Aftercare in a digital change journey should never be an afterthought

Aftercare: an essential part of the change management of any digital transformation programme.

 Aftercare in a digital change journey should never be an afterthought

Aftercare: an essential part of the change management of any digital transformation programme.

Aftercare in a digital change journey should never be an afterthought

Meet the author

James Noble

Managing Consultant

After the past year, firms have had to adapt like never before and accelerate their digital transformation initiatives as a priority. Consequently, it’s important now more than ever to ensure that end-users are receiving the digital change aftercare they need. 

When adopting digital change, it’s difficult to look past the initial effort that is needed to push the transformation live. It’s easy to overlook the need to communicate and cater to users’ queries while under budgetary pressure and deadline. 

Despite preparation, users still manage to miss obvious signs, ask poignant questions and find the most hidden bugs.

The early adoption stage needs to be smooth in order to push users forward on their change journey. That is why quality aftercare is an essential part of the change management of any digital transformation programme. 

Think about the transformation of moving into a new property. On day one, you scratch your head at how, as the agent advertised, the “low maintenance boiler” actually works. You were shown once but got distracted by the flat’s fancy-looking intercom. Flitting through the piles of exhaustive instructions didn’t help either. You find an online forum but it’s a battlefield of conflicting advice. You have worked so hard on the big move itself but feel under-supported as an end-user, when dealing with the realities of the change. 

Great experiences and lessons on aftercare were witnessed in my time in major public sector digital transformations. With a strong focus on user-centred transformation, there are great methods and principles we can emulate in order to nail user adoption and feedback loops in the early weeks. 

Recommended: Three core post-launch digital change aftercare options

  1. Floor WalkersThis roaming team is staffed to provide physical first-line support with users. Although an intense resource, they can bring a face, empathy, and brand to the transformation while also being able to relay what users are feeling to the programme team. Ideally, the deployment team becomes the familiar face of the floor walking team, to allow continuity in knowledge. Bright “Here to Help” t-shirts can be useful to identify them and showcase support efforts to staff. Engage with your Floor Walkers early – they need to understand that they could be wearing all colours of the rainbow for the next 2-3 weeks.
  2. Drop-In HubAs well as a perfect base for your new Floor Walkers to operate from, think of this hub as a physical extension to your service desk. It should be a known space, in a high-traffic area of the office, for users to bring their issues to. It is also a great place to hold any physical training materials, comms, and manage programme-related peripheral/license requests. Think carefully, based on the size of the programme, how you will manage visitors. A drop-in area is also the best place to manage the recording of ad-hoc support instances. It is key to log and categorise these appropriately so that progress of a roll-out can be completely tracked. The log can also be used to develop appropriate process improvements and changes to content.
  3. Support Forum 

Threads and Channels on a firm’s internal comms network can be a great way to hear user queries after a release. However, be aware that these forums can unravel into a storm for anyone trying to manage a two-way support option. Here are a few tips to make life manageable: 

  • Pre-populate the threads and topics within the forum and be in full control of further expansion. 
  • Answer and exist in the network as an anonymous profile e.g. “Support Team”. 
  • Think about defining the forum as peer-to-peer support. Then, use the chatter to identify recurring questions and build a live reference guide that can be pinned at the top of each thread.
  • Time-box the forum; users need to know there won’t always be someone at the end of the line.

These three services give a basic backbone of aftercare support. Regardless of the makeup of your aftercare support options, there are certain principles that will help make the offerings manageable for the programme team and its end-users.

Five principles to help make aftercare offerings manageable 

  • Log, categorise and track aftercare instances. Be able to identify whether issues with adoption are decreasing, and what the key problem areas are.
  • Time-box your aftercare offerings. Ensure users know when this hyper-care support will end, providing reminders when nearing the date. 
  • Create a handover strategy of support and materials. When designing support solutions, work with existing teams to utilise appropriate processes and tools that can easily merge when the programme hands over to BAU.
  • Clearly communicate the existence of this support. Ensure users know where to go for help so that they feel supported. 
  • All aftercare options should direct users in a consistent manner. This ensures users filter down the correct carefully-curated journey of support materials, signposts, and sessions that have been put in place. 

When applying these aftercare principles, ensure all users are catered for, whether they are home workers, regular travellers, or technophobes. The type of solution you choose will also depend on the transformation, organisation shape, and budget.

Whichever blend of support you choose, always put a robust aftercare strategy in place. This will help to ensure the transformation is a success and offers support to an unsure and hesitant workforce. What needs to be avoided is a loss of talent and a swell of discontent which can be expensive and difficult to bounce back from.   

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