A Jira Service Management Guide for Support Teams

Jira Service Management is an end-to-end service management platform for IT teams and business teams handling service requests from customers or employees. Originally known as Jira Service Desk, Atlassian reintroduced the platform as Jira Service Management with multiple enhancements designed to benefit modern support teams in the post-2020 environment.

Customer satisfaction rides on the support team’s back, sometimes more than any other team. If a customer needs something, the support team has to make sure they get it. If something goes wrong, the support team has to make sure it’s resolved quickly. A good service desk, used in the right way, is essential for maintaining customer satisfaction.

This Jira Service Management guide explains what a good service desk, used in the right way, actually involves. And how your Jira Service Management system can turn your support team into customer service pros.

Jira Service Management: an ITSM tool that’s not just for ITSM

Originally, Jira Service Management was targeted solely at IT service management (ITSM) teams, who manage and maintain hardware and software for their customers, whether internal or external. Service desk software is used by those customers to request service by generating a ticket, e.g. “I need a new phone/laptop” or “I need a password reset” or “my system isn’t working properly”.

Over time, Atlassian realized that non-ITSM teams were starting to use service desks to provide services in an ITSM-like way. For example, a HR team might use one to onboard/offboard employees and handle requests from new starters. A facilities team might use one for building maintenance issues, desk moves, event planning, and requests for equipment. As a result, Atlassian have added features for business teams as well, such as project templates for facilities, legal, HR, and general service management. You could now say that Jira Service Management is more of an enterprise service management (ESM) tool than just an ITSM one.

How Jira Service Management simplifies ITSM

The problem with many ITSM service desks is that they’re overengineered, incorporating most if not all of the 26 processes described in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). This makes them too expensive and too complicated to use. Many of those processes just aren’t relevant to most companies.

Jira Service Management (JSM) keeps things simple for support teams by incorporating the four core ITIL processes only: request fulfillment, incident management, problem management, and change management. Because Atlassian knows that these are all most companies need.

Plus, JSM is an agile tool as well as being an ITSM tool. In the past these were two very different disciplines. The fact that JSM does not rigidly adhere to ITIL allows scope for features inspired by agile methodologies, such as agile incident management, cross-team collaborative capabilities, and improved reporting.

Find out more about how Jira Service Management is making ITSM more agile.

A good service desk needs SLAs

Many support teams use service-level agreements (SLAs) to ensure that they are delivering good service. However, a lot of traditional service desks make it difficult to configure, change, track, and report on SLAs.

Jira Service Management lets you create the SLAs you want in a matter of minutes. It’s much more flexible and comes with several out-of-the-box reports, along with the ability to create your own, so you can check how well you’re complying with your SLAs. After all, your SLAs are basically useless if you’re not tracking your performance against them.

This article has more detail on the importance of SLAs and why Jira Service Management is great for making, managing, and reporting on them.

Jira Service Management reporting

In order for service desk teams to maintain customer satisfaction, they need to measure how well they’re doing and identify areas in which they could do better. Both of these things require looking at reports.

Jira Service Management comes with default reports, custom reports, and dashboards. The default reports can’t be changed. The custom reports can be edited and you can create your own. Jira dashboards let you add multiple reports (called gadgets) to a single page and offer the most dynamic kind of reporting.

Dashboards also allow you to enhance your JSM data visualization and data storytelling by adding Marketplace apps like Custom Charts for Jira; this app lets you build beautiful, engaging, and relevant reports with full control over chart type, data choices, color, descriptions, labels, and more.

This article has more information about Jira Service Management reporting for support teams and why it is so important.

Jira Service Management reports that all support teams will find useful

There are 5 reports that we think support teams ought to be looking at, which either come with Jira Service Management or can be generated using Custom Charts for Jira.

