A few months back one of our product Websites started to slip in sales. It was a slow slip over a two-three week period of time, something that clearly was not a simple fluctuation in sales. It was enough of a slip that several people noticed it…the question was, why?
Rather than support emails going to the admins, coders, and testing everything from page speed, the buying process, talking with processors, etc… a simple report called a WID exposed the issue, almost instantly.
Three weeks before the issue was noticed, a new Video Player was pushed out to the Website. The original split tests showed the new player improved many factors; from the loading time of videos to conversion ratios. However, once the Player was pushed live, an unseen technical issue was happening; the player would not load correctly depending on the version of iPhone the visitor was using.
The WID helped us figure out what had changed and when…and that is where we started our testing and how we found the issue so quickly.
Introducing the WID
It is a small businesses most elite weapon against catastrophic issues.
A WID is nothing more than email, called “What I Did.” It is a daily email written in bullet point style, which outlines what each employee, manager, departments and even what owners did for that day. The purpose of a WID is to keep track of changes to Websites, code, content, server upgrades, along with the progress of projects and more importantly they help ensure that everyone is on the same page.
A WID does not include minor daily tasks; like talking on the phone with a spouse, long email or IM conversations that are not project related. Basically it is not a tool to spy on employees with!
How The WID Helps
Besides finding technical issues with sales, a WID can help in many various ways, sometimes in ways you can not think of until you actually see it in action.
Cross Department: The legal departments WID stated they are about to sue a company for Copyright Infringement. The Sales & Marketing department is starting to talk with this company about buying ads/traffic. A simple follow up email is sent asking if they should or should not buy the traffic, which legal responds back telling M&S no, because this case is not going to be a basic settlement case.
Sales Projections: The owners/managers want to know why sales have doubled. Rather than bothering the Sales department the WID shows them last week a few major ad purchases went live and are doing well.
Faster Internal Support: Customer Support is getting several email complaints from customers that a feature is not working correctly. The support manager is able to use the WID to see the content server was upgraded a few days before. The support manager puts in a ticket to the Admins with the details from the customers and a quick note from the WID about the upgrade.
Communication Tool: A manager is wondering why a project is not ready for testing. A quick look at today’s WID shows the owner pulled a key employee off the project for today to work on something else.
Affiliates: An Affiliate contacts an Affiliate Rep wondering why an expected Wire has not hit. Through the WID, the Sales Manager notices the accounting department had an issue at the Bank level that delayed the wires going out by one day, which pushed the delay over a weekend, thus the wire will be a few days later than normal.
As You Can See
The WID not only saves you time with technical issues it is also a key communication tool. It helps everyone know why, what, and when. It keeps managers off staffs back, while giving the manager the needed information they need to explain why projects are delayed.
A final note: If you implement WID’s into your business strategy do not forget to add it to the employee handbook and include a quick explanation as to why they are important.