Service desk KPIs: the low-down

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So you want to set targets for your department. But where do you start? You’ve done your research and everybody who is anybody is saying service desk KPIs are the way to go.

But what exactly are KPIs? What can they do for you – and perhaps more importantly, what can’t they do?

What are KPIs? Good KPIs vs bad KPIs

Let’s start with what KPI stands for: Key Performance Indicator. Why is the meaning of the term KPI so important? Because it shows that not every result is a KPI, and neither is every goal you set for your teams. Only your key targets count towards your KPIs. Don’t water them down.

Where are you now?

Before you even start thinking about your actual KPIs, make sure you know how you’re performing right now. You can’t set realistic goals if you don’t even know how far away they are.

Find out how to pick relevant KPIs with a baseline measurement.

The next step is to research industry benchmarks and other data that give you an idea of how much growth or change is realistic for your organization.

Don’t just come up with numbers out of thin air. Chances are if you just start setting random goals, they’ll turn out to be either too difficult or too easy to reach. Not very motivating for your team members. Why should they go the extra mile for a goal that’s only an inch away? And why work hard for a goal they can never reach anyway?

Make sure you know what your starting point is, so it’s easier to determine where you think you can go in three months or a year.

Make your service desk KPIs SMART.

When to use KPIs

Only use KPIs for important key metrics. You don’t want to inflate your KPIs by just using them whenever. Also make sure your KPIs are aligned with your service desk goals. You don’t want your teams to work on conflicting goals.

A good rule of thumb is to set high level KPIs for your service desk as a whole, and low level KPIs for teams and individuals. Use high level KPIs for things related to how your service desk is performing as a whole. How many tickets are you processing each month? How well do you maintain your SLAs?

For your teams, opt for lower level KPIs. These KPIs apply more directly to teams and individuals, so they should relate to goals that your teams and employees can reach individually.

For instance, take a look at how many unresolved incidents each operator or operator group has and see what you can improve. Set attainable KPIs based on your findings and provide resources and training accordingly. And, of course, make sure your team members agree that their KPIs are attainable as well.

Not every result is a KPI, and neither is every goal you set for your teams. Only your key targets count towards your KPIs. Don’t water them down.

Defining your service desk KPIs

Here are four questions to ask when you start setting up your service desk KPIs:

  1. What do you want to get out of your KPI?
  2. Why does the outcome matter?
  3. How can you influence the outcome?
  4. How do you measure the outcome?

You can use the tips and questions in this blog to create clear and succinct KPIs for your department and your teams. After all, KPIs are a form of communication. And what use is any communication if the recipients can’t act upon it?

Want to explore further?

What would KPIs for your service desk look like in real life? Discover how to use specific KPIs to measure customer satisfaction. Or read our guide to better reporting to find out how you can use KPIs for incident management.