It's possible that your organizational culture tends toward building or assembling the solutions versus buying the software you need to run your operations.
After all, you probably have plenty of people on staff or contract who are adept at programming their way out of just about any technical challenge.
And so it is with customer training: You may find yourself asking, should you just build the learning management system (LMS) needed to manage customer training or should you buy it?
It's possible that you have already developed or adopted tools to oversee a few aspects of customer support. This might include training -- for example, a knowledge base where you stash content and make it available as a self-service; a conferencing service for delivering online coaching; and a chat tool for providing customer support on the fly.
Why would you even need an LMS when you already have those capabilities? For a couple of reasons:
1. Only a full-fledged LMS provides the complete orchestration for tracking and guiding the customer through the onboarding process and beyond.
That includes sending individual users along the right learning pathways to help them get up to speed quickly on your product and how to use it. The goal is to accelerate their time to value from your software to increase customer success. Handling the details for accomplishing that manually is time-consuming and unscalable.
2. Your competitors are already handling the management of customer training in more sophisticated ways than you are
Customers are savvy about these aspects of product selection. Given the choice of a haphazard approach to training and a streamlined program that appears tailor-made to their needs, which product would they gravitate toward?
The well-designed LMS offers advanced tools aimed at increasing user engagement during learning, which has three benefits:
For customer education, the tools that should be resident on the LMS include (but aren't limited to):
For extra discussion, please reference: 5 Tools to Improve Learner Engagement.
If your organization needs an LMS with the advances and tools just discussed, developing that program is going to require a great deal of staff, money and time.
To handle things like reporting, a modern user experience and frequent updates and enhancements, your organization will need to negotiate contracts and then dedicate staff to managing those tools and accounts.
These kinds of costs can add up. Here are some things to consider about building before you forgo the idea of buying:
Buying your LMS delivers several advantages over building:
You may be in the business of developing software, but that doesn't limit you to only using the software you've created yourself. Your organization can't specialize in everything, of course. So, you choose experts in other fields to help you manage those aspects of your business -- accounting, marketing, legal and so on. Managing the many details of helping you train your customers is also best left to the experts.
As you start to weigh your options, it's important to think carefully about the budget, timing, business goals and resources you can allocate towards your LMS project.
With very few exceptions, the time, money, and headaches you'll save by selecting an off-the-shelf or custom learning solution is much preferable to the cost of building an LMS from scratch.
Download this free eBook to determine if building or buying an LMS is best for your business.