The way we all work changed significantly in 2020. The global workforce has largely shifted to remote work and, despite the world’s best efforts, the status of work is not going back to normal any time soon.

In March and April, the pressure was so present it felt like you could slice through it with a knife. A heavy burden was placed on you, the IT professional, to provide successful support for this unprecedented transition.

Surely, everyone’s expectations have lowered and reset to more realistic goals during this stressful time, right? Wrong.

So, how do you adjust the measurement of success when all the standard rules have been thrown out the window?

Below are some suggestions to reset the expectations of the business and focus on customer experience while continuing to adjust to this new normal.

 

Resetting the Expectations of the Business

Assume Ticket Costs Have Increased

Many businesses had to lower sales targets during the pandemic. This was done to offset assumed losses and to reset the expectations of the business.

It doesn’t make sense to keep or lower expected service desk ticket costs, as they relate to key performance indicators, in this climate. Like sales, you must account for assumed losses and reset the expectations of the business.

If you haven’t already, take a look at your estimated ticket costs since February. It’s common to see an increase in ticket volume, an increase in time spent on a single ticket and an increase in the need for escalations. All of these factors equate to increased costs.

Meet your goals by assuming every ticket will take longer to resolve, or require more expensive resources to resolve, and increase the assumed ticket cost when measuring KPIs.

 

Focus on Customer Experience

Emphasize Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) over First Call Resolution (FCR)

Now, we’re not recommending you disregard First Call Resolution. (See our recommendation on elevating Customer Effort Score below.) We’re just suggesting you focus on Mean Time To Resolution for the foreseeable future. This should emphasize quality assurance and patience with your end users.

Most newly remote employees have likely struggled with the transition at some point. By telling your service desk to focus on patience and to work with end users the way they prefer to work, you should be able to increase sentiment and reduce the number of tickets that reopen.

Try to resolve issues on the first call, of course, but don’t stress if it requires multiple calls – overall resolution time is more important as your workforce struggles to stay focused and productive.

 

Prioritize First Response Time

Increased ticket volume leads to longer wait times and slow response times. If you haven’t already, a good practice for extended response times is to update your automated request confirmation emails to set accurate expectations for requestors.

Now that expectations are set, you should encourage your team to respond quickly.

End users need more attention than before. They have less support from their colleagues in the cubicle next to them and their anxiety can increase when technical issues arise while isolated at home.

Responding quickly and often, even if you don’t have the answer yet, lets the end user know that they’re not forgotten and that you are working on their issue. Prioritize the initial human response to all requests to increase satisfaction and limit the anxious calls for updates to the service desk.

 

Elevate Customer Effort Scores

Jeff Rumberg, over at HDI, put together a great blog article on the Customer Effort Metric. The service desk can usually measure customer experience by tracking Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES).

Again, we’re not saying CSAT and NPS no longer matter but lowering their bearing on success measurements can go a long way in evaluating what matters most right now. People are not interested in recommending service in this climate. They just need to get back to work as quickly as possible.

Focus on Customer Effort Score. Survey topics like “The organization made it easy for me to handle my issue” with a 1-5 ranking is a good way to get a pulse for how customers rate the service experience.

Customer experience becomes more important with a remote workforce and you may need to re-evaluate the role of CES moving forward.

 

Summary

We all want to go back to normal but we’re a long way from normal right now. For the foreseeable future, let’s focus on being honest with the business, with end users and with ourselves.

Identify areas of your current KPIs that you can adjust and re-emphasize to measure a new definition of success to fit your new landscape. Lower expectations of your team members until you feel you have reached a new point of stability and refine strategies for measuring customer experience.

For more ways to meet business expectations and improve customer experience using enterprise IT Service Management solutions, contact Cireson’s ITIL-certified experts today.