Following on from my last IT Benchmark blog on Customer Access Channels and Improving Service, this time around we are going to look at Incident Classification Categories – their levels of use, the problems they can cause and the benefits of simplifying your classification.
According to our figures, on average customers have a total of 205 categories defined in their Service Desk. However, only 34 categories on average are actually in use.
IT has a tendency to set up too many categories in implementation because they see incidents from an IT point of view as opposed to a customer point of view, i.e. based on technology domains, devices, etc.
However, the fact that only 34 categories on average are being utilized, shows us that not only are the end users not using the additional 171 categories, but neither are the system administrators! IT generally wants to help the customer as quickly as possible, and complex categories can often slow them down. It also risks the category of ‘other’ becoming a ‘dumping ground’ that kills the value of incident management information, simply because it’s easier to use ‘other’ than having to browse through numerous categories to find the one that they actually require.
My guess is that even Stephen Hawking would struggle to categorize an incident with 205 categories to choose from.
My last post discussed ways to encourage your end users to the use the Self-Service Portal, and effective classification is certainly one of those ways, simply because it makes it easier for them to log their issues. It also has many benefits for System Administrators, such as: it makes it easier to manage and therefore quicker to find the solution to a problem, it properly routes incidents to the correct support, which saves time, and it increases user productivity.
Quite simply you need to simplify the submission of incidents and service requests by avoiding using complicated categories, and instead use titles that end users understand and can easily identify. I challenge you to sit down with a group of end users to read through your category classifications. How many do you think they understand?
Do you know how many categories you have defined within your Service Desk? And do you know how many are actually in use? Please share with us your experiences in the comments section below.
My next IT Benchmark blog will be on Knowledge Management and Reuse with statistics, benefits, and advice on how to implement a Knowledge Base, so check back soon!