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Benchmarking Service Desk Cost Per Ticket – How Aternity Helps You Improve

Mike Marks
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Service DeskEnd User Services teams are some of the most important user groups for SteelCentral Aternity. Whether part of an enterprise’s own IT staff, or part of a service offered by IT outsourcers, End User Services teams use Aternity to proactively identify and resolve end user issues and device problems. Companies choose Aternity because of its unique approach to End User Experience Monitoring. But that is not the ultimate reason. End User Services teams choose Aternity because of its ability to help them improve the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which they are judged. In this first blog of a series, we’ll look at one of the most important metrics – Service Desk cost per ticket.

The operational drivers of Service Desk cost per ticket

The library of HDI, the first professional organization for the technical support industry, is a great resource for Service Desk KPIs. A recent article by Jeff Rumberg, the co-founder and CEO of MetricNet, covers Service Desk cost per ticket in detail. The table from Jeff’s article shows that Service Desk cost per ticket varies widely across North America, according to MetricNet’s 2016 survey.

Service Desk cost per ticket benchmarking data shows a variation of more than a factor of 15 in North America

Service Desk cost per ticket varies by more than a factor of 15 in North America

Source: Metric of the Month: Service Desk Cost per Ticket, Jeff Rumberg, HDI, May 2017 

Although costs like facilities, training, travel, office supplies, overhead staff, and technology are important contributors, Service Desk agents’ salaries and benefits make up just over 50% of operating expenses. As the article explains, IT executives need to account for Service Desk cost per ticket AND customer satisfaction. Higher cost per ticket is not necessarily bad, if it results in higher customer satisfaction.

The question is how to reduce the cost per ticket, while maintaining adequate customer satisfaction. Of course, IT can lower cost per ticket by employing lower wage staff by using an IT outsourcer or locating the Service Desk in a geography with lower wages. IT executives make decisions like these only infrequently, so they don’t really impact operations on a day to day basis.

As the article shows, from an operational perspective, Service Desk cost per ticket is driven by two primary factors—ticket handle time and agent utilization. If the agent spends less time working on a ticket, he or she can process more tickets in a shift, so costs go down. If the agent can work on more tickets at the same time, utilization rises and costs drop. So ticket handle time and agent utilization are the key operational levers for IT executives to affect Service Desk cost per ticket.

How Aternity helps reduce Service Desk cost per ticket

Imagine an end user, Adam Covert, who calls the Service Desk to complain of a slow application or device. Aternity End User Experience Monitoring provides a variety of capabilities that enable Service Desk teams to reduce cost per ticket by streamlining the time required to identify and resolve end user issues. Refer to the Monitor User Experience dashboard below, which shows how the Service Desk can see Adam’s user experience.

our ways Aternity End User Experience Monitoring helps improve Service Desk Cost per Ticket

  1. Aternity monitors ALL of the applications Adam uses for his job, whether they’re provided by IT or “Shadow IT.” Local, web, cloud-delivered, or mobile apps. Aternity monitors the end user experience of them all, so the Service Desk needs only one product to investigate problems on the entire app portfolio. One product means lower training requirements and more familiarity, leading to shorter ticket handle times.
  2. Aternity can monitor Adam’s user experience for any of the devices he uses throughout his day – smart phone, virtual desktop or PC. So, the Service Desk agent saves time by immediately identifying the devices that are causing him trouble.
  3. With Aternity, the Service Desk agent can monitor, in near real-time, the response time that Adam sees for the business activities he performs, on any application. It’s clear that Adam is experiencing trouble with SAP. End users don’t complain about technical metrics like excessive CPU consumption or network latency. They complain about not being able to execute an order or search an account. This enables the Service Desk to rapidly identify and confirm the issue, again leading to shorter handle times.
  4. Aternity measures the response time of these business activities relative to an automatically generated baseline, or manually set threshold. And it color codes the actual response time relative to the target, so the Service Desk agent can immediately validate the user’s complaint. This eliminates time wasted in gathering information, reducing the amount of work per ticket.
    Aternity End User Experience Monitoring helps reduce Service Desk Cost per Ticket by isolating the source of slow response time
  5. Aternity breaks down the overall response time of a business activity to show the contribution by client device, server, and network. This enables the Service Desk agent to identify the cause of slow performance (the server in this case), so they can rapidly route the ticket to the right team for investigation and resolution.
  6. With Aternity, IT teams can set thresholds for acceptable performance so they receive proactive notification of problems BEFORE users call to complain. Setting an internal threshold lower than the external threshold enables IT to get advance notice of issues to they can resolve them proactively. This reduces the volume of incoming calls and improves customer service.
  7. As part of the SteelCentral integrated Digital Experience Management portfolio, Aternity enables IT staff to rapidly resolve problems with one-click drill down to additional dashboards covering device details, the application back-end, or the network traffic flow data.

Bi-directional integration between Aternity and ServiceNow

The latest release of Aternity further reduces Service Desk cost per ticket with a bi-directional integration with ServiceNow, for a closed-loop system of proactive notification and incident investigation. Read the blog about Aternity and ServiceNow, or watch this short video to see the Aternity-ServiceNow integration in action:

Next Steps

Free Trial End User Experience MonitoringYour Service Desk team may be part of the enterprise IT staff. Or, it may be part of a service offered by an MSP like Blue Ally, or by IT outsourcers, like DXC, Unisys, or Dimension Data. No matter what the case is, Aternity can give you a head start on reducing Service Desk cost per ticket. Register for instant access to Aternity running in our cloud environment to explore all of Aternity’s use cases.

In addition, check out this webinar on five ways SteelCentral helps you improve your key Service Desk KPIs.

Service Desk, Desktop Services, End User Services, Benchmark KPIs, SteelCentral Aternity

If you are an Aternity customer, download the Aternity app from the ServiceNow Store. Then contact the Aternity SaaS Admin to configure your Aternity system with the URL of your ServiceNow instance to begin receiving service desk alerts.

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