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How to Judge the Success of Your Help Desk Solution

Posted January 29, 2015by Brandon Garcin


Just recently, we were able to visit with a partner who does something none of our others do – grades our Help Desk. Each month since mid-2013, Bryan Sullo, Vice President of Clocktower Technology, sends Continuum a report containing metrics he uses to check the success rate of Continuum’s Help Desk, his IT help desk solution.

Clocktower, has been a partner and Help Desk user for the past 5 years. Bryan leverages our Help Desk so he and his engineers can target high value business objectives, primarily focusing on building client relationships. 

Bryan knows customer support is vital to the success of his MSP business and trusts our smart-sourced help desk to act as an extension of his team. How does this work? Help Desk technicians are made aware of Clocktower's clients' needs and work with these end-users on a regular basis, so much so that it's like they're part of the Clocktower staff - without the exorbitantly high labor cost! Because its role is so important to his business, Bryan knows he has to measure the success of his help desk.


Grading Your Help Desk Solution

As a result, Bryan has developed a useful template for other MSPs to judge the success of their help desk solution, whether in-house or not.

Let's start with the first of 2 criteria Bryan looks at, Metrics:


  1. Ticket Escalations: First thing Bryan recommends is to find the number of what he calls 'raw tickets' that were escalated to our Help Desk. Bryan further explains, "How much work is the Help Desk taking off our engineering staff?" What’s a good medium for this number? He recommends this number being around 25%, meaning the Help Desk is handling 75% of all of Clocktower's tickets without needing to escalate them. By calculating this number, you can make sure both your help desk and technicians are working in unison by handling your clients in the scalable manner you need them to.
  2. Improper Escalations: It’s important to properly manage the time of both your help desk and your technicians. Calculate the number of improper escalations to get the number of tickets that should not have been handed off. According to Bryan, tickets improperly escalated per month should never exceed 5%. If higher than 5%, look into the tickets and see if there’s a pattern for why they are improperly escalated.  
  3.  Escalations due to lack of documentation - For tickets to be completed, they need to have the proper documentation along with them. If not, they'll be escalated. Can you afford this inefficiency? According to Bryan, “This metric should never be more than 2%. If it is, you need to go back to your team, and solve the problem so that the Help Desk has everything they need to know.”

The 2 Main Causes of Improper Escalation

  1. Completion issues – occurs when tickets that were mistakenly marked as complete are escalated by the help desk.  
  2. Knowledge issues: one way this happens is when the help desk technician is not able to reset a password in Outlook Web Access (OWA), or he or she simply made the mistake of not doing so.

Next, Bryan records an anecdotal section of his monthly report to categorize feedback he receives from clients. Including categorized feedback is a great way to see past the numbers and make sure help desk technicians are able to be attentive and personable on each of your clients’ calls.


  1. Complaints from clients – Immediate feedback is key when using a help desk. By sharing a complaint, or any other client interactions with room for improvement, a help desk is more able to quickly correct the issue. Bryan and Clocktower believe statistics like ‘Average Speed to Answer’ are important and necessary, but they don’t guarantee success. Bryan explains, “When we hear clients complaining about the time it took to get a technician, or we hear that they reached someone right away, but that person wasn't able to help them, we know there's a problem."
  2. Praise from clients – Bryan claims positive reinforcement helps build a great relationship with our Help Desk. Instantly sharing the praise from clients with your help desk not only improves morale, but demonstrates what does and doesn't work, informing future client support calls.
  3. Overall customer satisfaction level. – Consider looking into how your help desk is performing on a month to month basis. See if you can find key factors or patterns that lead to higher customer satisfaction. Bryan recommends holding monthly meetings with clients to find out what is going well and what isn't. In so doing, you can celebrate success and identify areas for growth.

Bryan also suggests MSPs using a help desk find a few specific tickets in their Professional Services Automation (PSA) monthly, and reach out to gauge client experience. This helps him understand how each type of ticket is handled with his own help desk solution. 

In conclusion, communication is key, especially when you want to ensure customer satisfaction with your help desk. As previously mentioned, you need to treat your help desk as a part of your team, even if you're smart-sourcing. Bryan explains, “If you're doing it right, your help desk is the face of your company. Your help desk technicians have more interaction with your clients than anyone in your company, so it's important to get these interactions right.”

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Brandon Garcin is Continuum's Director of Content Marketing, and is responsible for the creation and execution of a variety of resources designed to win new business and support existing customer accounts. He has authored more than a dozen eBooks which have generated thousands of downloads, and has consulted with hundreds of Continuum partners to help improve their marketing and lead generation efforts through website optimization and content development. Brandon is also the host of The Weekly Byte, a video and audio series produced by Continuum that provides quick, digestible tips and best practices that MSPs can use to help their business succeed.

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