Lack of Support from some LMS vendors is a Problem!
There’s much grumbling in the LMS marketplace with regards to service and support. In fact, poor LMS service and support ranks number one of the 5 most common complaints from LMS end users. To that end, many organizations are willing to replace their LMS because of poor service and support. CUSTOMER magazine published a statistic claiming that “poor customer relations cost companies nearly $41 billion each year.” So, why do end users feel that their LMS vendors provide poor service and support? Or better yet, why do LMS vendors fail to meet expectations?
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” — Ben Franklin
Perhaps it’s a pricing issue? When vendors charge a lower price, quality can suffer. In the SaaS (software-as-a-service) industry, quality is measured by the support and service a vendor provides. If an organization receives a low price for an LMS, the LMS vendor may be skimping on their support services to cut their own costs.
“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”– Kate Zabriske
Market leaders in any industry can deliver poor service. In fact, 247wallst.com publishes an annual list called the Customer Service Hall of Shame that features well-known brands in industries such as banking, telecommunications, and retail that provide lackluster service. It should come as no surprise that market leaders in the LMS industry could deliver poor service too. Maybe larger LMS vendors feel that they don’t have to deliver good service? Maybe they direct their support department to focus on upselling rather than servicing? Maybe they feel that due to their popularity that they’ll continue to bring in new client opportunities solely based on their brand recognition? According to helpscout.net, “80% of Americans agree that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than large businesses; and 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” –Roy H. Williams
No matter what the reasons may be, to make certain that your LMS vendor provides the services you want, your vendor needs to understand what defines your expectations, and you need a clear understanding upfront of what services your vendor offers. This helps to cultivate a long-term client/vendor relationship.
The article, “Checking Under the Hood: Choosing a Learning Management System, ” suggests asking your potential LMS vendors a wide variety of questions before choosing a system. The following questions can be asked regarding service and support.
- How available is documentation, how-to guides, training and online help?
- How responsive is technical support (hours, days)? Is it available for instructors and learners?
- Is telephone support available? Is email support available?
- Are there extra fees for support?
- Will the software require lots of training or is it fairly intuitive to use?
- At a minimum, how long will it take instructors to set up their courses?
- How long does the software implementation take?
- Does the LMS come with an FAQ section for quick reference?
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” — Damon Richards
For an LMS vendor, valuing clients should go beyond a simple statement in their marketing materials. Assuring clients that they are most important and then preventing those clients from speaking with a client service representative on the telephone when they have a problem doesn’t make for a great customer experience. Nor should an LMS vendor always wait for a client to contact them. An LMS vendor should be proactive and schedule a time to speak with their clients to answer any outstanding questions and ensure that their clients are getting the most value from their system while also verifying that client expectations are being met.
In the end, your LMS vendor should earn your trust. Organizations, such as yours should seek LMS vendors that have knowledgeable sales and support teams, thus ensuring that your team will interact with people they can learn from, can trust, and that uphold their services 100%.
Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry. An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations and thoughts regarding “all things related to learning and development.” When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband, Steve, and her Siamese cat, Elvis, and with family and friends.