Change Management

Employees Motivation and Recognition and Its Influence on Customer Satisfaction

Contributed article by Matt Robinson

Employee motivation and recognition is an important factor in any successful business. It can not only increase productivity but also create a positive customer experience, leading to long-term customer satisfaction.

With that in mind, employers must understand how they can effectively motivate employees by creating a rewarding work environment through appreciation and recognition programs, as well as utilizing workflow systems designed with employee needs in mind.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of employee motivation and recognition on customer satisfaction levels, providing strategies businesses can utilize to ensure customer loyalty while keeping staff morale high.

Employee Motivation and Recognition 

High employee motivation and recognition are crucial for any business to achieve success. When employees are motivated, they tend to be more productive, creative, and proactive.

They are also more likely to stay with the company longer, as they feel valued and appreciated. Recognizing employees for their hard work, achievements, and contributions goes a long way in boosting their morale and enhancing their job satisfaction as well as customer satisfaction.

Businesses that prioritize employee motivation and recognition are more capable of creating a positive work culture where everyone works towards a common goal of success. This may lead to better performance and ultimately, higher profits for the company.

Why Employee Motivation is so Important 

When it comes to running a successful business, employee motivation is key. Motivated employees are more productive, work efficient, and committed, leading to better overall performance and ultimately profitability.

But it’s not just about the bottom line – employee motivation also has a huge impact on job satisfaction, retention rates, and company culture.

Without motivated employees, businesses often struggle to achieve their goals, maintain a positive work environment, and keep up with competitors.

That’s why it’s crucial for companies to prioritize employee motivation through various strategies, such as recognizing and rewarding hard work, offering opportunities for growth and development, and fostering open communication and collaboration.

Ultimately, investing in employee motivation is investing in the future success of the business.

Benefits of Employee Recognition for Your Business 

It is of utmost importance to appreciate your employees for their efforts. Recognition, in the form of rewards or simple appreciation, is a powerful tool that can increase employee productivity, retention, engagement, and social recognition in the community at large.

Furthermore, employee recognition helps to create a positive work culture, which is essential for productivity and profitability. Overall, taking the time to thank and appreciate your employees can go a long way and have significant positive effects for your business.

How does Employee Motivation and Recognition yields social recognition 

Employee motivation and recognition have a significant impact on social recognition. So, what is social recognition? Well, social recognition refers to the acknowledgement and appreciation of an individual or a group’s contributions within a community or society.

When employees feel motivated and recognized at work, they are likely to perform better and contribute more to their organization. As a result, they are more likely to elevate the business to a level where it receives social recognition from the broader community.

This recognition is essential for individuals and groups as it enhances their sense of belonging, morale, and self-esteem. Therefore, organizations must prioritize employee motivation and recognition to foster a positive work environment that benefits both the employees and the broader society.

Different Types of Employee Motivation and Recognition Techniques

Motivated employees are essential for the success of any company. There are various types of motivation techniques that companies can use to boost employee performance. One common method is financial incentives such as bonuses or raises.

Another method is the non-financial incentives, such as offering flexible work hours or opportunities for career advancement. By providing the right recognition approach, companies can create a positive work environment that encourages employees to perform at their best.

Employee recognition is another important aspect of motivation. Recognizing exceptional work through public recognition or awards can increase employee morale and loyalty.

As a result, it’s essential to understand the different types of employee motivation and recognition techniques in order to tailor and implement them effectively.

How to Effectively Use these Techniques

Effective techniques are essential in achieving success, but knowing how to use them is equally crucial. To make the most of these tools, it’s essential to have the right skills and knowledge.

First, understanding the purpose of the technique can help you use it effectively. Secondly, practice enhances your proficiency in adopting the method, and it helps you find new ways to improvise.

Lastly, be patient with yourself while learning the skill and take small steps towards your goal. With these approaches and guidance, anyone can harness the full potential of techniques and put them to use successfully.

