About twelve years ago I started running the service desk at a small multi-national SaaS company. From being its sole operator, I gradually built a team of five other members who were spread around the globe to cover different time zones.
The company’s management were focused on new Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Service Level Agreements (SLA), such as first response time and closure time. The closure time SLA was not being achieved. I decided to tackle this by taking the following actions:
Firstly, to ensure that the SLA calculations were valid, I reworked the numbers based on both a UK and a US West Coast basis. While this made a small difference, it was not enough to get the performance within SLA.
Secondly, an alert was set up that told the ticket technician, and me, when a ticket reached 80% of the closure time SLA. This made a tremendous difference: within two months the team was consistently within SLA, albeit with an occasional very narrow margin. In the following four years I am confident in stating that, without cheating, there was not a single breach of the SLA.
Following on from these, a customer satisfaction survey was set up, which was triggered by the closure of a support ticket: the question was a simple ‘are you satisfied with the service? Yes or no.’ We followed up on every ‘not satisfied’ response.
An enhancement of this developed when one day an RFP (Request for Proposal) came in asking if the company had implemented ISO 10002 (“Customer satisfaction -- Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations”). This led to a chain of events where I snuck in ISO 10002 as a ‘back burner’ project. After discussion with the Commercial Director, it was agreed that an addition should be made to the customer satisfaction survey: ‘do you want to complain?’.
In the following year there were only three complaints, and tellingly, all from the same source.
To me the ISO 10002 implementation had been a success. The RFP team could ‘tick the box’ on ISO 10002, plus customer administrators could see that service satisfaction was being taken seriously, and the team knew they were appreciated by end users. I left it to the BRM (Business Relationship Manager) to handle the single source of complaints.
Recently Scarlett Bayes at the Service Desk Institute published a paper “XLAs and Balanced Scorecards” that completely vindicated my niggles. Her thesis is that Customer Satisfaction should be part of a balanced score card, and although only one of six items, she recommends a 25% loading. She also covers the temptation to cheat. I avoided my team being tempted to cheat by reviewing the circumstances as a process, divorcing the review from the person.
For those familiar with ISO 9001 & ISO 14001, which have the option for accreditation, ISO 10002 is a self‑assessment standard. When I contacted Lloyd’s Register, a service they offered was to carry out an assessment as if for accreditation, so that an external assessment would carry more weight when replying to RFPs.