Making Recommendations - Manufacturer provides more successful training experiences

Making Recommendations

Manufacturer provides more successful training experiences

After more than 10 years of offering technical training on our physical security entrance products to integrators, installers, and distributors, we’ve refined our approach to a fully developed program that offers a mix of online webinar training, onsite training and in-house factory training. We’ve also received positive feedback on the effectiveness of this training in a second language, so we’re now delivering more training in Spanish for Latin America.

Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what constitutes good training and how to bring about maximum benefit for both our dealer and integrator partners and for us, as the manufacturer. Above all, one thing stands out: it’s all about the end user’s satisfaction. So why is technical training so important for your business and how can you make it more effective? Here are our 9 top reasons:

  1. Better serve your customer. Your end user customer expects a turn-key, hassle free experience at a fair price. When a technician shows up “cold” expecting to figure it out, they almost always fall short of meeting these expectations. Do your homework: show up to the site with knowledge of the products you will be servicing—that means thorough, effective training from the manufacturer.
  2. Become more independent. A major goal of manufacturer training is to enable partners to install and repair the products without having to call technical support for hours on end to assist in doing the job. This is more efficient for you, more profitable, and it will build the end user’s confidence in you—all very good things, indeed.

    Your installation crew expects to have clear, concise instruction on how to install a product, and often a refresher is needed prior to an installation. Look for manufacturers who offer pre-installation orientation at no charge. Your employees can get an excellent overview of the installation process, man-hours required, tools needed, even crate size and offloading information, if necessary.

    Also, in-depth, installation-specific webinars beyond what the preinstallation orientation can offer are very helpful. How does this help you gain independence? All of these webinars, factory trainings and other custom trainings can best be used as a “train the trainer” scenario. You can designate your best technician to gather and attain this knowledge then he/she can train other technicians at your facility. This along with follow up webinar viewings will keep the knowledge fresh in their memory for future service and/or installations.Finally, by certifying your technicians they can be the one “go to service team” for the customer. You can become, in a sense, the proxy “help desk” for the end-user in your region. By attaining this service capability you will become the first call responder reaping the benefits of additional income and additional customers that are using the manufacturer’s equipment in your area.
  3. Create a sense of ownership. Your business is to service and maintain the manufacturer’s equipment. By receiving adequate, targeted training, you will acquire a better sense of ownership of any project. We have learned the end user will stand up and take notice of the service that you provide, especially if they are installed products that are highly visible or directly impact the daily lives of employees.

    Often the security manager’s reputation is on the line. End users are increasingly requiring a service company that is trained and familiar with the products and it is not difficult to conclude if a service team working on the equipment is untrained. You do not want to be that company that shows up at the site and sheepishly says, “I really haven’t worked with this type of product...”
  4. Proof of certification. Seems simple, but by completing training, your staff will be able to present to the end user a certificate of training completion endorsed by the manufacturer. The last time you had a technician to your house to do a major repair, you wanted to be sure they had adequate knowledge to install a product and you made sure they had insurance, too. Your end user responds positively just like you do. Another benefit of certification is as a selling point that differentiates your business from competitors and helps you win new business.
  5. Building a positive, long-term relationship with the end user. By attending consistent, high-quality training, you will build a better relationship with your end users because they will have higher confidence in your capabilities to service and/or install the product you sell. Here is the flip side—untimely and inadequate service can really put a strain on an enduser and their relationship with a service provider.

    From time to time, we have received calls from an end-user asking for our help in getting a service company to respond to their needs. By the time this call is made there is already a significant amount of distrust and hesitation for the end user to use this service provider on future service. We then become the mediator in trying to repair that relationship by offering trainings and additional support that should have already been proactively sought out by the service company. You don’t want the end user calling the manufacturer behind your back. Investing in training translates to additional business with existing customers and to highly-valuable referrals.
  6. Gain more confidence. You and your team will have a higher level of confidence before you even get to the end user site because you know you will be able to provide the timely service that is requested of you. And we all know confidence is contagious. The confidence your technicians will gain from attending technical trainings will reflect in their work ethic. He/she will be more confident going to a site with the manufacturer’s equipment and, in turn, the end-user will feel confident they called the right service team.
  7. Enable the manufacturer to provide better support. If an integrator/distributor is trained and can confidently repair his product offerings, the manufacturer is able to focus on providing fast and efficient troubleshooting support via the phone, which would normally be a 5 to 10-minute conversation. If you scale this out and assume every technician in the country is adequately trained, it means low talk times on the phone, rapid resolutions, and the shortest wait times possible for incoming calls.

    Aside from just troubleshooting, the manufacturer can also delve into more complex problems that are above the technical training received, without sacrificing service levels. Therefore, a lack of technical training undermines high quality support by tying up representatives unnecessarily.

    The other thing to keep in mind is your customer’s perception; if your technician is on their cell phone for over an hour either waiting for a representative or getting step by step training on a product, their impression is likely to be a negative one. As a manufacturer, we encourage you to provide great service that in turn enables your long term success. It’s a twoway street —if you continuously need a lot of hand-holding your partnership could be in jeopardy.
  8. Increase the life expectancy of your products. By providing knowledgeable and timely service you will drastically increase the life expectancy of the products you represent, you will build your staff’s confidence, you’ll increase profitability, and you’ll strengthen relationships with your customers, who become great sales references -what’s not to love?
  9. For Best Results, Demand Training Flexibility. Because your business is complex, a manufacturer should offer different types of training to allow the distributor to pick and choose their desired training methods that best support their schedule. We recommend that initial training be face-to-face rather than online, and preferably in a factory setting. This allows the manufacturer a better chance to familiarize themselves with the new distributor and their service team. Also, by utilizing factory training, you get more hands-on training with the equipment and knowledgeable experts at your shoulder. Onsite training is another option where the manufacturer comes to your facility, or an end-user facility and trains you on a specific product. This would allow less downtime of your technicians, but the resources are somewhat limited compared to at the factory. Webinars are great to keep refreshed on past training and to get some firsthand knowledge of a new product you may not be familiar with.

Everyone is familiar with training. We all know we need it and that it’s important. We hope we’ve demonstrated here that not all training is created equal—far from it. These top recommendations and pointers for identifying and then using top training programs and resources should go a long way in helping you to build more business and to delight your No. 1 target market— the end user.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Zac Ellet is the technical training resources manager at Boon Edam Inc.

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