  1. Customer satisfaction report – this lets you see your customer satisfaction (CSAT) ratings in chart form. The single CSAT report that comes with native JSM is a simple table with limited filtering options, but Custom Charts for Jira lets you make all kinds of charts and filter the data however you want.
  2. Created vs Resolved Issues – this shows whether support teams are keeping up with the work that’s coming in. It comes out of the box as a basic line chart, but you can make a more customized version in Custom Charts for Jira.
  3. Workload report – this helps see whether support agents are able to stay on stop of their workload, or may have too many issues to deal with. The native JSM pie chart does the job, but Custom Charts for Jira lets you customize the data and how it’s displayed. For example, you can show/hide specific assignees or chart by original or remaining estimate instead of issue count.
  4. Organizations report – this lets you see trends across your customer base, e.g. which companies are submitting the most tickets and what types of tickets they are. Most of the native reports don’t let you chart by Organization, so you’d need Custom Charts for Jira to get insights into where your requests are coming from.
  5. SLA reports – these let you see whether you’re meeting the expectations stipulated in your service-level agreements (SLAs). There are a few SLA reports that come with JSM by default, and you can create your own using the JSM custom reports option. However, your only charting option is a basic line chart. With Custom Charts for Jira, you can make pie charts, table charts, and bar charts, even stacked bar charts.

Find out more about these five reports for Jira Service Management support teams.

Going deeper into your ITSM data

The JSM reports above are a good start, but identifying problems, trends, and areas for continuous improvement requires support teams to go deeper into their ITSM data. For example, you might want to generate a chart that looks at issue priority and status per organization; SLAs breached vs not breached per assignee; and requests broken down by component.

This article will help you create reports that spotlight key ITSM metrics. Remember, many of the reports in this article will be useful to non-IT support teams such as facilities teams as well.

Alternatively, watch our video series about how to create an effective ITSM dashboard. This has 8 short video demos showing how to create charts and tables focused on ITSM metrics such as average customer satisfaction (CSAT) rating per assignee and changes planned for the month. You can also learn how to use the Issue List gadget in Custom Charts to display open ITSM issues.

And if you have ITSM stakeholders who are Confluence users but aren’t on your Jira, there is a video that explains how you can build an ITSM dashboard on a Confluence page, using Custom Jira Charts for Confluence.

How to improve your SLA tracking

With out-of-the-box Jira Service Management, the only way to get SLA reports on a Jira dashboard is with the Service Project Report gadget. However, this gadget doesn’t let you make SLA reports on the dashboard. You have to go into the project and generate them as project reports first, then the gadget pulls these already made reports onto your dashboard. It means, if you have multiple service projects, you have to generate each one on a per-project basis, and if you want to change the configuration, you have to go back into the project. You can’t do it on the dashboard. In effect, you lose the speed and efficiency that comes with dashboard reporting.

This article has more on the difference between project reporting and dashboard reporting, and why dashboard reporting is better.

With Custom Charts for Jira, you can build reports and charts out of your SLA data right there on the dashboard, whilst getting a lot more choice and control over how those charts appear. You can also calculate the averages of your SLA figures and filter them by assignee, request type, and other custom fields without writing a single line of Jira Query Language – which you can’t do natively.

4 SLA reports that you can create in Custom Charts for Jira are:

  • Average Time to First Response by Request Type
  • Time Remaining on a SLA by Assignee
  • Average Time to Resolution by Assignee
  • SLA Breached vs Not Breached

Find out more about how to build these SLA reports in Custom Charts in our recent article.

All these metrics are great, but don’t forget the most important one

The role of the support team is to maintain and increase customer satisfaction. As the main way to do this in Jira Service Management is by using reports, then reports based on your CSAT ratings must be your starting point. Analyzing the nature of requests and who’s submitting them; measuring your time to first response and resolution; and checking whether you’re keeping up with issues coming in, are all well and good. But none of these metrics are more important than knowing whether the customers are actually happy. The strange thing is, the CSAT survey in JSM often gets overlooked.

Support teams ticking all the right boxes might assume their customers are happy, but that doesn’t mean they are. For example, even if you’re resolving issues within the time stipulated in your SLAs, you might not be giving the customer what they want. You want to avoid the watermelon effect, in which good, ‘green’ metrics hide the true, ‘red’ state of your operation.

Illustration showing the watermelon effect, with a green metrics facade and a red true state of the operation

Basically, you want to always pay equally close attention to whether your customers are happy as to whether you’re hitting your other ITSM metrics. And even though the single CSAT report in native JSM is limited, you can use Custom Charts for Jira to build different kinds of CSAT charts, across multiple projects, and filter the data down on assignee and other custom fields. That way you get much better insight into your customer satisfaction scores.

After all, a good service desk isn’t one that meets all its SLAs. It’s one that actually, and satisfactorily, solves the customers’ problems.

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.