35 IT help desk statistics: How does your team stack up?

There are two ways to measure the performance of your IT help desk. The first is by monitoring metrics and tracking your progress toward KPIs. This provides a clear picture of the progress your team is making over time toward lowering costs, increasing output, expediting resolution, and providing quality service—meeting important goals.

But once you know how your team is doing today compared to how it was performing in the past, the next step is to benchmark your metrics against those of other companies. Without this second step, it’s difficult to know whether the standards you set are unachievable—or not aggressive enough.

You can use the following 35 IT help desk statistics to benchmark your team’s performance against others in the industry.

Staffing and salary statistics

While more than one-third of companies plan to increase the staffing levels for their service desk teams in 2018, the number of companies looking to hire is actually down from 45% in 2015. The Service Desk Institute (SDI) suggests that this is the result of companies adopting new technologies that enable automation and self-servicing, reducing the need for additional staff.

Help desk employees in the U.S. earn more than their counterparts in the UK and Europe. A help desk employee in the U.S. earns an average starting salary of $41,500, compared to £21,762 ($30,373) in the UK and €32,500 ($40,015) in Europe.

Employee retention statistics

While 70% of support employees stay in their roles for more than two years, that number is actually down from 75% in 2015. Additionally, in 2015, 50% of support employees stayed in their roles for more than three years, but in 2017, the number of employees who stayed in their roles for more than three years dropped to 35%. Today’s support employees are more likely to find new jobs—and more likely to leave the company when doing so.

Improve retention at your company by focusing on employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees are more loyal to their employers and provide better customer service. Regular staff morale surveys provide a picture of employee satisfaction, and training and career development opportunities may improve low employee satisfaction rates.

Training and development statistics

Providing help desk employees with plenty of initial and ongoing training provides a variety of benefits. First, training leads to job satisfaction, which decreases turnover and increases customer satisfaction rates. But beyond that, well-trained employees simply perform better. When employees go through more training, they’re able to resolve more tickets on their own.

Help desk leaders should take time to form a variety of training plans and career development paths for their employees. Individuals interested in moving into help desk supervisory and management roles may need leadership training. For others, the right career path might consist of additional technology training to move into a front-line role on another company IT team.

Business operations statistics

Given that 69% of internal support tickets are solved in a single communication, a first response time of 24 hours seems high. It suggests that teams may be too busy to respond to queries quickly.

There are a few possible solutions to this issue:

  1. Increase the number of support employees per seat served.
  2. Create more aggressive response and resolution SLAs, and use those metrics to measure employee performance.
  3. Adopt technologies that automate resolution for basic, repetitive issues.

For example, a support chatbot that provides automatic answers and guidance for common ticket types reduces resolution times. It provides instant solutions to common issues, preventing support employees from getting overwhelmed by menial tasks that distract their time and attention from more complex problems.

Service desk metrics

After reviewing more than 1,000 help desk benchmark reports, MetricNet’s Jeff Rumburg and Eric Zbikowski concluded that the two most important metrics for help desks to measure are cost per ticket and customer service quality.

While more service desks are measuring customer satisfaction than before (48% in 2017 versus 34% in 2015), few focus on cost. Instead, teams are more likely to measure the number of tickets resolved. This prevents teams from gathering important insights.

For example, say you measure cost-per ticket and discover that the most expensive tickets stem from users with older-model laptops. Showing leaders that they’ll save money by replacing those laptops thanks to fewer and less-costly support needs makes a compelling argument for increasing your technology budget.

Customer satisfaction statistics

If you’re looking to improve the quality of the service your team provides, increase the speed in which you address and resolve tickets. Customers report higher satisfaction when using real-time support mediums. This explains why phone is still preferred and live chat is growing, while slower response mediums like email and social media are on the decline.

Technology statistics

One means of increasing the speed with which you handle tickets is hiring more help desk staff, but using the right technology is another.

According to Zendesk, for every support ticket opened, four users opt for self-servicing. Technology that allows users to self-service improves customer satisfaction, limits the demands on the help desk to handle issues that are easily resolved, and reduces support’s cost-per-call.

Remote support tools and knowledge management systems also help reduce the cost and burden of tickets. Remote support tools allow service desk employees to resolve issues without having to make field visits, and knowledge management tools provide support teams with a database of information they can use to find answers and solutions instead of escalating issues.

Evaluating your team’s performance using industry statistics

While these statistics are good for comparing your support team’s effectiveness to others in the industry, they really only provide a limited picture.

For example, a 10-person support team for a healthcare company may be able to close 1,000 tickets each month. The same 10-person support team at a SaaS startup may only be able to close 100. Does that mean the second team is less effective? Not necessarily.

It could be that the end users at the healthcare company are less technologically savvy, so most tickets are resolved by telling the people who raised the tickets to reboot their machines. The SaaS startup, on the other hand, has highly technical employees who only raise tickets for issues that require complex solutions and take much longer to resolve.

Because every company is different, it’s crucial for teams to start by setting KPIs, choosing the metrics you’ll measure to determine success or failure, and monitoring those metrics over time. In doing so, you’ll form an accurate and useful picture of your team’s effectiveness that you can later baseline against the overall industry to drive real change and true progress.

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