Sunday, May 22, 2016

Voice of the Customer - IT Customer Service Performance Measures

         The article, "The Balanced Scorecard-Measures that Drive Performance," gave me flashbacks of my time as a Systems Improvement Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  I was only a few days into my job when I realized how disconnected the IT help desk staff was from their customers.  There were many things that caused this disconnect to include an ill fitted organizational structure, but the lack of performance metrics from the customer perspective exacerbated this divide.
          My preliminary analysis quickly found that the IT help desk staff were working off inappropriate performance measures.  They were rated on how many trouble tickets were closed in a day and how long a trouble ticket stayed open.  While well-intentioned, these performance metrics had unintended negative consequences.  IT staff were in essence incentivized to close out tickets as fast as possible regardless of the quality of service.  I had my own personal experience with this disastrous phenomenon when my IT service ticket was closed out because they were unable to resolve the problem within a day because it required additional research.  Instead of keeping the trouble ticket open and following through with their support until the issue was resolved, they instead asked me to resubmit the ticket again at a later time.   
          I did not participate when they were identifying performance metrics, however I believe the managers who initially thought of these metrics were mostly concerned with maximizing staff utilization.  The lack of performance metrics that focused on customer perspective was extremely disturbing to me since customer service should have been embedded in the vision of the IT help desk staff. 
          The article and my unfortunate experience as a VA IT help desk customer brought home to me the importance of developing and using the right balanced score card.  It isn’t just about having a few KPIs in one dimension that drive success, but rather a combination of metrics across the spectrum.

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