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Employee Buy-in is Critical to Driving New Technology Adoption

Technology is a great and wonderful thing. The best thing about technology is that it frees up humans to do other things, ideally more creative and interesting rather than mundane and boring. Thanks to the tractor and factories we do not have to grow our own food or make our own goods. Instead we can spend some time with creative activities as well as enjoying non-work time with relaxation and entertainment.

Technology is great, technology adoption, however, can be quite painful and often very messy. This is true in a call center environment. For a successful technology adoption you need two have two key ingredients. One, you need to fully adopt the technology, not a partial adoption. Two, you need to have buy-in from your technology users, namely your representatives in the call center. If one or both of these ingredients are lacking that increases the chance of the technology adoption becoming a failure or not meeting the goals of the adoption.

I have worked with many companies who have purchased technology solutions worth tens of millions of dollars only to put them on a shelf after a few quarters. Why? Because they did not fully integrate and use the software to its ability, they only partially adopted it. Here is an example that everyone can relate to. Think about the basic software in the Microsoft Office Suite, Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. Most people can type a basic letter in Word, create a basic rows and column spreadsheet in Excel and put together a basic PowerPoint presentation. What has changed from Office 2003, 2007 and 2010?

For most people, not much is different, except the buttons are all in the wrong places. But in fact, each software suite does come with a host of new options and abilities but most people do not make use of such functionalities and therefore either do not upgrade or pay to upgrade and do not get the maximum use of the technology.

The same happens in call centers. To have a successful technology adoption you need to not only purchase the full system but you also need to train your employees fully on the software, the whole shebang, so they know the system inside and out. Then you need to get rid of your old systems that are now redundant so they are no longer a crutch for the employees.

Only by this full embracing and adoption do you yield the gains that the technology companies suggest are possible. It takes fully adopting the technology and then fully immersing your employees in the new systems. That is how you get the technology efficiency gains and productivity that we come to associate with technology improving our lives. Anything less is a disservice to the employees and potential efficiency gains that are possible.

 

About the author

David Butler PhD., is a contact center expert. In addition to serving as the executive director of the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC), and director of the Call Center Research Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi, he is also the Author of Bottom Line Call Center Management.

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