Avoiding the Landfill, Part III: Towards Better Customer Launches

In education, poor [technology] implementation from the very outset of a project spirals our products towards the landfill of technological promise.

In last month’s article, “Avoiding the Landfill, Part II: Great Beginnings” we zeroed in on strategies that any firm can employ, up front, “to guarantee greater implementation success by educators—and thus secure a more enduring revenue stream from ongoing replacement sales and referrals”. We wrote about the importance of grassroots involvement, consistent and ongoing professional development, and the infamous implementation dip. Today, we highlight four more suggestions for guaranteeing a great beginning with new customer launches in the educational arena:

hand draw virtual best practice and related wordsCheck in often. Check in with your customers often during their implementation efforts. See what’s working. What’s broken. How you can help. Dispel myths. Invent solutions and workarounds. You can’t do that if you don’t check in.

Collect and share best practices. Gather stories, use cases, and great implementation ideas from reference sites and share them with the sites just getting started. Put your new launch customers in touch with educators from successfully launched reference sites. Help smooth the way for your new customer’s success by giving them an edge.

Offer technical help. Many technology implementations fail because overworked educational leaders don’t plan for technical problems or don’t account for close support. Keep your eye on that topic, because small, creeping technical failures (often due to shallow training) can kill your future sales, both for your new customer and any potential referrals down the line. Being proactive in this area can go a long way; being overly reactive can send the project to the landfill.

Help customers evaluate the project’s success. You’ve no doubt heard the saying: “We value only what we measure.” Encourage your new launch customers to set up some useful metrics before the launch begins, tracking their progress along the way. Metrics matter, and especially so, in the blame game. Make sure any shortcomings can be traced to unforeseen implementation breakdowns, and not to the product itself.

These are proven approaches that companies can pursue to ensure that projects in schools or universities have a greater likelihood for success and hoped-for expansion. Again, how many of these are you employing early on? – Len Scrogan