There’s Never Been a Better Time for Change Management

Change management is a set of concepts and tools to bring people along on a journey and deliver them successfully to a target destination. When applied properly, the team arrives together while accounting for their unique perspectives and needs — and navigating the inevitable bumps and detours along the way.

The Role of Change Management in a Contact Center Migration

Change management can play a powerful role in helping contact centers migrate to a cloud solution and take advantage of new capabilities. On the surface, this adventure might seem to be just a technology transformation, but it affects people and processes in IT and on the frontlines of the center.

Here are examples of why change management is so critical:

  • Overcome resistance from IT staff and leadership with education on the benefits and true cost comparisons — and build awareness that cloud solutions can even deliver better security, reliability and functionality, with the assurance that it will continue to evolve based on market needs (without costly and disruptive upgrades and big IT demands).
  • When change management is applied, frontline staff become advocates of new user interfaces, channels, contact handling processes, reporting and other performance tools. The center delivers the benefits expected from the technology investment.

How to Pursue Change Management

Many companies pursue a “formal” change management process based on a structured methodology, but you can also apply critical concepts without too much formality. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Deploy change management along with project management processes. Start early and continue throughout a project, aligning change management steps from planning through implementation and optimization.
  • Adapt to individual needs as well as project events — the bumps and detours I mentioned earlier. Remember you want to bring everyone along together, even though each person goes through change differently.
  • Recognize that change management is more than just training on a new tool or process; send out an email about the project and what will happen at cutover (Rah! Rah!). It’s not a brief event, but rather a series of diverse activities.
  • Change management is a team sport. You need execs to do their jobs and lead (or sponsor) the change. Supervisors help individuals through communication, coaching and resistance management.

Change Management in the COVID-19 Era: A New Normal

Clearly cloud has never been more advantageous – its anywhere, anytime operational model is perfect for home agents or staff that are scattered in various buildings. In a recent article I wrote on the topic of resiliency, I listed cloud as my number one favorite enabler. I think the virus crisis pushed some resistant leaders from IT, finance or other parts of the business out of their bunker to realize the benefits — and there’s no turning back.

I think another ongoing reality is the need for agility – whether responding to changes in volume, location, staff levels or some other impact we haven’t seen yet. It’s why you need resiliency plans that address a variety of scenarios that aren’t just about system or power outages, or the need to temporarily evacuate a building. Too few centers had that sort of planning in place before the virus hit, and yet everyone needs to have it in place going forward. That’s the new normal.

Make Change Management Part of Your Project Approach Now

I put things like change management and resiliency planning in a category with insurance policies: People don’t like to pay for them but are glad they have them when needed.

In the business world in general, and now more than ever, companies must be extremely agile, able to change quickly and effectively. The ones that make change management a part of their culture — something they apply on every project — will excel. They’ll have change management in their toolkits to move to the cloud and to do specific things with new functionality – channels, workforce optimization and more. And they’ll use that change competency to respond more effectively to whatever gets thrown at them – whether it’s something as disruptive as a pandemic or something specific to their products and services. They’ll apply change management to projects big and small, from initiatives with ample planning time to those that occur in a moment of crisis.

Hear more about the Koch Global Services contact center transition and learn more about change management in the on-demand webinar, “Managing change: From on-premises to cloud.”

Lori Bocklund is trained on a Change Management Methodology from Prosci; the concepts she expresses here are based on their research and tools. Visit their site or dive deeper through Lori’s recent article in Contact Center Pipeline to learn more.