By Ivan Moore, Jolt Consulting
An often overlooked, but critical aspect of any software deployment that touches a service organization is change management and user adoption. Jolt Consulting Group is well versed in change management and user adoption and feels this is the most important and most underappreciated factor in a service technology implementation.
When the people side of a technology change is ignored or mismanaged, some additional costs and risks emerge at both the project and organizational levels that can negatively impact the customer experience. Conversely, when a structured change management program is followed 94% of companies meet or exceed their project objectives. This is especially true for service organizations as user adoption continues to be a struggle for companies:
- 22% of all reported problems to successful Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) implementation were people-related or linked to user adoption.
- Less than 40% of CRM customers have end user adoption rates above 90%.
Service Organizations And Their Unique Challenges In A Technology Change
- Impact To The End Customer
Unlike internally focused technology projects, a service technology switch has a direct and meaningful impact on the service organization’s customers. For example, changes to customer support agent tools, a customer portal, and customer appointment booking capabilities can, if done correctly, positively improve the customer experience. However, the inverse is also true with a poor implementation. Referencing a famous quote from the movie Apollo 13, “Failure is Not An Option”; a potential outcome from these projects is a negative impact on the customer experience that must be avoided. As a result, service employees that interact directly with customers have a strong sense of ownership with customers and often are reluctant to change in fear of that change negatively impacting their customers.
- Customers’ Priorities’ Come First
Front-line service resources supporting their customers are often tasked with double duty; in addition to their day jobs they are expected to act as part of a core project team, subject matter experts, “power-users” and provide end user training in technology implementation. Therefore, these service technology projects can be more challenging to receive dedicated project resources as when critical customer emergencies and needs surface, these will take priority over a technology switch placing the project at risk or worse, stall progress or increase frustration thereby increasing the bar to overcome a proactive change mindset.
- Field Technicians Add A Unique Dynamic
Field technicians are the organization’s “brand ambassadors” oftentimes interacting face-to-face with the customer. In addition to being risk-averse to a change that will negatively impact the customer, field technicians have unique roles within the company in that they:
Are remote and geographically dispersed which increases challenges for project inclusion, change management, training, and post-go-live support.
- Are used to working with a high degree of autonomy and oversight, often work alone, can be “set in their ways” and therefore, more reluctant to change.
- Can often perceive a technology switch as only important to the “executives”, having an objective to provide more oversight (“big brother”) and not a priority to improve their employee experience or make their jobs easier.
Change management and user adoption is a critical component for any technology change and service organizations are no different. However, a variety of factors unique to service organizations can present challenges that can place the project at risk and contribute to a negative customer experience. Stay tuned for Jolt Consulting Group’s article next month in Field Technologies Online that describes strategies to mitigate and overcome these challenges.
About The Author
Ivan is Chief Operating Officer of Jolt Consulting Group, a company exclusively focused on assisting companies to improve their customer experience and accelerate growth. Ivan and his team deliver successful business outcomes for their clients across the entire customer journey by assessments of their sales and service delivery, optimization of business processes, operating metrics, and deployment of enabling technologies.
Prosci, 2016 Change Management Benchmarking Study