4 Ways to Help People Who Hate Upgrades

My iPhone is constantly nagging me. And then my iPad starts too. They want me to upgrade.

At first it is simple reminders. Then they start getting sneaky and want to do it at night when they think I am not looking.

I hate upgrades. I will ignore them for as long as possible.

Much to the chagrin of my network admin, I still insist on using Windows 7.

I just want to do it the way I know how to do it. Even if a “better” way exists. I have too many other “new” things to learn in life.

Eventually I lose the battle, and change is forced upon me. After verbally abusing the new system for a few weeks, I get used to doing it a different way and forget the drama. Then I even start to like the new system.

Until the next upgrade….

So I have empathy for companies that are faced with upgrades to their ERP and CRM systems. Here are a few simple steps I think ERP/CRM partners should take to make upgrade-haters like me more comfortable with the inevitable:

1)      Give advance notice.

A few years ago I specifically remember turning on my computer and being shocked to see that we had a new version of Dynamics CRM that looked completely different from the system I had used the day before. I had planned to finish a big project, and now my schedule was blown to bits. There had been no advance warning, no training. And I instantly disliked this new system. If I had known that the system would be upgraded I would have mentally prepared for it, planned accordingly and been a much happier employee.

2)       Tell me what to expect.

Is this a big upgrade or a small one? Will the system look different or are the improvements “behind the scenes”? Will it impact other add on tools and require those to be upgraded too? Will I need to reset passwords? The more I know, the more I can prepare - logistically and mentally.

3)      Anticipate areas of frustration.

Sometimes developers think it is a great idea to move the print button or eliminate a navigation pane. People like me waste so much time, and patience, trying to figure out where it has gone. If you are helping someone survive an upgrade, especially one that includes a new user interface, make a list of “what is different” and right away show users how to accomplish their common tasks.

4)      Prove the value.

I may act like a curmudgeon, but if someone can really show me why a new feature will make my life better or save me time, I will embrace it. It is important to educate users on the new features, and show why they actually are better, not just different.

5)      Acknowledge that change is hard.

If you are the sort of person who loves “the latest and greatest” you may have a hard time understanding why upgrades are difficult for the rest of us. Ignoring our angst is not going to win you any friends. Be patient, be encouraging, be a true “partner”. Then you will be rewarded with a contract for the next upgrade project too.

Years ago a boss made me read the book “Who Moved My Cheese”, a popular business book about adjusting attitudes toward change in life, especially at work.

As I hit “Remind Me Later” for the 100th time on my iPhone, I realize it may be time for me to read it again…..

By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing


Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg