Change is a natural part of any vibrant enterprise. New services or products can certainly contribute to a company’s bottom line. An important item to consider when making changes is the implementation strategy necessary to ensure a positive impact to both customers and employees. My Dad had a saying when I was a kid – Haste makes waste boy. What he meant was that it’s wise to take the time to think things through instead of rushing headlong without any thought whatsoever. Let’s look at a few things to remember when approaching change implementation.
Who’s Impacted by the Change?
Take a moment to ask – If we make this change, who will be impacted? How will current and potential customers be affected by the change you’re considering? Who within your company will be impacted by the change? What will the change create for employee workloads? Are there any external persons or entities to consider before making this change? These questions must be considered and discussed before implementing any changes within your company. I can guarantee that if you choose this method, your change implementation has a greater chance for success.
How Will You Communicate the Change?
Now after answering the ”who’s impacted?” questions, it becomes necessary to determine how you will communicate the change. What will your change message look like? Who will be responsible for delivering the message? What methods will be utilized to deliver the message? How will you ensure the message is communicated in the same manner? How long before the actual change will the message be delivered? Remember – it’s important to begin change communications before change implementation. The goal is to minimize the volume of change questions received from customers.
How Will You Respond to Questions Regarding the Change?
One thing is for sure – after your change is implemented, customers will have questions. No matter how well or by what method you communicate the change, not everyone who receives the message will actually read what you are communicating. It’s just normal human nature. One must anticipate and plan for this situation. In preparing for this, think about questions you might receive from customers. Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes should assist in developing potential question and answer scenarios. What questions would you have as a customer in regards to the changes under consideration? Be sure to involve employees who will be responsible for communicating with customers in this “What questions would I have if I were the customer?” exercise. If possible, contact several loyal customers and get their feedback on your proposed changes. What questions did they present in regards to your changes? Consider developing answer scripts for customer questions so that customer contact employees communicate the same message. Place information regarding changes in an easily visible area on your company website as an additional option.
Change is important for a company’s growth. Take the time to increase your chances for successful changes by asking 1. Who’s Impacted by the Change? 2. How Will You Communicate the Change? and 3. How Will You Respond to Questions Regarding the Change?