November 14, 2005 Help Desk Metrics for the Small ISV There’s one questions I get alot from small ISV’s about HelpSpot, it goes something like this: “Do I really need help desk software? There’s only me/two/three of us and I’m not sure it’s worthwhile” I’ll pass on extolling the more obvious benefits of organizing requests, historical tracking and so on. Instead I’m going to go through some of the more subtle benefits you can take advantage of when you implement a help desk solution. Specifically, how the reporting features can make you more efficient. The two reports I’ll highlight here are the ‘hour of the day’ and ‘day of the week’ reports. These reports show you the busiest hours of the day and days of the week for your help desk. This isn’t just information that’s nice to know, it can have a real impact on your productivity. It’s also information which is practically impossible to determine if you’re just using a basic email account for support. If you’re a small shop every hour of your day is critical. In most cases you’re doing the coding, answering the support, paying the bills and mowing the lawn. The above reports can help you manage your time. Let’s take my own case as an example. I’ve been using HelpSpot in ‘production’ since the beta started in early September. I now have about 2 months of solid data and let me tell you it’s interesting stuff. The biggest impact on my business has been the ‘day of the week’ report. Through this report I can see that fully 47% of all support inquires are on Monday. This tappers down to just 5% on Friday. Using this I’ve been able to reorganize my weeks to take this into account. Generally I avoid coding and serious writing on Mondays since I know the day will be disjointed. Instead I focus on support and smaller tasks. On Fridays I’m able to focus completely on writing code or other mentally intensive tasks, since I know there will be few disruptions. I’m also able to make use of the ‘hour of the day’ report, which indicates most requests come in after noon and stay strong until 5pm or so. Again, I can make better use of morning hours and leave disjointed tasks until the afternoon. Of course this is just a small example and I could go on, but it’s something to consider for your ISV.