How to Improve First Call Resolution with Microsoft Office 365 Service Tickets

Here are some tools and strategies for improving the rate of FCR with Office 365 service tickets.

5 Min Read
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Throughout the holiday season, it’s likely you’ve been a customer of service desk operations at some point. From the customer perspective it can be quite painful to experience the long, drawn-out calls or chats, especially if they take more than one communication and a lot of back and forth to resolve. When companies can’t resolve an issue on the first contact it can harm an organization’s reputation, and waste time and money.

IT service providers offering Office 365-related managed services and support to end users will benefit by improving the rate of cases that are completely handled and closed on first contact, otherwise known as “first call resolution” or FCR.

According to SQM Group, there are several benefits of increasing FCR, including:

  • Reducing operating costs

  • Improving customer satisfaction through speedy resolution

  • Improving employee satisfaction and reducing turnover

  • Increasing opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell to satisfied customers

  • Reducing customers at risk, thereby protecting recurring revenue and lowering cost of customer acquisition

Clearly, increasing FCR is positive, but what are some of the reasons it’s challenging?

Here are a few reasons that Paul Robichaux, Microsoft MVP, pointed out in his recent webinar, “How to Increase First Call Resolution.”

  1. Problems come in different “buckets.”

Every Office 365 problem falls into one of three buckets; customer/user, network or Microsoft. It can be difficult to identify which bucket the problem falls into, but doing so informs you whom to get help from. You can’t resolve a problem until you know which bucket it falls under and who has the power to fix it. Unfortunately for service desk operators, Microsoft isn’t to blame nearly as often as we think.

  1. Users aren’t always reliable narrators.

Many times, users don’t have the technical knowledge or vocabulary to clearly and accurately articulate what the actual problem is. You need to know what questions to ask to correctly identify the problem and the “bucket” it belongs to.

  1. No one has complete visibility.

Microsoft doesn’t know what you can see within your network and you can’t see the inner workings of Microsoft’s data centers. There will always be an element of mystery once the data passes Microsoft’s threshold.

  1. Actions have consequences and take time.

Your service desk is only as good as your weakest technician–whether that be your most junior technician, the technician with the least amount of knowledge on the issue, or the technician with little patience or emotional intelligence. Prioritizing issues is difficult, and it takes skill and care to know which issues to prioritize and which issues are out of your hands for someone else to pursue and solve.

So, what will help you increase FCR?

Trim the troubleshooting tree: Remove branches as high on the “fault tree” as possible. There’s no sense in wasting your time looking at diagnostics that won’t solve the problem. You can also save time by ensuring you’re asking the right, relevant questions.

Ask the right questions: Ask questions to rule out, not rule in. For example, “Do other devices have the same problem?” “Do other users in the same or other locations have the same problem?” “Is this a new or recurring problem?”

Cross-check tools/dashboards: Check dashboards or performance tools to confirm or rule out a “bucket.” For example, “Is there a known issue in the M365 Service Health Dashboard? Is there a known outage or connectivity issue? Are there other specific failure indicators?”

Leverage access to broad M365 activity/audit data: Information such as what a user did, when they did it or what an admin has done to their account can be incredibly valuable. It can confirm what was working and when, spotlights patterns of activity and highlights unusual events.

Here are some practical tools for pinpointing workload-specific issues:

  • Network Health in M365 Admin Portal: These new reporting tools in the Admin Portal show you network traffic on users in your tenant. This reporting also shares insights driven by metrics Microsoft has gathered to highlight any performance irregularities or areas for optimization.

  • Service Health Dashboard: As a primary source of data, it’s a bit incomplete and not always accurate. It does, however, tell you generally if there is a problem, so it can be useful as a supporting set of data points.

  • Internet tools: Twitter, DownDetector and other internet tools can confirm service-wide issues through self-reporting and other diagnostics.

  • Third-party tools: Network monitors and M365-specific workload monitors can give you more specific information on performance. They can improve your ability to track both emerging and ongoing issues with the service, put each service desk call in the correct bucket, differentiate between the types of problems and help you take the correct actions at the right time based on that information.

Quadrotech Nova Office 365 Management Platform increases first call resolution (FCR). Nova improves service desk operations and reduces ticket volume and escalations through Nova’s Delegation and Policy Control (DPC). DPC allows for granular delegation of rights to individual users and roles, allowing issues to be handled closer to the source before they need to be escalated. Nova’s Service Monitoring allows for a more proactive approach to monitoring Office 365 workloads. Nova’s Service Monitoring beacons can be deployed within the customer data centers, which provides quicker identification and resolution of workload performance issues. Finally, Quadrotech Nova’s Multi-Tenant Support MTS makes it easier to support and manage multiple customer tenants via single administrative portal.

Visit our website if you’re interested in learning more about Quadrotech Nova and how it allows you to achieve first call resolution or watch Paul’s webinar on the topic.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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