When it comes to resolving operational incidents, quick reaction time is key. An organization's reputation, financial stability, and even customer satisfaction can be severely impacted by slow response times. In this article, we'll discuss the consequences of slow reaction, why organizations often struggle to resolve incidents quickly, and the steps that companies can take to improve response times.
The consequences of slow response time
Even though not clearly visible at first, slow response time will often escalate an issue and create more serious downstream problems at a company. For example, if an issue in a supply chain goes unnoticed for a longer period of time, it can lead to a shortage of products, which can cause customers to go elsewhere and result in a loss of revenue. In the worst-case scenario, slow response time to multiple incidents can even lead to a complete shutdown of business operations.
The potential financial losses caused by slow response time can be substantial. If an issue is not discovered for an extended period of time, the cost of resolving it can be much higher, and the harm to the organization can be irreparable. For instance, delivery delays in a zone can be quickly mitigated by reallocating riders from less busy areas, however if not done in time, can cause all the relevant orders to be seriously delayed, resulting in bad customer experience and high customer compensation payments.
Slow response time also has a significant impact on an organization's reputation. When customers encounter issues, they expect quick resolution. If an organization takes too long to resolve an issue, it can damage its reputation, as customers may start to see the brand as unreliable and untrustworthy. This can result in a loss of customers and a decline in sales.
Why most companies cannot resolve incidents quickly
Many organizations fail to detect incidents proactively and only learn about them from customer complaints or from random analyses performed days later. This is due to a lack of real-time monitoring and notifications, which could alert companies about incidents as soon as they occur. Most businesses lack the live data about operations. Others have access to that, but try to monitor them on static dashboards that are both time-consuming and error prone.
Organizations may also lack clear processes for what to do when an incident happens. This can lead to confusion and a lack of ownership, as people may not know what their role is or who is responsible for resolving the issue. Very often incidents are surfaced in joint email or Slack channels, but then are not taken over by anyone to quickly close them.
In some cases, there may simply be too many incidents happening and not enough resources to address them all. This can result in incidents being ignored or left unresolved for an extended period of time, causing further harm to the organization.
5 steps to improve response time
1. Collect operational data
To improve response time, it is important to collect data about operational events and to use this data to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the organization. Without data, operations teams work blindly and have no chance to detect an incident.
2. Set up automated monitors to detect incidents real-time
Operational data, however, shouldn’t be monitored on static dashboards, as mentioned before. The solution is setting up data-driven, automated monitors and real-time notifications to trigger alerts when an incident occurs. This can ensure that incidents are detected quickly and can be addressed before they escalate.
3. Create playbooks to resolve incidents
Having a playbook (incident response plan) in place for all major incident types can help provide a clear and concise process for resolving incidents. This can ensure that everyone knows what their role is and what actions need to be taken to resolve the issue. It’s also best practice to define escalation rules to ensure that no incidents are unnoticed, especially if they are critical ones.
4. Track incident resolution statuses
It is also important to track incident response statuses and to ensure that teams can collaborate effectively. This can help ensure that incidents are resolved as quickly as possible and that everyone is aware of the status of the resolution process. This can be done in existing task management systems, such as JIRA or Asana, or in custom built incident management tools.
5. Learn & improve incident resolution
Finally, it is crucial to continuously learn and improve incident resolution processes. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing incidents and analyzing what worked well and what can be improved. Incorporating feedback from operations teams and stakeholders can help to identify areas for improvement and ensure that response times continue to get better. Furthermore, investing in training and development for operations teams can also help to improve response times and incident resolution processes.
How a European delivery platform moved to real-time detection of 100% of their incidents and with that improved customer satisfaction & bottom-line
A European delivery platform client of Flawless experienced rapid expansion in their business, leading to an increase in the number of incidents. However, due to a lack of engineering capacity, they did not have the necessary tooling in place and had to resort to workaround solutions to detect incidents. As a result, only 20% of incidents were detected proactively through manual dashboard checks, and the remaining incidents were reported by customers, taking even more time from the team to resolve.
The client decided to set up Flawless to enable data-driven incident management, starting with six prioritized use cases from customer service to fleet management. Once the data team connected their data sources to Flawless in a few minutes, the operations team could set up their required monitors in a few clicks using Flawless' no-code interface and directed the alerts to their dedicated Slack channels where they could also interact with the incidents (e.g., change owner, resolution status, add tags or comment).
The result was clearly visible after a few days. Thanks to Flawless, the company could detect 100% of their incidents, resolve them 10x faster (in minutes instead of hours) and with that improve customer satisfaction and ultimately their bottom line. Furthermore, they could save five hours per employee per week, thanks to not having to regenerate the same analyses repeatedly and not having to spend so much time resolving customer complaints.
As seen above, quick reaction time is crucial in resolving operational incidents. Slow response times can have serious consequences for an organization, including financial losses and negative impacts on reputation. By collecting data, setting up automated monitors, having a playbook in place, and prioritizing change management and culture, organizations can improve response times and minimize the impact of operational incidents.
All of the above can be set up in minutes thanks to Flawless’ monitoring & incident response platform. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the how.