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What we have learned about weekends and how fast to hire: The November 2013 Buffer Happiness Report

Dec 4, 2013 3 min readReports
Photo of Carolyn Kopprasch
Carolyn Kopprasch

Chief of Staff @ Buffer

I just hit send on an email to the Buffer team with all of the numbers and trends for November. November was super exciting as we were still recovering from the October hack, and we brought on 2 really talented new heroes. Here’s the full report! :)


Emails via Help Scout:

Customers helped: 4,614 (a 21% decrease from October)
Total Email Replies sent: 6,855 (a 22% decrease from October)

Note: this month stays on the trend of a general increase from month to month, but since October’s volume was so high due to the hack, November is actually a decrease if compared strictly to the previous month.

Percent within 1 hour: 27%
(October was 39% within 1 hour)

Percent within 6 hours: 56%
(October was 77% within 6 hours)

Happiness via Hively:

94% Happy (no change)
3% Satisfied (no change)
3% Unhappy (no change)
702 total ratings (no change)
19 “Wows”

Twitter via Sparkcentral:

Tweets and DMs sent: 5,105


1) Weekend support can be drastically improved.

On weekdays in November (including Thanksgiving), our average “new conversations” per day is 209. To handle that, we send an average of 269 replies per day.

Contrast that with weekends, where our average “new conversations” per day is 109. We’re sending an average of 118 emails per day.

(This is a bit inaccurate due to the fact that Åsa in Australia comes online during our Sunday. If we isolate Saturdays, when no hero officially works, we sent an average of 61 emails per Saturday, despite 95 new conversations per Saturday.)

Simplified: each weekend day has half the volume of a week day. Thus, each weekend has the volume of one whole weekday.

Not having anyone staffed on the weekend is affecting our stats, and more importantly, causing a pretty unhappy experience for hundreds of customers. It also makes Mondays quite tough.

We staff between 3 and 4 happiness Heroes each weekday. Generally, if our weekend day load is half the normal weekday load, then right now 1 person working full-time on the weekends could make a big dent. That would be a significant improvement over what we’re doing now, which is that everyone simply pitches in when we have time.

So, our proposed solution is to hire someone full-time whose schedule will include the weekend. Joel came up with an awesome title of “weekend warrior.” It will be quite exciting to start hiring for this. Stay tuned to our jobs page for this listing!

2) Onboarding new heroes doesn’t take as long as

we thought.

A few months ago, we dug into the onboarding process for the three previous heroes. We found that new heroes are up and running within 1 month. This time, we dug into the weekly stats, and it turns out that our two new heroes were at or near normal volume by some point in week 3.

Meaning, heroes are basically onboarded within 2 weeks.

So, we should keep hiring rockstars like Mary and Adam, and we can count on a change immediately. The hiring process is still quite slow and deliberate, but once we get the right person, we can expect a big change within 2 weeks. This is especially evident when we compare the speed stats for each work week in November.

November speed by work week

3) We should hire 1 new hero every 2 months.

Over the last 6 months, our total replies sent have increased an average of 10% per month. A 10% increase for a team of 5 is the equivalent of half of a person.

So, if we’re going to just keep up with the increasing volume, we should hire 1 new Hero every 2 months.

We’ve spent some time thinking about this one, and we’ve made the decision to keep growing our team instead of trying to “scale” support by directing people to self-help resources. We intend to continue to create resources (like the FAQ) and solve bugs and areas of confusion by keeping the product team informed, but we want anyone who uses Buffer to feel completely happy and comfortable to reach out to our team and expect a prompt and friendly answer.

4) Not a discovery, just one number on the hiring front:

Between Happiness Hero and Community Champion hiring, the Happiness team received 897 applications in November.

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