Support Services: What needs fixing?

In a word - responsiveness. Weak experiences, escalations and complaints are rarely caused by anything else.

IT's reputation largely starts and stops with its support service. But invariably, busy teams are unable to consistently deliver on responsiveness aligned with customer needs and expectations. In other words, service is unreliable. The result is escalations and complaints.

The cause is not so much in being busy though as in how teams work.

Typically, only about 75% of service tickets are completed quickly, on first contact. It's usual for much of the rest to miss service level targets (SLA's).

An inadequate work handling process means focus is only on "the here and now".
Additionally, the requisite ingredients for a "high-velocity" team - speed and flow - are lacking, so performance is not as required.​

For an 80% SLA, if thirty service tickets are raised each day, that many weak or bad experiences might occur each week.

Unreliable reputation is inevitable.​ The options are to tolerate it, micro-manage, or over-resource.


And then, how weak is the 20%, and service tickets that are placed on-hold as well? If left unmanaged, ticket-specific service failure will often result - a failure to provide service at all.


According to the HappySignals Experience Benchmark, slowness and "my ticket was not solved" are by far the main causes of customer dissatisfaction; conversely, speed in delivery is the primary reason for satisfaction with a support service.​

So, what can be done to fix unreliable support service and so fix IT's predominant issue?

Best practice gives us SLA's, but they don't help. On-hold is often central to service practice but it's usually detrimental and certainly doesn't help. Continuously overseeing all-team backlog is burdensome. Over-resourcing is a no-no.

"Big difference factors" - the 4-P's of effective support service delivery - are needed instead.
Perfect Prioritisation, Performance, Presentation (insight) and Pulling-together (teamwork).

That's the essence of TOFT.


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