Powerhouse CX WILL set you up to scale your Customer Experience team. The effects of the foundation will remain if you maintain your foundation, and avoid disengagement too soon.
What does it mean to disengage too soon?
Many times, our clients find there’s so much relief from having us on board, they oversimplify the actual effort it takes for us to perform the activities that lead to the results they see. For example, we worked with a client and rebuilt their foundation. Each week, we accomplished 10+ activities/ short-term goals that their previous leader was not able to do in 4 months as a direct employee.
We helped them source a new leader. They hired the leader on the spot and they started only 2 weeks before the end of our engagement. This leader inherited the following: about 18 direct reports in three countries, and no middle leadership. She was also required to launch a new returns vendor (terms we negotiated), a chargebacks partner (terms we negotiated) and Quality partner (terms we negotiated). She was also required to send all employees through the training curriculum we created, so that everyone was on the same page.
They extended for 4 weeks to give us more time with the leader in a limited capacity, but we could clearly see this was not enough time, as there were not enough resources (people in support roles to the manager) to keep things moving. The company had evolved even in that short period of time and we knew that leaving wasn’t a good idea.
Against our recommendation, the client decided to disengage feeling that their leader would be able to handle it (the workload), and if not, they’d re-engage us. As part of the wrap up, we recommended that they place mid-level leadership (external).
Instead of placing mid-level leadership, they opted to have an internal team member take over some of the responsibilities we were performing, and leave the manager to continue as is. The final two weeks were hectic. We spent a good majority of our time doing our best to be sure she had the resources she needed. Disengaging from a Powerhouse CX engagement starts at 6 weeks usually, so imagine packing 6 weeks of wrap up into 2 weeks.
How did things get so out of hand?
We didn’t manage the client well. This was a learning for us. We allowed the client to ask for unlimited edits, changes adjustments, etc. without limitation. This means that we had to add to our 85+ tasks to meet their expectations. When we finished, we had completed over 165 tasks.
Because we were doing so much extra work, we thought the additional work would be evident and that extension would have to happen to ensure we’re able to reach the goals of the initial project. This was not the case. The company was simply excited to see traction and they didn’t see any harm in adding to the list. The additions (which were heavily focused on day to day operations) were what caused us to need more time.
What was the outcome?
The company re-engaged us 6 weeks after our project ended. This time, we went in on a much less invasive engagement type called Strategic Advice. This is an offering where former clients can leverage our founder for quick how tos and reminders as it relates to their Powerhouse CX setup. This type of engagement includes very little hands on work, but instead will guide you on how to do the work yourself. When the engagement started, the manager was still in place. The client wanted to do only a 4 week engagement and have us assist in finding and placing a Sr. Manager or “head of” above the previous manager. We let them know 4 weeks was not enough time, and they went with the 8 week engagement.
About two weeks into the engagement, the manager gave two weeks’ notice. The client then asked to adjust the current engagement to extend to when the new (replacement) manager joined. We provided them with recommendations to make things smoother in the absence of a leader:
Allow us to adjust the agent schedule to cover hours of operation and reduce questions related to shifts (Powerhouse Scheduling).
Launch ticket assignment automation (Powerhouse Customer Engagements).
Start the returns process to reduce tickets related to returns (Powerhouse Partnerships).
Update training and additional resources to reduce escalations )Powerhouse Learning).
Zendesk redesign, as they had many admins and lots of small changes were wreaking havoc on the last updates we performed (Powerhouse Customer Engagements).
The client declined all changes and asked only to have our founder on standby for onboarding the new manager when hired. Out of respect for the working relationship, and due to the reduced effort, we extended by about 3 weeks to accommodate their request.
The new manager joined ten days before the end of our second engagement. We helped the new manager understand why decisions were made, and reiterated the recommendations made previously. Though there is a plan to add two new leaders (essentially that first manager role turned into 3), there is still only the one leader.
This leader inherited the following: about 21 direct reports in three countries, and no middle leadership. She is also required to launch a new returns vendor (terms we negotiated), a chargebacks partner (terms we negotiated) and Quality partner (terms we negotiated). She is also required to send all employees through the training curriculum we created, so that everyone was on the same page.