Improving case resolution performance is one of the ‘usual suspects’ in the annual operation plans of most of today’s technical support operations and for good reason. Based on recent ServiceXRG’s research, shorter case resolution times are one of the top three drivers of higher customer satisfaction levels. However, using case resolution performance to drive improvements can be problematic. Let’s look at the traditional case resolution process.
Traditional Case Resolution Milestones
When cases follow this process the traditional resolution measurement of closed – accepted by customer – provides a meaningful milestone in the process to report closure. Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. Cases can languish in the resolution process for weeks for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Customers may identify a defect that is not patched and the solution requires engineering involvement,
- The customer is provided a solution/workaround but does not confirm the solution worked, or
- The customer accepts the solution, but needs to wait for a planned outage, end of project or other event to install and test it, or
- The solution/workaround fixed the issue but the customer wants to leave the case open just in case it happens again…
These real case situations significantly discount the value of resolution reporting when based on customer acceptance. In some support environments these types of cases are more the rule than the exception. The revised case flow shows how these case types impact resolution reporting.
Typical Case Resolution Milestones
To be effective at driving performance improvement, resolution reporting should represent the time and activities required to identify a solution to the customer’s problem. These are the core activities of support operations that can be impacted by review, re-engineering and benchmarking the case resolution process. A new milestone that accurately represents when casework in support ends is needed, by establishing a “soft close” or “solution identified” date stamp that defines the solution timeline, case resolution reporting can provide a meaningful measure of the work performed by the support organization. When the solution activities are understood and optimized, case resolution times can be shortened and made consistent within product teams.
Case Closure Milestones with Soft Close
Case resolution performance reporting based a “soft close” time-stamp provides the most effective measure of case resolution performance. Leveraging this form of resolution reporting also provides more clarity in reporting of backlogged cases by providing a clear separation between case work and monitoring activities. Traditional case closure reporting based on customer acceptance must still be reported as it represents the customer view of the case lifecycle and should continue to be used as the basis for survey triggers and final case closure.