Examples of Successful Employee Recognition Programs 

Successful organizations leverage employee recognition programs to foster a positive company culture, boost employee morale, and retain top talent. One example of a successful recognition program is the “Catch Me at My Best” initiative by Hilton Hotels which recognizes employees for going above and beyond their job descriptions. Another example is the “Torchbearer Award” by Marriott, which recognizes employees who embody the company’s spirit and values.

Both of these programs demonstrate that employee recognition is not about material rewards but rather about acknowledging employees’ achievements and efforts, which goes a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated.

In conclusion

Employee motivation and recognition are essential to the success of any business. They enhance employees’ productivity and satisfaction in their work.

There are different types of employee motivation, including financial bonuses, trust-building activities, recognition rewards and more, which can be effective in motivating employees. At the same time, employers can use employee recognition methods like offering awards or publicly recognizing a job well done to appreciate their employees’ hard work. Ultimately, implementing strong systems of motivation and recognition make for a happy workforce which leads to improved customer satisfaction.

What They Say When They Think You’re Not Listening

GlassesUSA, when it comes to customer service, you get whatever is worse than F. You don’t get a B for Bi**h or a C for C**t, which are two names I was called by your agents on the phone.

When it comes to customer service, I am no stranger.

I have moderated and produced hundreds, if not thousands of webinars even before webcast software existed. Yes, we actually had to fax directions to audience members.

When we started CrmXchange almost 30 years ago and discussed best practices for the contact center, three items were nonnegotiable:  

  1. Treat customer with respect and the way you would want to be treated
  2. Teach agents how to use technology correctly
  3. Try, if possible, to solve the customer issue on the first contact 

Sounds simple enough, right? For some, yes. Recently I had very positive experiences with three companies: Spectrum, Verizon and Cablevision.  Each issue was handled on a phone professionally and quickly.  The phone was answered within 1 minute, and agents from each company solved my issue within 10 minutes. 

Enter: GlassesUSA

I have ordered many glasses from GlassesUSA over the past 5 years with no issue. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is typically good, that is, until last month.

I ordered two pairs of glasses; one came in wrong (both the frames and the prescription) and one pair was returned to sender. Ok, we all make mistakes. Surely, I can just get in touch with the company to get it resolved, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

Chapter 1: 1-800-Unavailable

“1-844-244-1186 All Day Every Day 24/7” is what it says on the website, but when called, you’re referred to chat. Okay… I guess I’ll chat.

I had to chat in multiple times, each less successful than the previous attempt. Finally, exasperated, I called and talked to a sales agent, who is the only person I could reach on the phone (is anyone surprised that the revenue-generated stream is the only one that could be reached?).

The sales agent promised he would take care of the issue. He didn’t. Back to chat.

While on chat, I let them know I was an unhappy customer and had no one to talk to. The agent let me know that they no longer have agents to talk on the phone because “the chat resolves most of our issues”. Well, it didn’t.

Each chat led to an agent telling me that a different department would be “sending me an email” in a few days.

So, I took to twitter. As companies have trained us so well, when we can’t get satisfaction, we tweet.


Finally that evening, I got a call from a GlassesUSA customer service agent. Rejoice! I told the agent the issue, and he profusely apologized and ask to put me on hold.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought.

Chapter 2: Am I being punked?

The conversation I overheard went like this:

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone.  She’s tweeting about us all over the internet. Can you talk to this bi**h?”

Supervisor: “I was getting ready to leave but if you need me to talk to this fu****g c**t, then I will.”

Now, I was ready to forgive “bi***h”. Let’s face it, I was frustrated, and I suppose I can be less than favorable when I get upset. But as someone in the customer service in industry for well over 20 years, I thought this had to be a prank.

I hung up.

The original rep called back to see if everything was “taken care of”.  When I told him no, that the issue has gotten worse, he said he would put me through to the supervisor’s manager.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought. Again.

Chapter 3: Oops, I Did it Again.

The conversation went like this.

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone”

Manager: “It’s the person [agent] told me about. Don’t worry, I erased the recording. There is no proof of the conversation.”

