For every product or service offering on the market, you can find scores–if not hundreds–of brands trying to sell the same thing. Product is simply not enough to win people over. The true differentiator is also offering a good customer experience, which is where product training comes in. If your internal teams and external sales networks fully understand your product, they will connect it to the customer’s needs and offer a superior service.
To increase the effectiveness of your product training, it’s crucial to continually measure and assess knowledge. This analysis allows you to change a learners’ pathway and offer the correct training to get them up to speed. Without setting KPIs and continually evaluating, the effectiveness of your overall training programme will be reduced.
Of course, many businesses believe they’re already arming their learners with enough knowledge to provide stellar service, solve problems, and answer questions that come their way. However, half of customers think they’re not doing enough, according to the customer service company, Sitel Group. Something clearly isn’t translating.
Measuring Product Knowledge with Your LMS
Loyalty and trust are won–or lost–every time a customer interacts with your business, whether that’s through a simple chat on social media or a full-blown sales demo. The performance of your learners during these moments can be difficult to evaluate. After all, happiness is subjective to an extent, and what one customer may have found satisfactory enough to close a deal may not have been enough for another.
With a powerful Learning Management System (LMS), you can quantify and measure the ability of your learners to connect with customers and champion your product or service.
Below are just some ways businesses can use an eLearning platform to help fine-tune product knowledge training.
Product knowledge means different things to different departments. For salespeople, it can be knowing how to calculate Return of Investment (ROI) on the showroom floor. For customer support agents, it can mean knowing how to troubleshoot software.
To measure these competencies, it is necessary to deploy different assessment methods. Multiple choice can work better for testing familiarity with product specifications. Open-ended questions are better for assessing more complex skills, such as convincing indecisive customers.
Most learning management systems come built-in with the tools you need to create assessments for your learners. The most robust allow for novel and engaging ways to test, such as using gamification or interactive videos.
Take advantage of your LMS’ monitoring tools
LMS platforms are powerful tools that allow you to monitor and test progress at every step, from understanding theory to application on the field. An example of these powerful features is the ability to conduct online simulations that test a learner’s ability against real-world scenarios. These instances can reveal gaps in knowledge, as well as new, good habits that reflect the lessons they’ve learned through product training.
Compare product knowledge before and after training
Another way to quantify product knowledge is by looking at key performance metrics before and after training. For instance, you can compare how many leads salespeople close during a conference, or the volume of support tickets support agents to resolve.
For classroom-based learning, instructors can also leverage the power of immediate feedback by testing before and after every module. People naturally want to know if they answered correctly, and providing a tangible comparison at the end of the test can help reinforce learning of new information.
The most direct way to know if your product training is working is to ask the people it’s ultimately supposed to help: your customers. Yet while all brands will say that the customer is king, many actually don’t take the time to listen to the head that wears the crown. Only half of brands’ track customer satisfaction. Surveys and reviews are rich albeit indirect channels that can tell you whether your learners can apply what they’ve learned from training.
There’s also gathering feedback from the learners themselves. LMS tools typically offer a way to get feedback after every course. Here, you’ll need to look for honest and constructive reviews. One way to encourage genuine critique is to make submissions anonymous. Multiple choice answers and star ratings also make the process faster and seamless for learners who have their own deadlines and tasks to attend to.
Improving Your Training Programme Using Product Knowledge Data
One of the major advantages of eLearning courses over traditional classroom-based training is access to actionable and structured data. Most platforms offer reports that break down progress, completion rates, engagement and a whole host of other metrics that quantify what once was invisible to instructors. Use the data on product training results to improve and customise your modules according to the needs of your learners.
1. Identify gaps in your training programme
Use reports to identify weaknesses in your learners’ knowledge to create custom courses or adjust their learning pathway to address these gaps. Data can help you efficiently improve performance by eliminating guesswork and reducing any time wasted on irrelevant modules.
2. Accelerate training improvements
In a classroom setting, reviews of instructors and the material would typically take longer to impact or change the course. On the other hand, feedback from your LMS can be immediately used to improve the material. As it’s all online, you can revise courses sooner, ensuring the product knowledge of learners stays up to date.
3. Personalise training for learners
Product knowledge training isn’t an out-of-the-box solution for all learners. Courses can and should differ based on roles and skill level. You should also take into account how learners will be able to fit these hours into their busy schedules. Some courses might need to be mandatory, while others may be better when opt-in only. Use the data from your LMS to design product knowledge programmes that are sensitive to the needs of your business and learners.
4. Scale your training programme
The complexity of training a team grows the larger it becomes. For companies scaling, an LMS solution enables businesses to roll out training across hubs, time zones, and channel partners. Knowledge is standardised across the organisation, which enables the consistency of your service. And consistency is an important foundation of brand loyalty: when your customers know they can rely on your business at every turn, they’ll keep coming back.
Customer satisfaction is a constantly moving target. To hit the mark, brands need to be able to communicate the value of their product or service in a way that’s relevant to consumers. Honing the product knowledge skills of your learners will be essential for establishing that connection and winning over customers.
If you want to learn more about the powerful reporting tools of our LMS, and how our suite of services can support your training programme goals, get in touch here.