Measuring Support

Unless you measure the support you provide, you will have no idea of how effective it is. The barometer equivalent for software support is usually as follows:

♦ Maximum wait time

♦ Average length of call

♦ Type of call (categorized as you need)

♦ Success rate on first call

♦ Percentage of subsequent calls

♦ Support staff per customer/user/new user

Unless the only support you offer is via a newsgroup, the only way you will be able to measure the efficiency of your support is by logging all calls so that issues emerging can be taken up by other departments. Logs are also necessary where support staff work in shifts or stand in for each other over holidays and illness. Drawing attention to the need for logging is not an invitation to insatiable bureaucracy. Don't implement anything more complex than strictly functional requirements dictate.

Categorize the calls you receive; you will have to make your own rules. The suggestions in Table 17-2 are offered as a guide.

Table 17-2

Call Categorization

Level of Importance



Existing FAQ, misunderstanding, or handholding


Technical issue that takes time to resolve


Bug, omission, or inaccuracy in help or documentation

It is often an eye opener to demonstrate the support load by plotting the numbers of support calls against time for any given product graphically.

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