Representative: “I erased my recording too”

I have since tried to link it to GlassesUSA CMO and placed a call to the CEO.  As of this time I have not heard  back.

If there are any takeaways from this story, they are these: 

  1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear – you never know who is listening.
  2. While it may be (very) challenging at times, treat customers with respect.
  3. Learn the technology.
  4. Provide a channel that the customer wants; not just what is saving costs for your company.
  5. It is easier to resell a customer than to sell a new customer.  Not only will I never purchase from them again, I tell everyone of my experience (here!).
  6. As a CEO, you are not too big to hear what a customer has to say.  Fish smells from the head down.  

GlassesUSA, when it comes to customer service, you get whatever is worse than F. You don’t get a B for Bi**h or a C for C**t, which are two names I was called by your agents on the phone.

When it comes to customer service, I am no stranger.

I have moderated and produced hundreds, if not thousands of webinars even before webcast software existed. Yes, we actually had to fax directions to audience members.

When we started CrmXchange almost 30 years ago and discussed best practices for the contact center, three items were non-negatable:  

  1. Treat customer with respect and the way you would want to be treated
  2. Teach agents how to use technology correctly
  3. Try, if possible, to solve the customer issue on the first contact 

Sounds simple enough, right? For some, yes. Recently I had very positive experiences with three companies: Spectrum, Verizon and Cablevision.  Each issue was handled on a phone professionally and quickly.  The phone was answered within 1 minute, and agents from each company solved my issue within 10 minutes. 

Enter: GlassesUSA

I have ordered many glasses from GlassesUSA over the past 5 years with no issue. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is typically good, that is, until last month.

I ordered two pairs of glasses; one came in wrong (both the frames and the prescription) and one pair was returned to sender. Ok, we all make mistakes. Surely, I can just get in touch with the company to get it resolved, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

Chapter 1: 1-800-Unavailable

“1-844-244-1186 All Day Every Day 24/7” is what it says on the website, but when called, you’re referred to chat. Okay… I guess I’ll chat.

I had to chat in multiple times, each less successful than the previous attempt. Finally, exasperated, I called and talked to a sales agent, who is the only person I could reach on the phone (is anyone surprised that the revenue-generated stream is the only one that could be reached?).

The sales agent promised he would take care of the issue. He didn’t. Back to chat.

While on chat, I let them know I was an unhappy customer and had no one to talk to. The agent let me know that they no longer have agents to talk on the phone because “the chat resolves most of our issues”. Well, it didn’t.

Each chat led to an agent telling me that a different department would be “sending me an email” in a few days.

So, I took to twitter. As companies have trained us so well, when we can’t get satisfaction, we tweet.


Finally that evening, I got a call from a GlassesUSA customer service agent. Rejoice! I told the agent the issue, and he profusely apologized and ask to put me on hold.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought.

Chapter 2: Am I being punked?

The conversation I overheard went like this:

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone.  She’s tweeting about us all over the internet. Can you talk to this bi**h?”

Supervisor: “I was getting ready to leave but if you need me to talk to this fu****g c**t, then I will.”

Now, I was ready to forgive “bi***h”. Let’s face it, I was frustrated, and I suppose I can be less than favorable when I get upset. But as someone in the customer service in industry for well over 20 years, I thought this had to be a prank.

I hung up.

The original rep called back to see if everything was “taken care of”.  When I told him no, that the issue has gotten worse, he said he would put me through to the supervisor’s manager.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought. Again.

Chapter 3: Oops, I Did it Again.

The conversation went like this.

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone”

Manager: “It’s the person [agent] told me about. Don’t worry, I erased the recording. There is no proof of the conversation.”

Representative: “I erased my recording too”

I have since tried to link it to GlassesUSA CMO and placed a call to the CEO.  As of this time I have not heard  back.

