“Mean is Meaningless” — Why Averages could be misleading?

Example 1: Online Store for Baby Products

Nisha is a small business owner. She had started her online store for baby products a year ago. Business had picked up after the first few months. She now receives 6 to 8 orders per day. She has a team of 3 employees. “ On time delivery “ is an important parameter for her business and they promise deliveries within 3 days to all customers. Nisha reviews on time delivery performance every week with her team. Given below is the summary for last week:

Example 2: Customer Helpdesk

ABC Pvt Ltd is a leading internet service provider and employs a team of 120 customer service representatives to manage their inbound call center. While reviewing customer feedback, they identified “ call wait time” as one of the major dissatisfiers for customers who contact the helpdesk. During peak hours, wait time could be as high as 7 to 8 minutes.

  • Set up a data reporting and monitoring schedule
  • Along with the mean, observe the variation — monitor the count and percentage values beyond the desired service level or specification limits (Example: count and percentage of orders delivered after 3 days, count and percentage of callers who had to wait for more than 3 minutes, count or percentage of inquiries not responded to in 24 working hours)



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Nitesh Verma

Nitesh Verma

Business Analyst, Blogger and Coach. I write about strategy, problem solving and people management.