It’s time to bring in new software. You know your business needs it and you’re excited about how it’s going to help with business productivity and even increase profits. The one thing you’re worried about is “How am I going to get my staff fully on board? How long will this transition take?”
New software brings a lot of benefits and some headaches. Most of the pain it causes, is actually resistance. If you can get past the resistance and create a smooth period of training and integration, you’ll not only avoid a setback in your business flow, you’ll gain the chance to learn, grow and connect with your staff as you work together towards a common goal.
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Here are the 5 Steps to a “Pain-Free” Software Integration.
1. Build Awareness
The most important step of any software implementation plan is preparing the people in the organization for change. As a business administrator, your biggest job is selling the concept to your team. The most obvious reaction to forced change, is pushback. Gentle introductions and careful time to explain the benefits of change will create a lot better environment for adaption. The success of implementation comes with how well your team “buys” in.
Make sure everyone is aware of the change and be certain they all know why the change is being made.
One important conversation to have is to let everyone know that technology is being introduced to resolve challenges within the organization. It’s important to realize that technology is a support tool and doesn’t force change.
2. Create a team dynamic.
It is essential that the core group being impacted sees what is in it for them to make the change. When the opinion leaders are on board they’ll start pulling in the same direction. This is the perfect time to appoint a team of critical eyes that brainstorm greater efficiencies within the organizational workflow. Failure means the organization becomes even more disjointed, so success means every one must work together with a common goal to improve.
3. Take training seriously.
Make training a priority. This is where training comes in. Everyone needs some training. Some people ought to be trained as super-users. Have users learn the software options and support tools that can be applied to the work environment. Make a commitment to slowing down and being more thorough in training to gain greater momentum and impact for a shift in mindset.
The subset of staff training, is Customer Training.
The best way to really learn something yourself, is to train someone else. A great way to get your staff fully committed and trained in the use of the new software is to put them in charge of showing customers the changes (especially if they affect the customers experience!) For example, with Online Booking – training customers how to use a new online booking system will increase their adaption success and help providers engage and enhance their own experience with the software.
4. Have the elements for success.
Make sure people can do what they need to do right after they are trained on the new software. Whatever they need to be successful – network connections, sign-on credentials, computer desks, lighting and anything and everything – should be in place.
5. Remind, Encourage, Reward!
If you don’t use it, it won’t work.
If your staff starts falling off, or doesn’t fully adapt – you’ll lose out.
If you think one training class is enough, just think about how many times you told your kids to turn off the lights after they leave the room. People are forgetful. The timeframe of most successful software implementations of a new booking & billing system is between 1-3 months, it takes time and energy but the benefits from your investment of motivation, encouragement and training will pay off for years to come.
Mahyar, one of Vancouver’s busiest hairstylists was avoiding implementing online booking software because he “didn’t even have enough time to go buy a new shirt”, let alone implement a software system into his busy salon. Yes, his appointment book was full of scribbles, and his phone was ringing off the hook – but it worked! Business was pretty good. After some in-depth discussions, Mahyar was finally convinced it was probably time to get online and start keeping digital records for his business, plus he loved the idea of holding pictures of his clients hair and keeping notes of their processes and products all in one easy to search place. His online booking software implementation with Yocale, took 1-2 months of on-again, off-again training and using the new system. Change is hard in a busy business! Finally, it was time to commit 100%, and that’s when the magic happened. All of a sudden, the phone started ringing less as clients learned how easy it was for them to book their own appointments online, days went a lot smoother and Mahyar finally had time to go buy some new shirts while his business could GROW without him actually being there. A win-win-win: happy clients, increased profits a business owner with more time and less stress.