If there are any takeaways from this story, they are these: 

  1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear – you never know who is listening.
  2. While it may be (very) challenging at times, treat customers with respect.
  3. Learn the technology.
  4. Provide a channel that the customer wants; not just what is saving costs for your company.
  5. It is easier to resell a customer than to sell a new customer.  Not only will I never purchase from them again, I tell everyone of my experience (here!).
  6. As a CEO, you are not too big to hear what a customer has to say.  Fish smells from the head down.  

While I can’t know, I can image the type of culture at GlassesUSA that lets people think its ok to talk the way they do – then cover it up is pervasive.

While I can’t know, I can image the type of culture at GlassesUSA that lets people think its ok to talk the way they do – then cover it up is pervasive.

Predictive Behavioral Routing: Advancing the Capabilities of the ACD to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Customers

We’ve all had the frustrating experience of trying to extract information we need from a random agent who is not attuned to the specific issue with which we need assistance. We explain and try to provide context, but the conversation goes around and around in circles as we grow increasingly exasperated and the agent reaches new levels of confusion. In worst-case scenarios where there is a clash of personalities, the agent becomes defensive and the caller outright angry, often resulting in customer churn.

Call routing is a technology that has been around for as long as there have been call centers: the automatic call distributor (ACD) has been in place for more than 45 years since the Rockwell Galaxy appeared on the scene in 1973. But throughout that time, it has mostly been an application that supported faster pickup as opposed to more empathetic and effective customer service. It wasn’t until the early 90s that algorithms were developed that enabled skills-based routing. This called for the organization of groups of agents with specific skills that related to the needs of incoming callers based on their responses to a series of questions asked by a menu-driven IVR type of application.  Calls could theoretically be routed to people speaking the caller’s language with the right product knowledge.

While better than simply routing a call to the next available agent, skills-based routing still left a lot to be desired. It lacked the capability to take advantage of quantum advances in big data, analytics, and personalization strategies. But over the past five years, an emerging technology has been changing the equation. Predictive Behavioral Routing (PBR), first introduced by Mattersight in 2014, takes the customer interaction process from a chance encounter to a personalized connection. The company’s foundation in analytics along with its proprietary behavioral model allowed for the application of data to enhance calls right from the moment they were connected. Mattersight was acquired by NICE Nexidia in August of 2018 and the combination of NICE Nexidia’s advanced Interaction Analytics provide organizations a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey along with a clearer view of the customer persona.

AI-powered smart routing communicates with the ACD to intelligently pair customers with agents best equipped to handle their personality style, resulting in more productive and positive call outcomes. Now being used by Fortune 500 customers in areas such as financial services, retail, healthcare, communications, and Telecom, Predictive Behavioral Routing is proven to provide improved business outcomes.

According to Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research “Predictive Behavioral Routing is paving the way for a new era in customer care – combining the best of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the customer experience.”

Although many contact centers executives and managers may have heard of PBR, they might not be aware of all the powerful benefits it can bring to their operation.  See first-hand how elevating the ACD from a simple call delivery tool into a strategic method for taking the customer experience to unprecedented new levels in a  complimentary “Predictive Behavioral Routing Demonstration – How Does it Work? What Can it Do?” on CrmXchange on November 19 at 1:00 PM ET.

Michele Carlson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, NICE Nexidia, will share the expertise she developed in over a decade at Mattersight in analytics technologies that provide businesses the opportunity to understand data and customer interactions. Among the topics covered will be:

  • Insight into how PBR captures a customer’s personality style and behavioral data, and the ways the data is used to identify the best agent to address their concern
  • How a call is routed to the optimal agent for the customer
  • In what ways KPIs improve with personalized connections
  • Results and best practices from enterprises that have elevated connections with Predictive Behavioral Routing

Register now for this exciting demonstration of a truly game-changing technology. If you cannot attend the live presentation, you can download it 24 hours after it is completed.

