Chris Taylor found that data was his path into leadership. Here, he tells us about his whole approach to figuring out what you need to know.
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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Welcome back to Episode 29 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is metrics. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I’d like to welcome back Chris Taylor. So Chris, the topic for today is our favourite its metrics. And I know that you know, there are many, many ways we can measure our service. I’d be interested in your thoughts and philosophies around metrics.
Chris Taylor 0:50
Yeah, sure. I mean, I am a sucker for metrics. I love reporting. I love data, bringing to light new metrics that have never been seen before. There are so many out there you can easily start drowning in them, I worked in an operation once where we had 15 different metrics that we were tracking on a weekly daily basis. And because they had become such a crutch, like you need to hit this metric consistently to achieve this goal, it just completely crippled the team. And it meant that you had no flexibility and you started treating your staff like we’re in the army running drills, know what you want to show, know your goals, and how your metrics relate to them. And don’t muddy the water with random metrics. For example, if you’re a highly technical company like Tyk where I currently work, and you wouldn’t necessarily measure first FCR or first call resolution first contact resolution, because you’re not going to resolve the ticket on the first contact. So why bother measuring it? It just distorts the narrative.
Charlotte Ward 1:51
Yeah, yeah, I think narrative is the word, isn’t it? It’s actually it’s about part of what we’re doing is telling stories, isn’t it? That’s the thing. I always tell people about meta Is what questions you’re trying to ask of them before you go and pull a bunch of numbers, you know, it’s actually figure out what’s important to your organisation and your team as well as you know what the business needs to know about and, and ask the right questions and then figure out how you can answer it. But yeah, I’m with you definitely, definitely don’t drown in them. And you know, how often do you see a new manager, just go and load up the default dashboards and run with it?
Chris Taylor 2:28
Absolutely. It’s so widespread because I think it’s just in our nature to present as much as we can see when sometimes there’s no rather than an example of when it’s good to pick into a metric that you wouldn’t usually look at, I can give you is, I wrote a business case wants to get an investment in a bit of technology that was worth about 300,000 pounds, I had to prove that it would make its money back. So I started looking at our abandoned calls, if we’re abandoning x percentage of calls and you can assume that x percentage of those calls will convert into revenue, then by losing this percentage, you’re losing this amount of revenue, potentially, you can look at metrics you wouldn’t usually look at and pull something out of it. That’s relevant. But you’re so spot on. When I came to Tyk in June last year I came in, there was a help desk setup. It had a standard dashboard. And for the first month or two, I just sat there looking at this dashboard. And then I really started prying, like, why am I looking at first contact resolution, it’s just not relevant. Our product is way too complex, and you build out reporting in a cohesive way. So I tend to look at it from the position of I look at my stakeholders who seeing this data, what do they need to find out from that data? So yeah, you’re spot on. It’s about defining the goal, defining the audience. What do they want to see? How do you show that?
Charlotte Ward 3:46
It’s metrics in plural as well as isn’t it, it’s not just about that first contact resolution rate or any other single metric actually, unless you really trying to drill down on specific stories or one-off exercise really more generally. When you’re measuring a service, you’re looking at a set of metrics. And yet, you have to bear in mind how those metrics play off each other and affect the story you’re trying to tell, right? How do you draw key metrics together to tell a story?
Chris Taylor 4:16
You have to tie each of these metrics into how you want that customer to feel when they’re reacting with your brand. Let’s say we’ve got great first response time, but we’re not responsive. So we have delays between tickets or something like that. That’s obviously something needs to be looked at. Because while you’re given a great first response, it might be slightly delayed and that’s causing customer issues down the line. The end goal should be to have a great customer experience and all of your metrics essentially should be what makes that happen
Charlotte Ward 4:47
And understanding how they interplay. So if you enter the slightly dangerous territory, of making a metric a target as a standalone entity, without understanding how it fits into that set, if you get too laser-focused, on one it can have a big impact without you really realising it, I think
Chris Taylor 5:04
Take the example of focusing on answering a phone call as quickly as possible. While that’s obviously in everyone’s best interest, you might have an agent sitting in line after call work, which means they’re typing up notes from their last call. And you’re demanding that they go on quicker and quicker and quicker to pick up this call that’s waiting but you what you’re missing is the impact that has on the call they had before. They can’t leave effective notes and it just becomes a vicious cycle. So you’re Yeah, you’re absolutely right. You have to think of your metrics holistically and across the board rather than isolated pots or silos because as soon as you silo them, they’ll start becoming in conflict with one another. Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Charlotte Ward 5:46
I think you raised a really interesting example there. If you curtail your agents’ ability to create effective notes if you really are so focused on their, their response times, it might seem though, the only fit the only thing that you’re affeecting is their ability for another agent to pick up that ticket. But actually that could also impact the quality of your knowledge base. It impacts the quality of any bug reports. It’s a wider communication issue if you focus too much on in your example if you focus too much on that response time, and those other effects are actually a little bit more nebulous, aren’t they, they’re a little bit more difficult to grasp. So I guess you could, if you’re lucky, catch that in a quality programme, but you have to have the right quality programme in place as well then and that’s another metric. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/29 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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