From audioconferencing to telephony, the top UC functions are audio dependent, so providing your workers with devices that best support those functions — from the very first call — naturally maximizes user adoption. But UC audio doesn't plug itself in; thorough planning helps ensure a successful initial experience for users and increases the likelihood of solid return on your UC investment.
ENABLES IT. EMPOWERS EMPLOYEES
Tools and resources to accelerate UC audio device adoption.
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The UC Toolkit is an online portfolio of best practices, tools for IT, and end user training resources for UC audio device deployments. Review Plan, Deploy, and Adopt below for key insights to successful deployments.
Review. Plan. Prepare.
How can you ensure maximum UC audio device adoption? Simple: Plan ahead. At this stage, it's important to consider individual and organizational requirements, your overall UC integration, and develop a strong communication strategy. The UC Toolkit Plan resources will help you map out the critical events for success.
Why do I need a UC audio device deployment plan?
This is our first UC audio device deployment. Where do I start?
Look at the workstyles of your employees. Are they primarily in the office, mobile, or a combination? Do they work at home? No one wants to adopt entirely unfamiliar habits, so think about how UC is going to benefit them using ways in which they work already. Depending on their workstyle, users need a different kind of audio device for the way they will use UC.
How do I select the audio devices to pilot?
Deciding on the right audio device comes down to the workstyles of your users. Some users connect to a PC, a mobile phone, and a desk phone throughout the day. Other users require in-office mobility or prefer to be hands free using a corded headset or speakerphone, whereas still others spend the bulk of their day on the road. Make sure the products you choose to pilot will map to how your users work.
Which audio device features should I test?
After you've reviewed and selected the products to test, start mapping functional requirements of product features. Focus on basic ones as well as those expected to be used most. In addition to general product features such as volume and mute control, tested aspects might include audio quality (sending and receiving), ease of use, durability, flexibility, wearing comfort, length of talk time before recharging, portability, and plug-and-play capability — as well as overall user experience. Develop a trial test plan that meets your business communication goals.
What kind of scenarios should I pilot?
That depends on your organization and the people in it. Many users work from home, at the airport, in cafes, and in other areas with significant external noise, whereas others work in an open office or private office. Make sure you know where and how your employees normally work, and let that guide the scenarios.
Who should participate in the test group?
Your short list of candidates should be a representative cross-section that reflects the way your organization works. For example, executive administrators and mobile workers typically are excellent testers. Also, identify potential super-users — tech-savvy early adopters or advocates for IT — to act as an extension of IT.
How do I integrate UC audio devices into my overall strategy?
Sometimes audio devices augment your existing telephony. In other cases, they replace desk phones entirely. Hybrid scenarios are also possible. It's important to understand the overall UC objectives of your company and then align your audio device strategy accordingly.
What about users who want wireless audio devices?
There are different wireless headset technologies available, from Bluetooth® to DECT™. Bear in mind that, depending on the technology, the number of wireless devices that can work in a prescribed area varies. Getting this balance right is crucial to optimal headset performance. Again, an understanding of the workstyles of your users — whether in-office, mobile, or virtual — will help you choose the number, and the kind, of wireless headsets you should pursue.
Why is it important to keep employees in the loop?
Whenever you change the way employees work, it's vital to give them a sense of ownership. From the beginning, explain the ways it will benefit them. Keep employees continually informed. Most important, make them feel as if their specific needs guide the decisions.
How should I measure success?
Establish metrics that reflect how much your audio devices can help meet the goals of your organization. For example, can you decrease paid conference call minutes and number of emails? How satisfied are employees before and after deployment? Agree on the key performance indicators (KPIs) with your management team and use them as a barometer when you evaluate potential devices.
Determine Organizational and Employee Requirements
- Continue to share information about where users can find support: corporate intranet, wikis, videos, Webinars, and online training for audio device setup and for setting up the audio device with a specified softphone.
Establish Use Scenarios and Recruit a Test Team
- Outline the parameters of a successful pilot. Define real-world test scenarios that reflect actual user workstyles.
- Create a pilot plan, including test duration and evaluation methods.
- Recruit a representative test team.
Select Manufacturers and UC Audio Devices
- Evaluate the manufacturer's support. Determine how much technical know-how you need from your manufacturer.
- Investigate UC audio device durability from third-party resources.
- Evaluate device offerings. Compare volume and value versus value-add features. Identify a product range that reflects the workstyles of users.
- Acquire the audio devices you will pilot.
Run Tests and Analyze Results
- Test the UC platform on the acquired devices.
- Select the appropriate tests, including the following:
- Making and receiving calls
- In-office mobility and roaming range
- Call control — volume and mute
- Conference calls
- Comfort and ergonomics
- Multipoint connections
Establish a Strategy for the Introduction of Audio Devices
- Identify who will install the audio devices and how they will install and support them.
- Define a strategy that balances complexity and cost.
- Understand the level of control you need within your business requirements paradigm — IT managed, IT business partnership, or IT standards driven.
Integrate with the UC Strategy
- Consider the level of integration and future role(s) of existing technologies, if any.
