How to reduce user resistance to CRM implementation

Gangs of jobless people who were replaced not even robots, but by scripts, riot all over the metropolis,  their ultimate goal is mainframe at Cybertronix head office. Neo-Luddites, as this movement of resistance style themselves, are strongly opposed to centralized server system of cloud software world, which rendered useless many clerks and other white collars.

Near future (2020-s) may hold such worrysome perspectives as described about, but let us talk about real benefits and try to save humanity via education.

Do all CRM meet same opposition?

“CRM is a business strategy that determines the requests that can add value to loyal and future profitable customers through data-intensive activities.” – Oude Breuil, [1]

Our recent surveys, made upon earlier expert trend evaluation, show that future is expected to be “cloudy”, with CRM and ERP merged into some sort of Software-as-a-Service solution. But, in following account, we’re going to relate to every kind of CRM/ERP innovation that scares users away instead of adopting it. We are talking, in the first place, about the specialists, sales or logistics managers, because most such systems are never seen by clients or hide most of their bulk from view behind customer interface.

Fjermestad and Romano (see links at [1]) split up CRM in operational and analytical CRM. The main task of operational CRM is to support the contact with customers, inbound (like a call to the customer service) as well as outbound (e-mail promotion). Analytical CRM processes huge amounts of customer data so patterns can be identified and opportunities for the company can be created. In first case, the user is an employee of company, and he directly sees the value of operational CRM, because he can better serve the customers. Within analytical CRM such user sees not much value, because he only feeds the system with data used by the management of the company. On practice, most of the time these two kinds of CRM are united in one system, but still will have different kinds of resistance by measure of user’s self-motivation.

Where does resistance come from?

Resistance to change is the state of disagreement or act of struggle against alteration of the status quo in the workplace by any modifications or transformations. In the field of emotion, this means anxiety, fuelled by uncertainty. Subjects of change: clients, employees, even board of directors may lose their sense of security – that things they’ve grown used to, are not going to be anymore.

CRM/ERP usually takes some skilled and tech apt folks to be run by, which is hell for people who prefer to run it all on paper, for instance, or, want to cut down costs on implementation of special software, preferring to load living people with doing it all in MS Office and emails.

As some experts say, trust is the currency of new age, and by having transparent communication between management and employees, resistance to change is easy to see – and also much less likely to occur. Not really a typical Ukrainian case, though, where many companies maintain abysses between directors, managers, employees and customers, and changes are forced from the top and adopted below. Or, rather, get adapted to.

I hate this interface!
I hate this interface!

Well, how to manage it?

We are let into the restricted area to be the witnesses of Re-education program. To disperse public fears , we provide online transmission of the process of adapting a conservative brain to new reality. Psychological engineers of Cybertronix have assured our team that it’s not painful or dangerous, moreover, opens up capabilities of human brain

All the given sources [1], [2], [3] point out that as a whole the solution is simple: make users part of the changes. Since they are your employees or colleagues, show them that this is teamwork, for benefit of the whole company.

In [2], it is said that supportive work environment must be created before even proclaiming the changes, some announcements must be made in time so ahead that people could prepare themselves for new ways; also, it is advised to communicate the news wholeheartedly and with underlining why the change is needed.

Of course, it is better to be the source of changes. Or, a user could, so to say, own the changes and support them among the first – if those are inevitable, better to profit than to grumble.

Employees should take part in all the phases of CRM/ERP implementation. In [1], there are six phases introduced: project area selection, initiation, analysis, package selection, implementation and maintenance. In addition to these phases, [3] suggests that changes should better be delivered in several waves, not in a big one period of time. Maybe, that would give us about 15 to 20 stages or more! But, which is more credible, only implementation part would be such long and divided process.

users-inv
Involvement of users in the CRM-implementation process

 

Dolphins and whale of changes
Dolphins and whale of changes

 

Practical tips from Silenca Tech

  • Ask your most eager employees or colleagues to make some tutorials for others (and, of course, do some yourself) with such free to use software as Captivate or Jing. These allow recording your actions from your desktop and supplementing them with commentary.
  • Make UI/UX customizable – because it is the workspace where users spend much of their work time. There is a whole theory [1], that interface issues are very common reason for user resistance. Like when the user has to work with a whole new interface, while he prefers the interface he used to work with. In a great UX, user could start with something tuned in a way he liked, and then re-arrange everything the way it works best in the new system.
  • Try modern, mobile-friendly interfaces even for systems that run on tabletops and laptops – this makes all the system to feel lighter, with only important stuff instead of huddled tiny options; plus, when you get a CRM/ERP that works cloud-style (SaaS, f. i.), you’ll be ready to connect it to that interface.
  • At last, to make user’s day in CRM/ERP less boring, add game features, like awards for tasks done, adventurer’s logs with quests outstanding, reminders of how much time there still left to win a prize of finishing task in time – and calculate actual scores (which, maybe, even would be converted into salary bonuses).
Sample of nice SaaS likely interface
Sample of nice SaaS likely interface

Sources:

  1. A scientific research on user resistance to CRM implementation
  2. General psychology tips in reducing resistance to changes
  3. About dolphins and whales of changes

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