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Support feedback in real-time

This blog post continues to focus on our support quality and builds on the graphs and analysis from my post two weeks ago. This time however, the graphs are not static but updates in real-time! Read on for the exciting details.

Offering good support is a balancing act - a compromise. How much developer time should we allocate to support? Being software developers (a.k.a. Tech Geeks), we’ve always wondered how we can measure this balance. I then had an idea… In the last “Vote for a Feature” survey I decided to add the following question:

PaperCut’s support is done direct by the development team. Should the developers allocate more time to supporting customers, more time to development, or do we have the mix about right?

[a range to select]

It’s a bit of a loaded question and hence the results needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but still is sure to give us some level quantitative feedback (and the sample size is now large enough to pass a significance test, just to bring back bad memories for those of us that did Stats101 :-).

With over 20,000 organizations running PaperCut, our surveys collects a lot of data. I started crunching the figures so I could email the results around to our development team, but half way through I had an idea. I could do one better. How about a real-time graph for the world to view! Anyway, after a late night playing around with some Google Docs APIs I’ve come up with a solution.

The gauge below represents the current real-time results of the survey data:

  • If the gauge is at the top in the green range, we have the mix right.
  • If it leans to the right (positive), our users are suggesting that we should spend more effort on new development and a little less on support.
  • If it leans to the left (negative), we should spend more effort on support and and a little less on new development.

You’ll need a modern SVG enabled browser (e.g. Firefox) to view.

The gauge above is live. As of 27th of March, it’s at 4.76% suggesting we have the mix right. If you think the gauge should be leaning one way or the other, make sure you log in and express your vote ! Anyway, too much time playing… back to adding new features to our print management software as the gauge currently suggests!


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