For the past couple months, I have been saying that I need to get to the doctors; nonetheless, day after day, I never picked up the phone to call and make an appointment. One day, about two weeks ago, I finally decided to call to schedule an appointment. However, my first attempt to schedule my appointment was unsuccessful. After 15 minutes sifting through menus and sitting on hold, I gave up. A few days later, I decided to give it another shot: I called the doctor’s office and started navigating my way through the automated call maze. It wasn’t until I was two menus deep when I grew impatient and decided to press ‘0’ to go straight to the operator. Much to my surprise, pressing ‘0’ was an easy way to get right back to the beginning. Once again, I started my trip through the automate call attendant, this time I made it through the four levels of menus and was now on hold.
While on hold, the pre-recorded message informed me that I was able to schedule my appointments online. BINGO. I hung up the phone and jumped online. Within 5 minutes I was able to register online, link my primary doctor and schedule three tentative appointments. After making the appointments, I was e-mailed an automatic notification which read, “You will be notified of your appointment by e-mail within 16 hours.” And 16 hours later, nothing. After that, I gave it one more try; but still no confirmation e-mail. Finally, I decided to go to the doctors office and make my appointment in person. Once my appointment was scheduled, in person, I asked if things were always this busy and why the online appointments didn’t work. I was then informed that I shouldn’t use the website as nobody is trained on how to schedule appointments from online. Additionally, the new phone system was a big change for them, and they have not learned all the features on the new phones.
Taking a step back, and looking at this through my IT professional lens, I understand the need to save money. However, it makes me wonder what does saving a buck or two cost the customers? Since my job is to use technology to better serve a company, I feel that the use of automated call attendants have caused more harm than good. In addition, I feel that some companies just through money at IT projects without the proper implementation or training. So how should one go about deploying new technology in a corporation?
The first step in determining how to deploy new technology is finding out how much it will cost. It is important that you get current information as the price for technology changes all the time. I recommend going direct to a vendor like CDW if your company has their own IT Department. If not, I would suggest finding a qualified IT Consulting firm in the area.
This may be a little difficult; however, the people at CDW or the vendors that you work with are usually able to help determine what the return on technology will be.
Create a Deployment Plan
Perhaps the most time intensive part of deploying new technology is creating a deployment plan and implementing that plan. For larger projects, it may be a good idea to look at getting a Project Manager; even better would be someone with a PMP certification. While creating a deployment plan, there should be milestones and resources set for the project. Additionally, the project should be tracked. For this a program like Microsoft Project will suffice.
Schedule User Training
Now that you have a wonderful new technology platform, DO NOT FORGET TO TRAIN. User training is the most important part of new technology; without the users, there would be no need for the technology. Although training is typically provided at the time of a project completion, I find it more beneficial to schedule multiple trainings.
- First training – Schedule right at the beginning after the new technology is deployed
- Second Training – After about a week or two the users will have had time to grasp the new software and thus have logical a real questions for the trainer.
- Third Training – Depending on how radical of a change. the third training should become a yearly training session. Perhaps having this training start 6 months after implementation and then every 12 months after that.
- New User Training – If a new employee is hired, give them the same attention as all the other employees. Although training one or two new users will be easier than training several, it is still important that they get at least the first two trainings.
Fight the Automated Systems
GetHuman.com is a nice little website that I found that gives detailed instructions on how to reach a person instead of an automated call system. After getting frustrated with my recent experience, I felt that I should share the power to fight back.