This famous clip from the movie Office Space is a quick reminder of one of the most commonly overlooked issues when implementing IT systems – motivating people to work. And sure, Initech is a fictional company, but it actually resembles a lot of organizations with which I have worked over the years.
In this scene, the employee Peter Gibbons tells the efficiency consultants how his organization approaches motivation and the impact it has on his work efforts. Does this sound like your organization?
Watch video here.
How do you motivate people to use your IT system?
Whenever you implement an IT system, look at all things affecting employee motivation. Sometimes there are issues with compensation and incentives. Other times the management may actually be demotivating employees.
As Peter says, “I have 8 different bosses right now…so that means when I make a mistake I have 8 different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only motivation – not to be hassled.”
Would WIIFM motivate this employee?
Convention wisdom (which is high on convention, and low on wisdom) often says that when implementing an IT system you should try to “sell people on what’s in it for me”.
Do you think trying to sell Peter on WIIFM would work in this case? Of course not. There are bigger issues that need to be fixed here. And unless these other items are fixed, WIIFM will not work.
So, what will you do to make sure you have motivated people to use your system? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LInkedIn.
Increasingly, investors and SaaS leaders are recognizing that customer retention is essential for their success. As a result, they are rushing to build Customer Success Management (CSM) programs that will help their customers maximize IT adoption and ROI from their systems.
However, they are facing significant challenges because Customer Success Management is new to most organizations and they are not sure exactly how to get started or what to do first. They don’t always know that right question to ask, how to allocate scarce resources, or how to prioritize their efforts to get the best results.
Investing in a CSM strategy will save you time & effort
The first place to start is to create a CSM strategy and road map. Your CSM strategy should identify exactly what you are trying to achieve, define how you will achieve it, specify who will make it happen, and provide a clear road map moving forward. Your CSM strategy will help develop a shared understanding and vision for what you are trying to achieve. It will also enable you to move forward with confidence while allowing you to avoid costly pitfalls and mistakes that can threat your CSM program before it even gets going.
So, how do you create an effective Customer Success Management strategy? Here are 5 things to help you get started. Keep in mind that this is often an iterative process, and decisions you make later on may require that you revisit some of your earlier decisions.
1. Define your goals
Not surprisingly, the first step is to figure out exactly what you want your CSM team to do and the results they need to achieve. This will set the goalpost from which you will determine the specific staffing, services, tools and methods you will need in your CSM team. It will also help you identify the budget you will need to allocate for building and maintaining your CSM capabilities.
2. Define roles, responsibilities and org structure
One of the first questions people ask is what exactly should the CSMs do and where do they fit within the organization? Should the CSMs be responsible for sales and renewals, or just for driving customer IT adoption and satisfaction? Do they report to sales? Do they report to customer service? Sales? And what authority do they have when it comes to working with other departments internally (like sales, product management, professional services, customer support)?
3. Develop CSM methodology, tool and processes
Once you have figured out what you are trying to achieve and how you will work internally, identify the specific tools and processes you will need to make it happen. This may involve internal-focused tools, such as having a way to identify and report on actual customer-use of your system, and externally-focused tools, such as creating a CSM consulting methodology / toolbox that you use when working directly with your customers. You may require a combination of tools such as IT systems (like the one offered by Apptegic), spreadsheets, presentation slides, email templates, report templates, and other such things that enable your CSM team to deliver a consistent, effective, high-quality CSM service.
When building your CSM strategy you only need to identify and prioritize the methodology and tool development requirements. You don’t actually create all the tools until after the strategy is finalized since it may go through a few iterations before you have final agreement on how to move forward.
4. Recruit and develop exceptional staff
Identify how you will recruit and develop exceptional staff. This may include identifying a high-level profile of the types of temperament, skills and required experience levels you will want for your CSM team. And, it should outline how you plan to quickly on-board the CSM staff, train them, and ensure they are able to get up to speed quickly.
Just a quick word of caution: at its core, CSM is about driving IT adoption of systems. In order to be effective, CSMs need to understand the root cause of IT adoption problems and have a firm grasp of the proactive steps you can take to increase adoption. This is knowledge and skill that, generally, are in short supply. You may need to provide additional training and development to help your CSM staff learn the skills they need to be fully effective in this role.