An Online In-Depth Education Program Without the Cost and Inconvenience of Traditional Live Conferences

While there are numerous quality live conferences in the CX/contact center space that delve into workforce optimization, attending these events often entails a series of complex decisions. First, you must determine if it includes enough seminars that are relevant to your specific needs and exhibitors with the right solutions to advance your program. Then, you need to obtain approval and funding, plan the details of the trip and make sure all your responsibilities are covered while you are away. While some consider traveling to an event a welcome break from routine, others find it a time-consuming, expensive disruption that they simply can’t justify.

The need for ongoing education in this critical operational area continues to grow. Over the past 12 years, an increasing number of workforce planning professionals have found a flexible, no-cost, no-travel alternative in CrmXchange’s annual online Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference, produced in conjunction with the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC) and the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP).

Over the past two years, the event has been expanded to provide even more in-depth education. For 2019, it will take place the first two weeks of November, with the first week (November 4-8) focusing on QA and Analytics and the second (November 11-15) examining strategies for Workforce Management and Performance Optimization.

The enhanced conference content reflects the evolution of how contact centers now approach workforce planning responsibilities. It used to be handled in independent groups, with one team handling quality assurance, another conducting training, and yet another developing agent schedules. Supervisors often tried to do coaching with no input from other functional areas, while managers simply ran and reacted to reports. But this disconnected approach no longer works in today’s complex, omnichannel contact center environments. Workforce Optimization is a wide-ranging field that now encompasses all these elements as a unified discipline. And the CrmXchange virtual conference provides WFO professionals with the year’s most convenient and comprehensive opportunity to gain greater insights on the latest technologies, tactics and best practices.

Attendees have the opportunity to meet in real time with industry experts and colleagues who can answer their questions and offer business solutions tailored to their contact centers, without the cost and time away from the office of an on-site conference. Anyone can attend learning sessions the same way they would in an on-site conference.

The format allows entire WFO teams to share newly acquired knowledge throughout an organization. Team members can attend live sessions together or attend different session tracks. All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for one week after the conference – giving those who could not attend the initial presentation the opportunity to view the sessions later.

In addition, attendees can visit the virtual exhibit hall to download product videos, and obtain product information, press releases, white papers, and much more. Sponsors, including Calabrio, CallMiner, NICE, NICE inContact and Verint, are ready to share the latest innovations that may benefit your contact center.

And while you can’t sit down over a drink after hours, you can still chat with presenters and peers in the virtual lounge, a specially designed virtual networking forum for registered members of this online event. Learn what others are doing, meet colleagues, pose questions, and offer your own insight.

The Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference kicks off on Monday, November 4 at 12 noon ET with a high-interest keynote address Building a Customer Experience Movement which examines the true elements required to create a culture-changing CX program that is built to last. It will be presented by Nate Brown, Co-Founder of CX Accelerator, a virtual community of customer experience professionals.

Join the thousands of industry executives who have already benefited from this powerful complimentary two week online conference Register now and check out the broad ranging agenda.

New CX Metrics for Today’s Digital World

Consumers want omnichannel but conversations and measurements haven’t kept pace by Ted Hunting, Bright Pattern

The customer experience (CX) is increasingly digital with over 95% of customer interactions starting on websites. Forrester research shows that customers are using and hopping between an increasing number of media channels, such as chat, text, messengers, and of course, traditional channels like email and voice calls. Even though “omnichannel” is still an industry buzzword and there has been a dramatic shift to new channels, fewer than 20% of companies offer a seamless, continuous conversation across channels. Ninety percent of consumers want this type of effortless customer experience without friction or silos, but companies are failing to deliver.

Similar to the gap between customers’ expectation for omnichannel and companies’ ability to offer it, metrics for customer experience have also remained siloed and focused all too often on voice. Traditional CX metrics like Average Handle Time are still valid but today’s digital world requires new metrics. In this blog, I will discuss and propose some new metrics as well as some keys to measuring them.

Key #1: To improve the journey, you must see and measure the journey.

Recent metrics that attempt to move beyond siloed metrics for the voice-only world include Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Sentiment, which rate overall how customers feel about a company and their customer experience.

