Frustrated service providers often complain that customers don’t take responsibility for an implementation. Frustrated customers often feel the provider hasn’t given them personalized service — they’ve simply been put through the assembly line and now their experience is suffering.
The reality is, successful implementation takes collaboration between the service provider and the customer. Here are a few ways each side can help the other for a pleasant, personal, and successful implementation experience (based on real life Samanage events):
Encourage self-exploration throughout the process, but especially prior to your first call. Ask the customer to knock out simple processes beforehand so you don’t waste valuable meeting time with something that didn’t require a specialist. Any data or information that a customer can easily import should be done before the first call. At Samanage, we send a setup guide before the implementation process begins. That way the customer can get a headstart on the easy stuff, and each call begins with questions about areas that might be confusing.
Start with a detailed timeline and set of expectations. The process might be comfortable for you, but the customers have never put your product into practice before. They don’t know how long each task should take. They don’t know when to realistically expect their purchase to be fully implemented. Make sure you’re clear with them from the start. Help them set goals and timelines so that everyone can take responsibility, and no one is disappointed because of an unrealistic expectation.
Remember that every customer is different, so listen to them! They won’t all use the features of your product in the same ways. You might see a use case that you’ve never seen before. Obviously, you know the product better than the customer, but the customer knows his/her organization better than you, so listen to their concerns and make the experience as customizable as possible.
Communicate proactively. If you have any concern about a customer falling behind in the process, send an email or call to check in. Send them tips. Remind them about the Trello board or other organizational tools you set up. You can’t drag them to the finish line, but you can be very clear that their success is a priority to you.
Remind yourself that you wanted a change. People are sometimes reluctant to overhaul their current practices, with good reason. It takes time, and changing widespread organizational habits can be difficult. But remember, “the way we’ve always done it” clearly wasn’t working if you made the decision to purchase this new product. Be open to some new practices and processes that could make the implementation successful, even if changes will cause some temporary headaches.
Give the service provider any information relevant to your implementation. User information, login preferences, hours of business operation, and common business practices are some of the things your implementation specialist might need to know. They should ask you for specific information that they’ll need, so be responsive. Their job is to help you build an experience that works for your organization, but they’ll need you to communicate those needs.
Dedicate the time for implementation. If you expect that a couple of phone calls with a product specialist will deliver a seamless transition, you are mistaken. Your admins and users will all have to learn new functions, features, and presentation, and it’s your job to teach them. Take your implementation period as an opportunity to become an expert yourself. Play around with the features so you know what to ask your specialist. Test some ideas to figure out what works. Most importantly, schedule training for anyone within your organization who will be using the product. It will take some effort on your part to make the most of your purchase.
At Samanage, we know that a well-informed, thorough implementation will prepare you to meet all of your organizational goals. This is the foundation for a successful customer journey. For a free trial of the Samanage service desk software, click here.
About Sarah Nielsen
Sarah Nielsen is a Senior Implementation Specialist at SolarWinds Service Desk, helping customers set up their service desk according to their organization's goals. She is also the resident Star Trek expert.
Read more articles by Sarah