Best practice benchmarking boosts IT service desk performance

By By Tracy Burrows for Freshworks
Johannesburg, 27 Jun 2023
Subhashree Veeraraghavan, manager of product marketing at Freshworks.
Subhashree Veeraraghavan, manager of product marketing at Freshworks.

Best practice benchmarking helps organisations prioritise and allocate IT service resources more strategically, to enhance employee experience and improve agent productivity. This emerged during a webinar on Service Desk Benchmarking hosted by Freshworks in partnership with ITWeb last week.

Subhashree Veeraraghavan, manager of product marketing at Freshworks, said benchmarking serves as a path to service excellence and service desk efficiency. “Benchmarking is a process for continuous improvement. You need to measure what matters: it allows you to assess the current maturity levels of the organisation, see how the organisation compares to peers and competitors, and helps you highlight areas of strength and areas for improvement and innovation,” she said.

She highlighted the latest Freshservice Benchmark Report, which looked at over 118 million tickets in 106 countries. The report outlined global benchmarks for seven key metrics: customer satisfaction (97.4%), average first response time (10.73 hours), average resolution time (25.6 hours), average first assign time (16.95 hours), first contact resolution (72%), resolution SLA percent (95%) and first response SLA percent (94.8%).

Veeraraghavan noted that the benchmarks differ by industry – financial services, construction and real estate generally have the happiest customers. Media and internet organisations are quick to assign and resolve tickets, while the software sector takes longer to assign tickets but resolves queries faster than most other industries.

“In smaller companies, the customer satisfaction is often slightly higher,” she said, adding that service levels might drop as companies grow into mid-sized enterprises, levelling out as they become larger and more stable.

A poll of webinar attendees asked which metrics matter the most to them. 56% said customer satisfaction, 15% said resolution SLA percent, a further 15% said mean time to resolve, and 12% said first contact resolution. The KPIs they measure daily are customer satisfaction (30%), resolution SLA percent (23%), average resolution time (19%), first contact resolution (9%), response SLA percent (9%), average first response time (5%) and average first assign time (1%).

38% believed email was the most popular channel used for IT support, 25% said phone calls were most popular, 14% said self-service, 11% said walkups, and 9% said chat was most popular.

This aligned with the Freshservice Benchmark Report, which found that email remained the most popular channel, with nearly 60% of tickets coming in via this channel. However, the need for speed and to be available 24/7 was increasing. Veeraraghavan said issues were resolved faster on chat, with up to 44% faster responses on these channels.

Veeraraghavan said: “Five key takeaways from the report were the need for fast time to value, chat and collaboration, agent productivity, conversational AI, and intelligent suggestions. Automation helps organisations achieve faster time to value, with 23% faster resolution and an average 96.7% SLA attainment.”

She said leveraging bots to assist agents improved productivity by up to 57%, and enabled 48% faster responses. “AI-powered conversational support results in high ticket deflection rates of up to 46% of incoming queries, in which AI resolves the tickets without needing human agents. Machine learning-based intelligent suggestions simplify incident management, helping agents respond and resolve incidents around 23% faster,” she said.

Veeraraghavan said Freshservice is designed to support ITSM improvements. “Right-sized IT management offers all the things you need, which are easy to use, fast time to value, and intelligence, without the overhead and complexity of tools you don’t need. Freshservice is an intuitive, intelligent, scalable and right-sized service management tool for business, with service management, operations management, asset management and project management all on a single cloud platform,” she said.