You've made the software sale, the installation is complete, now what do you need to do to make sure the customer continues to reap all the benefits of the solution?
The success of any new and ongoing software implementation in a print center depends on how well operators and administrators are trained to use the program and leverage its many features. It doesn't do you any favors if you sell a solution that doesn't perform as promised, particularly if the issues are related to inadequately trained operators and administrators. When that happens, how much credibility will you have the next time you walk in the door looking to sell an upgrade or another module? That question, by the way, is rhetorical.
Even with software that is intuitive and easy to use, there's often an array of options and functionality as well as updates, which means it is critical for users to understand all the possibilities of the software so they can make informed decisions and be an active and knowledgeable participant in the solution's implementation. Taking time to make sure customers are trained and that training is ongoing may seem like a distraction for you and your sales reps and technical staff, especially when sales reps would rather be out selling, or technical staff focused on solving critical customer problems rather than dealing with the same customer issues again and again.
It's easy to spot an organization lagging in training. When the customer is opening way too many trouble tickets with the software provider or asking trainers way too many questions, particularly on the same topic are obvious signals, according to Colleen Seeley, a trainer with RSA.
Although it's critical for you to ensure your customers are trained on the software and that the training is ongoing, there's some solace in knowing that most of the heavy lifting is done by your software partner. RSA, for example, offers an unlimited training model. Customers can attend its live instructor-led online classes as many times as they'd like, which is particularly beneficial whenever staff changes or there are additions to the staff.
RSA's "Ask the Trainer" online help allows your customers to email questions to RSA trainers about its WebCRD and QDirect software and receive an online response. For customers who would rather speak directly to someone rather than engage in an email conversation, open Ask the Trainer training sessions allow them to schedule a time when they can speak directly to an RSA trainer.
Not for Customers Only
It's not just your customers who will benefit from ongoing training. Your sales and technical teams can benefit as well. RSA provides specific dealer training with subject matter experts although it's much more common for dealers to attend the open training sessions with customers to acquire ongoing knowledge about the software.
Most dealers selling RSA's solutions and their customers understand the value of training, according to Seeley who recommends the dealer be an active participant in the implementation and understand that RSA is always there to support them.
"The first line of defense is training," she says. "Obviously, if it's a technical issue, like WebCRD not communicating with the printers, then you need a technical analyst. But if you want to implement a new feature, you can always register for an open session."
Customers have a choice as to what type of training to sign up for. During a private training session Seeley will work with a user one on one, or they can schedule a training session for their group, or attend the free open training sessions. The open sessions are included with the purchase of WebCRD while private training has a fee and typically involves RSA trainers interacting with the customer’s shop team to better understand the workflow.
If a customer is planning on attending an open session and you're a technical analyst, RSA will provide the customer with a URL to register for the training classes. RSA's website also lists the open sessions available.
The biggest issue that prevents operators and administrators from being properly trained or participating in ongoing training sessions is time.
"Sometimes the operators say, 'I've got a job, I've got to get it out' and they are not empowered or feel they have the time to set aside daily work to attend the training," said Seeley.
That's why RSA keeps its training sessions short. Each session is scheduled for an hour and a half. Seeley has broken the content down so the training is about an hour of content with additional time set aside for questions and conversation. For some operators, focusing just on that one hour of content is all they need.
Like any initiative within an organization, top down buy in is critical. Seeley suggests it's up to you to make sure that the decision makers within the customer's organization have communicated the importance of the training to front-line personnel and created an environment where employees can set aside time to do the training.
She suggests the dealer be proactive in communicating with customers, making sure the shop manager and operators as well as WebCRD administrators are aware of the training options available, where they can register, and informing them whenever new sessions are introduced.
You might also recommend they join RSA's Customer Forum, a community of WebCRD and QDirect users that interact with and support one another by sharing everyday experiences.
For WebCRD, RSA also has quarterly customer calls to update them on new releases and solicit feedback as well as provide additional training. You can also encourage your customers attending conferences where RSA is exhibiting to attend one of its group sessions.
It's easy to determine if the training has been successful, and the best way is to look at how RSA measures success. And while there are survey evaluations that provide some immediate feedback,
the best indicators of success are fewer trouble tickets and fewer questions coming into "Ask the Trainer."
"If there are questions it's because they're looking to expand or push the system beyond what they originally envisioned," added Seeley. "That is probably the best indicator that these people are successful and get it."
Another indicator is when your customer becomes an active member of the Customer Forum and is sharing their knowledge and experience with peers.