August 26, 2021

A break-up note to my spreadsheet 💔

To my scheduling spreadsheet,

You've gotten me so far, and you've been there for me through thick and thin. You were there when it was just me and a few support agents, and you stayed patient while I figured out how to build schedules for the team every day, every week.

But at some point, I realized that maybe, just maybe, we had outgrown each other. You started breaking down when I needed you the most. You couldn't grow with me or my team as we changed, and gosh, we changed a lot. The best partners evolve together, don't they? This is hard for me, because to me, you are comfort. You're all my team has ever known! It feels hard to leave you, even though it's the right thing to do.

Knowing you as I do, I think you'll want to know all the reasons why I'm leaving you. You deserve that much.

Things were good until you weren't.

At some point, maybe sometime after my team grew to around 15 agents, I realized things were off between us. You were still the same tool that you were when I had 1-2 agents and 1 channel, but things were different for me now.

You took so much of my time.

There was a point when I'd have to spend at least 10 hours a week trying to figure you out, and getting things to just work. I'd be manually entering schedules for 24/7 coverage across different time zones in 15-minute intervals. So many columns. So much scrolling. So much time spent doing data entry, which meant a lot less time working with my team on what they needed.

I just couldn't rely on you.

Any mistake, whether it was an inputting error or a broken formula or a rogue entry, would be devastating. It would take forever to track down and fix the error, but the worst part was this: I just knew that you weren't the 100% accurate and reliable tool I needed you to be. And I know looks aren't everything, but it didn't help that you just looked so complicated, overwhelming and uninviting. Sorry, I had to say it.

You felt so distant and disconnected, and so, so hard to read.

I needed you to be good to me and my agents, but you couldn't meet them halfway. They kept having to pull up the latest schedule to find out where they needed to be and when, and would often look at the wrong row. Some agents would have you side-by-side next to their contact platform, while others would just ask me directly where they needed to be. Others would miss a shift entirely because their calendar didn't reflect the schedule. And if there were last minute updates to schedules? Psh. There's no way everyone knows about this.

You and I were always out of sync.

I know you meant well, but it felt like you were always two steps behind the rest of us. You weren't designed for real-time work, which is what customer support is all about. You never knew what agents were actually doing, and all you focused on was conformance. Never, not once, did you help me understand agent adherence. On top of that, the bigger you got, the slower you were to load. And because couldn't give me accurate staffing data, I was constantly having to deal with overstaffing or understaffing in some capacity.

I needed to be an expert to get the most of you.

I know there were times when we made it work. And I promise I tried to do my part. I even thought about hiring a spreadsheet expert to come in and built a workforce management system using you! Even building a forecast required so much time, blood, sweat, and tears. I'd build a custom report in my contact platform, average the data, then input them into a bunch of formulas that would eventually, finally, tell me how many people I needed on each day. Believe me when I say I didn't want to do this more than once every few months. And in our business, a monthly forecast is a very outdated forecast. Unhelpful and inaccurate at best.

You didn't help me to make the best decisions.

In my world, I need actionable and accurate insights that are going to help me manage my team to better outcomes for themselves and for the customer. It's all about data that helps back the story that we need more headcount, or that we need more resources, or even that we're doing a great job.

I'll remember the good times, but I met someone better.

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