{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What do you tell account team and clients when a junior team member (who was covering for someone who was on vacation) made mistakes so bad it's jeopardizing the client relationship?", "post_id": "59bb623516f9e50017d0f92b", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "5565cfca8b2b9a03009acf57", "bowl_name": "Advertising" }

What do you tell account team and clients when a junior team member (who was covering for someone who was on vacation) made mistakes so bad it's jeopardizing the client relationship?

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Don't explain. Admit fault and take accountability for your team. Outline next steps for how it won't happen again (eg. Replace the junior person, develop their skills - if they report to you for instance). Then follow through. Have a chat with the junior and make sure they also take ownership and accountability and that they learn from this experience. This is the most you can do.

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What a few others said. Start a long and genuine apology tour and think of ways to compensate in the future. It's NEVER the staff fault but the manager who oversees them. If junior didn't respond for days, someone should have been checking on that, too! Account should be apologizing to client on behalf of agency but internally there should be a review of what happened and how to prevent it. Sucks, I know. Also, many years ago, my account boss taught me to admit fault proactively and start the apology tour in advance and to overdo it even to clients so that they actually start saying things like "it's ok, not that big of a deal, etc". But, you have to show genuine remorse and offer plan how to recover ASAP

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And was no one overseeing/approving before it went out? Was someone supposed to?

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Ah got it. How did days go by and nothing was responded to? You need to admit the mistake now as you are ultimately responsible for the team and present a solution on how this will never happen again. And I would consider putting the person covering on an employee improvement plan.

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I usually have an opinion about everything posted here, but this one has me at a loss. This is a hard one.

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@PM1 No legal trouble. Had an approved response guide, a robust vacation coverage doc, and I checked in daily to see how things were going. But they left a ton just unanswered for days during a crucial week. Account team blew out of proportion and escalated the issue all the way up on both client and internal sides. I'm just at a loss on how to recover.

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Why was a junior level person covering for a director level person? I think that's part of the problem

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@Y&R1 a junior person was covering for another junior person. I'm now on the hook to respond to clients.

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What team is the junior person on? Account? What did they mess up?

@PM1 Social Team and royally messed up community managing.

Is it something the client could be in legal trouble for or more like just saying things out of color?

I saw my name billed two levels above my position on a billing chart before. Is this odd?

Get rid of them, they typically won't learn or improve from my experience. Also never say this will never happen again because it will and your clients will be like well it happened now you will lose the account... it's leadership and making sure the team you work with has the skills and experience to help you when you are on vacation (or they don't care and this is why it happened) sorry to sound harsh but that seems like the situation considering you have them all the guides and details before leaving...

I have actually had this same thing happen. Honestly, it was a clusterfuck - way worse than what you describe consequence wise. 1. The junior was very junior and unsure of themselves. They definitely were not at level of other junior and would have expected the Social Director to have found comparable coverage AND have trained them more. 2. The social director at the very least should have known their team to know the difference. They did not. 3. The social director should have been checking in properly. Can you see a the theme here? Ultimately we had to seriously smooth over and more training put in place. I also mandated a change to holiday cover policy for that social team (they tended to specialise in the 'voice' of one account) which meant two people covered the workload who were jointly responsible (i.e. They did half each am / pm - not twice as much) as it meant they held each other to account better. Is actually working well. But seriously? You've got to take it on the chin (do you follow all the accounts your team run? Helps to notice issues quicker)

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