I am lucky in that I have some seriously smart coworkers – working at Automattic is a constant gut-check; the level of drive, creativity and ability are at a very high level. It would be exhausting if it weren’t so inspiring. We’re all lucky to work somewhere where we’re given time to work on side projects – in fact, some of these side projects take the form of project-based meetups, where a crew of Automatticians travel to a new city, and buckle down to work toward a goal.
I’m secondarily lucky that one of these project meetups came to a close at the end of last month, and some members of my squad came home with some very interesting insights. They had spent a week diving into the mountain of data that we have on feedback from our customers, looking for correlations. What was most closely associated with happy customers? How could we better calibrate ourselves to what makes our customers happy?
Admittedly, this is not the cleanest data set: the feedback mechanism leaves something to be desired, and that is certainly on our radar. But, this is the data that we have, and after some validation and cleaning up, they came to a surprising conclusion:
Reported User Happiness was most closely tied to the length of time between our first response, and resolution.
Why is this surprising? Because it turns out that the amount of time between a customer submitting a support request and when they first hear back from us is does not appear to be not all that impactful: falling around .1 points per day (on a 10-point scale.) That’s only a 1% loss per day.
When a customer has heard back from us, time passing has a much greater negative impact, going from an average of 8.8 after 24 hours to 8.0 in our largest queue. That negative impact is eight times greater than the same amount of wait time between their submission and our first response.
This data indicates to me that the idea of leveling the wait time across all tickets is not the right approach: it assumes a roughly even wait time sensitivity regardless of the ticket’s state. This does not seem to be the case: our customers do not mind a bit of a wait to hear back from us, but once they’ve heard – they want our full attention.
The question remains: how do we move forward with the lessons from April and the implications of this new data?