You may not typically place a lot of emphasis on the support service options when evaluating LMS vendors. In fact, during the purchasing process, the majority of organizations focus on the features/function of a given LMS. While these are important considerations, based on my experience, very little to no time is taken to consider what the ongoing support package looks like. Let’s be clear, getting a good understanding of your support options should rank in the top 3 when you are considering a new LMS option.
This is understandable because I believe that there is an assumption that “unlimited support and resources will be provided!” However, word to the wise, this assumption is incorrect.
First and foremost, some of these support functions can be tested during a Free Trial period (if the vendor provides this option). It should be a priority to do your research regarding your client support options when choosing your new LMS. There are multiple “major players” and large LMS companies that provide little to no support upon the purchase of your LMS. Everything is great until it’s not. Can you imagine if Amazon did not provide customer support? AND, could you imagine a cost attached (i.e. an additional $100 per user per support ticket/call)? Note: $100 is a completely arbitrary number that I chose and in no way indicative of the pricing structure of any LMS company.
ALSO-to clarify-we can’t confuse onboarding with ongoing support.
There are even different types of phone support! First, find out “who” will be answering the phones. Is this simply a call center or will the phone response reps actually be able to help you with your question/issue?
Second, how responsive is the LMS staff and how long does it take to escalate your requests? Do they have an escalation procedure in place? Does this escalation procedure fit with your requirements?
Does your vendor provide a standard email address for support? How responsive are they?
This is a very nice option, most users prefer to receive an immediate response versus picking up the phone (and, such is the nature of users today!). Does your LMS provider give you this option? Also, do the Live Chat reps have the knowledge to provide support answers?
How does the FAQ/Knowledgebase option work (if it exists)? Believe it or not, your Knowledgebase / FAQ option can be presented to you in a variety of ways also. Think of the KB as a training portal.
It would be beneficial for you and your organization to dig into this a little bit. For example, do you have “keyword” search options? Does the KB / FAQ provide videos, screenshots, and articles? Also, how often is the KB updated? Is the KB updated as your vendor launches new updates/upgrades? You and your organizations need to ensure that your users have all of the pertinent resources available to all of your users. The last thing that you want is to be bombarded by questions from your users throughout this process!
Webinar training is an outstanding option as well. Ask your vendor if they provide this option. This option provides a personalized training experience for your organization. Your LMS vendors will rarely provide on-prem training (and, quite frankly, your organization will probably prefer webinars to on-prem) so this “face-to-face” interactive option is something to consider as well.
Does your vendor give you the ability to provide interactive suggestions and feedback for your LMS platform? This is an option that is rarely offered but it is a terrific feature, especially if your vendor acts on your suggestions and feedback.
Does your vendor provide the administrators with their client support portal? Think about this for a second-your own administrative portal with all of the appropriate training documentation and the ability to interact directly with your support team? ESPECIALLY if you have a dedicated support team-this can be an extremely beneficial feature.
Now, and I’m being candid here - do not expect your LMS vendor to have all of these support features but I have just given you different categories to assess. Once you evaluate your business and LMS requirements, keep these support features into consideration. Ultimately, you need to consider and align your own IT’s bandwidth and capabilities with what your LMS vendor is offering.
Shhh - I’m revealing all of the LMS search secrets but make sure you assess all of these categories and determine the best fit for you and your organization from a support perspective.
From an insider’s perspective... Farewell for now!
For additional information please see below:
Customer Service Excellence during Implementation
Training Manager Frustrations: The Customer Service Solution