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Why Effective Agent Utilization Is Crucial for MSP Success in 2021

One way to increase agent utilization is to invest in futuristic technologies like AIOps.

Freshworks Guest Blogger

November 19, 2020

3 Min Read
agent utilization
Freshworks

Despite the growing adoption of intelligent service support options like AI-powered chatbots, service desk agents remain at the core of successful IT support and service delivery. Employees (end users) prefer to talk with a human agent who understands their technical issues and empathizes with the practical problems arising from such issues. On the other hand, employers (organizations) find such manual IT support to be bulky on their budget when compared to the advanced automated support solutions available in the market.

With the uncertainty that the pandemic has thrown in the air, MSPs need to find ways to make their business much more efficient. One of the most effective ways to do that is to have high agent productivity. The challenge is finding a tangible way of quantifying the effectiveness of the agent with high accuracy. Several service desk metrics come in handy to measure agent productivity, and one of them is agent utilization. Before exploring ways to increase agent utilization, let’s define what agent utilization is and how to use the metric.

The “What’s” of Agent Utilization

Agent utilization is a measure of the productivity of a service desk support staff. It is the ratio between work produced by a staff agent to their work capacity. Even though the definition seems simple and straightforward, the way in which “work produced” and “work capacity” are identified is highly subjective. It isn’t straightforward to calculate these factors accurately. Organizations need to invest time in strategically defining and standardizing these factors to arrive at a meaningful agent utilization value.

Work produced typically includes a range of tasks executed by service desk agents. The number of tasks executed or issues handled by an agent is generally monitored over a specific period.

Not all issues that come through the service desk are of the same nature. The complexity and dependencies need to be taken into account while evaluating the issues handled. The weight given to a complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive issue must be different from the weight given to an issue that’s solved in a single engagement.

In addition to the nature of the issue, the timing and season should also be considered factors. The issues that come in during the working hours will be heavier than those that come during the evenings. Likewise, the volume and frequency of issues coming in during holidays will be much less than during regular workdays. Work capacity also has several variables in terms of seasons, type/nature of issues handled, etc.

The “How’s” of Agent Utilization

Agent utilization can be increased by either increasing the work produced by the agents or decreasing the agents’ work capacity.

Either way, appropriate strategies and frameworks need to be deployed and followed to ensure high efficiency. One of the ways to increase agent utilization is to invest in futuristic technologies like AIOps.

Leverage AIOps to increase Agent Utilization

Organizations across the world aim to reduce their cost and increase their profit. With so many advanced technologies available, it’s possible to cut down on the cost by investing in automation provided by sophisticated AI functionalities. 

Hemalakshmi is a Product Expert with Freshworks. Her responsibility includes educating and helping industry peers and customers on best practices, tips and tricks, quick guides, and solutions around IT Service Management and its various use cases. In her 6+ years of experience in the core SaaS business applications serving as a product expert, Hema has worked with multiple businesses in helping them with their business needs and setting up their service desk solution – Freshservice. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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