By Evans A. Manolis
This much is certain: Merged Reality has become an increasingly important part of the service delivery process for many companies over the past two years. Remote Assistance has moved from a “cool to have” technology to a “must have” for service organizations that are looking to increase productivity and drive operational efficiencies.
Service organizations who have invested in Merged Reality technology are able to see a great impact on measurable service KPIs. Those include reduction of truck rolls/on-site service visits, increased first- time fix rates, decreased call handle times, improved remote resolution rates, maximized product uptime and perhaps most importantly, a positive impact on the customer experience. While service leaders understand the value that Merged Reality and Remote Assistance bring to both their customers and employees, they are faced with a challenge. How do they drive adoption and use of this technology among their front-line service teams? Over the past 24 months, I have worked with over 50 service organizations to help them address this challenge. What has become clear to me is that Merged Reality is no longer a technology play. Rather, Merged Reality is much more about change management and behavior change than it is about technology. It requires organizations to change the mindsets of service professionals. To change service processes. It means getting out of a comfort zone and committing to deliver service in a new way. And the reality is that none of these changes are easy. In order to help service leaders who are in the process of deploying a Merged Reality solution or for those who are struggling to successfully get one off the ground, I wanted to share 7 Best Practices For Merged Reality Adoption that I’ve seen proven to drive change and adoption.
- Build A Compelling Business Case. Start here. Make sure everyone knows what you are hoping to accomplish through the use of a Merged Reality solution and why you are launching this initiative now. Has there been a compelling event that pushed this initiative to the forefront? Be clear as to the reason this initiative is being put in place. Focus on the what and why of the program.
- Put Leadership in Place. All successful programs have three types of leaders. First there is the executive sponsor who has the vision for the program. Then you have the project leader, who has responsibility for the day to day operation of the program. This person is vitally important and without their full attention to the program, it is destined to fail, or at the very least, not yield the results you were hoping to accomplish. And finally, there are the change champions who are influential service employees who help drive the program to their co-workers.
- What’s in It For Me? This requires some thinking. Put yourself in the shoes of the service technicians who you want to use this technology. Why should they care about adopting and using a Merged Reality tool? Chances are they are very comfortable servicing their customers the way they have for the past five, 10, 15 or more years. What is in it for them personally? Forget about what is in it for the company or for you as the service leader. They generally don’t care about that but they do care about themselves. How will this solution benefit and be of value to them personally? Will it eliminate a plane ride and trip to service a customer in another country? Will it allow them to be more efficient in serving their customers thus allowing them to have more time with their family and friends? Will it make their job easier and less stressful? Will they be compensated for successfully using the technology? Communicate your message from their perspective and not yours. Get in their shoes!
- Start Small to Get Big. When service leaders see Merged Reality they think big picture, which over time is fine. But initially, focus on one or two high value, high visibility, critical use cases to get your program started. Where in your service organization can you use this technology and see the fastest time to value? Is there a specific challenge or problem you can initially focus on? Start there and then grow as the program takes root and becomes successful.
- Look for Short Term Wins. Gathering early program success stories is directly tied to the future success of the program. Be sure to communicate early successes to all those who are expected to use the solution. This is especially important for those service techs who may have used the solution once or twice but aren’t sure of the value of it. The “hedgers or fence-sitters.” Once they see that others on their team are having success, they will be more inclined to use the technology again.
- Analyze and Make Changes. Talk to your employees who have adopted and are using the technology (adopters) as well as those who are not (resistors). Look for root causes of both adoption and resistance. Understand why each has chosen their position. Let them know that their voices are being heard and you genuinely care about them. Don’t be afraid to make changes based on the feedback you gather from your employees. Your program is not cast in concrete.
- Publicize and Market. Once your program has started to bear fruit, make sure that all organizations within your company are aware of your Merged Reality initiative. Get it out of the service silo and communicate its success and impact to both internal and external customers. Make sure sales is aware of the program, as they can use it to win deals by differentiating you from your competitors. Conduct internal webinars to ensure that all employees are aware of the program.
As mentioned before, change is not easy — but is achievable. Keep working hard on it. It does not happen overnight, but the results you will get from your program are well worth the effort you will put in it to make it successful.