Craig Stoss tells us why the tools just aren’t available to do the job we need our metrics to do right now.
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Charlotte Ward 0:14
Welcome to session 26 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward.
The theme for this week is metrics. So let’s hear five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I’d like to welcome back my very good friend Craig Stoss. I have some strong feelings about metrics as I know almost every support leader does one way or the other. And I’m interested in what your ethos is around metrics what you ideally would like to do what you currently do and and why you do it.
Craig Stoss 0:52
Okay. Yeah, I mean, my my first thought that comes to mind when you say that is around the kind of differences between team metrics, individual metrics, performance metrics, business metrics, things like that. I always start with any team of mine with the expectation. And I, you know, it’s hard if there’s no expectation to be able to say someone’s a poor performer or a high performer. So for example, that could be something as simple as you need to take 20 new tickets per person per day. That’s an expectation and you can start to measure is someone higher than that lower than that, you know, and start to figure that out. And then it’s, it’s things like, the important stuff around time to resolve and time to first contact and those types of things. So I start always with those types of things, just to make sure the team understands what my expectation is, what what I have anticipated the customers expectations are and how, how we’re going to meet them. For the most part, I don’t focus on individual metrics in my world. I really do focus if we’re gonna provide a consistent customer experience then I think that metrics should reflect that we are providing it consistently across the team. The consistency is what’s important to a customer. I remember long ago when I was travelling for my job, frequently, I would call into my aeroplane points company. And I would call and get the answer, no, you can’t do whatever you want to do. And I would hang up and call back. And they would say, Yeah, absolutely, let me do that for you right now! And that’s what you need to avoid. Beyond that, the next thing is, is kind of the business metrics. And those are the things like, you know, are your customers satisfied with the service? is there is there any trends that you need to be aware of, and I like to focus that on more more than more than just CSAT and and NPS and the kind of traditional models of metrics. I like to focus it on trends. So I try to use both the combination of automated categorization as well as manual categorization of tickets, severities, and things like that, as well as obviously customer comments and feedback. But I try to take all the that into one system and and try to provide trends provide trends to the business. So this area, the product has had an uptick in negative responses from our customers, this, this area of the service has provided a positive response, you know, keep doing what you’re doing. That’s the type of thing that that I really like to focus on a metrics is it’s a little bit meaningless to say my CSAT was 90% this month, because if it was at 95, the month before, if it was 85, the month before that probably changes the meaning of that metric, 90 is objectively a great satisfaction score. But if it’s going up or down, that’s what’s more important
Charlotte Ward 2:26
It’s important as well. I think also, though, to not read too much into small jumps, you know, if you’re looking at trends, it’s like, Who cares if it was 89 last month and 90 this month? We care if it was, well, maybe, I would care if it was 90 this month and 75 next month that’s quite different, right? But the little variances I think don’t bother me. itself, so long as they’re relatively consistent. And of course, we’re always looking for improvements in the service, but I wouldn’t personally obsess over a single digit here and there.
Craig Stoss 4:13
I think that’s true. You know, I think the key point, what you said is the looking for improvement piece. And so the way to do that is to, okay, it did drop five points, 10 points, whatever the drop might be, but what’s the story behind that? You know, and that’s how you improve. It’s the story of why that drop occurred, that’s more important. I had an interesting situation, I was presenting some metrics on response times, to my my peers, and the average response time was was quite high. And I said, this looks really bad if you kind of just judge it based on that number. But when I looked into it, you know, it was something like 65% of the response times were less than one hour, which is, which was much better than our SLA was in this particular instance. And I said the end if you look at the 35% that did meet that there actually is a clear trend on why we didn’t. And I went into and explain that trend. And it was incredibly well-received because it basically showed that even though that number was was skewed quite high by that 35% where really of the 65% case and the case that we know we can achieve, you know, we’re still meeting all of our SLA’s, and we can now start to even approve more and more, you know, I think that’s the key to all metrics, regardless of which ones
Charlotte Ward 5:28
Is telling the stories and and therefore asking the right questions of those metrics, right, being in careful what you ask, and I think you tweeted quite some while ago, about every support leader gets to that point where they have a spreadsheet that is… you recall.
Craig Stoss 5:45
Yeah, I do remember this one.
Charlotte Ward 5:47
Do you want to tell us?
Craig Stoss 5:48
Yeah, I don’t remember the exact wording but it was basically every every support leader has a spreadsheet with 10 tabs and 3000 lines on it, you know, at some point in their career, and
Charlotte Ward 5:56
I think you called it I think you called it the source of all truth,
Craig Stoss 5:59
The source of all truth. That’s right. Yes, exactly. And it’s true. I mean, I have probably three of them on my desktop right now that I use. None of the tools that I’ve used in a support contact have a really solid reporting engine back end. Yeah, I mean, those spreadsheets, they’re, they’re going to always exist. But I do think the other thing that’s nice about those spreadsheets is that you can if someone comes to you say, Well, can you slice it based on Mondays? I want to know, you know, is Monday a better trend than Wednesday? You know, usually you can do that and build that slice for the individual to be able to satisfy whatever the request is.
Charlotte Ward 6:32
Very true. Thank heavens for a pivot table.
Craig Stoss 6:34
Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/26 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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