Accounting Brainstorm for Over Usage & Slow Usage

This page is to brainstorm a system to resolve over and slow usage by clients so that Key Assistants & Team Leaders can better track usage. Client hour usage issues have been a source of cancellations and client dissatisfaction in the past and has led to retention issues. Thank you to all Ishidos who are conscious of budget issues with clients and thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts below.

The objective is to make a clear, formal policy for clients and Ishidos to follow to stay within budgeted hours. If we can determine what is happening from the standpoints of the client and BAB internally to promote over/under usage, we can find a way to prevent it.

Please reply below under two separate areas for Over Usage and Slow Usage and list the top 3-5 areas you see Ishido or client issues/frustration and your suggested resolution to those issues.

  • Client - frustrated when there is an abundance of Management billing time - I think the way clients are billed needs restructured completely so the costs are just absorbed and they don't see them, but are still paying for them. This is a fairly simple fix.
  • Ishido - ask for budgets from KA/CM and don't hear back - sending in hours to the KA/CM and letting them know they're at budget max and being told to do work then client goes over. we need communication to step it up a notch and everyone reply in a timely manner to help avoid overages
  • Client - wanting the world, using 4 teams and only a $495 leve = at least 5 different MGMT times billed = overusage and frustrated client. We need to minimize amount of teams per service leve and also based on workload per team etc.
  • Sherilyn - Budget not managed closely enough/reconciled by KA monthly. Teams need to stick to alotted budget, and KA has to hold them to that budget. If client sends work above/beyond the budget, it shouldn't be done at all without an upgrade.
  • Sherilyn - Mgmt Costs - We need to bill mgmt time, but the client doesn't want to see it. I would suggest raising our hourly rate and absorbing all non KA related mgmt into the budget.
  • Sherilyn - Start up billing for each team needs to be figured into the budget from the beginning. The start up incurs a one time chunk billing charge that can get the client started off over budget. Services should perhaps start one after the other to be sure these times are absorbed.
  • Sherilyn - Ishido frustration at being paused on tasks they were counting on. Leads to unstable hours for the ishidos working with these clients and makes ishido scheduling like a roller coaster. Suggestion would be to see the over budget problem coming before this happens and solve it.
  • Client - Sales influence is key. Sales callers can frame the management costs/budget hours with a positive spin if we are aware of the issues and understand the process. Expectations are set from the very first call. First call is often a new caller. Management and hours limits should be explained clearly in the proposal stage. This can and should be framed as a benefit to the client.
  • Jenn Yates - Provide an "a la carte" subscription add on for hours during the busy times.
  • Jenn Yates - Agree with Sherilyn. Management hours need to be built in to costs.
  • Jenn Yates - Start client with one or two teams for a few months and see how work flow is going to be and if they are going to be over/under on budget hours. Clients are not always aware of how long it takes for certain tasks to be processed.
  • Jenn Yates - Better communication from KA's and Ishidos to inform Ishidos where the budget stands in case of influx of work for one team happens. Then other projects for other teams may be able to be put aside until the next billing cycle if client chooses.
  • Jenn Yates - Suggest ways to improve time efficiency to client - i.e. save "X" mins/hours over the course of the month by sending information all at once; save from emailing back and forth to get all paperwork/information.
  • Shaveta Bansal - The clients usually get upset when they see the time billed for BDS. BDS are generally done by Globals and they end up spending about an hour or two since they are not proficient. Management billing time is another issue when they don't understand it on the billing report.
  • Erin Disseler- Mgmt time needs to be completely rethought and restructured. You have a $495 client who has nearly half their budget billed to Mgmt time??
  • Wendy B - During first 100 Days, give client a breakdown of where their hours/money is being applied in this time frame.
    • Clients - Most clients are using DB Management yet have no idea what is involved in this process or the amount of time it takes to clean up files.
    • Clients - Hyper Harry's are hard enough to keep focused. Limit number of services until well established, like after 100 days.
    • Clients - Make sure client sees value in services. They do not see value in management or database clean up, so balance those services out with something they can see as valuable/profitable, and help them decide what that is whether it be Leads, Marketing, Calling, etc.
    • Clients - Use different billing structure so client does not see it as Management. I think they feel this makes them incompetent in handling their own business.
    • Clients - Use billing terms including Client System Documentation/Processes, Client Communications (this could include emails, phone calls, monthly management meetings, etc.).

