Tech Adoption: How to Manage a Rollout with Customer Facing Teams
Introducing awesome new technology to a service brand without a successful rollout plan is like gifting a brand new Ferrari to a friend who doesn’t know how to drive. Like a flashy car and a clueless driver, technology in the workplace is only as good as the employee’s ability to understand and use it. Through our experience rolling out our platform to thousands of service businesses around the globe, we’ve learned a thing or two about successfully managing a technology rollout to customer-facing teams.
Here are our top tips, must-do’s and steer clears.
Start with a Pilot
What's the first thing you do before buying a new car? You take it for a test drive. Testing the new technology by rolling it out in select locations and branches with similar use cases allows you to see some real results, and create a case study for success. With AskNicely, just one of the tangible benefits our customer’s pilot locations see is a significant boost in NPS scores. After rolling out the technology in select locations, you can compare key metrics (NPS, revenue, repeat business, referrals etc) against the branches without the new tech to make your case.
Running a pilot also allows you to gain feedback from frontline teams, understand potential barriers and how to overcome them. What did employees feel the most hesitant on? What did they have trouble with? What did they find the most exciting? This intel is critical for shaping a successful rollout to remaining branches and locations.
Crystal Clear Communication & Interactive Education
Your customer-facing teams won’t see the value in the new technology if that value is not communicated effectively. Everyone in your organization should be crystal clear on: a) what the technology does, b) why it's being bought in, and c) how they can use it to best support them in their work. With thorough education and communication, your frontline teams can feel clear, confident and excited to dive into the new platform.
Here at AskNicely, we work with our executive sponsors (the internal executive who is championing the platform) using a range of communication and education tools such as step-by-step guides, email, video, in-person workshops, playbooks and roleplays. It’s important that you communicate the specific value to the group of people you’re talking to. For example, the benefits of the AskNicely platform for frontline managers differ slightly from the benefits to the customer-facing teams.
Transparency leaves no room for confusion or misinterpretation. Using clear communication and interactive training, your teams will get a grasp on how the technology can fit into their every day.
For an employee who has had the same work method for years, a new tool can seem like a dangerous intruder. They might think it will make their work more complicated, or fear it’s being used for something that it’s not. To successfully roll out new technology, you need to identify the potential barriers or resistance points that your teams may face.
For example, some of AskNicely’s customers have experienced skeptical customer-facing teams before they realize that the app is there to help them. When they realize the platform is there to connect them to positive customer feedback, recognize them for the work they do and help them improve – they lean into the app with enthusiasm.
- Introduce the platform internally.
When introducing new tech to your teams, make sure it’s by someone within your company that your employees know and trust.
- Create a case study for success.
Remember that pilot case trial you did at the start? You can now use it to show your teams how the tech works. Not just tell your teams that “it's awesome! It works!” but actually show them how it worked.
- Use a hands on approach.
Get people using the tech from the get-go. At AskNicely, we advise customers to start collecting survey data 2+ weeks in advance so that as soon as employees are trained, they can access personalized customer feedback immediately.
- Establish clear roles.
Avoid confusion by establishing clear roles. For example, AskNicely customer Medwatch has clear ownership over which teams and individuals are responsible for following up on feedback within the app.
- Bring into in-person conversations.
Discuss the tech outside of the screen. At AskNicely, we encourage teams to incorporate customer feedback learnings and shoutouts for awesome work into regular in-person meetings.
- Introduction via the tech company.
As much as we love talking about our platform and how awesome it is (humbly, of course), we would never be the ones to introduce our platform to our customer’s employees. As mentioned above, it needs to be done internally, by someone employees know and trust.
- Move too quickly.
We all know what happens in the story of the tortoise and the hare. Don’t try to move too quickly when introducing new tech. As Ethan Andelman, Chief Marketing Officer of AskNicely customer Lendmark Financials said “I can only say because there’s so many human beings and emotions involved, please don’t force it”.
- Introduce all teams at the same time.
Before the technology is rolled out to customer-facing teams, make sure your executives and frontline managers have great understanding first. This way, frontline employees can go to their higher-ups with feedback, questions and concerns, and their managers can provide them with what they need.
For too long, customer-facing teams have been largely left out of tech. As AskNicely CEO Aaron Ward said: “The software industry has done a pretty good job building software for salespeople, marketers, developers and accountants but have all but ignored the service person on the frontline who deals with the actual customer.” As customer-facing teams get access to the technology they deserve, we need to make the process as easy and simple as possible. By running a successful pilot, using a range of engaging communication and education tools and sitting down with frontline teams to address barriers, we can manage a successful rollout that has customer-facing staff amped to start using the platform.
Want to learn more about AskNicely customers who have nailed their rollout and are now reaping the rewards of accelerated growth, increased repeat business and referrals? Check out our customer case studies here.