Self-service support desks empower both customers and employees by giving them the resources to solve their own incidents with little or no IT intervention. As the responsibilities of IT professionals vary and expand within the business world, self-service can ease the tension inherent in such a drastic change. What valuable metrics should enterprise IT service management teams keep in mind when considering advanced self-service support?
Number of Tickets
When we talk about self-service help desk support, we're really talking about first-level resolution, or automated responsiveness. Anything beyond FLR constitutes a manual process, like an IT professional working directly with the hardware or interacting with the offending application in question. The fewer tickets IT professional have to field, the freer their schedules are to manage more important matters.
For instance, Gartner estimates in 2015, self-service had the potential to resolve around 40 percent of an average IT service desk's workload. In removing almost half of all low-level service tickets from IT professionals' plates, self-service support allows staff more time devoted to amending higher-level service requests, thereby reducing turnaround time and costs to their company, as well as to the customer.
Cost Per Ticket
Let's return to FLR for a moment. Preventing a ticket from ascending past FLR also saves service desk owners a significant chunk of change. A MetricNet study found that the average self-service support ticket in North America costs about $22 to manage from start to finish. When a support ticket transcends FLR and moves up to desktop support, costs jump more than 180 percent.
As such, pushing for stronger self-service management solutions has the potential to mitigate per-ticket spend. However, MetricNet is quick to note proper self-service adoption isn't a race to zero. Companies should always expend some resources, even when their service desks are fully automated and finely tuned. A steep drop in costs could be an indicator of lackluster support quality, which brings us to our final point.
Fact is, self-service only works when the organizations supplying it actively encourage users to utilize it as often as possible - a mere one-third of businesses today have the self-service capabilities to resolve incidents at FLR with an 80-percent success rate. Why? Because self-service prosperity is as much about automation as it is about customer satisfaction.
To that end, businesses must resist the urge to treat self-service support solely as a preventative measure against a tsunami of tickets. Rather, they should use data to direct automation toward enterprise IT's "usual suspects," like password troubleshooting. Moreover, they should also pay careful attention to the mechanism controlling ticket escalation, lest they leave users with legitimate concerns stuck in a self-service spiral without escape.
Improving these features can bolster the reputation of a company's service desk package as a whole in the eyes of the customer and the employee, which ultimately fuels appreciation for IT. And nothing rallies users behind a centralized service desk offering more than a love for not only what IT can accomplish, but it has proven it can achieve.