In this session of Implementation Stories, we spoke to Dean Colegate, Head of CS at health-tech AI platform Ada Health. Dean talked about how change management can aid in getting users to adopt your product before go-live.
Dean has spent over 12 years of his 25+year career leading and scaling teams in customer success management, onboarding, implementation, and support. He has also spent several years as a CS consultant helping companies with their customer journeys.
In this session, Dean talked about:
In the rest of this post, we share the key takeaways from the session.
The best software solution, the best-fit business case, clear value/benefits, or even a well-designed onboarding process could mean nothing if users don't want to adopt a product.
A prediction analytics solution that promised a 20% efficiency boost, elimination of error-prone manual work, and fast-tracked projects failed to find adoption among its users.
The reason for this was that the customer’s users (often long-term employees) were suspicious of the effectiveness of the product’s algorithm and considered their manual processes a value-add. Additionally, they saw improved efficiency as a threat to their jobs.
Another product, an AI-based symptom checker that provides easy and timely access to quality healthcare and reduces in-person care, failed to get full adoption on the ground. This was because clinicians were not convinced of the medical efficacy of artificial intelligence and added an extra step in their already busy patient workflow.
The core problem behind low adoption is often just resistance to change.
This is a bigger challenge in the case of industry-disrupting or high-touch products that teams need to use for large parts of their day.
Even in cases where a product is replacing a competitor, it’s common for customers to resort to bespoke processes or have different expectations based on their earlier experience.
Irrespective of the magnitude of change, the solution is to use the well-known practice of Change Management. Adoption is far too significant to assume that end-users will want to use your product.
Customers aren't always equipped to handle change management just because it's their staff or they have training. Customers know their teams and motivations; you know your product and how others have successfully adopted it. Solving the problem of change management is best done together.
1. The three simple rules of change management in customer onboarding:
2. Plan change management initiatives based on the plan go-live date, and communicate the plan for this right at the kickoff stage.
3. Though change management could be part of pre-sales, it works best when implemented in parallel with technical onboarding.
Large companies hire change management consultants or specialists to handle change management, though the most common model in mid-low segment companies relies on CSMs being the change agent.
If users attend training sessions, fill out surveys, take part in focus groups, etc., re-enforcing their efforts by getting, for example, a thank-you message by the executive sponsor will go a long way.
Integrate this into the onboarding/launch plan and communicate this as part of kickoff. Make sure that change management runs parallel to onboarding.
Gauge how the change management and the product are being received. It’s better to delay go-live than launching your product in an environment where it is struggling to find adoption.
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