In the Trenches: The Money vs. Time Tug-of-War

Last week’s post about team vs. individual customer service received some insightful comments from readers. Thank you! In particular, two people suggested that we resolve our problem by using a help desk-style ticketing solution. This would be ideal if it weren’t for one thing: Like many small-business owners, I am in a constant tug-of-war between time and money.

Cranky Concierge asks clients to “reply all” to emails so that their messages will go to everyone who books flights, as well as to our general inbox. Implementing a ticketing system could eliminate the need to do so. Streamlining our procedures is a good idea, and I’ve looked at ticketing options before. But this is where the tug-of-war begins.

A third commenter noted that help-desk systems can be pretty expensive, thus our small business may not be able to afford one. That’s generally true if you do it yourself. However, there are very affordable ticketing systems out there, such as the one the commenter recommended, osTicket, which is free if you self-host it, or the popular Zendesk, which starts at $1 per person per month. Unfortunately, getting an affordable system up and running without hiring IT help would require a serious time commitment on my part.

The way I see it, I have two options: Throw money at the problem and let others handle implementation, which gets expensive quickly. Or do the job myself, which may be cheaper but will require a ton of time (which ultimately costs me money as well). Neither solution is a good one for a small business like ours, because we don’t have very deep pockets or much spare time.

You’d think this conundrum would really annoy me, but the reality is it provides an effective system of checks and balances. Could I devote money to making this happen? Yes. Could I just do it myself? Yes. But the time vs. money tug-of-war gives me enough pause to make sure that it’s something we really need.

As for a ticketing system, I’ve yet to be convinced we need to have one. But it’s on my wish list, and we’ll probably get there someday. Keep the helpful comments coming!

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
This entry was posted in Employees and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
6 comments
discount chanel bags
discount chanel bags

A man wanted in Arizona for 13 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor has been arrested in Canada.

http://www.gayhotdeal.com/chanel-255-series-c-7.html   Chanel 2.55 bag,

http://www.gayhotdeal.com/   chanel outlet, 

http://www.gayhotdeal.com/products_new.html     Chanel Classic bag,

http://www.gayhotdeal.com/chanel-wallets-c-6.html  chanel wallets,

Steven Dyer was convicted in absentia on April 16, seahawks jerseys 2002.

In December, Canada Border Services Agency discovered Dyer was in Canada and living in Vancouver. He had assumed the identity of a Canadian citizen and was even able to leave the country and return using this identity, the agency said.

cedarglen1
cedarglen1

Great insight, Brett.   I appreciate your need to anticipate growth, be prepared for it etc.  That said, if the simple (and FREE) "Reply All" method is currently working for you, don't mess with it.  There will always be a few clients that cannot manage to Reply All correctly, but if you remind them a sufficient number of times and perhaps as a boilerplate part of every client communication, I suspect that your needs will be fulfilled for some time.  You obviously recognize that this method will not work forever, but using it well now does buy you the time necessary to more thoroughly investigate other options.  I also agree with the suggestion made by @Dan Nunn above, that you may be able to develop a bartering arrangement.  Barter has its  own set of potential problems, but if addressed properly and professionally it can be a viable choice.  Good luck!! -C.

DaveB589
DaveB589

You could also check out on sites like elance or the like and just hire some of the help you might need.

Dan Nunn
Dan Nunn

The other consideration you may have is bartering your services. Surely there must be a technology company out there with the resources to handle this, in exchange for a certain monthly credit for flight booking and monitoring services. Possibly even one of your existing clients.

crankyconcierge
crankyconcierge

@cedarglen1  Well, it's not working all that well now.  We've started to send to some clients from a central email address instead of our own, so that solves some of the issues.  We'll just keep dealing with it until we run out of good ideas!

cedarglen1
cedarglen1

@crankyconcierge @cedarglen1 

Sorry to hear it.  That said, I guess I'm not terribly worried.  Why?  Your small company has faced communication and work-flow issues before, and - as far as I know, always managed to fix them.  With a longer view, you will figure out what works for your business and staff.  This really is a part of the steep growth and learning curve (curse?) associated with developing a partly new business model in the service industry.  You will figure it out.  My only advice is crunch this through with your more experienced staff and perhaps with a few trusted friends and  advisers.  Stay clear of paid consultants when possible; you probably understand your options far better than they do and your limited capital is likely best invested elsewhere.  

-Great posts and posts that address important questions.  Thanks! -C.


Trackbacks

  1. [...] In the Trenches: The Money vs. Time Tug-of-War – Intuit Small Business Blog I’m always looking at ways to improve how we do things, but there’s always an issue of time and money. I actually like this tension. [...]