• March 1, 2009
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

A Training Regimen Gets Rigorous

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For the rest of the March 2009 issue of CRM magazine, please click here.

Many companies have programs for training employees. But on-demand business communications provider Brainshark helped one business train its customers, and keep those customers coming back for more.

There is no shortage of exercise clubs in the developed world, nor a lack of health-conscious (or image-conscious) people to fill them. Still, there’s an increasing call for ways to extend fitness beyond the gym. Founded in 1993, Norwalk, Conn.–based FitLinxx uses technology to motivate people to pursue active and healthy lifestyles. The company sells a range of electronic devices for monitoring and encouraging healthy activities to fitness facilities, healthcare and wellness providers, schools, the military, and consumers.

The devices require some user training, which FitLinxx had always handled the old-fashioned way—sending a representative to the customer site to conduct classes. This worked for years, but geographic dispersal and growing demand meant moving beyond the old method. “This approach was presenting challenges,” said Kandice Turner, director of customer training and program development for FitLinxx, in a testimonial. “On-site visits had to be scheduled three to four weeks in advance, and the travel was costly and ate up our training resources.” Any new employees at a site meant another round of travel and training, as did any new product or feature.

By early 2008, FitLinxx knew it needed a change. Turner sought out Brainshark and its on-demand communications capabilities. Usually, the first thought with a solution similar to Brainshark’s is agent training, but FitLinxx had other ideas. “We needed a solution that could train people outside of our organization—our customers. However, our customers are so focused on day-to-day operations, they simply don’t have the luxury of scheduling staff training in advance,” she said.

Brainshark gave FitLinxx a way to supplement and even replace live training with Web tutorials that users could access at will and repeat as necessary. More than just generic training videos, Brainshark’s editing capabilities enabled Turner’s team to customize the offering for each client. “The on-demand model…has been a perfect fit for our needs, enabling users to participate in training sessions at their convenience without the need for multiple onsite visits from our team,” she said. “Plus as our technology is updated, we can efficiently roll out new features and benefits in weeks instead of months. With Brainshark we are able to offer the kind of flexible, customizable training our customers demand.”

Ease of access is a major selling point. Equipment costs money—money that’s wasted if the equipment’s not put into regular use with the client’s own customers. When clients can train as much as they want until they understand the product, risk of underutilization is minimal.

In addition to the intended benefits of reduced training costs and better staff utilization, Brainshark has helped FitLinxx in other ways. The easy, repeatable accessibility of training content has helped reduce the volume of customer support calls. Furthermore, the Brainshark platform allows users to create powerful presentations at trade shows.

“Customers such as FitLinxx are not only reducing specific costs such as training, but drastically improving the overall customer experience leading to better retention and bottom-line results,” said Joe Gustafson, Brainshark’s CEO and founder, in a statement. “It’s a powerful example for many companies who are looking to cut costs without sacrificing their quality of service.”

With Brainshark communication tools, FitLinxx was able to:

  • reduce its training expenses by more than 50 percent;
  • allocate staff more efficiently;
  • provide better presentations to prospects at trade shows; and
  • reduce the volume of support calls.

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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