In January 2017, HDI presented the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. To help you get to know them better and learn what it means to be a community leader, we’ve interviewed each of our thought leaders. Today, we hear from Jeff Rumburg.
Tell us about your day job and also how you are involved in the community.
As Managing Partner and CEO of MetricNet, I have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s largest service and support organizations. These include companies like HP, American Express, and Wells Fargo. When I am not working on client engagements, I am creating content for MetricNet’s resource library, speaking at HDI local chapter meetings, preparing to speak at the annual Fusion and HDI conferences, or delivering our monthly webcast on best practices in service and support.
I put out a steady stream of articles, presentations, and other content that is designed to enrich the community of IT professionals. I want to provide our constituents with tools, insights, and information that they can use to enhance their professional careers. Moreover, we never charge for our research, and it’s all available for download from MetricNet’s website. In addition, our best practices webcasts are all available on demand. You can also stay up to date on new content, upcoming webcasts, and live event updates by following MetricNet on Twitter!
What motivates you to be active in the community?
My overarching goal is to contribute to the service and support industry in ways that educate and expand horizons for those working in the industry. We do this by making metrics and benchmarks easily accessible to anyone who has an interest in the service and support industry.
I want to make metrics and benchmarks part of the DNA of every IT organization, so that they can be leveraged and exploited to improve and optimize business results. Being a part of the IT service and support community has enabled me to launch the industry’s first service desk benchmark and to design the first ROI model for technical service and support.
I want to make metrics and benchmarks part of the DNA of every IT organization.
By leveraging benchmarking and metrics, service and support organizations can demonstrate improved business results in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years. This metrics-based, proactive approach to managing service and support is a game changer for most. It demonstrates a level of proactivity and business acumen not typically seen in information services. So, in addition to improving and optimizing their own departmental performance, leveraging metrics almost always yields an enhanced level of credibility and career success for managers who are savvy enough to recognize the power of metrics.
There are dramatic changes happening in the industry right now, and there has never been a better time to be a service and support professional. I am very grateful for the many opportunities HDI has given me over the years to write for their publications, speak at their events, and serve on their Strategic Advisory Board.
What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?
There are countless ways to get more involved in the service and support community, including local HDI Chapter membership, attending the annual HDI Conference & Expo, and participating in MetricNet’s monthly webcasts and LinkedIn groups, to name just a few.
HDI local chapter meetings bring together service management professionals for networking and discussion. If you are not yet a member, I would encourage you to join your local chapter or HDI’s vChapter.
Additionally, MetricNet has founded several LinkedIn groups dedicated to service and support professionals. The groups have now grown to over 20,000 members. This forum presents a unique opportunity to collaborate, ask questions and share experiences with other members of the service and support community.
Finally, thousands of service and support professionals attend our webcasts each year, and many of our clients have their entire teams attend. These events are a great way to boost annual agent training hours!
What trends do you anticipate for IT benchmarking and service management metrics over the next few years?
I do not expect the KPIs themselves to evolve much in the coming years. The metrics that are important now—chief among them being Customer Satisfaction and Cost per Ticket—will continue to be important in the future.
What will change is the way metrics are deployed and used. Specifically, the metrics that have historically been used in the voice channel will be deployed for newer channels, such as chat, email, web, and walk-up.
Secondly, metrics only have value if they are used diagnostically and prescriptively. Most have heard the sage advice “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is particularly true in service and support, where effective performance measurement is not just a necessity, but a prerequisite for effective decision-making. Despite the widespread belief in this statement, few support organizations leverage KPIs to their full potential. In fact, MetricNet’s research, gathered from literally thousands of service and support benchmarks, suggests that the vast majority of support organizations use metrics to track and trend their performance, but nothing more! Unfortunately, this misses the real value of performance measurement by failing to exploit the diagnostic capabilities of KPIs.
The true potential of KPIs can only be unlocked when they are used holistically, not just to measure performance, but also to:
- Benchmark performance vs. industry peers
- Identify performance gaps vs. best practices
- Diagnose the underlying drivers of performance gaps
- Prescribe actions to improve performance
- Take steps to optimize performance and achieve world-class results
Finally, I expect benchmarking to become much more widespread in the industry. MetricNet has demonstrated empirically that support organizations who benchmark their performance once a year perform far better than those who do not. In fact, there is an approximate 1:1 correspondence between service and support organizations that benchmark their performance annually and those who achieve world-class performance.
Amy Eisenberg is the editor for HDI where she works with industry experts and practitioners to create content for technical support professionals. She has worked in B2B media and scholarly publishing for more than 20 years, developing content for print and digital magazines, print and email newsletters, websites, conferences, and technical seminars. Follow Amy on Twitter @eisenbergamy, and connect with her on LinkedIn.