It seems that people crave feedback. I always appreciate compliments, and (for the most part!) am grateful for constructive feedback when maybe I didn’t do something well. This is true in every role I find myself in – husband, father, manager, vendor, volunteer and more. If you’re like me and most people I know, you like to know how you’re doing in your interactions with others.
What’s true for the individual is also true for businesses and community organizations. At Howard Tech, we send a simple survey after each completed support ticket. This gives our customer an easy way to offer quick and direct feedback, in the context of an issue. The good responses are encouraging, while the others typically provide helpful information.
One of our focused goals for 2018 is to define “What does good look like?” for each of the roles and departments we have at Howard Tech. We’ve grown to have multiple service teams (managed services, hourly and project), plus HR, community development and operations. For each team and business process within them, we’ve embarked on three steps that will help us improve.
1. Define what good looks like.
We’re trying to identify this for every person and his/her job. The same question applies to our service offering – what does good look like in terms of response time, or issue resolution? It also applies to our P&L statements, our documentation, our HR processes and everything else we do internally and with our clients and business partners. We have bigger goals than just being good (we’d like to be excellent!) but we must start somewhere. That starting point is to define what good looks like for each person and process.
2. How are we going to measure what good looks like?
Howard Tech has some things which are easy to measure – response time, support tickets open/closed, projects completed on time and more. We have other things important to us, but which are much more difficult to measure. These include customer service friendliness, quality of our documentation and effectiveness of our community efforts. We are working on a variety of dashboards, reports and measurement capabilities for each of the items defined in #1. Unless we measure our progress toward our objectives, we’ll never really know how we’re doing.
3. What is our review process for each item?
The Howard Tech senior staff receive a dashboard report each night for our managed services group. It includes a variety of data such as number of support issues opened today, how many were resolved, how long it took to complete and more. I review this report nightly, and look for trends and other critical factors that might cause me to take a certain action. I wish we had a regular rhythm to review everything else we’re doing, but we’re working on them! Everything is different –our employee review process might be once or twice per year, while we might do a business review with our large clients every quarter. We are working to identify the proper review cycle for each issue we’re tracking.
Most everyone I know is working extremely hard, and many of us are struggling to keep up with our daily demands. For Howard Tech, we’re trying to be intentional on working toward some standard of “good”, and following through on measuring and reviewing these regularly. We want to work hard and smart in 2018!
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