To improve the customer experience, I recommend using NPS, CSAT, and Sentiment as guiding lights for three new metrics: NPSJT,  and CSATJT, and SentimentJT . These metrics measure NPS, CSAT, and Sentiment by journey type (JT). For example, banks may want to measure CSAT, NPS, or Sentiment by journey type—think mortgages, credit cards, or home equity line of credit. Likewise, retailers may want to measure NPS by journey types like TV sales versus refrigerator sales. By measuring at the journey level, you can improve the quality of each journey type.

CSAT is typically obtained by a simple survey (e.g., rate your experience by giving 1–5 stars) at the end of the given customer’s journey. Sentiment can be measured by an average sentiment score or ending sentiment score for each journey using AI measurements.

Tip: Add new metrics for omnichannel digital CX: NPSJT , CSATJT , and SentimentJT .

Key #2: To improve channel CX and customer segment CX, institute quality measurements at the channel level and measure at the customer level.

It is also important to measure CSAT, NPS, and Sentiment at the channel level and customer level. To do that, I propose using these new metrics for channel type (C): NPSC, CSATC, and SentimentC . These new metrics measure the CSAT, NPS or sentiment on each channel, letting you see which channels are performing well or poorly. They require a simple survey at the end of all interactions within the larger customer journey. If you can see which channel is performing poorly (e.g., chatbots), you can improve the channels and smooth out any points of friction in the customer’s journey. A Bright Pattern survey of consumers showed that NPS scores for bots, text messaging, IVRs, email, and social interactions ranked low, showing common areas along the customer journey that companies should improve.

To measure CX at the customer level, I propose these new metrics for key customer segments (CS): NPSCS, CSATCS, and SentimentCS. Similarly you can look at CSAT, NPS or Sentiment by customer segment, such as gold customers, bronze customers, and new prospects. This provides you with the opportunity to provide specialized care to your best customers by personalizing their experience.

Tip: Add new metrics needed for Digital Omnichannel CX? NPSC and CSATC and SentimentC for channel and NPSCS and CSATCS and and SentimentCS for customer segment

Key #3: Enable omnichannel conversations and omnichannel quality assurance measurements via a platform approach.

So how to get started? First and foremost, to offer a seamless conversation across channels while measuring these omnichannel conversations to improve quality requires that you take a platform approach. All channels must be native in the platform so that a single conversation can be offered to your customers and all interactions can be measured from a quality management standpoint. An end-to-end omnichannel CX platform with omnichannel conversation capability and omnichannel quality management embedded within the platform is the key to easily creating and measuring great omnichannel customer journeys. Contrast this to bolt-on systems that are expensive and time-consuming to implement with siloed conversations and data.

5 Ways to Use AI in the Contact Center

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t about replacing live, human agents with robots; it’s about supporting the agent by handling more routine issues so customers can get live help for their complex issues.

Here are 5 ways contact centers can use AI.1. Replace simple IVR processes.

1. Replace simple IVR processes. Basic IVR can do something like transfer a call to the sales department. AI takes this several steps further thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, allowing it to understand what the customer is saying (as opposed to just giving the customer a string of choices). AI can get rid of annoying queues and “If A, then B” action sequences and replace them with smarter, more human interactions.

2. Act as an agent assistant. AI can function as an assistant by sitting on the desktop, collecting customer info via a bot that’s currently serving the customer, then alerting the agent about what their next steps should be. This goes back to the overall purpose of AI to help the agent perform better and to work smarter instead of harder.

3. Be part of the quality assurance team. AI solutions can analyze agent and customer conversations and give live feedback to team leaders and QA teams about both what is being said and how it’s being said. AI listens and interprets more than just words  it can also ascertain stress level and clarity of speech.

4. Help stabilize workforce management.AI can not only predict upcoming spikes in communication based on data but it can also recruit agents to fill in the gaps in the schedule. Also, since AI can handle a number of more basic customer needs on its own, it reduces the number of employees needed at any one time and levels out major peaks and valleys.

