Average turn around time is irrelevant

When you’re slow to respond to customer requests you run the risk of tarnishing your relationship because you might not be getting your customer what they need, when they need it. However, measuring and obsessing over average turn around time is counterproductive.

Turn around time is often measured as the time between when your customer makes a request and when you fulfill their request. It’s tempting to want to measure this and then work to minimize it.

But, a low turn around time only means you can respond quickly. Responding quickly is not an indication that what you’re responding to is worthwhile. The only way a low turn around time is valuable is if you’re creating a lot of value every time you fulfill a customer request.

You could have the fastest turn around time in your industry and still fail because you aren’t turning around anything of value.

If you turn around requests that are worth $0 to your customer, do you think they care? Even if they came up with the request in the first place?

The value of a request has nothing to do with the amount of time it takes to execute, unless of course time is what’s valuable. Instead of turn around time, you could measure value per request. And work to maximize the value per request.

If you made measurable progress increasing the value per request, then you would know you’re doing something that’s helping your customers be more successful.

And it’s important to note that the speed of turning requests around doesn’t matter. In fact, you may want to slow down at times, to maximize the value. And speed up other times. The time is only important if timeliness is demonstrably valuable.

Stop obsessing over turn around time and instead focus on value per request. Go slow. And only try to speed up when efficiency would measurably boost value.