Need a new emergency alert solution for your iPad or smartphone? No problem.
Additional laptop storage for your photos that you don’t move to the cloud? Also no worries. Or how about the latest new social media package you want for your smartphone? Again no problem because, hey, there’s an app for that.
And they are all really easy to use.
But how about that new cloud-based integrated sales system from technology giant Salesforce that your company just installed? There is no app for that, and major business software requires a learning curve plus lots of extra service.
Today we will touch on a “product adoption curve” I discovered during my years of customer experience consulting practice plus offer some tips for requesting additional service from your technology partner.
The three predictable phases that all companies go through when they integrate major business software into their operations include enthusiasm, skepticism and reward. And each phase requires its own type of service:
• Always request face time during early phases.
The early enthusiastic phase usually includes customers who are euphoric because they have a new software solution that could make their job easier. For example, that major customer engagement package SAP is providing could make the company’s customer experience more successful in running your global business.
The more time you can have your employees spend with your provider to learn the new business solution will pay off handsomely in the years ahead.
In the rush to move much of new product training online and into self tutorials, companies today often find their employees lack an adequate understanding of new products. It has been my experience that companies who negotiate for maximum classroom time — with the help of Skype or not — in the early adoption phase realize benefits sooner than later.
• Ask for service showing benefits in the skeptical phase.
In phase two of product adoption — the skeptic phase mentioned earlier — that early enthusiasm has waned. The results the company expected from adopting this new product are not yet visible.
As skepticism grows, companies begin asking is this all worth it? This can become a taxing time, difficult and dissatisfying.
Companies need to ask providers to rigorously demonstrate the potential benefits — financial and other — of the new product. And continue to ask for proof of concept.
• Communicate the rewards in final phases
As the skeptics start to recede, I recommend you have your technology partner assist you closely in communicating the financial rewards gained from implementing a major new product.
So if you are installing new supply-chain software, from say a JDA or Manhattan, broadcasting to all the increased cost savings or reducing time to market mean everything. Such rewards also help employees feel the extra effort in learning the new system was time well invested.
To summarize, implementing major new business software today is no cakewalk. And it is certainly nowhere as simple as downloading that new app onto your iPhone.
However, if you pay attention to the product adoption cycle, you will see the benefits you expect if you ask for the right customer service.
William Porter has published books on customer experience and employee engagement and speaks regularly at business schools. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.