By Jennifer Barnhart , Monika Gillis, and John Muth
As discussed in a previous blog post, 5 Ways SaaS Providers Can Increase Client Retention Through User Adoption, proper implementation of clients is paramount to success when it comes to SaaS-based workforce management solutions. Frustration can lead to clients seeking other solutions, so by putting in the time to ensure clients are set up and trained properly on the system, clients will more easily adopt it and be less likely to experience issues, thereby increasing retention rates.
These implementation tips stem from our team’s years of combined experience implementing workforce management solutions. Currently, the implementation group we use is comprised of an Application Consultant (AC) and Project Manager (PM), where the AC performs all of the application programing and testing, while the PM continually drives both the implementation team and client. At Kronos, we deliver workforce management products directly to end users in the SMB market with an average of around 600 employees per company.
As our products have grown and evolved over time, so too have our implementation processes. We’ve pooled our knowledge and compiled a list of tips that will assist you in completing successful implementations for your clients:
- Know Your Internal Resources – Not any one person is going to be great at everything. Everyone has a subject that they excel at, so why should experience with your product be any different? Take some time to get to know your coworkers’ or employees’ prior work experience, and what their skillsets are. Purposely carve out time with your team to knowledge share and discuss obstacles and resolutions. It’s also beneficial to frequently converse with those who have different technical expertise. Many features between time and attendance, HR and payroll systems may overlap, enabling communication between folks dealing with the various products or modules to share their best practices in order to help improve implementations.
- Always Document and Follow-up – Clients’ needs and expectations are always evolving. This can pose an interesting situation when implementing a subscription-based service, where ultimately customer satisfaction is key to long term sustainability. A great way to make sure all parties are on the same page is through documenting the main points and takeaways as well as next steps of implementation discussions and following up with an email to the client afterwards. It’s also important to copy your PM to keep them in the loop if any changes occur. It helps drive the conversation if priorities need to be rearranged or shifted into longer term phases.
- Complete Clock Configurations as Early as Possible – Many implementations are stalled due to problems arising during clock configuration. This step used to be located at the bottom of our implementation checklists, but since moving it much higher in the process, implementation delays due to hardware configuration have stopped. There are several issues that are commonplace when completing your initial setup of terminals. These can include problems with firewall settings, defective hardware, a bad network connection at terminal locations, or faulty internet cards. With customers who keep their network server offsite, this is even more of an issue. We recommend completing clock configuration before even starting the build, and by this we mean simply getting it connected to the workforce management system. Soft key configuration can come at a later time. Regardless of the size of the customer or how many terminals they will be installing, the earlier you do this, the better.
- Ensure that the Customer Understands All Import Templates – Make certain the customer understands that imports, which can save valuable time, allow you to perform other implementation items. We have started incorporating a call to strictly go over import templates with customers. No matter how much black and white instruction we provide to customers, we are always given import files that are not formatted correctly, with the two most common being the employee’s default cost center in the employee import and pay calculation profile name. When holding this call, it allows our team to take them through each field and stress the importance that each section is formatted correctly and spelled identically to how it is in the system. Our team often chooses to save time and reformat all fields properly ourselves, but incorporating this call into the timeline has really alleviated much of this manual data scrubbing that we were so accustomed to and burdened with.
- Be Prepared for Go Live – A common best practice in providing a successful implementation and onboarding experience for a client is ensuring that you are available as a resource to that client in the weeks leading up to their go live date. By scheduling status calls, testing calls or just holding frequent check-ups, it provides the client with a constant line of support, validates the application build, and ensures a smooth roll out to their staff. In addition to these benefits, it also assists in developing a working relationship with your client contact in the hopes of the client becoming a referral source for future clients or a reference for prospective clients.
Do you have any additional implementation tips that you’ve found to be successful? Please comment below to share with our readers.
About the Authors:
Jennifer Barnhart, Monika Gillis, and John Muth are Application Specialists at Kronos responsible for the implementation of the Workforce Ready product. This includes configuration, testing, and the deployment of the solution to end users and support throughout the implementation.