Managing your way through on-site conflict
When rolling out high volume Category 1 technology deployments for multi-site enterprise networks, you inevitably run into issues: issues that cause delays, or even trigger that awful word - “revisit”. Whatever the issue may be, they potentially disrupt your rollout schedule and inconvenience your end users.
How to Identify That You Have On-Site Issues
Since you cannot escape site issues, what are the options to minimize their impact? First, you must understand that the issue is not always “the equipment is not working”. In fact, these are often the easiest to fix. The more difficult issues to deal with, are the ones that occur with human beings, aka “the human factor”. Below is a list of human factor issues that may be encountered in a multi-site rollout:
- On-site point of contact (POC) is having a bad day
- - POC is nowhere to be found
- - Field Technician is unprofessional and/or has a poor attitude
- - Field Tech reported they are stuck in traffic 2 hours ago, while the POC is stewing
- - Other Field Tech issues, e.g. can’t find parking, can’t get into a building, the truck broke down, or they had an accident …
- - Field Tech gets no support or receives poor directions…
All of these issues cause friction and have the potential to escalate into full-blown on-site conflict. So, you see where this is going. At this point, doesn’t fixing a piece of equipment, seem a lot easier than dealing with the human factor? For multi-site rollouts, the human factor can be the silent killer: little by little, site by site, it erodes away at your reputation, and the satisfaction of your customer.
The challenge is, you won’t even know that human factor issues are happening unless you continuously take the pulse of each site throughout the deployment. In the nightmare scenario, you won’t even discover the bad news until you have a customer meeting. You hear the negative comments, and see the look of disdain in the face of your customer, and then it hits you - this was all avoidable.
Regular Communication is Vital to Effective Management
As you manage your rollout field force, you must use a direct tech communication approach to engage with them while they are on site. When communicating, you have to monitor the Technician’s emotional state by listening to their voice intonation, as well as that of the POC too. You must then use this knowledge to adapt your communication style and create a positive, harmonious experience for all parties.
From the outset, it is important to remember that there are two main types of audience: attentive and distracted. The attentive audience focuses on everything you are saying, while the distracted one focuses only upon the snippets that interest them. You can imagine the potential for serious miscommunication if the Tech is attentive but the POC is not, or vice-versa. You should also take into consideration how confident your Tech sounds: a clear speaking Tech inspires greater confidence in a customer than one who stumbles over their words.
Managing Through Conflict Takes the Skill of a "Dr. Phil"*
This knowledge should be foremost in your mind when dealing with every apparently angry or distressed communication you receive. Although you may have no idea what is coloring the words of those involved. unless the issue is managed sensitively and effectively, negative perceptions can quickly become reality. To resolve such issues quickly, and create a positive experience, you have to be the Technology Rollout equivalent of Doctor Phil.
Creating a positive experience for the Field Techs and POCs, requires you to “meet people where they are”, i.e. consider their state of mind. You will do this better when you apply the accumulated understanding of many site experiences, to understanding the people you are working with every day.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, a project manager who is managing the on-site work remotely, cannot directly control all of these factors. But the technology rollout company that trains their managers in how to be aware of human factors, and how to anticipate potential negative situations, is a long way to ensuring happy customers and productive work sites.
If you are planning a multi-site technology rollout, you may decide to use a technology rollout company to manage the rollout process for you. When selecting the company, ask them how they train their project teams to manage the human factors that create on-site conflict. If you don’t like the answers they give you – or worse still, they don’t even seem to understand the questions - contact us and we’ll tell you how we do it.
Then let us walk you through how we've delivered hundreds of thousands of successful technology rollouts, with a “done right the first time” measurement of over 99.7%.
*Dr. Phil is a registered trademark of Peteski Productions, Inc.