Can I get a Little MORE support around here?

In November last year, I blogged about the phone queue reporting and graphing page beta-released by my ISP, Internode.  The aim was to use the data presented on that page, with some basic queuing theory (Little’s Law), to determine the size of their helpdesk.  I theorised that a rough estimate for how many Internode support staff are on duty at any particular point in time could be given by:

Calls in Queue x 12.5 / Wait Time

Looking at the hourly averages, I concluded that, on the Saturday of my analysis, Internode helpdesk had 8 or so people on hand to assist with customers’ technical problems.  I have been informed that my estimate for that period was surprisingly accurate.

The graphs and hourly averages data were taken offline for a little bit, but they’ve recently been reinstated.  I thought it would be timely and interesting to have another look and see what’s changed over the intervening months.  Last Saturday evening I went through and analysed the hourly averages covering the time period from 8pm Friday (17 July 2009) to 8pm Saturday (18 July 2009).  Note that Internode’s residential technical support helpdesk is staffed from 7am to midnight, 7 days a week.  I then applied the same methodology from Can I get a Little support around here to estimate the number of support staff on duty (last column).

Table 1: Internode helpdesk phone queue – hourly averages

Time period Avg. wait time
(mins:secs)
Avg. calls queued
(no.)
Support staff on duty
(est.)
Friday, 8pm-9pm 00:21 0.1 4
9pm-10pm 00:22 0.1 3
10pm-11pm 00:21 0.0 not enough data
11pm-midnight 00:22 0.0 not enough data
Saturday, 7am-8am 00:22 0.1 3
8am-9am 00:30 0.2 5
9am-10am 00:22 0.2 7
10am-11am 00:26 0.3 9
11am-noon 00:22 0.2 7
noon-1pm 00:22 0.2 7
1pm-2pm 00:23 0.2 7
2pm-3pm 00:23 0.2 7
3pm-4pm 00:58 0.7 9
4pm-5pm 00:22 0.2 7
5pm-6pm 00:23 0.2 7
6pm-7pm 00:22 0.1 3
7pm-8pm 00:21 0.1 4

Looking through my small window of analysis, it appears that Internode have largely resolved any problems they were experiencing late last year/early this year in terms of extraordinarily long wait times.  Time spent in the phone queue has collapsed from around 10 minutes to less than 30 seconds.  However, this dramatic improvement doesn’t appear to be due to any significant increase in staff numbers.

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