive, in the long run it should save operations and the Help Desk money.

Automatically Delivered Reports

Question 4 – Are most of your reports automatically delivered to the receiving audience, application or repository?

Delivering a manual report on a consistent delivery date can also be challenging. People that deliver reports must put a schedule reminder on their calendar otherwise they could forget. The most common method of delivering a manual report is email. Managing a report recipient list can also be a challenge.

To avoid the labor-intensive work of manually delivering reports, the delivery should be automated. Automated means the report is delivered to the recipients based on delivery criteria programmed. One delivery programming criterion that will save a lot of effort is to make the report subscription based. A subscription based report is delivered to only recipients that subscribe to the report. A subscription allows the recipient to opt in to receive the report. Allowing the recipients to manage their subscription status will save a lot of time and reduce errors. There are reporting systems that also allow the automatic delivery of reports and managing subscriptions.

Reports using ACD data

Question 5 – Do you have Help Desk reporting metrics that utilize call handling data from an ACD or telecom system?

There are many repositories of data that Help Desks use to generate reports. One of these repositories of data is the call data between the Help Desk agent and the caller. Call data can be accessed from the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). Call data available may just be the basic data of number, duration, and source of the calls. However, to make more advanced reports, the ACD data must provide details such as agent behavior and call state. This advanced data will provide active time, hold time, and wrap up time. It will also provide when agents are logged in or out of the system.

An ACD can be setup to export data ad hoc, on a schedule, or real-time. Data exported from an ACD ad hoc or on a schedule will provide historical performance and can produce historical trending reports. ACD data exported real-time through an Application Programming Interface (API) or physical cable connection is very useful. Many workforce management systems can take this raw call data and create useful real-time performance reports. These real-time performance reports are great ways to manage staff behavior, contact flows, and call queue management.

Advertised Reports

Question 6 – Do you have a report repository where authorized people can view and download the reports?

Sending or pushing reports to recipients can have limitations and issues. First the reports are a point in time. If it is a monthly report generated, people may want to see the weekly data. Also, some people don’t want their email inbox filled with reports even if they subscribe to the report. Allowing recipients access to a reporting repository will allow the user to view and download the report as needed. The reports are still a point of time when generated but the delivery can be determined by the recipient.

On Demand Reports

Question 7 – Can a system or person generate an ad hoc report when needed?

Automating and pushing reports out to recipients shows a level of maturity. An even higher level of maturity is allowing people to select and generate their own reports. This is achieved by presenting a report selection interface and allowing people to select a report to run. This means the report is as current as the data available. Some systems will even allow users to build their own report. This is done by allowing the user menu and selections to define the criteria. The criteria people can define is usually a date range and type of data.

Real-time Help Desk Reporting Metrics Dashboards

Question 8 – Is real-time Help Desk reporting metrics data feeding into a dashboard that can be used by the business or department leaders to see the current and past performance?

A real-time dashboard can run on a user’s computer by web browser or locally installed as an application. Real-time reporting metrics are fed into the display. The dashboard can be a tool to track, analyze, and understand performance. The benefit of using a dashboard is it is real-time and you can implement responses as events occur. The dashboard can provide visualization options such as graphs, speedometers, and other easy to understand displays. It is automatically updated and grants instant access to valuable data. Even better, when the leadership has access to a dashboard, they are less likely to demand work intensive performance reports.

Publicly Displayed Digital Dashboards

Question 9 – Do you have performance and activity data displayed on monitors in the Help Desk area?

Author of the Help Desk Management book Wayne Schlicht states “Most mature Help Desks have large call status boards predominantly displayed in the Help Desk area. These digital dashboards inform everyone in the Help Desk room the current call volume activity.” An important activity monitored are the call queues display if callers waiting for a Help Desk agent. Handling customer calls is the Help Desk’s top priority. If calls are waiting in queue, management and staff must act. Visually seeing the calls in queue does motivate the staff. Everyone exerts a little extra effort to get caught up. For management, they need to figure out what is driving the call waiting line. Reviewing the open and closed call ticket categories for trending issues is a good start. This is a time where the incident management process really kicks in. More information about incident management can be found here.

Report Alerting

Question 10 – Can your reporting system generate notifications or alerts when thresholds are met?

Information Technology departments typically will have event monitoring on systems and services. These event monitoring applications will generate event alerts when a defined threshold is met. The event alerts could be for an application that is unresponsive, a server CPU that is spiking, or any other type of system or service issue. The Help Desk can play a critical role in triaging event alerts. The Help Desk will have an event monitoring dashboard for these alerts. When there is an alert ticket can automatically be created. The Help Desk will have standard rules and responses in place. The could include escalating the ticket to on call resources or performing some action to resolve the situation.

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