Published: July 27, 2015 | Comments
If you’re a CRM vendor, you need to make yourself attractive to the new population increasingly taking over the workplace – Millennials. Millennials are your new end user. To continue to be successful, software needs to be developed with this new end user in mind.
But are Millennials really that different than Boomers? Yes. Millennials think very differently than Boomers. They grew up with personal computers. According to Forbes (2013), 74% of non-millennials agree that millennials offer different skills and work styles that add value to the workplace. No generation before has had as much access, technological power or the infrastructure to share their ideas as quickly as the millennials. They are used to speed, multi-tasking, and working on their own schedule. These can be great assets in a knowledge economy which values end results over the process. Millennials are self-sufficient; they prefer to find answers to their questions online rather than asking supervisors or external vendors for help.
In this changing environment, what are the ways you can increase Millennial adoption of CRM systems? Here are 5 strategies:
Tip #1 –One Chance to Make a First Impression- Setting Clear Onboarding Objectives
Setting clear onboarding objectives early on is critical to avoid disaffection. Training objective-setting, application demonstration and coaching is obviously necessary during the early training stages. This sets the stage and if properly planned and executed (in line with the previous chapter), will create significant engagement and start to cement software adoption.
Underpinning this stage is the need to design the training so that it aligns with the characteristics of Millennials – connected and tech-savvy. This approach should ensure that the user’s experience of the software while delivering customer service is optimized and in line with what they expect from the kind of applications integration and functionality they use in their personal lives.
Tip #2 – Demonstrate the Value of Using CRM and Provide Real Time Support
New staff should understand clearly the important part that they play and their individual roles in the overall business and how it is reflected in CRM processes. This scene needs to be set for them, but it doesn’t end there. Although online flowcharts can help with this, as a reference point they tend to be fixed in nature and require “research” by the user. The days of folders of “desk instructions” are long gone. Generation X got by with cheat sheets. These are not for Millennials. Millennials don’t do paper research – it must be made online and user friendly.
Anything that can be done during training to demonstrate the power and flexibility of the application system (such as automated walk-throughs, context sensitive help, videos and team collaboration functionality) should be emphasized. There are emerging toolsets available that can help in this regard, particularly for cloud-based CRMs.
Tip #3 – Monitor and Evaluate Performance During and After Training
Managers should monitor and evaluate employee performance during and after the training period using software which can, in real time, monitor a trainee user’s performance. In this way, managers can automatically provide support when a process choke point occurs.
After the initial training period, managers should look back at the original training objectives and see if the original goals were met. When evaluating what knowledge was successfully transferred and what knowledge was not, managers can then try to figure out why certain training elements were successful and others not. If the training session has been developed properly, then both of these objectives will be specific and measurable. In addition, a relatively easy way in which employers can understand what needs to be done to improve training is to get employees' feedback. This can be done directly or on an individual basis, both after the training has ended and at regular intervals.
Tip #4 – Continuously Research and Implement New Tools
The Boomer and Generation X CRM decision-makers should research appropriate toolsets – and implement them in the CRM environment. This will help meet Millennials on their home ground, providing advanced user and process support. Newer tools can provide suitable real-time process support – this addresses both the context issue and immediate need (‘I have a frantic customer on chat right now and I need to escalate this issue – but I’ve never seen a problem like this before’).
The tools are increasingly incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality (such as used in Apple’s Siri). A key additional benefit is that these toolsets also work for Boomers. They may not offer a silver bullet solution, but they will certainly address the issue of the generation gap by providing better support to Boomers while simultaneously satisfying the tech/behavioral needs of the Millennials.
Interactive, context sensitive tools are now available to assist users real-time. These tools (such as WalkMe) guide users through their work process. The typical feature set includes context sensitive guidance, multi-media support, user behavior monitoring and analytics.
Tip #5 – Reinforce Training to Get Millennials Comfortable Using it
Implementing appropriate toolsets of the kind outlined above, both during initial training and continuous on-the-job will provide continuity for the user and reinforce what is learned during training. The user can get right to work with a minimum amount of expensive boot-camp training. High configurability, including the ability to personalize support for the user, enables real-time support to minimize Millennial downtime and frustration.
Supporting users with effective toolsets and providing objective, numerate feedback will increase software adoption rates (and also help to quickly weed-out low performers).
Effective CRM systems and outstanding customer service are key differentiators for leading companies – they need the highest adoption rates and low staff turnover if they are to compete effectively. Adopting the correct training approach is essential if Millennials are to be effectively engaged. Supplementing the CRM software with suitable toolsets (such as WalkMe™) will provide synergy and deliver maximal Millennial adoption.