So, you want to set some targets for your department. But where do you start? You’ve done some research and everybody who is anybody seems to be saying that KPIs are the way to go. But what exactly are KPIs, what can they do for you - and perhaps more importantly, what can’t they do?
How to tell a good KPI from a bad KPI
Let’s start with what KPI stands for: Key Performance Indicator. Why is the meaning of the term so important? Because it shows that not every result is a KPI, and neither is every goal you set for your team. Only your key objectives count towards your KPIs. Don’t water them down.
Find out where you are, and where you want to go
Before you even start thinking about your actual KPIs, make sure you know how you’re performing right now. You can’t set realistic goals if you don’t even know how far away they are.
The next step is to research industry benchmarks and other data that provide an indication of how much growth or change is realistic for your organization. Don’t grab numbers out of thin air. Chances are if you just start setting goals, they’ll turn out to be either too difficult or too easy to reach. And goals that are too easy or too hard demotivate your teams that have to work towards them. Why go the extra mile for a goal that’s only an inch away? And why work hard for a goal you can never reach?
Make sure you know what your starting point is, so it’s easier to determine where you think you can go in three months or a year.
A good rule of thumb is to set high level KPIs for your service desks as a whole, and low level KPIs for teams and individuals.
When to work with KPIs
Only use KPIs for important key metrics. You don’t want to create inflation of your KPIs by just using them whenever. And make sure your KPIs are aligned with your service desk goals. You don’t want your team to work on conflicting goals.
A good rule of thumb is to set high level KPIs for your service desks as a whole, and low level KPIs for teams and individuals. High level KPIs for things related to how your service desk is performing as a whole. How many tickets are you processing each month? How well do you keep to SLAs?
For your teams, go for lower level KPIs. These KPIs apply more directly to teams and individuals, so they should relate to goals that your teams and employees can reach individually. For instance, take a look at how many tickets are open per operator or operator group and see what you can improve. Set attainable KPIs based on your findings and provide resources and training accordingly. And of course, make sure your team members agree that their KPIs are attainable as well.
Questions to ask when defining your KPIs
Here are four questions to ask when you start setting up KPIs for your service desk:
- What do you want out of your KPI?
- Why does the outcome matter?
- How can you influence the outcome?
- How do you measure they outcome?
You can use the tips and questions in this blog to create clear and succinct KPIs for your department and your teams. After all, KPIs are a form of communication. And what use is any communication if the recipients can’t act upon it?
Want to explore further?
What would KPIs for your service desk look like in real life? Check out my colleague Martijn’s post for some examples of specific KPIs for customer satisfaction.