While most of us get excited about all things new, sometimes hesitation arises when making change. The shift in familiar routines, the loss of control, and the unpredictability of the outcome can give even the most ambitious fluxphiliacs a pause.
Handling change can get even more complicated in an organizational setting with multiple players, personalities, agendas, and perspectives. As the business ecosystem continues on the journey of ever-increasing digital adoption, shockingly, about 50% of change initiatives fail, 16% report mixed results, and only 34% (!!!) report success.
Having worked with software vendors and implementation organizations for several decades, we observed that effective change management is crucial for the successful adoption of virtually any new software or process. Here are a few ideas to help make client onboarding as smooth as possible.
Set expectations upfront
While the business benefit of moving forward with a new product or service may seem clear to the decision-makers, being aware of having to work through the change management process across the organization is necessary for ensuring full adoption and engagement. For solution vendors, being transparent with clients at the beginning of the onboarding process will go a long way toward building goodwill and collaboration. Working together on the mutual responsibilities, best practices, and potential gotchas of the onboarding process at the project's onset will unquestionably reduce the likelihood of the new initiative ending up on the "failed" list.
Find and encourage early adopters
When dealing with change management and client onboarding, getting buy-in from management and the team who will be using the product is essential. Launching the project within the early adopter portion of the client team first and then gradually rolling it out to others can be helpful. Just about any organization has employees who are open to trying something new. These early adopters will be the people who love change and are more than likely to see the benefits of using the new product. It is crucial to identify and keep them in mind during the launch so that they can help evangelize the project to their colleagues.
Being receptive to the early adopter (and general client) feedback is necessary to maintain their support and engagement and make the changes required to ensure that the broader organization will benefit from them.
As a company rolls out the project to more employees, it is vital to monitor progress. Monitoring will help identify potential issues and provide insight into how people use the product. They can range from regular check-ins with the team, to tracking activity and utilization of the new product or service, to monitoring the KPIs of a successful adoption.
Reward Early Adopters
Encouraging people to change their behavior and become comfortable with the new product is integral to any client onboarding process. Recognition will help incentivize others to start using the product and provide evidence that a client company is committed to making the change successful. There are many ways to reward adopters. Collaborating with the client on those that align with the company mission, objectives, and values is best.
Support Slower Adopters
There will always be some people in the organization who are reluctant to change and take longer to come around to the idea of using a new product or service. Their plate may be too full to take time off to learn a new solution, or adopting it would mean significant changes to their workday, or they are just not ready to take on yet another tool. It is important to remember that they may just need a little extra support. Spending additional time to understand their reasoning, showing them the impact it can bring, and allowing them to get comfortable would translate into more positive adoption outcomes.
Change is multi-level
Numerous studies show that the success of change initiatives is directly related to the level of support from leadership. With a top-down approach, the gap in understanding the reasoning and necessity of change between the c-suite and entry-level employees is 31%.
This gap shows how critical it is to get support across all levels of the organization, from management down to the front line, to ensure everyone is on board with the project and understands the benefits of using the new solution. Take the COO of a Fortune 500 company, for example. If they know the change is needed, but the HR administrator at the center of the change initiative is not impressed and does not want to implement it, the project will likely fail unless there is buy-in from all parties. When everyone is on the same page, data shows that gap in understanding shrinks to just 3%, helping drive more successful outcomes for all involved.
Did we already mention it? :) It is essential to solicit feedback from the client team to continue improving the onboarding experience. This feedback can help shape the product's future direction and ensure that it is meeting the needs of the client's organization. With a robust feedback loop process in place, businesses can create a high-quality client onboarding experience, improving the satisfaction rate of customers.
Using Software to Improve Change Management
A healthy client onboarding process is crucial to any change management initiative to adopt a new product or service successfully. That is where client onboarding software can support a seamless transition for any size business going through change. However, managing the different aspects of the onboarding process can be challenging.
Client onboarding software and automation tools can help automate and streamline the onboarding process. For example, the gamification of the experience can help make any significant transition much more enjoyable and rewarding, tracking engagement levels and providing insight to the clients and onboarding reps.
The software can also help reduce the learning curve, creating a frictionless way of handling the transition by providing a guided experience. In addition, client onboarding software will make the process more efficient and more effective in bringing clients onto your platform.
In the end, change management is a people process, and the success of any change initiative will come down to how well the vendor and clients manage the people involved. Client onboarding software can take some of the pressure off and help make the transition smoother for everyone involved