4 Techniques for IT Service Managers to Improve Time to Completion

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This article is part two of the first article in the three-article series on Aligning Service Manager’s focus with the Company’s #1 goal: making more money (profit). To read the introduction to the series and the first part of this article go to SBuyze.com/Blogs Each article will look at either Time to Completion, Number of Open Tickets, or Resource Utilization; what they represent, how to benchmark, track and improve, and finally, how they make more money for the company.

Please Note: My expertise is as a Resource Planning Analyst, so I write from the perspective of mining and transforming data into golden information for Service Managers. In this series the “gold” is making more money for the company (profit).

Part 1B: Time to Completion (continued)

Improving the Time to Completion Metric

Today we will discuss four techniques to improve the Time to Completion metric.

1) Intake procedures

a. Intake Call scripts

b. Triage queue procedures

2) 0-delay escalations

3) Shift-Left

4) Journey Mapping

Two Initiatives to Reduce Time to Completion

1) Intake Call Scripts:

From experience, two different intake initiatives have significantly reduced the Time to Completion.

The first one was to streamline a Customer Service department responsible for intaking all service requests. By developing an Intake Call script, leveraging a parser for emailed service requests, and improving resource planning, the process from request to engagement took minutes, not hours

as before. Meeting both Response and Remediation Service Level Agreements (SLAs) grew from 63% to 95% and most of the battle was won by shortening the Time to Engagement. For more information on the value of Intake Call scripting, I recommend taking HDI’s Customer Service Representative course.

2) Triage Queue Procedures:

The second intake experience was even better. A Triage queue was set up at the point of the service request reception. A skilled technician then reviewed and processed the request within 20 minutes. If the queue was slow and the request a quick hit, the service request was remediated instantly. Using the Triage queue brought the average Time to Completion significantly closer to the Time of Engagement, raised meeting SLAs, and significantly improved the Customer’s experience.

Have you ever wondered why the effort to complete a service request is measured in hours, while the Time to Completion is measured in days? Think about it. Most average remediation time is less than a few hours for Incidents, Change Requests, and Service Requests. We would serve ourselves and our customers better to look deeper into this phenomenon and adjust our internal operations to focus on reducing the Time to Completion. (The fact that Installs and Projects take significantly more time than estimated or sold will be discussed at another time.)

Another Time to Completion Initiative: 0-Delay Escalations

Other types of initiatives that should be explored are 0-delay escalations where the engaged technician has the availability to call a senior technician and request immediate engagement. I can already see the hair on the back of your neck rising.

After all, who has Level III Technicians standing around with nothing to do? But think about it for a moment. I realize the billable value of the Level III Technician, but what about mentoring time to the Level I so the next time it can be remediated without escalation?

And what about the customer’s experience? Which is more important to the customer, knowing the front-line technician is unable to remediate immediately or that the service request will have continuous engagement through the escalation process?

About Shift-Left:

Shift-Left is the process of developing documentation to the point where someone with less skill can successfully remediate the issue. One company I am aware of takes this to the extreme. When new technology is introduced to the marketplace, their level III Technicians are assigned to install the new product.

So, what’s the big deal? We do that. The big deal is their primary responsibility is not to install the product. Their primary responsibility is to document the installation of the new technology so thoroughly that a level II Technician can do the install.

Once a level II has completed three or four installations and verifies the documentation, then it is assigned to a level I. Think about it; a level I Technician spinning up VMs. The next thing you know the documentation will be exposed to the clients’ portals and customers will spin up their own VMs in the cloud.

To be Continued … (sorry, I hated this when I was a kid watching TV)

Stephen Buyze is a Resource Planning Analyst who is “Empowering Service Managers to increase profit.”

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