Comments Off on Transformation: The Key to Driving Usage & Adoption

“I don’t use a telephone anymore if I can do a video call, instead.” says one of my colleagues in the videoconferencing world.  Granted, his title is, “VP of Usage and Adoption” for one of the big videoconferencing companies, but his sentiment is not merely a show – a good line to spout when one’s job to drive usage of video as a communications medium.  What it is is a concise way of expressing a change in how he works – a change in how he communicates.

A change made possible through technology that’s convenient and easy enough to use; and to use often.

There are loads of people for whom visual, two-way communications is a way of life.  Some have been doing it for so long that they cringe at the thought of an audio conference call and who die a little bit inside when they have to dial a phone.

But for every one person who has adopted video as a way to communicate – who has changed the way that they interact with family and colleagues – there are fifty who haven’t. And of those fifty, forty-five of them have tried videoconferencing and just didn’t “get into it.”   It was either too much of a pain to set up, or it didn’t work right, or there was something about the experience that struck them the wrong way (excessive delay, bad audio, bad camera angles, etc. – we’ve all heard this stuff before).

We know the common thread among those who haven’t adopted a videoconferencing lifestyle.   We have an idea about what’s common among those who have: That it takes several good video call experiences for most people to really get it.   That’s the key, right? Repeated good experiences.

I agree. But there’s more to it.  There is a secret buried here that nobody in the videoconferencing world has figured out.

The secret is this:  Those who “get” the value of visual communications have undergone a transformation in how they communicate.

The crux of the problem is that most people do not like change.  Since transformation means “dramatic change,” and “metamorphosis,” resistance to transformation is natural for most.  Overcoming that resistance is what that “repeated good experiences” is about.  Overcoming that resistance is at the heart of transformation, and by extension, at the heart of adoption of visual communications.

For those who care about driving adoption and usage of videoconferencing – vendors, as well as the customers who shell out Big Bucks and want a decent return on their investment – they need to care about how to make transformations happen.

Transformation of clients.

Transformation of staff.

Transformation of co-workers and business partners.

And if, for some reason, you don’t think that those are Big Hairy Audacious Goals, just remember that People Don’t Like Change.  Changing how your company and your clients do business – THIS is what I’m talking about.  THIS is the challenge of driving usage and adoption of videoconferencing.  This is hard to do, and is exactly why it is not done very well.

We’re Screwed. Right?

Transformation is hard, but not impossible.  There are good examples of businesses and occupations that are all about transformation:.

  • Personal trainers
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Educational institutions
  • Religious institutions
  • Business coaches and consultants

How can we learn from these guys?

Not surprisingly (to anyone who has read much of my writing) the answer lies in the book, The Experience Economy.

The last section of the book points out that the “Experience Economy” is not the end-of-the-line in the Progression of Economic Value (from a commodity-based economy to a goods-based to a service-based to an experience-based economy).  In the same way that  customizing a customer service changes it into a customer experience, a customized and repeated customer experience becomes a customer transformation.

Without getting too deep into how that works, I will just say that taking a videoconferencing experience (that is, a videoconferencing service that is customized and carefully staged to create a great customer experience), customizing it and repeating it is the way to make that transformation happen. It is the way to turn videoconferencing from a mere curiosity into a new and indispensable way to do business.

For vendors:  Figure out how to deliver a consistently good customer experience (create a consistent theme for the experience, analyze the experience from the Four Experience Realms standpoint, extend the user experience beyond the end of the videoconference via social media, feedback, community-building, etc., understand customer sacrifice and customer surprise in addition to customer satisfaction, and so on).  Then mass-customize the experience for your customers and get repeated, good experiences of video communication under their belt.

For organizations that use videoconferencing: Do the same thing as the vendors.  Your customers are predominantly your internal users.  Cater to them. Give them what they want and need (remembering that, frequently, what they DON’T know that they need – but you do). Create an internal community of those that use videoconferencing through social media – whether internal to the organization, or external.

And for everyone: Realize that “work is theatre, and every business a stage.”  This is the tag line of, The Experience Economy, and with its cameras, video monitors, mics and speakers, videoconferencing much more resembles theatre than it does anything else.

Treat it that way.  You’ll be glad that you did.

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