At Air IT, we are passionate about Service Delivery. We are the first to admit that we don’t always get it right, as you will see from our scorecard. But one thing is for certain; we monitor our performance using accurate data, we identify where we are failing, and we make changes and improvements quickly.

As an MSP/ITSP business, you cannot use Business Intelligence to improve unless you are honest with yourself, and you have total transparency by using the right tools.

And it’s necessary for your clients to understand the difference between service level agreements (SLA’s) and a customer experience Level Agreement or XLA.

Most MSP/ITSM companies use their SLA stats to show they are performing according to expectations, but there is a problem with this approach – end-users are not interested in SLA’s.

Of course, SLA’s are an important consideration, for decision makers while establishing contractual obligations. But for the end-users we support, there’s no interest in SLA’s; to put it bluntly, SLA’s are for the suits, and not end users.

Think about it: as an end user, would you be happy with a 2-hour response time or an 8-hour fix? I’m sure the answer is NO. Based on our feedback, our end user’s feel the same.

End users want you to fix their issues quickly and without them recurring. They expect you communicate with them throughout the process. And they don’t want automated notifications – they just make their blood boil! It sounds obvious, and simple, but, as we all know, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The question we asked ourselves was how can we measure our service quality, if it isn’t about SLA performance? This got us thinking – we went away and did more research.

As our industry matures, and we all become more like clones, our ability to deliver great service will be a key differentiator. I believe it’s going to become one of only two USP’s that an MSP/ITSP will be able to use in their competitive armoury, the other being our people. For this reason alone, tech companies should be looking at the customer experience as one of their most significant metrics.

Time and time again, business owners tell me that service delivery is of primary importance, yet still they don’t invest in service delivery as a route to their success. They see service delivery as a necessary evil; solely as a cost to their business. You see the same thinking in corporation or enterprise -This attitude must change!

To be able to deliver a world class service is a dark art and many MSP/ITSPs can’t get it right. It’s not for the lack of trying, I might add, but because it is so difficult to master. To escape from what Gary Pica calls “Spiral of death”, is a challenge.

With so much noise and daily firefighting, it is also very difficult to measure performance in a way that is will identify where improvements need to be made. For example, sending out a CSAT request after every ticket will not tell you how you are performing!

SLA’s are not the answer either; just because you hit your contractual times to respond & resolve an issue doesn’t mean your desk is performing to end users’ expectations, let alone the responses they’d like. End users can be a silent killer. If you are not careful to ensure they are happy, then you will lose their support when the time comes for renewing a contract – as we have found out at our expense.

In a recent article from the Service Desk Institute they discussed the respective benefits of SLA’s and XLA’s.

I was recently privy to some research data that is due-out at IT Nation Europe, and it astounded me that only 7% of those surveyed put the customer experience as the most important measure in their business! Shocking, and I hope MSPs do “wake up and smell the coffee” soon – if they don’t they may not be around for much longer.

At Air IT, customer experience is a major component of our strategic Orbit. We measure it throughout the business. Because, when it all comes down to it, we are in the service industry, and it just so happens our specialism is technology.

For Air IT, it starts with our Golden KPI’s – they’re our viewpoint into our XLA, and therefore an essential part of our journey into maturity; our way to achieve the holy grail of delivering a consistent world class service to all our end users. Our golden KPI’s enable us to get there through monitoring our end user experience.

Great! But there is still a problem!

How can we measure the overall performance of the desk in the regard, and which of our KPIs are key to increasing the overall happiness of our end users? This is where our balanced scorecard comes into play.

MetricNet recommend that you focus on 6 KPIs, weighted in order of importance – for us, weighting is given to favour CSAT, same day closures, and FTF – generally when we improve these scores we receive more CSAT returns and the percentage of positive CSAT returns go up.

Balance card

The graphic below shows our Golden KPI performance throughout February. You will notice we took a hit on Ave waiting time – this is because we were 2 analysts short on the desk . We also failed on aged tickets due to a 3rd line shortage. Now we are back to strength you will see from the current week we are now back on track). To help make sure we hit the aged ticket target in future we have been interviewing for 2 new 3rd line techies. Finally our CSATS dropped because our return % went down and when that happens get one negative CSAT and your score takes a dive.

Score card

Our 11 Golden KPIs are focused on making sure our end users are happy. We have identified the top six of these metrics for use in our balanced scorecard. This, in turn, gives us a monthly picture of how the department is performing as a unit. The results are fed back to Management, and link to our strategic orbit.

We then publish our performance monthly. We do this so our clients and potential clients know that we take service seriously. It’s part of our DNA to practice continual service improvement (CSI) and to be open and transparent in everything we do.

We try hard to understand what makes our clients happy and we believe we have come up with a formula that helps us monitor that happiness outside our contractual obligations through SLAs.

Yes, SLAs are still important but, more importantly, our end users must be happy; this is what really drives us.

An interesting part of analysing our Golden KPI’s is that once you crack them the SLAs take care of themselves. A less obvious benefit of this is that we are able to turn off workflows for engineers that clutter their inboxes.

Finally, our service desk then has a single dashboard that displays the live KPI gauges.

Golden KPI's

Note: there are NO “how many tickets open” NO “kill rate” NO “utilisation league tables” and NO “how many KB articles have been created.” Why? well, that is for another article.


If you’re an MSP that’s struggling to get out of Gary Pica’s dreaded “Spiral of death,” or the business is becoming mature enough for customer experience to be a key metric, then you might need some help. You’ll certainly benefit from working with a consultancy with real MSP experience and who’ve validated their methods in a successful MSP.

If so, then contact Air-MSP.