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Training: Effective or Inconsequential?

Author: Ross MacDonell

“You are only as good as your tools.” That’s what they say—but is there any truth to it? My answer is a resounding “yes!”—particularly as it pertains to VoIP telephony and UCaaS.

As telecommunications experts, we often forget that our clients are not as well-versed in these emerging technologies as we believe. While we are always pleased to encounter those that are more technologically experienced, many do not fit that profile (e.g., those in geographical areas with undeveloped infrastructure or verticals where telecom technology sits at the bottom of their priority list, like libraries).

Regardless of where your clients fall on the spectrum, ensuring that the highly capable systems you’re deploying are being used to their full potential is crucial to their success. While most providers offer some form of training to their clients, a vast majority of businesses are still burdened with a staff that lacks the level of knowledge required to effectively use the systems—whether an antiquated ERP or a cutting-edge UCaaS system.

What do your training programs look like?

Are you offering robust training that comprehensively equips clients with the tools and know-how to get the most out of their systems? If not, what can you do to change that? How can you deliver an effective training program with information that your clients will retain?

Whether your training approach centers on one high-level download of information or detailed instruction delivered in a professor-like manner, the result will only be as good as the people receiving it. Have you ever been in the position of trying to keep the attention of an audience who just wants to get back to work or go to lunch? If not, consider yourself lucky. If you’re like most (myself included), this scenario is all too familiar.

Try this at your next training session

In my experience, the best way to capture and keep your audience’s attention is to let them train themselves. Yes, it may be slightly more time-consuming, but it will pay off in the end.

Consider this example: You are training the staff at a medical clinic on a new VoIP system. Although they have used similar systems in the past, this specific software is new to them and has some quirks due to the high-level of configuration options. At a glance, the software includes numerous interactive features on the homepage—and within those, additional sub-menus and functions.

How can you get your audience to internalize all the cool ins and outs of the new system without overwhelming them with information overload? While you may be riveted by all the amazing things the system can do, they may not share your level of enthusiasm at the start. But if you let them train themselves, they’ll be more engaged, interested and in-tune with what you’re sharing.

Here’s how it works:

I’ve done this enough times to know what works and what doesn’t. While you may be tempted to launch right into your prepared material, don’t. Get them engaged from the start by asking which features of the new system they’re already familiar with and enjoy. Next, ask them which new features they’d like to learn more about. Follow your users through those features and delve into the functionality of each as you go. (Note: during this process, you may find certain features are missing in the system that the client might like to see. Take this information and remedy the issue before it becomes a pain point down the road.)

Following this approach, clients will familiarize themselves to the point of being comfortable with the system. Encourage them to ask questions and tell them how they can learn more about additional features that would allow them to operate more autonomously. Remember, the end goal is higher client satisfaction with fewer support needs.

Give it a try. Involving the client directly in the training process will improve their experience and help you earn their trust.

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