Using Experience Feedback to Up IT Service Desk Analyst Motivation

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Have you ever stopped to think about the effects – both positive and negative – of working on an IT service desk? Plus, how the level of service desk analyst engagement, happiness, motivation, or similar affects their ability to work and, consequently, the affected business operations and outcomes. If you want to understand more, this article digs into service-desk-analyst work motivation and how it impacts their performance. Whether they feel valued. Whether they feel that they’re working hard “for a motivating reason.” And whether the use of a near-real-time continuous feedback loop of “customer feedback” would help to up their motivation level and attitude, plus the delivered employee experience as a result.

This article by @SamiKallioHki explains what exactly is wrong with using existing IT #servicedesk metrics as an analyst motivator. Click To Tweet

What’s wrong with using existing IT service desk metrics as an analyst motivator?

There are likely many metrics already applied to the work of your IT service desk analysts – it’s a byproduct of industry best practice and IT service management (ITSM) tool reporting capabilities. However, there are usually predominantly focused on “how many?” and “how fast?” with customer satisfaction (CSAT) the obvious exception.

These metrics hopefully focus analysts on what’s most important but – again, if you stop to think (about these metrics) – do they actually drive the wrong analyst behaviors? Because analyst performance is measured by their speed in most cases and not the business value they create. Expressed differently, and playing Devil’s Advocate, are analysts measured on “how fast they close tickets” rather than how well they enable employees and the associated business operations and outcomes?

So, are these traditional volume and speed-based metrics the best way to measure your IT service desk’s success? Plus, just as importantly, do they do much – if anything – to motivate your analysts to better serve end users?

Are traditional volume and speed-based metrics the best way to measure your IT service desk’s success? Absolutely not says @SamiKallioHki #servicedesk Click To Tweet

What creates a good employee experience?

It’s an easy question to ask, “What creates a good or great employee experience?” but not always an easy one to answer – especially by using relevant data rather than simply gut feeling. Do you know? Would you say “Optimized ITSM processes”? “Buying the best ITSM technology”? Or “Recruiting the best people”? You might reply “The best people” or perhaps “All three.”

However, if I were to change the question to, “What causes a poor employee experience?” what then? Perhaps your answer would again be “The best people.” My point is that your IT service desk analysts are vital to the delivered employee experience (and the overall quality of IT support).

But how are they important? Interestingly, how your analysts affect the employee experience is not as simple as you might think. Over the last half-decade, we’ve collected millions of pieces of end-user feedback on their IT support experiences. The latest data (H1 2021) relative to the different factors influencing unhappy versus happy employees is shown below:

Source: https://www.happysignals.com/global-it-experience-benchmark

It shows the importance of service desk analyst attitude (second at 20%) in making employees happy (the top chart), versus the lack of significance (second last at 5%) in making unhappy employees (the bottom chart).

The importance of analyst attitude

Explaining the data shown above, if employees rated their IT support experience lowly, i.e. between 0-6 out of 10), then the service desk analyst’s attitude was a contributing reason in only 6% of cases. Whereas if employees rated the IT support experience highly, giving either a 9 or 10 score, 20% feedback the analyst’s attitude as a contributing factor.

This data suggests that for an IT service desk to get a high average employee experience score it needs analysts with the right mindset and attitude. Where the analyst’s attitude is likely to be influenced by their level of job motivation and them thinking that they’re engaged in “meaningful work.” Let’s call this “the analyst experience” with the analyst experience then influencing the employee experience (of end users).

Plus, as a side note to the IT support employee experience, if the analyst experience isn’t formally measured and improved, then a service desk will lose many of its best people over time. Something that will further adversely affect the delivered employee experience.

This article explores how @HappySignalsLtd data suggests that for an IT service desk to get a high average employee experience score it needs analysts with the right mindset and attitude. #EX #ServiceDesk Click To Tweet

Improving service desk analyst motivation (and attitude)

Our customer data shows that service desk analysts with good attitudes will usually have even better attitudes when their working environment is improved. Analysts with not-so-good attitudes will see an improvement too. Employee experience measurement helps to address this opportunity in two ways:

  1. The best way to assess or measure an analyst’s attitude is from the perspective of the employee being served. This might be completely different from what line management sees from their potentially limited touchpoints – either better or worse.
  2. A continuous feedback loop gives analysts near real-time feedback from the people they’ve just helped (only the positive feedback is shared immediately). This creates a virtuous circle where their now higher motivation, buoyed by the positive feedback, then further improves their performance and results.

Once a service desk is successfully using employee experience data to better motivate its staff, where an analyst sees only their own feedback scores and comments, the opportunity for further motivation using gamification can be brought in. Where league tables and rewards – both tangible and intangible – are used to engender healthy competition and even better performance levels.

'The best way to assess or measure an analyst’s attitude is from the perspective of the employee being served. This might be completely different from what line management sees from their potentially limited touchpoints.' -… Click To Tweet

So, how well motivated are your IT service desk analysts?

If you currently measure your service desk analysts based on their speed or efficiency – for example, average handling time or tickets closed per hour – then it’s likely not motivating them or improving their attitude.

However, when their performance is measured based on what the people they’ve just served feel about the interaction, with the analyst receiving feedback immediately after a ticket is resolved, it helps to change how they feel about their work and their ability to effectively serve their business colleagues.

It’s what our customers are doing and if you want to find out more about using employee experience data to improve analyst motivation, then please check out our podcast on the same topic.

Sami Kallio is the CEO of HappySignals, a company focused on helping businesses to improve their internal services by shifting the focus from traditional metrics to employee experience - by measuring and analysing employee happiness and productivity. Sami says:” I believe that enterprises should no longer try to save more money from support services. Rather that organizations should put more focus on business value. At HappySignals we help organizations to measure and understand their employees' experience and productivity in a new way."

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