5. Improve the customer experience. AI can analyze the customer journey to determine where the hottest touchpoints are as well as different areas for improvement. It can also understand customer patterns and predict experiences in order to deliver an excellent experience before the customer even realizes what they need next. AI is finding its way into all sorts of brands, organizations and business processes. One of the places where it’s making the most impact is in the contact center. Managers are using AI to create better experiences for everyone, from agents and supervisors to the customers themselves.

Change Management: The Most Important Step Missing from Your Service Project

In today’s world of cloud technology and apps, changing or upgrading systems has never been easier. Whether you are changing from an on-premise to a cloud solution or providing your customers with a native app for their mobile device, much of the change is as simple as pointing your data to a new endpoint. So why is it so hard sometimes for those changes to be readily adopted? Why are your customers not acting on or receiving your changes as you anticipated? Why doesn’t it just work?

Because your customers are usually human.

Change is difficult. Change has different impacts on different segments of your associates or your customers. Some adopt or acclimate right away and start realizing the benefits of your product or service. We love these customers or associates; they make things so easy. But we usually have folks who realize only some of the benefits or have a hard time with the change. They become your squeaky wheel, your biggest challenger, or worse, your apple that tries to spoil the entire bunch.

What you may be missing from your service project is change management. How do you know? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your organization’s leaders skilled in the arts and sciences of change management?
  • Do you have a change management plan or methodology?
  • Is change management part of your project plan?

In my past six years as a consultant for some of the biggest brands in financial services, tech, and retail, strong change management has been the difference between extraordinary adoption and a completed project, or even the success or failure of a project.

I support using a change management methodology called ADKAR, which stands for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforce.

Awareness

Most successful changes start with the impacted stakeholders being made aware of the changes.  This is just an introduction to the changes that will be coming. This information may have a positive, neutral, or negative impact on morale, job satisfaction, workload, role, and/or position within the organization. Prior to making your associates aware of the change, I recommend completing a Change Management Assessment. See the following example:

Steps to Complete a Change Management Assessment

  1. Identify changes or workstream
  2. Provide a brief description
  3. Identify a single owner
  4. Judge the impact to the stakeholders
  5. Is it a positive, negative, or neutral change?
  6. Is training required?
  7. Is a communication plan or strategy required?
  8. Are there organizational changes associated with this change?
  9. How aware is the organization that this change is coming?
  10. Identify all stakeholders associated with the change

Desire

Often the building of desire coincides with the communication associated with awareness. This is your “why.” Having a strong understanding of the possible outcomes, consequences, and ripple effects is critical to be able to build the desire for change. While creating your plan to build desire, a great idea is to bring in two to four influential associates to understand their concerns, questions, and thoughts on what the general populous reactions will be to the changes.

Knowledge

This is where your training or continuous learning plans come into play.  In general, most people recognize this phase of change management best. This is where you develop and execute training or provide the knowledge for your associates.

Ability

If knowledge is the training or learning, ability is the opportunity to put what has been made aware and trained into practice. You will also want to make sure you are quality monitoring in this phase and that you are available to provide coaching and support.

Reinforcement

Sometimes the most forgotten area of change management, reinforcement is your opportunity to implement incentives (and consequences, if necessary) to help your associates keep/adopt the change. The most important part of this phase is credibility. Are you walking your talk? Is this a fly-by-night, flavor-of-the-month initiative? Identify multiple ways that your changes can be internalized by your teams.

The more impactful the change, the greater the need for change management. If you are discussing culture or a major technical system change, there are very few other things that could create as much impact as change management. Investing early in the change timeline and a change management methodology will help ensure your ability to execute. This model can be used for external customers as well, and I suggest just trying it for your next customer impacting initiative.

Now I have some questions for you:

  • Have you used change management methodologies before? If so, how did it differ?
  • If you fear process, does this sound like too much process?
  • Are you considering a change on the magnitude of a culture shift?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

For more on the specifics on ADKAR, visit PROSCI’s Change Management Learning Center.