How to use CIOPulse to measure IT support quality

Have you heard of the Watermelon Effect? It’s a rather common problem where service level status reports for IT support show that everything is green but the customer is still unhappy. Green (statuses) on the outside, red (angry customer) on the inside.

The Watermelon Effect - Support SLAs are all green, but your customer is still red and angry

Data from Forrester shows how prevalent this mismatch of perceptions is – there are about twice as many IT teams that think they provide great IT support than there are internal customers who feel they are getting it.

One of the causes of this problem is that Service Level Agreements are flawed. Typically, support service levels are measured on the basis of target response and resolution timeframes. But purely time-based measures are an ineffective indicator of the quality of IT support.

A more effective measure of service quality is customer satisfaction. Concepts such as quality, value, timeliness, responsiveness, friendliness are all about perceptions. The perceptions of those at the receiving end of the service – customers. And the outcome of their judgement is their level of satisfaction.

It is customer satisfaction that determines whether your customer trusts you or bypasses you, increases your budgets or squeezes them, keeps you as their service provider or outsources you.

"Only customers judge quality. All other judgements are essentially irrelevant"

CIOPulse collects customer perceptions of service quality as IT teams resolve their support calls and provides a customer satisfaction score for each support team. It is based on Net Promoter®, a set of customer-focused practices adopted by the majority of Fortune 500 companies (e.g. Apple, Amazon, GE, General Motors) and many thousands of smaller companies. A Net Promoter Score® can be used to compare the service quality of each support team and identify those that are stars and those that need help.

The gauge below shows us that about a quarter of the End User Service team’s customers are having an unsatisfactory experience.

The CIOPulse Gauge showing the Net Promoter Score of an internal suport team
The CIOPulse Gauge showing the Net Promoter Score of an internal support team

CIOPulse automatically alerts team leads when a customer is unhappy and provides them with customer feedback that can be used to motivate and develop their team members. Insights from CIOPulse also help ensure that IT invests its limited service improvement resources in areas that are important to customers.

In the example below, CIOPulse’s key driver analysis shows that improving communication (not timeliness) will have the greatest positive impact on IT customer satisfaction.


Most IT Service Management (ITSM) and customer support tools have the ability to survey customers and produce a customer satisfaction score. They are good for measuring. But if you want to improve your score (and your survey response rates) you need features that most ITSM tools lack. CIOPulse is designed with these features in mind.

An element of a CIOPulse report showing which factors of the support experience are most important to customers

These features include:

  • Alerting you to unhappy customers where service recovery action is needed.
  • Widely sharing customer feedback with teams and individuals.
  • Identifying improvement themes and priorities.
  • Conducting internal and external benchmarking.

(This article was first published on LinkedIn)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.