Find — and Slash — Your Failure Rates

A failure rate is the number of times your company is unable to deliver on its promise. A failure rate is a shared operational metric for all businesses — not just security. “To get the failure rates for your company, find them in each department first. Every function will have a different failure rate to assess their work. For customer experience it’s how many times a CX rep fails to solve a customer problem. For supply chain, it’s how many times do customers try to purchase a sold out item,” says Tabb. “Every team member needs to know and monitor the failure rate for their specific role and department. Every time you change your process or product, the measure of your failure rates need to be adjusted. If you’re just getting started, use free tools to identify failures and find patterns. Have your web developers use Google Analytics to check how often your 404 or Internal Server Error page loads. Have Support use a free survey tool to survey a sample of support tickets about their satisfaction.”

Failure rates aren’t sexy external metrics, but they can bring sanity to a business. “Once, [mobile payments company] Venmo made a design change that made it easy for users to accidentally send money when they meant to request it. On one hand, this drove vanity metrics, like number of transactions, because each mistaken money transfer needed an extra one to counteract it,” says Tabb. “But it was a disaster internally. Users were disoriented and couldn’t control their payments as they wished. Venmo pinpointed that particular pair of transactions — a payment and a ‘reversal’ that mirrored that transaction — to test if the new design was the cause. The team’s hypothesis was correct and they solved the problem.

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