5. Manage the roll-out (internally & externally)
Introducing your CSM capabilities requires changes both internally to your organization and externally with how you interact with customers. Both can be major transitions and you will want to map out in advance how you will manage these changes.
For your internal roll--out, consider how introducing CSMs will change the way existing staff perform their jobs. Have you changed the job responsibilities of sales and service staff? Will having the CSM team impact revenue and renewal targets for sales professionals? How will you go about informing people about the new service? Introducing the CSM function will kick off a domino effect of changes to all other parts of your organization.
For your external (customer) roll-out, be careful how you introduce the CSM function to both new and existing customers. Take care to ensure you set accurate expectations about what the CSM team will – and will not – deliver to customers. Also, you may want to consider if you want to pilot the CSM effort with select customers before rolling it out to everyone.
Be part of the conversation. Join the Customer Success Practitioners group on LinkedIn
What a difference a year makes.
In November 2011, I wrote a blog post titled, “Is your IT system a Dreamliner?” discussing how revolutionary advances in technology also introduced new risks that need to be monitored and managed. I also wrote, “Do you think Boeing is going to monitor these risks and take action to mitigate them? You bet they are."
Looks like I was right.
While I am sure Boeing would rather have avoided all the problems they currently face with the 787 Dreamliner, I bet they are very thankful they had the structures, processes, and people in place to effectively manage the problems that have emerged now that their planes are actually being used.
Are you prepared to manage a crisis with your technology?
In my earlier article, I wrote:
“When implementing new IT systems, many organizations focus on getting the system live, but ignore what happens once it is in production. The value of your system – and the risks – only is introduced after the system is live. And they continue over the life of the system. This means that you need to manage the value creation and risk mitigation over the life system.”
This is what happened with the 787 Dreamliner. The plane went through extensive testing and government approval processes, yet the unexpected problems only emerged after the plane was live and being used on a daily basis. Just like with an IT system.
Boeing faced new risks when introducing new technology into their aircraft. Organizations face new and unexpected risks when introducing new IT systems. However, unlike Boeing, most organizations do very little to prepare for and proactively manage their new IT risks. And they do so at their own peril.
Do you have the right governance plan in place?
Implementing new systems – regardless of whether it is a proven cloud enterprise system or a custom-built application – introduces new risks and uncertainty into your organization.
For example, “social” applications, collaboration systems, and CRM systems all alter how your staff interacts with each other, with customers, with vendors, and with the public at large. You now have new risks that someone will release sensitive information, say the wrong thing online or fat-finger their touch screen and create a major public relations issue for your organization (can you say “viral”?).
When this happens, you need to have the right team and protocols in place. Do you?
What should you do?
Before you write a single check for a new IT system, map out exactly when you will get your ROI from the system and when new risks will be introduced. By doing this first, you will see that all of the benefits – and risks – happen after the system is live. And that they will continue over the life of the system.
Then, make sure you have people in place who have the formal authority, responsibility, tools, and resources they need to manage all the risks that will emerge over the life of the system. These same people should also be responsible for ensuring systems are fully adopted by end-users and that the organization realizes its full ROI goals.
Where to start? Two tools that can help.
When I talk with people about managing risk and user adoption after a system is live, they typically see the need for doing this. And they typically have no clue about where to begin. They need help.
1. Start with a user adoption strategy and team. By first understanding the issues you face and then identify the methods and infrastructure you need to address them. I recommend that you develop a user adoption strategy. And then consider a tool like MyUserAdoptionPlan.com to help implement the strategy and support your users.
2. Then, add risk and governance tools. There are a lot of risk and governance tools out there that can help. The one that we like best is the suite of tools from Confident Governance. This tool-set, which is built on the force.com platform, is fast and easy to configure and provides a wide range of capabilities to help you define and implement your risk and governance policies. Also, it has very affordable pricing and is within reach of most organizations.
Don’t let your IT system be a Dreamliner
You have invested a lot of time and money in your IT systems. The right systems can take your organization to new heights of success. And it can all go away with just one unexpected problem.
Don’t wait to manage your IT risks. Get started today.