8 Change Management Strategies for Smoothly Navigating FinTech Rollouts
In the past few years, the term “change management” has become a catch-all to describe several approaches to managing organizational change—some helpful, some vague.
Through his award-winning methodology, Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter clearly defines eight stages that companies must go through to enact lasting change.
In this article, we’ll explain how to apply each of those stages—like creating a sense of urgency, removing barriers, and generating early wins—to your implementation of appointment scheduling software at your financial institution. And hopefully, smoothly sail into the sustainable change and objectives you’re looking for.Read Our Rollout Kit for Appointments and Queuing Software
1. Create Excitement Early in Your Journey
It’s never too early to tell the team that appointment software is coming, once you’ve signed up for it. As Kotter explains, your goal is to “inspire people to act—with passion and purpose—to achieve a bold, aspirational opportunity.” Your opportunity is to change the way your entire organization meets clients, books meetings, closes deals, and schedules their time.
To that end, begin discussions with teams from across the organization—customer experience, IT, marketing, sales—and emphasize how helpful this change will be. What does appointment and scheduling software solve for your internal teams and clients that nothing else will? Having a solid business case for this change will make communicating it much easier.
Also, ensure your leadership team is just as supportive in their communications with staff—explain that you expect them to be cheerleaders throughout the implementation process and beyond. Provide FAQs or “talking points” they can use to communicate with their teams about the change. And address any concerns or negative reactions immediately—the most successful implementations of appointment software come with excitement and support from executives and high-level managers.
2. Build a Supportive Coalition
Your change management coalition isn’t just the project manager and the software team—it’s all the people who will adopt and help champion this change. So be on the lookout for folks who are excited—they should be incentivized to support the implementation.
Nominate your cheerleaders as the appointment software ‘expert’ at each branch and reward them with extra days off or redeemable points to make learning and supporting their teams more rewarding. In this way, you’ll build a team of people who are ready and willing to support change.
3. Define How You’ll Navigate Change
According to Kotter, to enact lasting change you must clearly define how the future will be different from the past and communicate that vision to your teams. To clarify your vision, define the following:
- Objectives—What percentage of clients should book an appointment by the end of the first month, first quarter, and first year?
- Scope—Are you rolling out the software all at once or in phases? First, internally before externally to clients?
- Milestones—What are your check-in points? How will you build in a period of time for reflection and improvement?
- Measurement—What are your markers of success? Number of appointments booked, reduced no-shows, client satisfaction?
- Responsibilities—What are the roles of your team, software partner, and coalition?
You may also choose a bold, aspirational statement that reflects this change. It could look like a short-term vision (Ex. Creating a smoother, on-brand meeting and scheduling experience for clients and staff) and a long-term vision (Ex. Supporting our financial institutions’ people-centered approach to banking by launching appointment software). Either way, create a “why” your staff can get excited about achieving together.
4. Overcommunicate Along the Way
Communicate with the wider team how this process is going on internal channels like Teams or Slack. Is the software about to launch on your tech stack? Announce it. Are you offering incentives to encourage internal adoption? Post it. Communicate the vision and objectives you’ve defined to remind your team of the future you’re jointly creating.
This is also a perfect opportunity to showcase all the benefits, training, and support that will accompany this new software. By overcommunicating throughout the implementation process, you create an atmosphere for dialogue and questions. And most importantly, you normalize the change as it’s taking place, alleviating worries as they arise.
5. Remove Roadblocks in Your Path
Internal training should begin shortly after the software is implemented and many weeks before it’s launched to the public. Choose your approach to training internal teams on your new appointment and scheduling software—it could be tailored to each employee type, like general staff, managers, call center, and queue-specific training. Or you could focus your training on administrators first, before moving on to team or branch leads who will teach their colleagues. You should also be training your staff on how to educate clients on using your new appointment software—it will likely be new to clients too.
When it comes to educating your clients on the new appointment software, don’t neglect the power of repetition. Tell your clients in seven different ways, in seven different channels, the benefits of your new appointment software. Your website, your phone messages, your email signatures, and your in-branch staff should all be repeating the same calls to action.
6. Maintain Morale by Celebrating Successes
Remember that excitement you elicited in stage 1? Make good on it by showing off the early wins you’re seeing to spur continued change. Two methods to keep the momentum going are:
- Internal incentives—reward staff with prizes that reflect your objectives and encourage adoption.
- For example, for milestones like first appointment booked or most appointments booked, staff can receive bonuses, days off, gift card draws, or redeemable points to make the learning more rewarding.
- Hold managers accountable for team’s usage and performance, including it as a KPI or benchmark in leadership reviews, with incentives for those who are seeing success.
- External launch—delight clients who visit in-branch on launch day with a tropical-themed launch party (if your appointment software happens to be Coconut 😉).
- Decorate the branch like a tropical oasis, do draws for themed prizes, and collect feedback on their experience.
You may also wish to collect stories that prove the success of the tool—either from sales booking more meetings that lead to closed deals, or customers sharing their delight at the ease of using it. Promote those stories in your Teams or Slack in “success decks” that feature and flatter those who are using the tool. Communicate these early wins and successes on your internal (and even external) channels to elicit excitement and continued adoption.
7. Adjust Your Course As Needed
Take stock of the successes and failures, and use those learnings to improve. This practice is often called knowledge-centered service (KCS), whereby your team integrates the insights collected from questions, complaints, and experiences into the knowledge your organization needs to address common issues.
Create an internal “playbook” or FAQs that team leads and cheerleaders can add to. Return to this playbook at regular intervals to address questions as they arise. This resource will also inform ongoing training and client education by revealing issues that come up throughout implementation. If your desired change has fallen off at any stage, these pauses for reflection help you analyze why and set things back on track.
8. Embrace the Winds of (Long-Term) Change
To sustain your change, you should clearly outline policies for appointment reminders, wait times, notifications, and rescheduling. As Kotter suggests, “evaluate systems and processes to ensure management practices reinforce the new behaviors, mindsets, and ways of working you invested in.” Codify new rules, training, and how-to’s for staff to continue to remove barriers.
Ask your teams: Do in-branch staff take the initiative to offer appointment scheduling to those who walk in? Do they remind every client that they can connect with your financial institutions through phone, email, or video meetings at their convenience? Creating a culture that embraces this new change as standard operating procedure is difficult to do, but the rippling effects of success will be well worth it.
Navigating FinTech Implementations With Better Change Management Tools
People are resistant to new things, but that’s what change management is for. By starting with clear communication, vision, and continued commitment to removing barriers, enacting lasting change is possible. With John Kotter’s change management framework at your disposal, your implementation of new software is sure to sail smoothly.