What if your service desk was so good that it could solve problems before they happen? You can’t predict unexpected events, but you can and should address predictable events. Researchers from the Corporate Executive Board (now part of Gartner) refer to this as creating “event clusters,” and it could be the key to boosting your first-touch resolution (FTR) rate.
Twenty-two percent of repeat calls to the service desk involve downstream issues related to a prior ticket. For example, a customer may call for assistance when installing a particular application and then call a second time because they aren’t sure how to use it. Because the issues are related to the same ticket, FTR takes a hit. Imagine having the ability to boost your FTR by over 20 percent. That’s what event clusters can do for you.
Anticipate What Happens Next
When you solve event clusters rather than just sticking to the problem explicitly mentioned by the customer, you cut your call volume while increasing your FTR percentage. For example, when someone calls for assistance with installing an application, you can prevent the second call by walking them through how to use it while they’re still on the line. You can resolve event clusters during a single agent interaction, automate self-service solutions that prevent future calls, or automate follow-up emails that anticipate known related events.
Fidelity Investments, for example, found that when external customers changed their addresses online, they often called back about renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, or they called back to order new checks. When customers change their addresses, they see prompts about ordering new checks and getting assistance with insurance, which has led to a 5-percent drop in call volume. Also, Fidelity has found that 25 percent of its self-service sessions are initiated by these auto-generated suggestions.
Manage Evolving Events
As we’ve stated before, certain actions, like putting new software into production, trigger a predictable chain of events. Better management of these evolving events can have a big impact on FTR and customer satisfaction. Head off some ticket volume by creating self-service options and letting customers know they’re available. Also, offer live assistance with predictable challenges, and automate follow-up emails that address common issues. The point is to be useful at every stage of an unfolding event by proactively addressing predictable customer needs.
An important note: If tickets aren’t created in a way that ties related events together, your current FTR may appear higher than it actually is. If your FTR is okay, but you’re buried in unnecessary calls, examine your ticket workflows for accurate logging. Also, too many service desks monitor call time so closely that technicians are incentivized to work only the issue at hand. They don’t take initiative to work event clusters because they’re worried about calls taking too long.
Your mission: Make some predictions about event clusters, and deploy related actions at your service desk. Follow your FTR (and your customer satisfaction score) to see your outcomes improve. Of course, FTR isn’t the only metric worth monitoring at your service desk. Download our white paper: How World-Class Service Desks Use Benchmarking for Continuous Improvement.
About Matt Cox
Matt leads the sales engineers and support team for SolarWInds ITSM. His team works with customers to create tailored technical solutions for specific business needs. He once went hang gliding off a cliff in Ecuador.
Read more articles by Matt