Happy New Year! How are your 2013 resolutions going so far? Make it to the gym yet? Yeah, us neither.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions for personal and professional reasons, but what about New Year’s resolutions for businesses? Either way it’s difficult to change old habits. Even for businesses. However, while the time and effort required to successfully change or update a business process can be overwhelming, it’s not impossible.
So, the question is: how do businesses successfully change outdated processes and/or systems to ensure the health of the company long-term? The answer lies in circumventing frustration via implementation and education.
If your business is looking to adopt a new tool(s) to better enhance workflow, or a new CRM process to better service your customers or clients, here are the 4 key components for success:
- A desire to try new approaches, tools and systems
- An understanding of what tools and solutions exist, and which ones best compliment your business goals.
- A plan for implementation
- A transparent education and training program
Let’s take social CRM as a relevant example. In 2012, the opportunity of low overhead social media marketing alone led 90% of small businesses to activate social media profiles for their business. Once their online presence was established and their online conversations began to increase, some of those companies sought after a variety of social CRM tools to help manage these digital relationships and leads. Simple management solution, right? Well, then you might wonder why 69% of those businesses thought these new online networking and social CRM tools didn’t actually help their business.
According to a 2012 social media survey conducted by Beagle Research Group, LLC, “although [most companies] have made some attempt at involving social media in their business process, there is an apparent difference in many minds between social media per se and social CRM…[that] the slow rise in interest for social CRM and other tools that fully leverage the power of those channels indicates a resistance to fully embed those channels into business – at least without specific proof that they work.”
And there’s the million dollar word: Resistance. Adopting a social CRM system requires embarking on unfamiliar territory, and when we lack the knowledge (or the desire to learn) a new territory, we tend to automatically assign failure to the tool or process instead of ourselves. Ever heard of “user error?” More often than not, our resistance to new things is directly related to our lack of understanding the HOW (i.e., training, education, or fear of failure) or, even worse, the WHY (i.e., not explaining the benefits that the new process brings to the company).
In addition to end user frustration, resistance to new business processes can result in wasted time, effort and investment. We tend to revert back to old (and probably bad) habits even when our intentions for change are good. For businesses looking to change old habits, it’s equally as important to have a plan, especially knowing how easy it can be to revert back to old processes that just don’t work anymore.
For a successful company-wide adoption of a new tool or process like social CRM, the business must also invest in the appropriate amount of education and training necessary to reduce the probability of resistance and failure. Be transparent with your team, explain and educate on both the HOW and the WHY a business process is being updated or changed. The more comfortable your team is with a new CRM software or process, the higher the chance of successful implementation.