- Determine the cascading effects of your approach on timelines, types of audio devices required, and support strategies. For example, different effects will result from the following approaches:
- Rip and replace
- Hybrid strategy with sunset plan
Prepare for Change
- Identify and nurture ownership from departments or individuals who might have objections.
- Prepare employees by recruiting an executive sponsor to help you communicate your program to employees.
- Develop a thorough communications plan that focuses on what will happen and the benefits of changes.
- Recruit and train super-users to facilitate knowledge and provide support.
- For the coming adoption phase, identify metrics, including utilization rates and successful "moments of truth" (first call made or other measures).
MANAGE. ENGAGE. DELIVER.
You've chosen your UC audio devices. Your plan is in place. Now, it's time to prepare for the physical deployment. The UC Toolkit Deploy resources help you identify everything from product receiving and storage logistics to creating a company-wide communication plan and the best ways to support your employees' new UC audio devices.
Why is deployment of UC audio devices so important?
A smooth deployment will help ensure user adoption. It sounds simple — just deploy audio devices. But if you have several thousand employees, what is the best way to deploy the right audio device to the right employee? What are the logistical scenarios an IT organization needs to consider and address? What about remote, contract, or temporary employees? A clear approach to deploying audio devices across the organization is required to achieve success.
What are the most important items to consider?
Communication. Be sure to maintain communication with your user base. A well-informed audience feels it has more personal investment and will be more open and less stressed about the changes.
Logistics. Consider how you plan to ship and install each audio device, especially to remote users.
Training and support. Engage the IT support teams and ensure that they're trained and ready to distribute and support the devices.
What should I communicate to users during the deployment stage?
The focus should be on timelines and expectations. Tell users what's happening, when it's going to occur, and what's expected of them. Also, don't forget to inform them of the training and support process. Regular communication is key.
What are the best methods of communicating about the deployment?
A variety of communication methods cater to how your users learn best. Address their learning styles to give them a deeper sense of ownership and help you ensure that everyone has had a chance to get familiarized. Possible vehicles include all-hands meetings, company portals, and emails. Enlist your company executives to help deliver the message whenever possible. When users feel that senior executives have to walk through the same on-boarding and support, it helps reinforce goals and softens resistance to change.
How do I best prepare the IT organization?
Estimate with IT management how much bandwidth should be allocated to the support of UC audio devices. To engage the staff, enable the IT department — especially the help desk and UC support personnel â to try as many of the deployed audio devices as possible. In addition to formal training, hands-on education accelerates the knowledge of your support team members. Arm them with tips and tricks and prepare them for the first support calls.
What are the best practices for distributing audio devices?
It's important to take into consideration the physical location of users, the amount of help that individuals require, and whether or not there are users who warrant special attention — for example, top executives. For a concentration of users based in the same office, consider a centralized station for them to pick up and sign for audio devices. Take them through an initial hands-on or video training exercise. Of course, you might need to mail audio devices to mobile or virtual employees and provide an online training tool or Webinar.
What else does the user need when receiving their audio device?
We recommend that you provide a Quick Setup Guide that is specific to the issued audio device and your UC platform. Guides should provide customized instructions on how to configure the new audio device and how to make and receive calls. Plantronics recognizes this as a best practice and has created a portfolio of Quick Setup Guides featuring many of the Plantronics UC product families. Also, consider including a card with phone numbers and email addresses that employees can use for technical assistance.
Who should install the audio devices?
This depends on the technical comfort of your employees, types of audio devices, and UC platform. Many corded headsets are plug and play, so installation is simple. Others require software, depending on the UC application used. Wireless audio devices are slightly more involved, take longer to install, and might require settings adjustments, making it more likely that users will require IT support.
Choose the Way to Communicate the Process
- Formulate communication and training methods that cater to the various ways people learn. If possible, give choices such as Webinars, intranet downloads, videos, in-person meetings, or posters.
Line Up Training for Your Support Staff
- Talk to support staff and make the following preparations:
- Determine support strategy: self-service, full-service, or a combination. Your strategy might depend on the types of users and audio devices.
- Account for support staff schedules and workloads during the deployment.
- Select your distribution strategy:
- Provide training.
- Issue new audio devices to support staff.
- Decide how you'll manage exchanges and upgrades if users determine that the audio device is not appropriate for their needs.
- Align your delivery strategy with the number of devices and your user types (in-office, virtual, and mobile workers) and decide on one of the following means of distribution:
- Utilize a central site.
- Drop off (or install) audio devices at the desks of users.
- Ship audio devices to remote workers.
- Utilize a central site.
- Communicate to users the resources available to help with installation.
- Consider additional installation help for more complex models (for example, wireless) or specific user groups (for example, executives).
- Prepare support staff and help desk (if they're different) with technical, human, and knowledge resources.
- Perform one more quick check to ensure that everything is in place for your users' first calls on their new audio devices.
Moment of truth
ASSIST. ACHIEVE. ANALYZE.
