Help Desk Metrics – Don’t Let Them Tell You, “You’re just a number!”

Every time you contact the UWIT Help Desk you become an important part of how we evaluate our service.  At UWIT we work hard to try and provide the best customer service we can to our Campus Community including Faculty, Staff and Students.  However, trying to evaluate customer service based on phone calls, emails, chat sessions and remote sessions is difficult on a day to day basis when the calls keep coming and a multitude of people keep answering.  So, we rely on Help Desk Metrics.

Our phone system tells us how many times we were called, how long they had to wait, and how many calls we got.  If someone decided to hang up as opposed to waiting, we know how many people did that too.  The Help Desk looks at these numbers and tries to discern our busiest times.  So if only 2 people call on average from 8-9am, we don’t need 7 people in the help desk for that hour, on average.  However, if we average 20 calls from 9-10am, then we staff that hour accordingly.  All of this is to try and make sure we have enough people that our customers do not have to wait long to hear a Representatives voice.

Our busiest week of 2011 so far has been the first week of school.  That week, the average amount of time people had to wait in a queue was 5 seconds.  On the other hand, on our busiest week the average time people would give us to answer the phone before they hung up was right at 2 minutes.  2 minutes has really been our average all around for the amount of time people will wait in the queue – again this is on average.  We try to get to all of our calls right away but also understand customers don’t want to wait, so 2 minutes makes sense to us and we are glad to know, when the average person calls, the amount of time they will give us to answer is roughly the same.

For that first week of the Spring Semester, we took 586 phone calls and emails.  This averages to 117 calls/emails per day!  Whew, for an institution our size that makes for a pretty busy day.  The average amount of time we spent per phone call that week was right around 4 minutes.  This means we had a good week, metrically speaking, since the customer only had to wait 5 seconds to talk to us and then we were off the phone in less than five minutes.  Not too bad!

We had 530 phone calls that first week.  Of those calls, 37 of them disconnected the call before we could talk to them.  That means for our busiest week we had a 6% abandonment rate, meaning a customer hung up.  This is higher than where we want it, but we also understand not every week are we going to have 117 calls per day.  So we are okay with that.  When you get 18 calls from 1-2pm on Monday, some people will probably be in the queue past 2 minutes.   Since we already know, 2 minutes is about all, there are going to be abandoned calls.  We know that, on average we are not going to have 18 calls in an hour, and since we averaged 4 minutes per call, if we had gotten to all those calls we would have spent 72 minutes on the phone that hour.  Since there are only 60 minutes, we understand there will be those times.

The last and most important statistic to the Help Desk is the percentage of calls we are able to answer on the first call.  When you call the help desk, are we able to answer your question right there, and get you on your way.  For that week, we averaged an outstanding 86% of our calls resolved on that first call.  If you called that week, that means 8, almost 9, of 10 calls were answered and not forwarded onto a consultant or someone else within IT.

Obviously these numbers fluctuate week to week, which is why we base our evaluation on the averages.  But when you call, whether you get through or not, you are helping us work towards our goals in Customer Service, so don’t let anyone tell you “You are just a number.”  You are a valuable metric for our Help Desk!


Brett Williams, Help Desk Manager From Laramie, WY


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