Use the Right Metrics

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.

Bill Gates

When reviewing your success rates, or progress towards the goals you are trying to achieve, you should be looking at what you are actually reviewing to ensure it is relevant in the first place… or, in other words, does it really what matters?

My thoughts on this are more or less to the point of looking at how well a customer care person addressed the concern brought to their attention. This is the end result metric to be considered over most any other indicator.

This does not mean volumes should not be taken into consideration only that it is likely more relevant to look at the volume in the context of how it relates specifically to the concern at hand. The more concerns being brought forward for the same problem would point to something upstream that may need to be addressed in general such as a software bug or a process that is inefficient or poorly explained.

Also to be taken into consideration with the above is the length of the conversation. Providing a suggested solution and explaining it clearly in a language the customer can understand and take action with is ideally done with the first response although in some cases more details and context are needed to provide the most correct solution idea. A relevant benchmark for the number of back and forth responses should be set but does not need to be explicitly held to a specific number that cannot be exceeded.

Keeping the conversation on point and to an ideal minimum will ultimately provide the best customer care. Ensuring these two ideals will generally address any other metrics you may want to consider provided when you take those measurements you know exactly what you are looking at and why you need to know them.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Choose the Right Tool

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail.

Abraham Maslow

Although pounding something into place may be satisfying and even possibly achieve the end results needed ultimately it may not have been the best approach to take.

Providing support requires you make certain the toolbox of resources you have at your disposal consists of more than a one-size fits all hammer. To continue with the analogy, you may need a screwdriver because it may be a screw you are faced with instead of a nail. Again, this doesn’t mean the hammer wouldn’t work but it’s not likely the right tool for the job.

Using what you believe to be the right tool for the job, aside from likely achieving the goal most effectively and efficiently also generally provides for the means to walk-back a solution if it turns out not to be correct.

Also to note, don’t just reach into your toolbox and be satisfied the first tool you grab will be the right one. Take time to review the problem and then look in your toolbox to see if you have the right tool for the job… and if you don’t, know where to get help with finding the right tool and learn how to add it to your toolbox.

One thing to remember, and often overlooked when you have a wide array of tools to choose from, if you are actually dealing with a nail go ahead and use your hammer.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Understanding

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.

Margaret Mitchell

Much like Baden Powell and the Boy Scouts promote, always be prepared especially when dealing with others. Although one might think they know what to expect it is often times something else causing the issue or concern.

It is important to remember that to find common ground in your communication to ensure you are able to explain the idea you are trying to present. This may mean reducing your vocabulary to more common, every-day words and phrases or being more precise in the technical description of the problem at hand. Each instance will be based on the overall context of the conversation.

Do not expect everyone will be able to immediately understand what you are saying, and in the same vein, you should not always expect to be immediately understood. Sometimes the communication gap needs to be bridged otherwise you might have the gist of the idea get lost in translation.

Always take the time to understand what is expected rather than simply moving forward believing you know, without doubt, those expectations.

Confidence

Support needs to be encouraged and uplifted all the time. This should not be because they need it but more for letting them know they are doing a great job and offering that recognition of their efforts.

Everyone likes to know they doing well, or maybe not so well, and making efforts to let them know is a vital part of them being successful.

For those team members doing well it’s mostly a nice-to-do and for those struggling it’s an opportunity to interact and assist.

Always temper encouragement and recognition with the appropriate context of the situation making subtle adjustments to let everyone know they have support internally and an open door to walk through for help… or maybe just an attentive listening board.

All Roads Do Lead To Rome

Never give up! It’s a rather simple philosophy to consider and follow. If you have a goal you want to reach you simply must keep trying to reach it. Now, obviously, this does not mean you will reach it because it’s your goal only that you must focus on getting to it.

Sometimes goals are really easy and sometimes goals are near impossible although no matter the case it is still a goal and something to focus on.

Do you want to help people? Make the effort to learn what they need help with and share that knowledge to provide the assistance they need.

Do you want to write something? A book? A play? A piece of software? Put pen to paper, as they say, and start writing.

