How can you make sure your technology deployments don't fall into the proverbial Customer Experience "gap?" We've all been there. You buy a product and excitedly bring it home. You remove the packaging and then, sigh...
It's just not what you thought, or hoped, it would be. There's a gap - a gap between the experience you expected, and reality.
If you find yourself in this place, with that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, then you're experiencing buyer's remorse. Buyer's remorse isn't just a saying, it's a psychological phenomenon. It's rooted in the post-decision stress that’s often felt after a difficult or large purchase. Two of the common trigger factors for this stress are a fear of making the wrong choice or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.
This is bad enough for a personal purchase, but in business, buyer's remorse can negatively impact your company, or even your career. And with large-scale rollouts that can last months or even years, that's really bad news. So how do you avoid it?
What is Buyer's Remorse for Multi-Site Technology Deployments?
Before you can avoid buyer's remorse for multi-site deployments, you must first understand it in a business context. To do that, let's go back to the two common trigger factors, and consider how they are usually handled.
The risk of making a bad purchasing decision can be mitigated by robust procurement processes. These processes establish selection criteria, and broaden the skills and experience of the decision-making group. This ensures that no one person wields undue influence over the decision.
In the case of being overly influenced by the seller, it is common to use an evaluation phase in the process to "kick the tires" on product performance before making a final decision. This being so, how is it that organizations still end up in a bad place?
Sadly, it's often because the rollout (deployment) process delivered a terrible customer experience. For service providers and carriers, this is often illustrated by poor customer satisfaction and retention ratings. Some common causes of this are: missed scheduled dates, frequent site revisits, and local techs not showing up on time, or acting in an unprofessional manner.
Why Things Go Wrong with Technology Deployments
The formula for technology rollout disaster is very simple; it's the sum of a series of knowledge "gaps", where each gap introduces the risk of failure. Here's how they come about:
Technology vendors are expert in their products but have limited knowledge about either large-scale deployments or customer environments. Service providers or system integrators may have deployment expertise, but don't always know the technology or the customer environment that well, and they lack the overall management capabilities for large scale deployments. Finally, the customer knows their environment better than anyone, but may not know the technology or how to run a large-scale deployment.
Put simply, everyone has a gap in their knowledge. While everybody knows something about how to get the job done, nobody knows enough about the whole thing to do it properly. This lack of full understanding lies at the heart of most deployment failures.
So, whether the Scope of Work was not properly defined; or the customer's specific requirements were not captured; or the vendor/service provider messed up the logistics; or the rollout company could not validate local resources' technical skills; or just that nobody communicated properly with the customer on-site point of contact, the outcome is the same – the deployment suffers, or even fails, and the customer experience is miserable.
When you combine this situation with a volume rollout that spans hundreds, or even thousands of locations, you have the recipe for a messy rollout and a very dissatisfied customer.
The Solution: Find Someone Who Can Orchestrate Your Rollout
As technology rollout companies deliver tens of thousands of successful multi-site technology deployments every year, they are asked to rescue customers from buyer's remorse a lot.
Technology rollout companies should not need to use "SWAT Teams" or special processes to do this, they should be able to do the exact same things as they do for every other rollout they manage.
- 1. Have skilled Maestro Project Managers apply their technical and process skills to transform the customer's raw scope of work into a tightly-focused work order packet that minimizes the potential for misinterpretation.
- 2. Talk with the customer to understand the local conditions they will encounter that could impact the installation. This includes making sure that the site where the technology will be installed is properly prepared, and that the customer's requirements (if any) for Field Technician attire and communication with the local point of contact are fully captured.
- 3. Review the list of materials to be used, then check the supply chain and logistics - to make sure that everything required for the install will be there when the local Field Technician goes on-site. This is because the #1 reason why deployments fail is that the materials required for the job were not available.
- 4. Before they are allowed on site, make sure that the local technician who is to perform the work has the correct skills and tools, understands the work order packet, and is fully aware of the customer's local conditions that captured in #2.
- 5. Finally, stay in contact with the local resource and customer contacts throughout the job. Then if an unforeseen issue arises, the Project Management team can use their creativity (in the case of technical obstacles) or soft-skills (in the case of on-site conflict) to resolve the issue before it endangers deployment success.
The Bottom-Line: A Good Install is Key to a Great Customer Experience
As a business, you probably have robust processes for evaluating, selecting, and purchasing new technologies, but all that effort may be wasted if you don’t properly manage the deployment phase.
If you need to deploy new technologies at scale, and you want your customer experience to consistently be great, you should find a technology rollout company who will help you to "avoid the gaps” and manage your project to a successful completion.
So, before you begin your next technology rollout, ask your rollout company how they handle those pesky gaps. We suggest that you visit their Project Management Office and see its size and capabilities in action. Do a pilot, so that you can see how their processes and methodologies work. Ask them to show you their tracking application and management reporting, and inquire about their training for your rollout delivery team.
If you don't like their answers, talk to us: we 'd love to tell to you about the lessons we learned delivering hundreds of thousands of technology rollouts over two decades. The proof of the value of our approach, is shown by our 99.7% “Done Right First Time” performance, as well as our industry-leading high customer satisfaction.