IT service desk reporting is an essential IT service management (ITSM) practice, which can help to identify troublesome processes, training requirements, customer satisfaction, and more. Most IT service desk managers understand this and make the time for reporting, but often the reports produced aren't as effective as they could be.
So, if you’re spending significant time creating performance reports that aren’t being read or acted upon by your department, then it would be wise to look at what your reports contain and how the important messages are delivered. Ultimately, do they hit the mark – and help the reader – or do they sadly hinder more than they help?
In this blog post, we provide 5 IT service desk reporting tips along with 5 top metrics to consider.
5 IT Service Desk Reporting Tips
1. Measure only what you need
It can be tempting to run ITSM-tool reports on absolutely everything. After all, the more data you have available, the more you’re going to know about what’s going on, right? Well, actually, this usually isn’t the case – because the useful data and information gets drowned in all the “noise.”
To prevent this, start by understanding what the goals of the IT department are, then you can begin to look at which data will help you get there and which data will distract from the tasks at hand.
Just because your ITSM tool allows you to measure everything you can think of doesn’t mean that you should. And a report that has five effective stats is going to be more useful than a report with fifty stats that don’t relate to your organization’s goals.
2. Keep it simple
It’s easy to think that good IT service desk reports should be full of complicated data, jargon, and complex information. You’ve got to show these reports to senior leaders and you want them to understand that you know your stuff.
It’s understandable but it will be doing more harm than good – because people generally just want to see the information they care about, and to be able to understand it easily. For example, a report that doesn’t speak for itself, requires instructions on how to use it, or has too much data, is going to turn off recipients and all your hard work will go down the drain.
So, keep it simple by using visuals to display results and information that’s easy to digest. Swap complicated data for straight-to-the-point content that displays how well you’re doing in relation to your goals.
3. Customize system generated reports as needed
Some IT service desks fall into the trap of only reporting what’s available to them “out of the box” from their ITSM tool – but this might not be the right data for your organization.
Thus, if you have a goal but none of the existing reporting options help you to identify whether you’re on track or not, then add in what you need. It’s important to always customize your reports to include the data that’s vital for your organization – because no business is the same and best practice frameworks are there to guide you rather than to be used without any deviation.
4. Send targeted reports
It’s not uncommon for IT support reports to be produced and then sent around to all key stakeholders – but they’re all the same. This means that each stakeholder had to sift through data and information that doesn’t matter to them to find what they actually care about.
So, when you’re sending reports out, you want to ideally only include the data that each recipient wants to see. Sure, it means some additional work for you, but your stakeholders are going to gain far more value and your reports are actually going to get used.
5. Hold regular reviews
Regular reviews of what you’re reporting on are required because, in the world of IT, the goalposts are moving all the time. It can be as simple as checking whether report recipients are happy with what they receive and if anything should be added or removed.
So, don’t run the risk of sending out reports that no longer add value simply because you haven’t bothered to check whether the metrics you’re running with still align with business needs.
5 Important IT Service Desk Metrics
1. Volume of new tickets
The number of new tickets that the IT service desk has coming in per day, week, or month is important because it can help you to identify whether you have enough resource to cover demand.
In addition to this, if you see a considerable rise in new tickets – perhaps against a particular IT service – it can highlight that there’s potentially a bigger problem brewing that needs prompt resolution.
2. Volume of resolved tickets
If your IT service desk is understaffed, or has process gaps, then you might find that your resolved tickets fall far short of the number of new tickets coming in. If this is the case, then this needs to be highlighted immediately because these unresolved tickets will create a backlog which means an increased workload for your agents but, more importantly, it will probably be adversely affecting employee or business-level performance (due to the delay in resolutions).
A thriving IT support organization will find that its new and resolved ticket numbers align. However, if this suddenly changes – and resolved ticket volumes drop – then you should investigate whether this is a staffing, training, or broken process issue.
3. The size of the ticket backlog
The fewer tickets you have in your backlog queue the better. All IT service desks might wish that their backlog queue could remain at zero forever but, alas, IT is a complex beast and not all tickets will be closed down neatly within their service level agreement (SLA) targets. It’s vital to report on your backlog queue because it only gets harder to manage when you ignore it.
One common practice for IT service desks is bringing in agents to work overtime to clear a backlog queue. However, this is merely a short-term solution and is not effective; without identifying the cause and fixing the underlying problem that backlog queue is only going to grow again.
Overtime to battle ticket queues is also potentially a quickfire way to demotivate your IT service desk team. Instead report on this and dig deeper if you suspect a problem – training, too many incoming tickets (versus available staff), and process problems can all be culprits of a growing ticket backlog.
4. The first response time
The first response time is the time between the original ticket being created and the first notification to the customer that something is happening with that ticket. If your first-response SLAs are public, then this particular metric is certainly one you need to watch. And if you make your customers wait too long before responding to their ticket, then their satisfaction levels are likely going to drop.
If your organization is struggling with its first response time, consider automation which can be used to pick up and assign tickets to the correct department. At the same time a notification is triggered to the customer to advise them the ticket has been logged and progressed. It might feel like a cheat but it’s also going to show the customer that their ticket is being progressed (plus achieving the overall SLA is still important).
5. The level of customer satisfaction (CSAT)
This is arguably the most important metric for many IT service desks given that they exist to serve their customers. The service desk is also the face of IT and sets standards for the whole IT department; thus, if the IT service desk appears to be failing, the reputation of IT as a whole can be damaged.
Regularly report on your CSAT scores and ensure that you use trending reports to check whether you’re improving over time. Or that CSAT levels are in a downward trend despite targets being met – which will allow corrective action to be taken before CSAT scores reach an unacceptable level.
Automation, self-service portals, knowledge documentation, and regular communication can all help to increase customer satisfaction. And if you’re not sure what your customers like and don’t like about IT support within the organization, ask!
There are many benefits to reporting for IT service desks, but the benefits can only be reaped when you’re clear on why the reports are needed. And although reporting takes a lot of effort, which you may sometimes feel could be better spent dealing with your escalations, it will definitely help to improve your service desk, and IT department, over time. So, define your goals and report on what your stakeholders need to know for an improved reporting experience and a better perception of IT support and its results.
There you have it our 5 tips for better IT service desk reporting. Do you have any KPIs that are invaluable to you? Let us know in the comments.