“You have invested numerous resources to implement the latest solutions within your contact center. You have trained your employees and you have made their lives so much easier – or, at least that was the goal…”
Many organizations manage successful infrastructure migrations by introducing new, advanced technologies and processes with the hopes of gaining efficiencies, enhancing the employee and customer experience and reducing operational costs. But as the dust settles, many organizational leaders are left unsettled by the lack of adoption across their practice.
Why are employees not using the solutions? Why have they reverted to their old ways? End users are often heard explaining, “But we’ve always done it this way. I am familiar and comfortable with this solution/system and/or process. Why did they change this?” At this rate, many organizations will not realize their projected return on investment.
There are an increasing number of studies that show the emerging adoption rate across technologies. Think of the traditional telephone vs. smartphone. Why do the same employees who embrace cutting edge technology in their personal lives exhibit such resistance to technology changes in the workplace? Give them a smartphone for personal use and they rejoice; give them a new desk phone or desktop application and they mourn. This reaction speaks to the effect external-driven change can have on adoption.
As a technology integrator, many of our coworkers embrace and appreciate new technology. But the fact of the matter is, many employees simply want to do their jobs and go home to their families. They don’t want change and new technology to overcomplicate their lives and impact the way they perform their jobs.
Unfortunately, change can be disruptive particularly when things don’t go as seamless as planned. The fact is that people are creatures of habit and handle change differently, some adapt easily and others need time and support along the journey. The key to success is ensuring your users are aware that innovation drives opportunity and that it can ultimately simplify their work lives once they get through the initial, often anxiety-ridden, stages of change. Variations of the Change Curve, based on psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ model on the grief and bereavement process, are commonly used in business and change management.
Organizations can change, and employees can embrace it. It just needs to be carefully, planned, communicated and managed.
Here are the top 5 areas to focus on to ensure organizational and technical investments are embraced by the user community, as leaders introduce new and improved technologies.
1. Define a strategy for change across the organization that includes:
a. Awareness (advertising, building excitement, leverage personal vs. external drive for change)
b. Communication – plan around the impact change will have upon people, process and technology
c. Engagement and acceptance across leadership for support
d. Corporate culture considerations
e. Individual cyclical outreach to the users and leadership
f. Preparation for unexpected outcomes – have a plan for bumps in the road
2. Identify, discuss and plan for incentive programs that inspire collaboration and utilization across teams and end users.
3. Consider ways to prepare for how the change will affect each individual across the practice.
a. Identify and communicate how technology will assist them and impact their day-to-day operations
b. Focus groups can allow for candid feedback and discussions around current processes and concern/angst over change
c. Review current contact center practices with leadership and impact given new solutions
4. Ensure training and focus groups are designed with solution adoption in mind.
a. Include use case successes to aid in change behavior
b. Profile key users who have experienced and accepted change
5. Last, but not least, follow tried-and-true implementation processes.
a. Gather detailed business requirements
b. Align technology to business needs, don’t ignore business for technology
c. Engage the end user and leverage their input
A strategy that incorporates clear, concise communication and planning, which engages the end users, will ensure organizations don’t inherit legacy processes and solutions with their new technologies and business models.
Organizations must define and execute a strategy that will ensure the delivered solution is in alignment with business expectations, gains business buy-in and offers a return on investment. A strategy that is agile, adoptable and drives business value will ensure an enhanced experience for your end users and ultimately your customers.