Friday, 18 January 2019

How do you get people to use the system?

Any system is only as good as the people using it. Data is critical (rubbish in = rubbish out), but the key to success for any system is the operators or users of the system. Here’s how you get people to use a system.

Many systems are purchased as a management decision without need for the users buy-in. A key part of the successful implementation is therefore selling it to the staff who will be operating the system. This is a big part of what I’ve done for a lot of my working life, from banking systems to exercise management systems.

A big keyword is understanding. Firstly, everyone needs to be clear what the system has been bought for, and then understand how it will achieve the desired results, which means they need to understand the system itself. You may not need to understand the entire system at first (which is where a lot of system training goes wrong), but more of this later. Finally, the way the system was bought is also important, as it defines the expected return.

What is the system for?

A common misconception (and spanner in the works of any successful implementation) is the belief that the system has been bought to replace staff or make them work harder. This is hardly ever the case; the system is a tool for your staff to work smarter, do a better job, and to achieve their goals. Reviewing business and personal goals is a great place to start to dispel this myth, as you can demonstrate how the system will help with personal and work goals such as time management, member engagement, or sales and retention.

For example, if you flag and record members for whom you delivered have an induction or getting started session, you can contact them again after one month to see how they are getting on, and offer them PT to help them to progress towards their goals. If you recorded their original goal and know how many visits they’ve made, you can take it a step further and prioritise your PT lead list.

AI systems can be used to identify members at risk of drop out, but it can also be used to identify members who are likely to benefit from a nutrition programme. While the business is interested in drop out risk to improve retention, there is also a benefit to the business and coach/trainer in selling the nutrition coaching programme to lock in more members for longer.

Understanding what the system has been bought for is key. It needs to deliver results for the business, but also the staff. “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) sessions can help with this, and will also help staff and management to understand each other much better.

Know what you need to know

After the WIIFM, it is important is to get an understanding of how the system works. However, not everyone needs to know everything. A day or more of system training is rarely popular or effective. Showing staff what they need to know to get started and building up to more advanced use over time is much more productive. If there’s an area of the system that is not relevant, or not required for the initial business goals, then leave it out, or turn the functionality off initially.

It’s possible (and interesting to some staff) to start to use the member contact functionality, but it’s a distraction from the core objectives of the implementation, and won’t add any value to the project. So, turn off this module, and leave it out of training sessions, explaining that it will be implemented once phase 1 is a success.

Chunking the implementation as well as the training can be a good approach if it brings more focus to the core goals. Don’t try to use all the system functionality at first, stick to the proving the key benefits, as quick wins can help to get everyone’s buy in.

What is it worth?

The final consideration for a successful implementation is to consider how much was actually paid for the system. When a ‘fair price’ has been invested, the return on investment can be measured and demonstrated clearly. But when the software system was part of a bigger deal, or included as a free component to an enterprise sale, the perceived value is zero. This means the ROI can be infinite, but sometimes means that there is no value attached, and therefore no time or effort invested in getting the system to work. In these cases, a successful implementation is very difficult; you need to review the business and staff goals, and see if you can get to those quick wins to demonstrate return on time invested.

There’s much more to selling a system than proposals and approval. After the deal is done, it still needs selling to users, or your staff. And after that’s worked, sometimes they then need to sell the benefits to your members!

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