February 17, 2016

Beware of the oft-used title — “customer service.” As practiced today, customer service is merely an organization’s response department in which the sole obligation is to respond to complaints, error reports and other problems. In actuality, it exists not to protect customers but to defend the best interests of the vendor.

What you should be seeking is a courseware vendor that practices “customer assurance” — a training vendor that is thinking “customers” from initial development through service-after-the-sale.

It all starts with courseware development. And, I’m not talking about the myriad Regulatory Training or Microsoft Office Training vendors. Those vendors need only do “manual” and published regulation research in order to initiate their courseware development activities. And, that is because they are creating “information” courses that re-package existing print-based knowledge. The content is universally available to everyone at all times — one of the major reasons there exists so very many Regulatory and Office Training vendors (almost anyone can do it).

What I’m talking about is skills-based industrial training that, while having a base of procedural information, must also include “best practices,” “proper tool use,” “safety” and “good housekeeping” considerations.”

It follows that the first step in “customer assurance should focus on a working partnership between a vendor and its customers. For example:

1) Does the choice of subjects-to-be-taught come as a response to customer-need?

2) Are the video and graphics originating from actual on-site visits to process and manufacturing companies?

3) Is the on-screen talent actual workers performing actual tasks, already expert at the procedures being taught?

The second aspect of customer assurance involves the planning and review stages that are integral to the programs being created? (Are applicable customers being involved at every step in the development process?)

The final piece is the one we refer to as “customer service” — an after-the-sale activity that results in “fixes” to problems and questions.

However, without the first two requirements of “customer assurance,” the “customer service” component will be never-ending — simply because “customers” were never seriously considered in the planning, producing, and reviewing processes — all so essential to meaningful industrial skills training today.

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)

(This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant. They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)