Stoneage efficiency measurements

October 20, 2008 by
Filed under: Management 

Once again I react to the inefficiency of corporate bureaucracy. A very common way of measuring efficiency is to use statistics. How do you use statistics to measure efficiency, and especially in cases such as helpdesk and support functions in a corporation?

A common way of doing this is to just measure closed tickets, and how long time is spent per ticket. I’m not sure how many companies still do this, but I’ve run into it more than once (actually, more times than I can count on my own hands) in the last year.

The problem is that any given person with the sole efficiency measurement being quantitative applied knowingly on him will react by trying to increase his efficiency, and how better to do that than to just cut and paste answers and close any tickets as soon as that’s done.

My response to this, is it quality or quantity that is most interesting? I believe the answer is quite simple in this case, I’m all for quality. Unfortunately, the entire economic system seems to be leaning towards quantity rather than quality these days. I think a half decent compromise however is how CCP in eve-online is handling user support, and it’s the same way I’ve done it when I did user support.

Once you get a problem report (aka ticket), skim through the message, see if you can find a common denominator with some of the most known 6-7 problems (or more if you’re unlucky). Send a cut and paste response (with either an explanation, or a detailed step by step fix), but keep the ticket alive until the person responds. If no response has been received in a given time, say a week, try to contact them again and see if the problem was solved before closing it. If the problem hasn’t been solved by this simple round, it’s either time to send it to 2nd line support, or if there is no 2nd line support start asking for information that can be used to debug the problem, and delve deeper into the problem.

I’m not claiming this is a holy grail of any kind, but it does hopefully keep more customers happy. It requires happy and motivated support personel, and that can at least try to keep face up for a while with customers. To do that, it requires proper motivators, and definitely not some stoneage efficiency measures. Get customer satisfaction index into the game, even if it’s an internal function in your company, or an external function fronting towards your customers.

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