We’ve all been there: you turn up early to work on a presentation day. You’re dressed sharply, you know what you’re talking about, and you are confident of doing the presentation in an online video call meeting. If it goes well, this could mean a promotion, a pay rise, job security, and a load of other perks. You get into your presentation room, to make sure everything is as it should be and—bam!—the projector isn’t working.
As an increasing reliance on IT and cloud phone system has evolved in the modern workplace, so too have instances where technology malfunctions. Luckily, there will always be someone – on call, or live chat, or via email – that you can ask for help. These people work in incident management.
What Is Incident Management?
Quite simply, incident management is managing incidents. When things go wrong, specialists need to be on hand to rectify this as soon as possible. In a world where we’re more connected than ever, the turnaround on these incidents is dropping sharply.
So, if you’re heading up an incident management team how do you go about assessing the productivity of your team in an engagement platform? Without tracking, or knowing what you’re looking for, today’s abundance of information can prove a maze of confusing statistics. Publishing custom metrics, and therefore isolating the information you need most readily is a skill unto itself and for strategic processes follow a balanced scorecard.
What Is a KPI?
KPI is an abbreviation that stands for Key Performance Indicator. They are, in essence, a set of data points by which a person or group of people is judged. Nowadays, there are ways of tracking and analyzing everything that happens online and some of this information is more crucial to the success of your operation than others.
For example, if you’re working in a customer service department, customer satisfaction should be of more value to you than the money the customer spends. But, if you work in sales – or sales team development – how happy a customer is will ultimately be of less worth to you than sales figures.
A lot of managers now argue that this isn’t a zero-sum game, and in some ways, they’re right. You don’t have to completely disregard a customer’s well-being to sell to them. Being selective with the information by which your team, or your own performance, is judged is crucial to finding out their merit, and discover any potential failings.
In the same way a storyboard creator sets out the objectives of a film shoot, you can use KPIs to plan for your firm’s future. Below, we’ll share what we believe to be the top nine essential incident management KPIs.
1. Cost Per Ticket (CPT)
A fundamental metric for understanding how much the incident management area of your business affects a lot of related branches is through Cost Per Ticket (CPT). Taken as an average, this KPI demonstrates how much money you’re investing in the resolution of an issue.
It’s an objective KPI that cannot be argued with. Thus, it offers an inarguable representation of the respective health of your operation. Trying to drive this cost down to the lowest possible figure should be your goal over time. After all, whether it be a free lunch or a free web meeting, anyone in business is attracted by something that costs as little as possible.
2. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Service Level Agreements – or SLAs for short – are critical to ensuring that your team is running to a good operational standard. An SLA is a factor in a lot of outsourcing and is a set of metrics or objectives laid out by a company that it expects the vendor to meet.
This can cover anything, from response time to a target CPT. Keeping one eye on these goals means that you can assess how well your team is performing, and keeping your client abreast of these statistics – by virtual meeting or by ensuring you upload files to Google Drive – is important too. Failure to meet these requested objectives can also cause tension between you and a client, so best to avoid this at all costs.
3. First Contact Resolution (FCR)
We know as people who deal with problems outside of work that the quicker an issue is resolved, the happier we are. This principle is no different when we flip that dynamic around and are charged with solving an issue. Being able to understand and fix any issue that a customer may be having on the first attempt is the gold standard for incident management.
As well as satisfying the customer, it also avoids repeat contacts and any potential communication issues. Monitoring how many of the incidents your team encounters that get resolved on the first attempt, as well as marking the status of open requests, should be a central focus for a manager.
4. Repeat Incidents
Repeat incidents may sound like repeat contacts – as mentioned earlier – but there is a difference. When discussing repeat contacts, we’re referring to a customer with a single issue having to contact you on repeat occasions. In this case, having free conference call services is something to seriously consider. Repeat incidents refer to how often customers, as a network, are getting in touch about the same issue.
This is important for many reasons. If you find that resolving this issue is pretty straightforward, that can increase your first contact centre resolution percentage. Also, it could highlight a potential fault with a product or a service that may have been missed by another area of the business.
5. Average Incident Response Time
Depending on the kind of business that you operate in, this metric can mean a multitude of different things. If you oversee a network of different sub-departments this can mean the average amount of time it takes for a customer to be matched with the correct sub-department. Or, if you’re a single team of incident managers, it can mean the average time between a query being sent and it being picked up by a team member.
Regardless of what it means to your particular situation, it normally means evaluating customer service from every angle. So, driving this metric down to the lowest possible time is a smart idea. Swiftly resolving customer issues is something that all customer-facing companies should strive for.
6. Incident Backlog
At particularly busy periods, incidents may take longer to resolve. In retail, the Christmas holiday remains the busiest time of year, generally speaking. And when it does come around, it can lead to backlogs.
All of a sudden, your SLA targets on response times aren’t being met. Your staff are probably becoming increasingly weary and struggling with acute burnout as a result of the onslaught of incidents and a taxing work schedule. Also, your cost per ticket is increasing as a result. Keeping track of the time period and size of the backlog can be a crucial KPI.
Understood best as a year-on-year metric, to account for annual trends, this metric allows you to plan – taking on extra staff or offering overtime perhaps – more effectively for those busier times of the year. This, in turn, keeps your other CX metrics in check and ensures that any backlog you may experience is kept to an absolute minimum.
As an incident management team, you’re almost exclusively dealing with things when they go wrong. I mean, how often do people email or call in to let you know that everything is operating just fine? Most probably not a lot. Keeping this metric – otherwise known as Uptime – in mind can be a useful statistic to understand – something that could be helped by enlisting UptimeRobot monitoring.
It allows you to maintain perspective on the operating health of your venture. If all the incidents that people contact you about only account for 5% of the total “fleet” of products in your network, then that serves as a healthy reminder that not everything is going wrong all of the time. But, if you find it accounts for a large portion of your products, it may be worth flagging to other departments.
8. Reopen Rates
A high FCR rate is wonderful news for your team. Although, if it’s coupled with an equally high reopen rate, then you may not be operating as efficiently as you first thought. The term “reopen rate” refers to the number of incidents your team resolves, only for them to be reopened if the solution doesn’t prove sufficient.
These occurrences lead to all-around dissatisfaction. The customer doesn’t want to be coming back to you with the same issue over and over again.
Your team also doesn’t want to have to keep going back to the same customer to try and resolve an issue they previously believed to be fixed. As much as anything else, it can cause real deflation and a downturn in employee wellbeing. Tracking this KPI, as well as understanding the causes of case reopenings can be a key factor in understanding your overall operation and provide better customer service
9. End-User Satisfaction
As much as CPT score and enterprise pricing are an objective metric, end-user satisfaction remains important. Though it is subjective, it is crucial for understanding the good faith in which your business is held.
Whilst good faith doesn’t pay bills or wages, it can be an indicator of how likely you are to see repeat business. Remember; customers with low satisfaction rates are less likely to return to you in the future. Customer service and support are, in this way, as crucial as any sales or marketing you do – whether digital, through a partner marketing strategy, or through other means.
Through the KPIs outlined above, there should be enough guidance for you to begin to understand which are relevant to you and your aims. As mentioned, not all of these will be suited to your operation. By being selective about which ones you choose to measure your performance by can have a solid impact on your operation.
About the Author
Marjorie Hajim is the SEO Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a leading cloud communications company that provides VoIP and best call tracking software. She develops and executes strategies for short-term and long-term SEO growth. In her spare time, she loves reading books at coffee shops and playing with her dogs.