Making the decision to implement a new technology into your business can be daunting.
Will my customers use it, appreciate it, accept it? Will my team members feel confident adopting this new technology? Will I be successful? A million thoughts may race through your mind – and with good reason – but, fear not, there are steps to help business owners like yourself be successful when rolling out a new technology to their team members and customers.
Use the following nine steps to increase your business’s ease of transition:
- ESTABLISH THE WHY AND THE HOW
People in general make decisions based off of emotion. For this reason, you want to ensure your team members are comfortable with the process of rolling out a new technology. In order to do that you’ll need to define and communicate your ‘Why.’
What is a ‘Why,’ you ask? A why is anything that gives your purpose its driving-force. This means establishing the reason behind why you choose to do what you do. In this case: What is the purpose of integrating this new technology? The desire to accumulate money, while enticing, is hardly robust enough of a reason to withstand the trials and tribulations that will inevitably come with any major business change. Therefore, defining a substantial and serious ‘Why’ is absolutely paramount for any business change to succeed past the initial roll out – (“Why Discovering Your ‘Why’ is the No. 1 Business Move”)
Once you have successfully defined and communicated your ‘Why’ to your teams it is time to set clear and measurable business objectives. Your business objectives should be realistic, free from any ambiguity, and minimal. Setting too many objectives at one time is not only counterproductive but inhibits your team’s ability to see the purpose of their work or your proposed technology. So, whether you are choosing to roll out a referral app, wearables, a 3D printer, or what have you, set your goals as specifically and concisely as you can.
- TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
As a business owner, the unspoken “Do as I say, not as I do” model that is often presented to team members may seem inconsequential, but the truth of the matter is that humans are naturally hardwired to mirror what is modeled to them. This means, as you initiate training, you need to lead by example.
Initiating training in a low-stress, low-pressure environment creates a space where team members are free to ask questions and make mistakes during the learning and integration process. During this time, your active engagement, interaction, and example is imperative. Encourage questions and discussion – if Andrew has a question you don’t know the answer to, find out together; if Julie has a suggestion for simplifying a process, lend an ear. Team members are more inclined to actively and willingly engage when you are in the trenches with them. Lead them and learn together. This ensures when training of the new technology is done your team members are all on the same level footing and therefore more capable of adequately training others.
- EXPECTATION VERSUS REALITY
The advent of a new business process, such as implementing a new technology, typically entails a shift in responsibilities and roles. If done haphazardly this spells disaster for many businesses. Therefore, it is essential to be deliberate about communicating what your expectations are. Create and deliver a blueprint to all your team members explaining the new business processes with the adaptation of the new technology. In doing so this mitigates any confusion, alleviates potential problems, and allows your team members to adapt to their new roles and responsibilities with ease and confidence.
- HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND
Everyone needs a good pat on the back sometimes – your team members are no different. Building rewards and recognition into the training of the new technology creates incentives and motivation for your team members.
- GET OUT YOUR RULER, IT’S TIME TO MEASURE
Once you have officially integrated the new technology into your business be sure to pay attention to its efficacy. Essentially, you don’t just want to hit-it-and-quit-it: pay attention to the progress. Is this new technology working? Am I/Is my business/Are my team members using this technology correctly? Am I/Is my business/Are my team members responding to user questions, problems, etc?
Measuring progress allows you to troubleshoot any problem areas and, equally as important, allows you to track if your new technology is working in the way you likely promised during your initial announcement. Given the latter it is absolutely necessary you communicate this information in context because it will encourage team members and instill trust in those who were initially hesitant with the implementation of a new technology.
- A BUMP IN THE ROAD
Regardless of how prepared you and your team members are to adopt a new technology into your business, there are going to be road bumps to overcome. The best way to prepare for these road bumps is to ensure that your technology works – consistently and correctly. Essentially, don’t put the cart before the horse. If you want your team members to adapt to using the new technology, then it needs to be functional and reliable: this means testing beforehand is of utmost importance as the testing phase is where most glitches will show up. Addressing these glitches early prevents excessive complications for your team members in the long-run and, subsequently, makes the transition to this new technology run smoother.
Taking it a step further – be sure to communicate with your team members upfront. No technology works perfectly 100% of the time. Allow for a grace period and be understanding.
- SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
From the beginning, you want to ensure your team members know how this new technology benefits both them and the customer. Traditionally speaking, most individuals will do A. what they value, and B. what they believe in.
Essentially, make sure your team members realize the value this new technology will bring to their job and how they, as team members, will benefit from it. Will it streamline their job? Make them more effective? Make their job easier in some way? Communicate that to them! Don’t be too shy to spell it out for them: “Remember how we used to rely solely on business cards as a way of generating new referrals? With the Referrl App you will turn the customer into your advocate and they will in turn bring the referrals to you!” Changes are exciting! Your belief in your new technology, and your team member’s belief in how this technology will benefit the work they do, makes all the difference!
Next, ensure your team members know what is in it for the customer. Whether obvious to the customer or not, this new technology will benefit them, and your team members will appreciate understanding how, exactly, these benefits apply to the customer. The customer may not realize how or why this new technology benefits them – because of this reason it is important that the team members who will be interacting and working hands on with both the customer and the new technology understand, recognize, and value the benefits. In order to maximize this new technology’s efficacy, the team member needs to have a strong grasp on its inner-workings and its benefits as pertaining to the customer.
- AIM SMALL, MISS SMALL (under promise, over deliver)
The most valuable feedback you will receive regarding the new technology will be from your outward facing team members. Paying attention to customer usage statistics and data reports only goes so far: your outward facing team members, however, will be able to give you a detailed synopsis on the effectiveness of the new technology as well as how the customer experience has and is being positively (or negatively) effected.
Your outward facing team members are also your point of contact regarding any issues that may need to be addressed. The more you work toward meeting these needs at the forefront, the greater chance you have at being successful later on.
- BE REALISTIC
Lastly, have realistic expectations. Few, if any, technology functions at maximum efficacy from inception to roll out. Being patient with your business, the new technology, your team members, and your customers is paramount. Understand 100% customer adoption of your technology is unlikely, if not impossible. But all wins – no matter how small – count, so, if you have 20, 40, or 60 percent of your customer base adopt the new technology, then you’ve succeeded in bettering the lives and customer-experience of those individuals – and that is worth being celebrated.