Will your employees' first UC audio device experience be a good one? The UC Toolkit Adopt resources help you ensure a positive "moment of truth" - that key moment when they realize their new device is one they'll use and enjoy. Use these tools to help you think about the best ways to achieve the highest user adoption rates, gauge the level of user satisfaction, and improve your future product rollouts.
What does user adoption mean — and why should I care about it?
User adoption means that users are making the transition from their old ways of voice communication to a new and improved way. The key to adoption is making that first user experience a successful one. This moment establishes confidence and encourages ongoing use of the new audio devices. Adoption is important in validating the company's investment and improves business results.
Why is that first call such a critical "moment of truth", and what can I do to improve the success rate?
The moment of truth is when a user makes their first call. A successful first call leads to another and builds momentum. On the other hand, a problematic first call might discourage a user from using their new device. Encourage users to make a test call to your help desk or support staff. If that experience goes smoothly, the user is more likely to continue using the device. If it goes poorly, IT is immediately available to provide troubleshooting assistance.
What tools should I have available if users need assistance with their new devices?
To help things along, we recommend providing a menu of self-help, on-demand, and online resources such as simple troubleshooting guides and product training. Plantronics recognizes this as a best practice and has developed online training for audio device setups as well as a guide for setting up the audio device with a specified softphone.
How can I verify if the audio devices are being used?
Provide a feedback mechanism to get user comments and learn about any issues. Of course, this method requires the user to take action. An alternative best practice is simply to walk the office floor on a regular basis, listen to your employees using their audio devices, and engage a few of them directly for feedback and comments. Finally, stay in touch with your superusers and executive administrators. They're often the first to know what's going on in the office.
What can increase adoption?
Highlight and promote user successes. When a user successfully employs a new audio device, colleagues will be encouraged to try it themselves. Create a fun internal corporate video showing how audio devices make collaboration simple and improve productivity. Because the reluctance to adopt is often based on fear of the unknown, invite a mix of fast and slow adopters to a focus group and have them discuss their experiences using the audio devices. Finally, ask your executive sponsors to work with corporate communications to share their story.
How do I measure adoption success?
Surveying the user community soon after deployment can help you gauge the level of satisfaction and success. The survey can be quantitative or qualitative. Some sample questions:
- Are you satisfied with your audio device?
- Does it work properly?
- Have you made your first call, and was it successful?
- Are you getting the support you need?
What can I do to show success to management?
Refer to the agreed-upon metrics that were established in the Plan stage and share your successes early. Did paid conference call minutes decrease? Did the number of emails decrease? What are the KPIs? UC platforms have mechanisms for measuring user activity, which can be utilized for reporting. A UC platform — and its audio devices — will be valued for its business merits. Promoting usage and tracking it along with attitudes toward the new UC platform are the first steps in deriving positive business results.
Users seem to be doing fine with their UC audio devices. Do I still need to monitor them?
When you're proactive and establish an ongoing appreciation of new developments and changing user requirements, you can see new trends before they fully emerge. This approach enables you to further the education of users and encourage the right behavior, while engendering a dialogue that reveals that users themselves are benefiting from UC.
How do you recommend managing replacements and upgrades?
Technology moves quickly, so it's vital to get an upgrade policy and procedure in place before it's requested. After it's established, provide an easy and self-explanatory tool, ideally Web based, that enables instant access to the list of IT-approved UC audio devices. You can opt for a self-managed solution or work with your UC audio device manufacturer. With this tool, employees can see the options available to them and analyze comparisons so that they can make informed decisions.
- Interview new users.
- Set up feedback lines of communication.
- Record the level and quality of usage that is taking place.
- Address user anxiety.
Measure and Communicate Success
- Use baselines to help you understand progress.
- Track metrics recorded by your UC system.
- Survey users and record their initial reactions to the first call.
- Publish and promote success stories through internal newsletters, blogs, and social media; feature users who make the UC audio device part of their day.
- Work with corporate communications on consistent, long-term messaging. Reinforce the idea that the UC platform is a long-term program and will not be superseded by the next corporate initiative. Ask your executive sponsor to share personal successes.
Address New Concerns and Refresh Services
- Conduct a follow-up study to accomplish these goals:
- Measure user satisfaction.
- Decide whether fundamental changes (such as work environment or workstyle) have created challenges that require a new or different audio device.
- Respond with an approach that proactively considers users' issues in the following ways:
- Address concerns and provide alternatives when needed.
- Engage slow adopters by empathizing with their hesitation and offering to demonstrate simple features.
- Update technical information; document lessons learned. Make sure that changes to the UC platform, including new features or different settings, are properly tested and communicated.
- Establish a physical location where employees can do a quick check of their device, replace batteries, adjust settings, obtain new earpads, and have questions answered.
- Keep the list of UC audio devices current at all times.
- Be proactive when testing new devices. Test devices early and add them to the approved list so that untested devices don't enter into your supported environment.
- Establish an upgrade process that is easy to understand.
- Support replacements:
- Develop a warranty process and make the claim process easy to understand.
- Provide tools that enable users to select a new UC audio device.
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