Adopting new software can feel like stepping into the unknown, full of excitement and hope for streamlining processes and boosting productivity. However, sometimes that excitement takes a nosedive into the infamous “Valley of Despair.”
You know the drill: you adopt new agency software with high expectations, but after a while, it gathers digital dust, and you find yourselves back to square one. Software becomes “shelfware.”
We’re here to help you navigate through the depths of despair and emerge victoriously on the other side. Let’s dive into the valley (get it?) and come out with some tips to make your agency software implementation journey smoother and more successful.
What is the Valley of Despair?
Alan Katz, Co-Founder and CEO of NextAgency, chats with Kevin Dawson of PerfectQuote about the Valley of Despair in technology implementation. Catch the full interview on the P’s and Q’s Podcast by PerfectQuote.
The Valley of Despair is a stage in the implementation process where users and organizations experience a dip in enthusiasm and productivity when implementing a new technology or innovation. It is also known as the “trough of disillusionment.”
The concept is one of four stages in the Gartner Hype Cycle, a model created by the research firm to represent the maturity, implementation, and social application of specific technologies.
Picture it: when you first get a new software package (or another piece of technology) you are so excited because you understand the potential. Then you start implementing, which inevitably leads to questions about why the software isn’t doing what you need it to, or why the developers chose to do (or not do something). You ultimately spend three to five weeks in the Valley of Despair where everything is wrong, and the product isn’t what you wanted.
But the reason it’s called a valley is that you eventually come up again. When looking back, you wonder how you ever survived without using that tool.
The question agencies have to ask when considering a software implementation is, what’s it going to be like two months from now? When you get through that Valley of Despair, will it save the agency time and money, and help you better serve clients? If it really is the product your agency was looking for during the sales cycle, then chances are, it will. You just need the right strategy (and the right partner) to help your team succeed in those first few weeks.
6 agency tips for software implementation
1. Start small, aim big
It’s tempting to go all-in from the get-go, but sometimes, it’s best to start small and then expand. Choose a pilot team of enthusiastic and tech-savvy staff who can embrace the software with open arms. Their success stories will serve as a shining beacon of hope for others, making them more likely to hop on board.
2. Take an holistic approach to improvement
A software implementation is an excellent time to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t within your agency. While insurance quoting software can automate certain tasks and make work a lot easier for the team, it won’t matter much if the software is only supposed to recreate the “old way of doing things.” The most successful software implementations occur when the organization takes a holistic approach—and when the software is flexible to meet your unique needs.
3. Training and support are key
Imagine buying a fancy new gadget without a user manual—frustrating, right? The same applies to software implementation. Ensure your team receives comprehensive training, and they understand how the software will make their lives easier. Ongoing support is vital, too, because let’s face it, there will be follow-up questions and we all need a helping hand now and then.
4. Involve your team from day one
Including your team members in the decision-making process can do wonders for buy-in. When people feel their voices are heard, they’re more likely to embrace change. Encourage feedback and create an environment where suggestions for improvement are welcome—it’s a win-win situation!
5. Celebrate milestones and wins
Moving through the Valley of Despair can be tough, but don’t forget to celebrate the little victories along the way. Did a team member master a new feature? Cheers to that! Recognizing progress, no matter how small, keeps the motivation high and the excitement alive.
6. Measure success and make adjustments
As you tread through the software implementation journey, keep a close eye on key metrics and performance indicators. Monitor how the software impacts your agency’s efficiency and profitability. If something’s not working as expected, don’t be afraid to adjust your approach—flexibility is the name of the game.
Embrace insurtech implementation with confidence
Prepared with these tips, you’re better equipped to tackle the Valley of Despair head-on and come out on the other side of successful software implementation.
When you work with PerfectQuote to implement health insurance quoting software, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our training and support team have deep insurance backgrounds, with previous roles as account managers at a brokerage firm, selling insurance or quoting benefits.
Let’s make your software implementation journey as smooth as possible so we can conquer the Slope of Enlightenment and reach the Plateau of Productivity together.