Measuring the Performance of Helpdesk/Service Desk Teams and Agents

I'm asked to address the subject of how you measure the performance of Helpdesk/Service Desk Teams and Agents - something that can be both useful, vexatious, misleading and controversial (and possibly all of these at the same time).

If you are asked to look at this subject, you need to be clear about what aspect of performance you want to look at - saying 'I just want to look at standard reports' usually means you haven't thought clearly enough about what you wish to examine, or what problem you are trying to solve. For example, are you concerned about a Team that seems to take a long time to resolve Incidents? Or a Team that seems to re-assign a lot of tickets that are assigned to it? Do you just want to get an overview?

Let's take a look at some different aspects of Team and Agent performance. You'll see that these are mostly subsets of overall ITSM service delivery performance.

Type of Ticket - Are you looking at Incidents, Problems, Service Requests or Changes? Or all four? You might find it helpful to consider each individually.

Rate of Resolution - Now by this I don't mean speed, I simply means out of how many tickets logged or assigned to a Team did that Team actually resolve? This may not be appropriate for all ticket types and for all teams - but for some it will be. The most obvious is a first line support team, and instances where you are trying to improve the number of tickets resolved without being passed to other teams. It might be hard to determine what the 'right' or 'acceptable' number is, so try looking at the figures over something like a 3 month period.

Number Resolved - This is probably the ultimate blunt instrument, so use with caution (yet bizarrely it's often the first measure managers look at, especially for Agents). The reason it's a problematic measure is that those Teams and Agents having more complex workloads and tasks will usually have a much lower rate of resolution than those with simpler tasks. One useful thing you can deduce from this is if a particular Team or Agent is being put under increasing stress by increasing volumes. You can also investigate issues where ticket closure figures are low for one or two Team members - but remember it might simply be they are doing other things, or handling more complex cases.

Churn - Here I'm referring to an overview of incoming tickets, the number resolved, the number outstanding and the number on-passed to other teams. You'll find a report in SerioReports that shows this, and can be used to get a view of how Incidents move between teams.

I'll post the rest of this article next week. In the meantime, I've made a companion spreadsheet to our Service Desk Metrics White Paper which contains some actual examples. Search this site for downloads and you'll find it.