For years, the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) has been the gold standard for assessing service quality in various businesses, including the IT industry. While this staple of performance assessment still offers plenty of value to IT teams when analyzing help desk performance, it has its shortcomings.

In order to gain a more accurate understanding of employee sentiment regarding IT help desk support, additional key performance indicators (KPIs) must be analyzed. Without implementing relevant KPIs, organizations are more likely to encounter disengaged or dissatisfied staff members due to unresolved IT issues. According to Forbes, disgruntled staff members can create irreversible damage to brands

By incorporating a dynamic combination of these service desk KPIs, IT executives can accurately measure, track, and predict the overall success of their organization’s user support efforts. They will also be able to leverage these invaluable insights to implement necessary improvements and enhance employee satisfaction.

Understanding CSAT Surveys: A Brief Overview

Traditional CSAT surveys provide leadership with a general overview of customer satisfaction. When applied to the IT Service Desk, CSATs let IT executives know how their employees feel about the information technology support that they are receiving. The purpose of the CSAT is to measure the customer’s — or in this case, the employee’s — satisfaction with the interaction with the IT service desk.

Theoretically, the CSAT will reveal any concerning trends with the IT team’s response to ticket requests. Service desk CSAT surveys will ask the user a series of questions that can usually be answered by selecting a number on a scale. The score is calculated by comparing the number of positive responses to the total number of survey questions.

For instance, if a CSAT survey includes 20 questions and 15 responses were positive, then the score for that questionnaire would be 75%. This scoring system is straightforward, which means that IT managers can easily interpret the data. If the average score of CSAT surveys is relatively high, the service desk is likely performing up to expectations. 

CSATs are an effective tool for gaining a broad overview of employee satisfaction with the IT help desk.

Limitations of CSAT Surveys

While CSAT surveys help assess the general sentiment towards an IT help desk team, they do not tell the whole story regarding the quality of user support. On their own, the applicability of CSAT surveys is quite limited because of several factors, including:

Potential Biases

According to a Psychological Science article, there are inherent cultural biases that may impact the results of CSAT surveys. Specifically, American employees are more likely to select one of two extremes instead of a moderate answer. For instance, when taking a CSAT survey that includes a 1-10 scale, Americans are more likely to select either a 1-2 or a 9-10. This potential for bias can skew the results of CSAT analysis.

CSATs Reflect the Latest Interaction

CSATs often reflect the sentiment created from the most recent interaction. An employee may have had nine consecutive positive interactions with the help desk, but if they recently endured a negative customer service experience, when taking the CSAT survey, they will likely base their answers on that touchpoint instead of the totality of their interactions.

CSAT Surveys Leave No Room for Explanation

Unlike other assessment methods, CSATs leave little to no room for explanation. They are often administered through email and only allow employees to choose a scale-based answer. Furthermore, the metric of “satisfaction” is difficult to quantify into actionable insights, which limits the applicability of CSATs.


“On average, disengaged employees cost their organization roughly 34 percent of their salary

Service Desk KPIs: What They Are and Why They Matter

When businesses rely solely on CSAT surveys to assess the effectiveness of IT service desks, they drastically increase the likelihood of employee disengagement. 

According to Investopedia, employee engagement is defined as “the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward their job.” Conversely, a disengaged employee has “checked out” and is indifferent about their daily performance. An ineffective IT team can contribute to an employee’s dissatisfaction and cause them to become disengaged. Poor IT service may leave an employee without the tools necessary to carry out their responsibilities or produce as expected. 

On average, disengaged employees cost their organization roughly 34 percent of their salary. Leveraging the right service desk KPIs will help organizations measure the performance of their IT team. Teams will be able to make necessary improvements based on data-driven insights, which improve employee productivity and satisfaction while simultaneously facilitating continued growth for the organization. 

The essential service desk KPIs include:

  • Tickets by status
  • First response time
  • Support tickets per channel
  • Top agents
  • Net promoter score
  • Resolution rate on the first contact
  • Types of tickets

All of the above KPIs provide valuable feedback to IT executives to conduct an accurate assessment of service desk effectiveness. This information can be combined with CSAT responses and qualitative data that measures employee sentiments about IT support. The end result? A more satisfied workforce and a highly productive service desk that lives up to its namesake.

Gaining Meaningful Insights with Service Desk KPIs

While both SLAs and CSATs are valuable tools to assess the quality of an organization’s user support protocols, they have several distinct limitations. To accurately measure how employees feel about the IT support, executives will need to combine both qualitative and quantitative data.

Astreya’s Managed Service Desk streamlines the process of merging these two types of data points. This innovative solution leverages a data-driven approach to provide companies with actionable insights about employee sentiments regarding IT services.

Ultimately, this gives organizations a complete understanding of their IT support’s value to the organization and end-point users, and helps guide future decision-making so that the company can improve upon the user support experience.

Astreya transforms the service desk from a cost into an investment. In essence, the Astreya Managed Service Desk addresses the concerns of tomorrow while also resolving existing IT support issues.