Customer service is difficult to quantify, especially for a group that thinks in 1’s and 0’s.
Nonetheless, any organization which is looking to improve continuously needs to measure customer satisfaction. We do this, and we rely on data analysis to do so.
Measuring results is something our IT organization deeply understands. ITIL emphasizes standardization and we think of this as a model for evaluating our performance progress toward customer-service goals. The data we collect from monitoring our performance exists to convert perceptions (feelings) into the quantifiable units which we depend on for an objective analysis.
Last year I wrote a blog titled, “2017 Customer Service Year in Review”. With this in mind, I want to share some of the OCIO metrics for 2018, to show what effect Consolidation has had on the State of Nebraska.
2018 in Metrics
Our data shows a timeline and an increased workload, which shifted to the OCIO team after the completion of consolidation in September of 2017. The highest number of incident requests before consolidation was 1,500 tickets per month. The cause of our increased workload was due to our growth as a service provider to the cabinet agencies. In 2018 the workload more than doubled to a high of 3,500 tickets per month. I expect that trend to continue to grow in 2019 as more work shifts to our team.
We track the average number of days “open” per Incident to gauge our progress against our Service Level Objectives. The graph below shows steady improvement as you can see from the trend line. The average time to resolve an incident request in 2016 was 6.3 days. In 2017, the average time to resolve was 4.5 days. In 2018, the average improved to 3.6 days, a 20% reduction in time to resolve. This chart tells the story of the positive effect that consolidation is having on IT customer service.
The data helps us communicate what is important. By measuring trackable data we can analyze or understand the story as the data articulates. In June 2017, Site Support teams were being formed. Understandably, the data shows our resolution times increased for a few months during that time. Once the teams’ roles were defined and they were actively supporting each other, the data shows we recovered steadily during the following months of 2017 and throughout 2018
IT with a Customer Focus
Upon my arrival at the State, I blogged about our focus on IT as a service and my expectations of our team’s ability to deliver that service. We are all responsible for delivering products and services which meet or exceed our customers’ expectations. As you can see in the chart below, the volume of service requests continues to rise. A Service Request is a customer initiated request for information or advice, or access to an IT service from our service catalog. These services were always available, but since consolidation, we have a single point of entry for these types of requests and we are doing a much better job of tracking them.
By separating Incident and Service Requests we can glean additional insight from the number and geographic location of standard requests. The OCIO uses this insight to make decisions, such as where it would be to best allocate resources.
Like Incident Requests, we track the average number of days “open” for Service Requests to gauge our progress against our Service Level Objectives. In 2017, the average time to resolve a request was 8.8 days. In 2018, the average improved to 6.7 days— decreasing by more than 24%. The OCIO is being more responsive to our customers and we are taking the next step, maturing our service management processes with geographically dispersed teams across our State, versus the practice of housing all support in our Lincoln headquarters.
New for this review is a look at our change requests which are steadily increasing in number. Again, they were always there and we simply were not tracking or managing the data before consolidation. The objective of change management is to ensure that standard procedures are used for effectively handling all IT changes. IT changes can encompass hardware or software, or both, and we manage these changes to minimize a negative impact or related incidents that could manifest in other service offerings. The OCIO’s change management success rate in 2018 was above 96%, and this resulted in decreased interruption to our customers.
Our 2019 Customer Survey
Feedback from customers is always most welcome, even feedback of a critical nature because upon our analysis of feedback we can understand the customer’s expectations. A customer satisfaction survey is an objective method for obtaining actionable data, and we use this to assist in increasing our satisfaction rating over time. Customer satisfaction surveys help us focus our organization on areas of improvement which we presume that we need to fulfill to exceed our customers’ expectations. Best in class organizations focus heavily on customer experience, and to do so they measure and track their customers’ experience through surveys.
The charts below represent the results of our latest survey. We contacted all customers of incidents and service requests that were resolved during the November/December 2018 timeframe. A total of 467 responses were received with an average score of 4.5 (out of 5) for the overall level of customer support provided by the OCIO.
Thanks to all of you the survey results this year are again, very positive! Seven OCIO Support Groups received a perfect 5.0 rating:
- Site Support Region 2
- Site Support Region 6
- Web Hosting NDS
- zOS Network
The results tell me that your efforts to provide our customers with a positive experience are not only effective, they are also getting noticed.
Based on the feedback we received last year, we made several enhancements to the Service Portal and Customer Knowledgebase to provide a more user-friendly experience. The data this year shows that more work is needed, which is part of the benefit we gain from the survey. Time to resolve is a continued focus of the entire team. The self-service password reset portal, implemented in June 2017, produced some immediate relief for the Service Desk and steadily became an essential tool for many of our customers. Together we will continue to update our technology, processes, procedures to address customer issues on time.
In 2018, the OCIO Service Desk handled more than four times the ticket volume of the prior year with only one additional FTE added in December 2017. The Enterprise Resource Planning System’s self-service password reset was implemented in November 2017 and yielded an immediate 87% call-in reduction. This reduction in phone calls allowed the OCIO Operations team to take over the responsibilities of the State’s Switchboard in September 2018. So far the Operations team is receiving, on average, more than 500 switchboard calls per month and saving the State $6,000 per month in comparison to the previous service provider’s charges.
You have accomplished so much with consolidation, continued to achieve high availability standards, improved customer service completed major projects on time and budget, and improved processes at every level during 2018. This is certainly confirmation of your dedication to providing a high level of customer service. Even more impressive, you are providing all these services with a 20% reduction in OCIO headcount through natural attrition which occurred during the consolidation process.
As always, I (and your customers) appreciate your efforts to provide quality service to the State and the Citizens of Nebraska!