“You’re going to burn out pretty fast if you’re responding to emails from the moment you clock in to the moment you clock out, five days per week.”
— Ben McCormack, support at FullStory⁷
Today companies must consistently surface innovative ideas to survive. Where better to get them than from your front lines?
It may fly in the face of a support agent’s job description to ignore the queue for set hours every day, but allowing time to solve problems outside of tickets is core to support’s role at the customer experience and tracking tool FullStory.
Secret #5 Block off calendar time to be out of the queue and working on bigger projects.
How to make time outside the queue happen
First, let’s clarify that non-queue time doesn’t include answering emails or attending meetings. It should be meaningful work that actually solves business problems or makes improvements to the product.
At FullStory, these projects include reviewing the quality of documentation and analyzing feedback trends.
To make sure this time actually happens, plan out schedules that account for meetings, time off, releases, etc., and then add calendar events for non- queue time. FullStory found scheduling hours to be critical to breaking away from the queue.
You may understandably feel fear in pulling team members off tickets. The key is providing clear goals that your team can achieve using time outside the queue. FullStory uses Google’s objectives and key results (OKR) framework, and team members use non-queue time to make progress on their goals.
To keep outcomes top of mind, create a forum (like a stand up or group chat) where updates and encouragement are shared on a regular basis.
Secret #6 Pick 10 things that need fixing and systematically tackle them during scheduled time outside of the queue.
Tackling your team’s top 10 list
When your team is spending time in the queue, they probably see recurring problems and feedback. Sometimes these small issues get ignored, but quick fixes could improve the customer experience. So, FullStory enacted a program for jumping out of the queue and delivering solutions: the top 10 list.⁸
While your team members work on the queue, they should collect repetitive issues and feedback into
a running list. Review the list of improvements and shop it around to other departments for the context you need. Next, rank these problems in order of importance. When your team isn’t in the queue, they should be researching and championing fixes for the top 10 most important issues. At FullStory, solving the top 10 list has allowed support to drive new features, product redesigns and critical updates for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.