What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Through their work, we found that registration was actually not the barrier; parents had, in fact, made the decision before they even got to the website and encountered registration. This allowed us to determine that changing the CRM and the registration process wasn’t going to get more families, so it wouldn’t have solved our core issue. That saved us a lot of money.
The deck of findings and recommendations that they made really pulled everything that we’d learned and explored in the three weeks into one fairly concise piece. We can show that off to different stakeholders, really rally people behind the issues that need to be fixed, and direct attention there.
We have a few staff transitions coming up, so to have a clean layout of who does what, when, and why in the blueprint is really invaluable for that transition. Using the full deck of research findings, we were able to prioritize key steps to improving our communication, web-flow, the content that’s on our web, and what content we serve up to parents at what time. From that, we created a roadmap over the next year to lay out our priorities and improve the process.
How did Highland perform from a project management standpoint?
I’d give them a 10/10. Having them keep us on a timeline was one of the most valuable parts of the project. Doing 11 coded interviews was a lot for us, so for them to be able to pull that into an easily readable one-pager was great. They were really good at organizing content.
The pacing of the project was huge. Had we done this alone, it would’ve been a six-month project. However, because Highland guided us, they introduced us to new tools and ways of scheduling out a project that I think will impact how I run projects like this in the future.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I felt like upfront, we were all on the same page of what we were getting, and that’s exactly what we got at the end. I didn’t have to pull, push, or prod to get that. In my experience with other vendors, they over promise and under deliver. Highland did a good job of getting not only me but also my boss and the people I work alongside on the same page in terms of what we’d get at the end of the project and what we’d be able to do with it.
Are there any areas they could improve?
One of the cool parts of working with them was having an outside voice asking questions. It would’ve been great to get more perspective from their team — we really just had Florence — but they worked with us on our limited budget. Again, what impressed me about Florence was her ability to come into what was a new world to her. Other people from Highland had exposure to our organization, but she did not. She was still able to slip in and talk with our constituents in a really good way.
Any advice for potential customers?
They had a pre-planning meeting that involved all of the stakeholders. Really be open with your timeline and get everything out on the table. That helps the process go a lot smoother. It also really helped bring more value and clarity to our decision-making process about a pretty big investment.