A Learning Management System (LMS) provides businesses with the resources to manage both internal and external audiences for training employees and customers or vendors. Internal training curriculum can be delivered to an organization’s workforce for skill development and knowledge mastery of key principles and organizational know-how.
This type of training is usually the primary objective when an organization purchases an LMS, although many times organizations will also leverage the power of their online training platform to educate their external audience: their customers, vendors, or even the general public, depending on the objectives of the organization. When an organization begins to train their external stakeholders, they are participating in external training.
What is External Training?
External training can help an organization provide their external stakeholders with a strong foundation of the organization’s value proposition, its unique product offerings, and its history/background. Knowledge sharing, certifications, and new product training are some basic examples of external training.
External stakeholders refer to non-employees who are involved in selling or using a company’s product or service. Customers are a major external audience for a business. It is beneficial for your company to develop and foster a comprehensive relationship with your customers.
Benefits of Online Customer Training
External customer training programs are especially valuable when an organization has an array of labels or brands that fall underneath their corporate wing that their customers must know how to sell. For example, a large winery may have an array of smaller, family-operated wine labels that it distributes. A wine education program geared toward educating its distributors about all of its wine labels can ensure that distributors get a consistent and complete background on all of its wine labels—the main label, and all of the labels from the family-operated wineries.
The three main benefits of training your customers online are:
1. Customer Satisfaction
2. Customer Retention
3. Promote Positive Brand Image
The best way to help your customers be successful in using your product or service is to provide them with adequate resources that show them how and why they should use your product or service. Having a course series on best practices, or even case studies showing how other customers use your product or service, can help you retain customers and make them more successful on the same coin.
How Do You Select the Right LMS?
There are several aspects of an LMS, which any business will need to deliver training curriculum to an internal and external audience.
Here are 4 features you should look for in an LMS.
1. eCommerce Integration
E-commerce expands a customer-centered LMS from just a training system to a monetization engine to increase your marketing mix and generate a revenue. Increasing value through training is important, but if you have training that customers are willing to pay for, why not increase your income as well as provide a valuable service?
2. Customization Options
The customization options in your LMS are essential for providing customer focused training. The information your customers need differs significantly from the information and delivery methods you use for training videos for employees. A good LMS will have the flexibility to do both.
3. Full Customer Service Support
With the right payment-processing and site customization comes your need for incredible customer service. Most companies do not have experts in designing, customizing, and deploying online courses in their IT or marketing teams. Not to worry, an LMS solution provider can work with you to ensure that their software provides the services you need for your customers.
4. Scalable System
Finally, a robust LMS must be scalable to match both the users you will have today as well as the users you plan on having in a year or two. This scalability is essential in the modern era to provide you the tools to meet your businesses needs no matter where they are, and scalability is one of the chief benefits of modern cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) systems.
What Steps Do You Need to Take to Start Today?
Setting up new e-learning tools is not a step you want to take in one giant leap, but there are activities you can start today to build a course system for your customers.
Here are 4 steps to creating and distributing an effective customer training program:
1. Define your training goals
Are you looking to provide training for customers on a specific business system? Do you need to give your customers information to prevent maintenance calls? Do you have information that customers will pay for? All these questions are essential to understanding the product you are going to bring to your customers
2. Understand your user targets
Understanding your user targets gives you the budget to work with and defines the timeframe before you get started. If you are offering courses to both employees and customers that will affect how many users you have. If you are selling the product via an online sales funnel, that will also affect how many users you need. Set the limits and goals of where you want to be with the product and create a timeline based upon your monthly budget for the software
3. Discovering what type of customizations you will need
Customization is one of the valuable parts of the learning system you can offer to your customers. It also increases the price of installation. Understanding what you will need and communicating that need to your LMS management team early is one of the best ways to ensure a high-quality product and the fact that everything will come in under budget. You can take time today to discover what customizations might be needed by sketching out a map of the learning modules and functions you plan on delivering in your course.
4. Communicating with an experienced training development team
With over 20 years of experience, the Knowledge Anywhere experts can provide an effective learning and development platform for your business. Our Learning Management System helps you build exercises and modules that are intuitive, educational, and engaging, allowing you to easily train your internal and external audiences.
Schedule a Demo to learn more about how to train your customers.
In addition to reading this article, a great resource to help is this FREE eBook, Grow Your Business Through External Training. This eBook will give you information regarding Extended Enterprise features and eCommerce so you can decide if it is a good investment for your training program.
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