In a previous blog, I discussed how to measure your user adoption rates, and the effectiveness of comparing quantitative and qualitative results. Because users can log into your CRM system, without actually using it, it's possible to have extremely high quantitative results without having high user adoption.
My previous blog covered why measuring qualitative results gives you the true measurement of your user adoption, and its effectiveness. It's common knowledge that user adoption is necessary to the success of a change in a company's software and key to appropriately leveraging your technology investments. Poor user adoption is one of the most common reasons software launches fail. When your users aren't using all the features of a CRM, they're not getting the benefits of it, and neither are your clients. Users will find ways to avoid a system they don't see as beneficial by reverting to manual processes or old applications. Or, users will find ways to work around it by interacting with the system minimally to make it appear they're using it. This means that your company is losing time and money.
NexJ has extensive and real-world experience in providing systems with a high user adoption rate, and proven expertise in helping our customers get the results they want. We've gathered this information into a series of 9 user adoption best practices, based on the experiences of our own customers.
Today, I'd like to discuss the first three in a series of 9 best practices for user adoption. The first three best practices are develop, analyze, and align.
Develop a set of simple and realistic objectives. What do you want your CRM to be able to do for your users, and for your clients? Typically this step is a part of the pre-launching phase, and outlines your starting goals. Many companies make the mistake of setting lofty or complicated objectives, which makes it difficult to create a clear plan of delivery, or a clear plan for measuring success. By starting with simple and realistic objectives, that are achievable, you increase your company's chance for success and increase the chances for adoption. Your company’s objectives and needs will be unique, but you can consider how you want your users to be thinking, feeling, and interacting with the software to begin with. Being realistic in these early stages provides you with both achievable benchmarks and with room to grow.
Analyze your risks, challenges, and success metrics to develop your goals. This is asking how you can be sure you've achieved success, and how to deal with problems that may arise in achieving success. Part of this analysis determines risk and planning to manage the change within your company. Challenges in user adoption present risks to the success of your launch and can include anything from a general fear of change to users simply not seeing the value and benefits of the new system. But by being proactive and planning for these risks and challenges, resistance is overcome more quickly because you're prepared for it, and you avoid giving it a chance to grow amongst your users. Planning for the change also allows you to prepare a leadership plan, and an outline for how to have your management train and engage with your users. This allows you to organize the change from the top-down and also helps to overcome resistance by demonstrating management and executive support. Finally, this allows you to further develop your company's unique set of success metrics.
Align system workflows with existing "actual" business processes. By aligning your automated workflows with the "actual" business processes users were following, rather than any "standard" methods that may have been dictated but not followed, you can simulate the existing workflow. For example, your company may have a specific process in place to handle something like taking notes on an account, but users may have been bypassing steps that were time-consuming and seen as unnecessary. When that workflow is recreated in the system, by eliminating the unnecessary steps, you align the process to how it was actually being performed before the system was in place.
This helps to overcome resistance by providing familiarity, but also by reducing the amount of time users need to invest in learning how to use the system. This is part of making users "net receivers," whereby they receive more from the system than they put into it. If a manual process is modelled in the system so that a user can do the task in the same way, but using CRM rather than manual work, then the user will experience time-saving benefits and see the value of the technology, rather than seeing it as a detriment or hindrance to their work.
By following these first three best practices to user adoption, your company can plan and be prepared for their CRM change, and can be prepared to manage the risks and challenges of that change. In my next two blogs, I'll discuss these best practices further. Also, for more information on user adoption, see our whitepaper "Invested Users: How to Maximize User Adoption."