Custom eLearning Development

The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning Part 1

Readers of this blog know that the focus is on e-learning with an emphasis on business.  We develop e-learning applications for businesses not for academics.  This post is the First post in a Series titled The most effective uses of E-Learning based on experiences with our clients.  These use cases are presented based on the business result they achieved for our clients.

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Sales and Customer Service

Sales and Customer Service go hand in hand.  A successful business cannot have one without the other.  While these two departments serve somewhat different function, their primary objective should be the same, provide solutions for customers.  With that objective in mind sales and customer service have similar training needs as well that can be served by expertly crafted e-learning solutions.

E-learning is an excellent tool to provide training solutions for sales and customer service teams because of its accessibility, consistency and versatility.

Sales and Customer Service staff are the front line for your business, their job is to provide the best possible experience for your customers. Training them is vitally important, part of its success is its accessibility   I look at accessibility two ways.  The first is simply how it is accessed by the user.  This is a area where the delivery on-demand online training makes sense.  Accessible 24/7 on the terms of the individual.  The second way I look at accessibility in the design methodology.  If you require your team to sit in front of a computer for hours reading through text on a screen just to get through a training it is not only ineffective, but lacks accessibility.  We are firm believers in short tactical training focused around a specific business objective.  15 minutes or less, something that can be taken on a coffee break.  It is more user friendly and accessible!

Consistency is another key when providing training to sales and customer service members of your team.  E-learning can be a tool to help integrate your employees into your company culture, this is especially important for those groups on the front line with your customers.  People will go to a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, is it because it is the best food available?  Hardly, but they know they will get a consistent experience.  Your customers expect a certain experience when they interface with your company, using e-learning as a tool for ongoing training for sales and service reps is sure fire way to make sure the message is always consistent with your brand and company culture.

E-learning is extremely versatile  when strategically developed around your business and it can offer some excellent residual benefits.  One of the best residual uses of online training is the ability to re-purpose training content for use as a job aid.  We all have things that we use everyday to help us do our job.  For sales and service reps it may be as simple as a cheat sheet with product specs they can call up quickly when speaking with a customer.  Many of the assets built for your online training can be reused to create quick, interactive and very visual job aids for employees.  This helps to create more confident interactions with customers and more engaged sales and service reps.  As mobile technology continues to evolve these job aid applications become more a more viable with accessibility across mobile platforms.  The Commitment to E-learning is an investment in time and money, its versatility as a job aid will help generate a greater return.

Sales and Customer Service Reps are on the front line with your customers everyday.  They must have the proper tools to create a first class experience for your customers with every interaction.  Providing training through an E-learning platform will help create an accessible, consistent and versatile training experience with a significant ROI for your business.

How have you used E-learning successfully in your business for Sales and Customer Service Reps?

Know Your Business Objective if you want a Business Result

My friend and fellow Toastmaster Mike Hayes, wrote an article this week titled, Strong Opinions Make Your PR Campaign Great!  The basic premise being that you need to take a stand and have a position in order for your message to be heard in a crowded marketplace.  This got me thinking about how this basic premise should be applied to online training application for businesses.  The e-learning world tends to be run by academics and instructional design theory.  Those principles certainly have their place, but without focus on a sound business objectives results may be hard to come by, much like having your marketing or PR message heard when you fail to take a firm stance or have an opinion.

E-learning, whether you are looking at it from a big picture view or down to a specific course must focus on the business objective in order to achieve a business result.  Resolutions has had the good fortune of working with many different types of clients all of whom have different objectives when it comes to the development of online training applications, but the constant message we preach to them is, “what is the business objective ?”  It seems like a simple question that should warrant a simple answer, but that is not always the case.  You would be surprised how difficult it can be to answer if it was not the focus in the first place.

When I talk about a business objective I am not talking about the specific learning objectives of a course.  Every online training module has its learning objectives, I am talking about the big picture.  The things that keep the CEO up at night like major citations, fines, accidents, bad press, declining revenue… the list goes on.  E-learning applications built for a company should consider how they can positively affect the actual BUSINESS of their business.  If a client comes to me and says, “I need to build a course on ladder safety.”  My first question is, “What happened?  Did someone get hurt?”  Chances are their is a hidden business objective behind the launch of a ladder safety course that the person put in charge of execution may not have been made aware.  My guess is there was an accident, someone got hurt and either sued the company or made an extremely costly insurance claim that leadership would like to avoid in the future.  Simply understanding that will make a dramatic difference in the development of the training.

Think about it.  If you go to work and all of a sudden you are asked to take a course on ladder safety, what is your first thought?  Most likely, “This is ridiculous  I know how to climb a ladder.”  You are probably right, you do know how to climb a ladder, but if the person developing the training presents ladder safety with an clear understanding of the business objective it can be framed in such a way that is valuable to the user.  When you present something of value there is a much higher likelihood of retention and behavior change over time.

A clear focus on the business objective can help trainers and e-learning developers build training that can have a real impact on their company.  Take a stance, have an opinion and meet a specific business objective.  It will help the company and the user achieve and actual result.