In an April 2015 article in Campus Technology, Tami Erwin has written an excellent article on how to increase buy-in for new technologies. She says:
“To build new technologies your frontline employees will use and trust — tools that will actually improve the customer experience — you need to ask for their feedback at every stage of development.”
As an example, Erwin talks about their recent development and introduction of two new technologies at their call centers. The first is Mobile Coach, an app that compiles service rep performance metrics in real-time so that call center supervisors can engage with their teams more quickly. The tablet-based tool gives the supervisor the ability to freely move about their team all day long, accessing all of their tools using the screen in their hand. They can see how their team members are performing while simultaneously and seamlessly providing real-time coaching.
The second technology is called Rep Guidance, a desktop solution for reps that helps foster more intelligent, better-informed conversations with customers, eliminating the very frustrating situation we’ve all been through: intending to reach one department but getting another by mistake. And having to repeat our problem to yet another representative. Rep Guidance helps our reps get our customers’ details right the very first time.
These sound GREAT! But she knew, from experience of technology implementations gone wrong, they needed to follow a winning strategy to ensure adoption.
“But we knew these tools wouldn’t work if they didn’t fit our customer service team’s needs. So to help develop these new tools, we recruited over 90 frontline call center supervisors and customer representatives to help our tech team shape Mobile Coach and Rep Guidance. We knew that they’d only use the tools — and get the most out of them — if they felt they could trust them.”
Aha. Trust is key. Earning and keeping trust is easier said than done. Here’s what she did:
“My team and I have learned that whenever you are introducing a new process or technology, there is trust to be gained and trust to be lost. We then had to focus our efforts on communicating the tool’s value to drive usage…engagement can be a proxy for trust. The employee’s voice is core to improving both. Inviting feedback is good, but having the end-user actually help build it takes engagement to another level.”
1. So, first have the end-user help build it.
2. Then, invite feedback.
3. Then communicate the tool’s value.
“These two tools aren’t static solutions; our reps are contributing to their improvement all the time. For instance, during a recent panel session, representatives suggested building in auto-launch functionality for account reviews. They felt this change would encourage them to use the feature and that they’d be able to complete an account review earlier in the contact. The team implemented the change and the results were spot-on with the recommendation. Sometimes the feedback can be something as simple as using colors vs. icons, or a bullet format vs. a long-form format for talking points. No matter how simple or how technical the recommendation, all feedback is being taken in and considered.”
4. Then do the steps all over again.
“We’re starting to see encouraging results. We’re finding that more real-time coaching is translating into lasting learning moments. Our representatives are learning how to identify customer signals faster and more accurately than before. For instance, during a pilot phase of Mobile Coach, we saw a 10 percent increase in close rate and a 10 percent increase in first call resolutions. Coaching sessions have nearly tripled from 1.5 conversations per rep per month to four. Reps also seem happy with these results. We surveyed 2,700 call center employees following the implementation of the new tools and 88% felt the technology was headed in the right direction.”
“The technology we use is good; but that’s just table stakes in our industry. Using the technology to generate meaningful insights and enabling our frontline to take action with those insights is what really makes the difference. And that isn’t possible without frontline feedback.”
So how does this translate to your LMS? First, understand that technology is a tool, not an end result. The end result is to improve something, employee retention, perhaps. Determine the end result.
Second, select a vendor/tool. The tool must have features you know you need, but the vendor must also an attitude toward development that is agile and understanding. You will have customizations. If you don’t, you’re not using all the tools. Experience in an industry is nice, but less important than a willingness (and ability) to adapt to your changing needs.
Third, get your frontline staff members’ buy-in. Ask them to see the full overview of the LMS features and all that is possible. Don’t just drip features out to them. Let them imagine how the tools as they currently exist might benefit their day-to-day jobs and beyond. Then, dream a little. Then dream a little more.
Fourth, implement the current tools and start working with your staff to envision how a change in a specific tool would make their lives easier or better, improve results, etc. Caution: Don’t ask for change from the vendor BEFORE you implement or you’ll waste time and money. Start the discussion with your staff after tool usage has experienced its first spike in usage.
Fifth, bring in the vendor to understand the need, the process, and your ideas. This is where innovation happens. At Edvance360, we love engaging with our customers in this way – it ensures we stay relevant and ever evolving.