Product Roll Outs
service professionals have, at one time or another, been
blindsided with customer contacts about a product or service that
the call center was not aware of. This can be your worst
nightmare, the product has hit the streets – been released to the
customers without the approval or knowledge of the Contact Center.
The wave of incoming calls and emails start slowly, but in a
matter of days, or even hours, the tidal wave has hit.
Once the water
has receded and you have the situation somewhat under control,
schedule a Post Mortem Meeting with the management team to review
the lessons learned from this rollout. In preparing for the next
rollout, feel free to use my Top 10 list below to recommend an
improved, methodical rollout process to your peers.
- Who will the
customer contact for help – no matter what the problem or
question? Often, the customer won’t know if it’s hardware,
software, or procedural.
- Has everyone
throughout the service chain been trained, at a minimum, on how
to respond consistently to the customer questions? At a deeper
level, have they been trained on how to analyze and troubleshoot
various issues pertaining to the new release?
- Do the support
teams have product documentation and release notes on how to use
the product correctly? Have they all read the documentation and
had hands-on experience using the product?
- Be sure the
frontline analysts have a single escalation point to contact for
assistance, both from a technical and a business perspective.
- Has there been
one consistent message communicated to the customers about the
product rollout? In some cases, the customers are flooded
with emails from different parts of the organization and are
confused about which rollout dates are valid.
- Do not assume
a customer, or your frontline staff, will have the time to read
a manual before trying to use a new product.
- Be sure any
and all organizations that a customer might call for help are
aware of the rollout, along with who the central point of
contact is. This could include remote staff, marketing, sales,
third party vendors, etc…
- Be sure that
all issues are logged and tracked – this is the only way you
will be able to evaluate the product and training needs. If
there is no automated system in place for logging calls, a
spiral-bound notebook clearly labeled for the purpose of logging
all contacts, questions and problems should be utilized at both
the customer site and the support provider’s desk. The trends
and information extracted from the call history will be
invaluable to the success of the rollout.
- Start an FAQ
list of those issues that will help the next customer contact.
- For large
rollouts to multiple customers: Create and post the week’s Top 5
hottest questions on your web site.
There should be a scheduled meeting at the end of each week for
you to report on the week’s call volumes, type of calls and to
identify any trends. This should continue for at least the first
four weeks of the rollout. Hopefully, the meeting will be a brief
checkpoint with minimal incidents to report. However, if there is
a major problem with the hardware, software or procedural issues,
this meeting will head those off and minimize firefighting. I’ve
seen companies wait a month to discuss a rollout and by then the
damage is already done. The product may have a major flaw and the
customers may be angry with you for the surprises, which you did
not prepare them for.
Confirm that the
statistics and trend analysis is disseminated to the members of
the cross-functional teams supporting the rollout. It’s important
they know how the rollout is going and what the company is
learning from this experience.
If you have any
questions or want to bounce an idea off a friendly sounding board,
don’t hesitate to contact Bill Tobin at (617) 909-6682 or