Posts

Your site search isn't as important as you think

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Many times I've heard from colleagues who want to make our help website search the top priority and I think they’re really missing more important priorities that are much more effective in assisting customers in finding relevant content (and site features/functions).

Step back for a moment and consider your site search compared to a Google search. (For that matter even compare to Bing and Yahoo search.) The technology is fundamentally different. Google indexes every page its crawler can access. Your site search has a finite amount of content to index. Google looks at what pages are the most popular both from links to (the pages) and click-throughs (and so much more). At best your search engine knows page popularity, which will become a problem for new content and may likely become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most people will search with 1 to 3 keywords -- only sometimes using a phrase. Google has a rich history of search results related to those words and what’s been clic…

Finding the right candidate is difficult at best

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I’ve been on both sides of the interview table throughout my career. Having been hired and passed upon as well as hiring (and firing) great employees, I’ve had plenty of time to practice the skills in hiring and interviewing. In short, it’s extremely difficult to get to know someone from just a few hours (at most) of dialog. In most cases, I think the interviewers are doing it wrong and they’re missing out on great people. In this article, I’ll share some of my own experiences and best practices from interviewing and being interviewed.

I honestly believe 85% of the work belongs on the interviewer side. If you’re looking for the best candidate based on how well they can interview, you’re missing out. If you want to find the best employees, you need to do the work!

Think about the times you’ve started dating someone new. Most of us have experienced that person who was on their best behavior for a period of time, but that charade can only go on for so long. As an interviewer, you want t…

Measure the success of your help knowledge base content

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Let me start first by talking a bit about scope and strategy. The discussion on measuring your help knowledge base often gets caught up in the measure of call deflection on your website and the strategy of your knowledge base -- whether the knowledge base is primarily for your agents or customer help website. Regarding call deflection, it’s extremely likely that not all customers on your help website would contact you if they are unsuccessful with self-resolving, which is why how to measure or what to measure using call deflection is frequently debated.

While your agents and customers have different needs from a knowledge base, it must serve both audiences! The fundamental issue is that agents and customers have different needs.
In most cases, your agents know exactly the issue and what to do to solve it, they just need to find the right article to share with the customer. These leads them to often try searching based on a solution.Your customers, on the other hand, are visiting your …

How do you find a good boss, not just a job?

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Recently a friend of mine asked me “I always wonder how to find a Boss rather than a job. Any pointers or experiences, kindly share. Let us assume I am on the interview and I don't know the Boss, the interviewer may be someone else.“

I thought that was a great question! I’m sure there are plenty of experts who have greater insight than myself, but this is what I offered.

Ask the interviewers about how they like working at the company and with their boss. Also ask, what do they like most and may about their boss.Hopefully, you will eventually talk to the boss and you can ask him/her how they define success and what he/she likes most about their boss. Whatever he/she likes most is likely a strong trait of their own.Remember you're interviewing them, too. Don't be afraid to dig deeper for more insight. I’m sure there’s much more. A few more things have come to mind since this exchange.

Prepare ahead of time and know what kind of a boss you like to work for. Think about the bos…

Use Excel to parse text to hours

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I use a tool that displays elapsed time in the format of Xd Xh Xm, for days-hours-and minutes. If it's less than 1 day, then the output is Xh Xm. It's easy for me to scrape the output, but I need it in hours to manipulate it further.

Example outputs and converted results:

2d 0h 18m = 48.3 (in hrs)14h 9m = 14.15 (in hrs)
I wrote an Excel function to accomplish this task.

Assuming my output is in cell B3, this is the function.

=IF(ISERROR(FIND("d",B3)),LEFT(B3,FIND("h",B3)-1)+(MID(B3,FIND(" ",B3,FIND("h",B3))+1,FIND("m",B3)-FIND(" ",B3,FIND("h",B3))-1)/60),(LEFT(B3,FIND("d",B3)-1)*24)+MID(B3,FIND(" ",B3,FIND("d",B3))+1,FIND("h",B3)-FIND(" ",B3,FIND("d",B3))-1)+(MID(B3,FIND(" ",B3,FIND("h",B3))+1,FIND("m",B3)-FIND(" ",B3,FIND("h",B3))-1)/60))

Notice it starts with an IF statement. The IF statement with IS…

Is your Mac shutting down after it goes to sleep?

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This eluded me for some time! Usually it didn't go all the way through the shut down, as there were files that needed saving. Either way, it was a pain getting going after my Mac was asleep.

This is how I solved it.

Go to System Preferences... > Security & PrivacySelect the padlock in the lower-left.
A user name/password dialog box will open. If you don't have the correct privileges for your Mac, you may be stuck at this point.Enter your user name and password.
The padlock icon will change to an open padlock; The Advanced... button will no longer be grayed out/unaccessible. (See the image below.)Select the Advanced... button.Uncheck the box proceeding "Log out after _XX_ minutes of inactivity."Select OKClose the Security & Privacy preferences dialog box.
That did solve the issue for me.


I've heard from others that had similar issues, and what finally solved it for them was to make sure their hard disks didn't go to sleep (found in the Energy Saver pr…

Simple notification script for Google Sheets

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UPDATED: May 19, 2017
I changed the script to be more user-friendly and the ability to include HTML in the email body. I also found that Google moved a few things in the menus, so I modified the instructions as appropriate.

Google Sheets has a nice feature to notify yourself if something has changed, but every person who wants to be notified must add a notification for themselves. With a simple script, you can send notifications to people of your choosing.

In this example, I've written a script to send an email when 1 or more rows are added.

Get started.Go to the sheetFind a cell in the sheet that wont ever be over-written.Enter the value of the current total number of rows in the sheet.Note the cell for use in your script. I used G2.Go to Tools > Script editor... Write your script. Add this script in the script editor. Change as required to meet your needs.
function check4NewLines() {

// /////////////// //////////////// ////////////////
  // /////////////// Cell to track last row …