Budgeting for Service and Support
Many service and support professionals find budgeting to be a challenge. This includes headcount budgeting as well as cost budgeting. But budgeting is a critical skill to develop, as it is key to managing costs and headcount for a support organization. To help with this challenge, MetricNet has developed a tool based on industry benchmarks that takes the guesswork out of budgeting.
Used as a reality check or a planning tool, MetricNet’s cost and headcount calculator helps support organizations answer two critical questions: 1) are we staffed appropriately, and 2) is our spending in line with industry averages? Additionally, the calculator provides a simple way to plan and forecast headcount and operating expense for a support organization.
Anyone working in Service and Support looking to get a handle on what their headcount and costs should be is encouraged to use this tool.
What you’ll find in the MetricNet Budget Calculator is a three-part form, consisting of the following:
Data Input: This section is where you will enter your raw data. It is comprised of five key metrics that will enable MetricNet to estimate your headcount and operating cost.
Headcount Estimate: This section provides an estimate of the headcount required to manage your current workload, based on industry averages.
Estimated Annual Expense: This section provides an estimate of your annual operating expense by line item, and is also based on industry averages.
The Data Input section includes 5 basic questions. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
What is Your Average Monthly Ticket Volume? Enter the average monthly volume of all tickets handled, including voice, chat, email, web, and other channels (e.g., walk-ins).
What is the Average Work Time per Ticket (minutes)? Enter the average time worked on a ticket in decimal format. For example, 10 minutes 45 seconds would be shown as 10.75. This number should include an average of all channels – e.g., voice, web, chat, etc. Please note that work time is different than cycle time or mean time to resolve (MTTR). If a ticket is opened at noon and closed at 4:00 pm, the cycle time or MTTR is four hours. But if a technician spent only 10 minutes working on the ticket before it was closed, the work time will be just 10 minutes.
What is the Average Technician Travel Time per Ticket (minutes)? If your technicians provide deskside or desktop support, there will be some travel time associated with those tickets. This is the time a technician spends walking or driving to the site of the incident or service request, and then returning to their workstation after providing service. Here, you will enter the average travel time per ticket in decimal format. Organizations that provide remote support only will enter 0 in this field.
Is your support operation 24 X 7? Simply answer yes or no to this question. This data point is important because virtually everything in Service and Support is subject to scale economies. 24 X 7 support organizations tend to have higher average costs because they lose economies of scale during the back shift and on weekends when ticket volumes are low.
What is the average annual salary for an entry level technician (US dollars)? Enter the average annual starting salary for technicians. It is common knowledge that labor, i.e. personnel, is the single biggest expense in service and support. Knowing the entry level technician salary enables MetricNet to estimate the salaries of other positions in the support organization, including supervisors, managers, team leads, workforce schedulers, trainers, and QA/QC personnel.
With these five basic data points, MetricNet’s Budget Calculator can then estimate your headcount and operating expense based on industry averages.
Now that you have the basics, here are some things to consider that may impact your service and support budget in the future:
Facilities expenses are decreasing for a number of reasons, including the growing number of at home workers.
VOIP is driving down telecom costs significantly.
When it comes to technology, fixed costs are being replaced by variable costs. For example, on premise solutions are increasingly being replaced by cloud based SaaS solutions.
Training budgets are decreasing as more training is delivered through CBT.
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Used as a reality check or a planning tool, this calculator enables support organizations to determine whether they are staffed appropriately, and whether or not their spending level is in line with industry norms. Anyone working in Service and Support looking to get a handle on what their headcount and cost should be is encouraged to use this tool.