It’s easy to brush aside IT’s new “anywhere operations” model as old news. Now most of organizations have achieved it, it’s human nature that we all take it for granted. IT didn’t just step-up in 2020 as organizations scrambled to create digital-first business environments – it continued to raise the bar throughout 2021. Amidst all the business disruption, IT – and specifically IT Service Management – can stand a little taller, knowing it played its part.
Of course, we expect service to improve. But it’s also important to understand how and why it does – especially in extraordinary circumstances. The Freshworks’ annual Freshservice Management Benchmark Report is a benchmark index of KPIs to help organizations improve agent and employee productivity and show value to the business.
The report anonymously aggregated data from 86 countries across more than 4,200 organizations of all sizes, as well as more than 62 million tickets between January and December 2021.
Global IT teams adapted well to remote work in 2021, resolving employee tickets 23% faster than the year before with overall resolution time for tickets decreasing by seven hours. Advanced technologies, such as AI-powered responses played a significant role in speeding resolutions as bots deflected nearly 60% of tickets. Likewise, automations reduced resolution times by 22%. Below are five key takeaways from the report:
- Chatbots earned their keep with employees – Chatbots and/or virtual agents not only resolve tickets and incidents faster and easier, but also delight employees. While employees use a variety of channels to raise a ticket, employees who prefer to use chat (virtual agents and/or chatbots) get their tickets resolved faster beating our benchmark by 60%, resolving with a resolution SLA% at 100%, and delivering a 100% CSAT.
- Bots deflected tickets, empowering service desk scalability – Organizations that enabled bots, deflect approximately 60% of tickets. Deflection not just reduces the total volume of tickets but allows IT leaders to scale their service desk and allow agents to channel their time and effort into critical IT and business operations.
- Automation powered productivity – Organizations that have automated benefitted in reducing the resolution time by 22%. Importantly, these organizations also experienced an improvement in their first contact resolution by close to 9%, thus eliminating the need to re-open the ticket.
- AI helped prioritize – An intuitive ITSM tool helps organizations prioritize critical tasks. Machine Learning (ML) based intelligent field suggesters employ predictive intelligence based on historical data to help agents respond, assign, and resolve faster by almost 15%, 12%, and 5% respectively.
- Contextual collaboration – The collaborative nature of projects makes context a key requirement. With context-based collaboration, average resolution time drops by 8%, and first contact resolution improves by over 7%. Leaders also have an end-to-end view of a ticket raised because of the project and any subsequent changes made during the project.
Industry winners and losers
Of course, some industries performed better than others.
- Happy hoteliers: Companies in hotels, tourism, and leisure achieved the highest employee satisfaction rating (98%).
- Real Estate resolutions: Property development and building infrastructure companies have the lowest average resolution time at 18.49 hours, while leisure and hospitality has the highest (27.32).
- First in first response – consumer products and services: Their average first response arrived in 8.23 hours, nearly 50% faster than the industry with the slowest first response time (healthcare).
- Fast fix – retail and e-commerce IT departments: They achieved the highest first contact resolution rate at 73%.
The report also analyzed regional differences globally.
- North America has the highest customer satisfaction rating at 97.92%. However, it takes multiple interactions with customers in this region to get their queries resolved which has an impact on the average resolution time, recording the longest at 24.27 hours.
- Europe takes the longest time to resolve IT requests as its average resolution is the highest at 17.87 hours. However, organizations in Europe ensure that they meet their service commitments to customers and have the highest resolution SLA percent and first response SLA percent at 95%.
- Middle East and Africa ensure that customers receive a satisfactory resolution in the first interaction, with a high first contact resolution (FCR) at 79%, surpassing our benchmark of 70%.
- Organizations in the Asia-Pacific region have the lowest customer satisfaction rating compared to other regions. However, the Asia-Pacific region is a high performer across all other key performance indicators (KPIs) surpassing our benchmark and having the highest resolution SLA percent at 95%.
- It takes on average, 12.59 hours for Australia and New Zealand to provide the first response indicating a longer wait time for customers to hear back from their IT support teams.
- Latin America is the quickest to assign tickets and respond to customer issues within 8.24 hours and 7.60 hours respectively. Organizations in the Latin American region also have a high FCR at 78%, ensuring customers receive a resolution in the first interaction, bringing down their resolution time to 15.16 hours, surpassing all other regions and our benchmark.
It's clear that organizations using intelligent tools, such as bots, encourage self-service and can 'deflect' tickets, including mundane, repetitive requests. In doing so, live-agents are more likely to receive tickets that are of high-value for employees and organizations. Technology played (and continues to play) a critical role in helping IT service teams adapt.