36: Looking Beyond the Numbers with Ash Rhodes

36: Looking Beyond the Numbers with Ash Rhodes

Ash Rhodes was the inspiration for this week’s topic, so it’s only right that he takes the first slot! Listen here to how he “looks beyond the numbers”…


I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward  0:13  

Hello, and welcome to the customer support leaders podcast. This is Episode 36. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is the rather enigmatic looking beyond the numbers. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today we revisit my conversation with Ash Rhodes. And we were discussing what you can read into a spreadsheet and what you can’t read in a spreadsheet.

Ash Rhodes  0:44  

When you spend a certain amount of time not interacting. And it’s not even from a from the point of view of the customer. When I spend too much time, not dealing with tickets, you forget how long it takes to do a ticket. And so you’re like, ahh, these, the reps can do it and you can do a ticket in five minutes. So reps should be able to do X number of tickets a day, on average. So, so you start setting really unobtainable type of goals, basically, not basically you start sending, you start setting more and more unobtainable goals. If you are not in there doing tickets, you start forgetting about like burnout or needing to troubleshoot tech things and so on and so forth. Whereas if you are actually in there doing the tickets, once a week, or once every month or something, you remember, like Oh, shit, no, this is really something that is much harder than that. Like there’s a much broader story. 

Charlotte Ward  1:56  

Because when you start looking at individuals as numbers on a spreadsheet, you’re effectively reducing them to… robots

Ash Rhodes  2:04  

Cogs on a machine

Charlotte Ward  2:05  

Right? Yeah. cogs on a machine. Exactly. So, if that’s how, that’s how you view them, you’re only ever looking for efficiencies.

Ash Rhodes  2:13  

Exactly. You are Yeah, you’re saying it’s so much prettier than I could, but that is exactly what I would… If anybody in my life takes anything away from anything I say it’s that don’t treat your employees as numbers, please for the love of God. Like treat them as human beings and don’t do that. Please.

Charlotte Ward  2:39  

And there are a couple of other aspects to this. You talked about the complexity of the task which are often hidden. If you do reduce your employees to numbers on the sheet, to lines in Excel. You hide all of the tasks complexities that aren’t necessarily documented, by which I mean research time and all of those things, which, if you’re, if you’re diligent as a support organisation, and you’re correctly using every aspect of the wonderful support tool that you bought into, then probably there are ways to track all of that time, but who does, right? So you lose. You lose a lot of that task complexity. But I think also I had a great term recently, which is “social complexity”, which is that there is a backdrop to any team, which is just that the time…

Yeah, just communicating with each other, just responding to each other, just not even the communication, but finding ways to communicate, finding ways to build bonds, just interacting with each other socially, has an overhead that nobody ever accounts for.

Ash Rhodes  3:35  

Communicating with each other

What was the term again?

Charlotte Ward  3:54  

Social complexity.

Ash Rhodes  3:56  

I love it. I definitely need to take note of that because It is, yes, that is incredibly key. And as you know, I am an enormous remote work advocate. And that especially adds additional time typing takes longer than verbalising. And so every single time you want to communicate with someone, you’re using fingers. So, yes, big time.

Charlotte Ward  4:25  

It’s about speed, but it’s also about the, it’s the time that it takes to build the relationship necessary to have efficient and empathic communications where you really understand what the other person is trying to communicate to you. And it’s also about the logistics as well. It’s getting on each other’s calendars. And it’s allowing for time, you know, to build human bonds beyond the work so, we we’ve all been in a meeting where it’s You know, it’s a 30-minute meeting, if you’re lucky, the first 10 minutes are everyone just chatting? And it’s easy to think Well, that was a 30-minute meeting and we haven’t accomplished, accomplished anything that we set out. No decisions were reached. And that was because really what you needed was a 45-minute meeting to allow for 15 minutes of chatter at the start, because people need that. That is the social complexity of having, of building those relationships within a team, right?

Ash Rhodes  5:27  

Absolutely. And I’ve, I’ve worked in those companies where there isn’t any of that chatter, and it always makes me so sad. It’s just people, people currently just work there. They don’t. I’m not gonna say live there because that’s, there’s something in between, and I don’t have the words for it. But yeah, it’s tough. Yeah. But I agree with you 100%. So I’m right there with you. 

Charlotte Ward  5:56  

Thank you. That’s it for today, go to customersupportleaders.com/36 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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