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Evan Carlson | June 15, 2021

2021 Top ITSM Metrics & KPIs

The service desk has changed over the last few years. Where many IT support teams used to focus on clearing out their ticket queue as quickly as possible, more are now becoming focused on customer satisfaction. With these changes comes the need to review the ITSM metrics and Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, you have in place to make sure that you future-proof your team and stay on track in a rapidly changing environment.

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What are Common KPIs for ITSM and ITIL?

Before we can address the best metrics to use going forward, it’s important to touch on the most commonly used and widespread KPIs and IT service management metrics, especially as they relate to ITIL.

These include (but are not limited to):

  • Cost per Ticket: the breakdown of the cost-per-ticket, which takes into account the time of each agent who worked the ticket, the equipment needed to remedy the incident, and the downtime of the customer.
  • First-Contact Resolution (FCR): the number of calls, tickets, or incidents which are handled within one interaction. This includes first contact via email, phone, chat portals, and other methods of reaching the service desk. This is important in gauging how many tickets or calls are bouncing around at any given time and the number for FCR should be as high as possible. Resolving a customer’s needs in one cull ultimately results in a better customer experience.
  • Technician Utilization: the average time that a technician spends handling both incidents and service requests per month, divided by the number of work hours in that month. This is a great way to gauge how much time is being spent on things like ticket resolution vs. learning efforts and experimentation.
  • First-Level Resolution (FLR): a measure of the service desk (as a whole) regarding their ability to resolve Level-1 tickets without needing to escalate to Level-2 or higher. This is different from FCR because it is more about how many tickets are handled by Level-1 rather than how many people touch each ticket.
  • Technician Job Satisfaction: how satisfied are the service desk agents in their roles? This is crucial to measure because it directly correlates to whether employees will be absent from work often, turnover rates, and how efficiently they are able to perform their job.
  • Balanced Score: Takes all of the KPIs currently in use and combines them. This creates an overall look at how the service desk is performing and which areas can be improved for a better overall experience for agents and customers.

You might have noticed a common theme throughout each metric: measuring whether the customer is satisfied, and the employee is happy and productive. It is easy to miss the mark and suggest that an employee who has low scores for utilization or handle time is just not a good fit for the job, but those scores directly relate to job satisfaction and balanced score. If you can tweak one area, you’ll see a ripple effect through them all.

You can also examine the number of hours spent training support techs each month. HDI’s annual survey found that those who received 5-10 training hours per month were the most productive with the lowest turnover – this can factor into lowering the amount of time handling tickets, technician job satisfaction, and many other KPIs.

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Top ITSM Metrics and KPIs in 2021

The metrics we mentioned above are tried and true, and you can (and should) certainly still incorporate them into your service desk strategy now and in the future. However, there are a few other ITSM metrics and KPIs you might want to consider adding in the latter half of 2021 and beyond as the impact of automation efforts and self-service become more pronounced in the service desk.

Ticket Volume

We talked earlier about measuring the number of escalated incidents, but the most important ITSM metric to add is ticket volume. If you can understand the volume of tickets on average each month, you can better prepare for staffing and how to handle each request.

Cost-Per-Contact (CPC)

Understanding the cost-per-ticket is important, but you should also measure cost-per-contact. This is calculated by taking the total amount of money spent operating your service desk or call center, and divide by the time spent handling calls (separate of tickets). Remember, this includes ALL methods of contact, including chat, phone call, email, etc. This will help you learn if it would be more cost effective to use other methods of service delivery. For example, using an employee self-service portal can help reduce the cost-per-ticket and cost-per-contact by empowering users to solve their own problems before calling or contacting the service desk. 

Incident Volume and Type by Department

In order to understand which teams may need updated training or technology, it’s time to gauge the incident volume and type by department. This is especially important with remote teams, which might be facing mounting issues with new or aging technology as they work from home.  

Self-Service Adoption and Resolution Rates

I briefly mentioned self-service earlier because it is a powerful tool in transforming the service desk. But in order to make sure your automation and self-service efforts are working, you must measure not only the adoption rate of self-service but the resolution rate as well (number of users who could resolve their own problems with self-service). This can be done by calculating how many users regularly contact the service desk and how many utilized self-service before speaking to an agent or were able to resolve their issue on their own. This can be accomplished with a simple survey at the end of self-service interactions or with more complex methods of collection, like accessing monthly reporting features in your self-service tool. You can read more about other metrics for self-service success here.

SLA Compliance Ratio

SLA compliance can be measured by dividing the total number of incidents resolved within SLA time by the total number of incidents. Why does this matter? This measure tells you the percentage of IT incidents that are resolved within your contractually agreed upon parameters. This can help keep business goals on track with IT in mind, and help keep expectations realistic – while still alerting you to which expectations need to be adjusted.  

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is actually relatively new in regard to the service desk. This might look like a survey at the end of each interaction, using Net Promotor Score, or Customer Effort Score to calculate satisfaction. Whichever method you go with, you must be consistent.


Automation Metrics to Consider for ITSM

It bears mentioning that all of the above metrics can also be impacted by the implementation of automation. Once you’ve implemented automation, like automated workflows, you may also want to consider the following metrics as well:  

  • Number of interruptions of service seen in monitoring and reporting (tickets created by auto-logging) versus the number of incidents reported to the service desk by end users.
  • Difference in contact volume after automation versus a like period (January/January, for example) before automation.

Focus on People, Process, and Technology

No matter which metrics or data you rely on in your service desk, the focus must always remain on people first, then processes and technology. When you use metrics to empower and support your service desk agents, you won’t go wrong.

To learn how to use service management to improve your ITSM metrics and KPIs, talk to an EasyVista expert today.

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Evan Carlson

Evan Carlson joined EasyVista in 2010 as the first employee in North America. He is currently the Chief Revenue Officer responsible for revenue growth and profitability across marketing, sales, services, support and customer success. Carlson previously served as VP of Sales at EasyVista to establish and grow the business with empowered teams, innovative sales strategies, and long-term customer relationships. Before EasyVista, Carlson held leadership roles for technology vendors including OPNET, Optinuity (acquired by CA Technologies), and Visual Networks (acquired by Danaher Corporation).