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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Zac Ellet is the technical training resources manager at Boon Edam Inc.