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.