Metrics: The Effects of Shift-Left


by Roy Atkinson
September 12, 2016

In a recent post, Level 0.5: Automation and Support, I discussed the continuing movement to Shift-Left, that is, move repetitive work to self-service, and bring more complex, value-added work to Level 1. If you are embarking on this journey, you should understand what is going to happen to your metrics—at least if you are collecting and reporting some of the more standard metrics.

You should understand what is going to happen to your metrics.
Tweet: You should understand what is going to happen to your metrics. @HDI_Analyst @ThinkHDI #metrics

shift-left metricsBy simultaneously reducing the number of repeated “one-and-done” contacts and increasing the complexity of the work done at Level 1, you are really changing the dynamic of the support center. Let’s look at some metrics individually and think about the consequences of Shift-Left.

  • Handle Time. When they handle more complex requests, analysts will take more time to troubleshoot and discover what is happening. Handle Time will increase.
  • Speed to Answer/Time to Respond. Since your Level 1 analysts will be handling more complex requests, they will not be getting back into their ready state as quickly, whether they are handling phone calls, chat sessions, or email.
  • First Call/Contact Resolution. Level 1 will be spending more time researching the solutions and getting back to customers and users, if necessary, rather than handing the work off to Level 2. FCR should trend upward once the Shift-Left strategy takes hold and the knowledge Level 1 needs is in place.
  • First Level Resolution. This measurement should show an increase, since the whole point of Shift-Left is to move solutions to here (and out to Level 0 when possible).
  • Time to Resolve. When they handle more complex requests, Level 1 analysts will take longer on those. But there will be fewer escalations, and escalations tend to slow things down. This may wind up being a wash, depending on how long it takes now for your Level 2 and 3 analysts to get to the issues. In other words, the longer your escalations take now, the better the chances of improving TTR.
  • Customer Satisfaction. Since one of the prime complaints from customers is that the front line can’t help them, customer satisfaction should trend up because Level 1 is able to resolve more issues for them. Because of the possible increase in Handle Time and Speed to Answer, however, this trend may not be evident at first.

Make no mistake: Shift-Left is a worthwhile undertaking. As with any change in your support center, however, make sure that your management understands that your metrics will change, and not always in a direction that “looks good.” Think through the effects of moving complex work to Level 1, and then communicate those effects to management before submitting metrics reports that show substantial change.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): supportworld, metrics and measurements, first call resolution, customer-satisfaction-measurement, KPI, reporting, support center

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