Digital CS - LMS Administrator - New CS - Advice wanted!

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Kelly TV
Kelly TV Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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edited August 2023 in CS Conversations

Hello all!

Its my first time posting, so please correct me and guide me as needed in case I make any errors here. I definitely dont have enough time or space to give the full context of the situation but I am being tasked with building a small CS team at my company. I am the one and only employee in CS and now I have been approved to hire two people - one started July 17th- one in onboarding and training and the other in Digital CS (also keep in mind we have account managers which is why I didnt opt for CSM as my first hires, I am hoping this will come later). After the proposal being accepted, my direct report tells me that he wants my team (Digital CS hasnt started yet) to create two paid certification courses for two different customer groups (we have 3 verticals and two are relatively new). This caught me totally off guard for a variety of reasons including the fact that the Onboarding Specialist is supposed to help customers for free as his full time job, as well as the fact that he has asked for the Digital CS person to own this project underneath me and subsequently continue to manage it on an ongoing basis. This changes the concept of both of the new roles that I had approval to move forward with and essentially is making me re-think the whole plan.

Some history/back story: we have no renewals or subscriptions; we have done really really well with our first vertical and we were perfectly positioned to take advantage of covid with our hardware and software (its usage based); our second new vertical started last year, third new vertical this year and my proposal was for Onboarding to focus only on the two new verticals to ensure their success.


Questions: do you think a paid LMS certification program makes the technology harder to sell as easy if we are asking people to pay for a course in order to use it? Does LMS administration and management seem like a Digital CS job description? Where would that fall if not on CS? Any general advice on how to handle this conversation with the senior leadership team who made this decision without consulting any customer facing teams? Thank you so much in advance!

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  • jmgcl
    jmgcl Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    Your direct report as in your manager?
  • Kelly TV
    Kelly TV Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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    Yes, the COO is my Manager. 
  • jmgcl
    jmgcl Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    I think I would ask the COO what’s driving this decision and have a conversation about potential consequences of implementing a paid course. It could be added pressure for revenue generation. It could be an idea that they had but didn’t think through all the way. See if you can approach it from a collaborative direction and raise your concerns as curious, exploratory questions. Figure out where the gaps might be in their perspective. Maybe you are seeing the whole picture but they aren’t yet and it’s a matter of incomplete information. Do some digging before you make any decisions. 
  • JooPark
    JooPark Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    Being in Digital CS myself, I work really closely with the LMS and Community teams to make sure their digital journey makes sense with self serve resources. I am not sure how difficult/easy it is for the customers to get onboarded and adopted onto your product., but I have seen many companies provide a free learning plan to get the basics to the users, and once they are onboarded, and want to learn more, there are paid courses available to dive deeper into the product. Maybe there could be a compromise? Agree with gmgcl in talking to your leaders to understand what their vision is and go from there.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 204 Expert
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    Wow, I think I hear a bus passing and you got thrown under it. LMS is part of digital but not part of CS. It's a critical partner.

    Generally I am turned off and will not pay when asked for certifion in proprietary software. Not sure what your business model is, but if it is software related and you are trying to foster adoption, I can't imaging trying to charge for it and be successful.

    It sounds to me like CS might be seen as a jack of all trades. I had a job early on I refer to as clean up crew. We had inane task oriented responsibilities that were slightly more complicated then basic support and often much simpler stuff that no one had figured out how to handle (That new cloud thing? No communication strategy defined, let's have CS do it!) That might be what you are dealing with and if so, roll with it and do the best you can. Learn as much as possible. I doubt trying to fight it will work. I might keep quiet and focus on what you are asked to do.

  • Kelly TV
    Kelly TV Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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    Really great feedback to each of you that have responded so far, thank you so much! Yes, definitely a jack-of-all trades situation, which included earlier this year having ongoing conversations about the difference between support and success (and eventually finally leadership has agreed they are and should be separate teams - they wanted the technical product support team to suddenly be customer success!). Getting alignment on the goal behind the idea will certainly be key, because there are different approaches to take and I will certainly be asking for more information before forming a project plan. I also have thought about and talked with some colleagues about the idea of basic training being free and then some advanced materials coming with a cost. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to provide some insight and feedback, it is really appreciated.

  • BenB
    BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
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    Lots of great advice here already... So the only thing I would add is that if I was tasked with creating brand-new digital CS program AAAAND a paid Certificate Training program I'd be stressed. I like to think I'm able to wear a couple of different hats, but those seem like very different worlds.

    I'm not sure I could successfully do both - so maybe start with at least having your leadership pick a priority and run with that first.