  • Kim Moler - Agreed issues are using too many teams for their service level, there needs to be a limit on how many they can use.Offer to add more services for a certain amount every month. A client might be more willing to add $100 a month for a service than jump $500 a month to accomodate the hours.
    • Management time and client asking for work done that KA is unaware of - we do need to build in the management costs in some way. Some clients understand them, others think that is what the KA is for, is to oversee their work and why do they need 5 other people doing that. Clients asking for more work when KA doesn't know is also an issue. Ishidos need to let the KA know and make sure client has hours. An internal report of hours for clients for the KA would be helpful as well. Ishidos would be required to have goal actions done by a half way mark in the month, so we can see if there is going to be an issue.

  • Cynthia H - Better control on number of teams used at a service level. Gradual increase of $100 per month could ease clients into additional services. Better communication between KA & Ishidos regarding budget. Rearranging how management time billing shows so clients don't have a fit over it.
  • Molle M - I agree with the idea of limiting the number of teams a client may use based on subscription level. Also limit use of multiple teams with new clients until work gets flowing. This would prevent both over billing and the client getting frustrated by multiple KO calls and the feeling that nothing is getting done.

  • Teams - not understanding to suggest extra steps to KA/Client to get them to use their hours, instead of carrying over each month
  • KA/CM - encouraging clients to utilize smaller services like CL, Closing Tracking, Listing Tracking etc to use up some of the overage. These are simple tasks that will help build team relations with clients as well as utilize their hours
  • Client - not convinced we can do the work they want - need to "wow" them and do a trial or offer a 1 time "try it out" type of deal which could lead to them loving it and wanting more thus even leading to upgrade if neccessary
  • Sherilyn - Slow starting clients that do not schedule KOs and approve things generally fall into this area. KAs should be more vigilant in getting clients approval. Other suggestion would be to give the clients 7 days and go into auto approve status.
  • Sherilyn - Consider changing carry over of hours policy and give a deadline for hours to be used. Example: If 10 hours are left in January, they need to be used by end of February or they are lost. This may motivate clients to use them. Another option would be after Feb deadline, the hours are not lost, but they will be given vouchers for LG99s to share with others or use for project work in the future. The hours would drop off the budget and these coupons could have an expiration date as well.
  • Sherilyn - Provide marketing materials with suggested use of hours. KA should be able to discuss the clients business and suggest areas that would benefit them. Use of team testimonials can push in the direction we need to go.
  • Sherilyn - Ishido frustration on lack of being able to complete budgeted hours. Example - Callers without enough lead groups to call don't get to do the five hours they were counting on thus a smaller check. Suggestion would be to let the client know that if they don't turn over the work, they stronger Ishidos won't want to work with them, and will trade up for clients with a steady work flow.
  • Jenn Yates - Need a little more accountability from KA's to let us know if client is under hours and then Ishidos/KA's can make suggestions to client to utilize their hours more efficiently.
  • Shaveta Bansal - DB leads usually do not know when there are hours available. Sometime clients is not doing DB mgt or nothing is mentioned on Agendas and we don't have anything to do other than monthly BDS
  • Erin Disseler- Create a very simple, straight forward "Use or Lose" system as an incentive to move forward with projects they've talked about doing and have been dragging their feet on.
  • Wendy B - Make client think they are getting more for less. Have more LG99s to offer client as a "teaser" to get them to sign up for additional services or to use up their hours. All Teams could wow them by developing an LG99 offer with a flyer, blog, postcard, newsletter, X number of basic Craigslist postings, X number of basic Lead entries, anything a Team could do for $99 to creatively impress a client.
  • Kim Moler - Slow starting clients - Clients are overwhelmed when they start by so many people and teams, they are already busy and are hiring us to take work off their plates, not add more. When a client starts, KO information should be obtained right away for top 2 teams as part of the initial process by one person and passed to the teams to start work right away. Once work is flowing and client wants more services then have individual KO's with those teams. This would keep clients from shutting down and being unresponsive in getting work started.
  • Molle A. - Better communication between KA & TL during KO process to prevent KO lag when clients miss KO calls, don't provide info necessary to start work, etc. Also, it would help if KA's sent slow usage clients names to TL's of teams the clients are currently using so the TL's can suggest additional projects that might interest the client. ie - a Facebook page in addition to blogging or Closing Tracking in addition to Listings.