One of the biggest challenges of achieving one’s goals is not so much in setting ones that can be met (it’s often time better to set goals just beyond that point), it’s the whole point of getting started! If you never take that first step you will never finish the trip.

The greatest journey’s in life all begin with its first step … and sometimes that first step might not be the right direction although that’s OK, there’s nothing to say you cannot change directions mid-course. Just focus on the goals you have set and keep looking forward to achieving them. Follow the paths that will lead you to there and don’t worry if those paths are not the one everyone else has taken.

We are all individuals and each in their own right has to follow the best path for themselves.

… and just like customers are all individuals, sometimes you may have to lead them down a different path for them to see the same answers others have found already.

Walk Through Open Doors

Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them.

Jim Carrey

There may be times when a door appears to have closed in front of you and perhaps that opportunity has passed you by? Have you ever considered that the door is only closed, it’s not locked.

Opportunity may have knocked on your door and you did not answer although there is nothing to say you cannot walk up to opportunity’s door and knock on it yourself.

If you are not willing to take that chance, be bold, step up, then you may be missing those opportunities in your life that will change it forever.

Sometimes you may have to make those opportunities for yourself and other times they will be just there for you to seize upon but no matter the case you still have to not be afraid of taking that chance and adventuring out into the unknown.

Find that opportunity to grow, to share, to learn!

Also keep in mind, when looking or finding these opportunities, do you want to look back and ask yourself… what if?

Support Needs Support

Service and support should not just be for front-facing interactions with customers it must also be for those that provide this front-facing communication.

It is vitally important to take the time and spend the energy to care for your own team’s needs and requirements which in turn will allow them to continue and improve in how they provide the service and support your customer deserves and needs.

On-boarding and training are not just some catchwords to bandy about the office space. The company must focus on actually providing an on-boarding process and ensuring training is at least at a minimum standard for the support team member to understand what they do not know.

Knowing what you don’t know is a great starting point to improvement and although you will never truly know what you don’t know it will become less over time as you continue to provide and receive the appropriate training to do the job well.

This is not necessarily something only in the purview of customer care teams it can happen in any role although some of the most common places to find this are in support focused roles.

Also to note, most providers of customer care and support need to know that it is OK not to have the answer immediately. They also need to know where best to look for the answer as the case may be.

On-boarding is often one of the best cornerstones when it comes to providing a basis to finding answers and it often leads to pointing out potential gaps in a company’s internal support systems as well as external support services.

Ongoing training will fill these gaps and in so doing so can only improve the company, its support team, its product offering … and ultimately its customer’s approval rating.

Support is a lynchpin to greatness in moving a company forward. The team that provides it should be recognized and offered any and all assistance to continually improve and strive for more.

Gone Fishing

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

ancient proverb

When a person finds a solution themselves (with help from support) they will often times feel more empowered to use the product and promote its usefulness.

Leading a person from point A to point B may accomplish the short-term goal of getting them a resolution although it does nothing at all to really provide a takeaway that is going to be beneficial in the long-term.

Making the efforts to help a person understand the concern they are having, in a language they can relate to and understand, will more likely give them a better viewpoint on possible future similar issues they may come across and allow them to help themselves more easily.

Obviously, from the aspect of providing customer support, you should still let the person know you are there to help them no matter the case although ultimately they will be helping themselves all the same.

Open Your Own Doors

If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.

Richard Branson

Always be learning and you will always be growing. Be ready to reach for the stars and take your imagination to new heights. What wonders will you see if you just open your eyes to their opportunities?

The excitement of a new journey is not so much in the destination as it is learning how to get there and seeing what comes along the way while traveling its path. Every opportunity leads to a possibility of adventure – you just have to say yes.

Carpe Deum

There are no such things as mistakes just happy accidents.

Bob Ross

Every mistake will always have the potential to be a learning experience. It may be an opportunity to try something new or see something from a different perspective.

The chance to learn a new direction or take a different path moving forward and benefit from the “mistake” should be seized much the same as an obvious golden opportunity. Every mistake can be a key to a new solution, perhaps one that no one knew was needed to begin with.