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Training The User

One of the more interesting idiosyncrasies of our industry is that the person who buys our equipment is often not the same person who actually uses it. We spend lots of resources selling, explaining, and training ? but is the right person getting the message?

One of the more interesting idiosyncrasies of our industry is that the person who buys our equipment is often not the same person who actually uses it. We spend lots of resources selling, explaining, and training — but is the right person getting the message? Are you training the buyer or the user? If the user isn't getting the message, chances are the system won't be fully utilized, “buyer's remorse” will kick in, frustration will grow, and you could lose a customer.

This is especially true in the education, house of worship, and corporate markets, where the buyer is typically someone on staff who's considered knowledgeable on audio equipment or display and presentation technology. It could be the AV manager, the technical services manager, the director of technical ministries, the IT manager, or even a school district official. But once it's installed, this person may never touch the system, unless it's to fix a problem the end-user encounters because he or she didn't know not to touch those buttons on the left.

Training the technical person who made the purchase decision isn't enough. You can't assume that the buyer will pass on adequate training to the people in the organization who'll actually use the system.

But technical training of non-technical users isn't without its challenges, and it's not for everyone. Your most knowledgeable, highly qualified technician probably isn't who you want training the end-user. It takes someone who can empathize with the user while translating our jargon and acronym-filled AV world for someone who doesn't speak the language. (If you're a baby-boomer who's helped your parents with their first PC, then you know what I mean.)

Some things you can do:

  • Consider hiring a trainer — someone dedicated to end-user training — or train someone on your staff to take on this role.
  • Train at the end-users' site, using their system. It's too easy to justify skipping an off-site training session.
  • Simulate a real application of the system as much as possible.
  • While you may be tempted to charge for training, don't — at least not the first time. Customers expect some level of training to be included, and when it's effective, it will pay for itself. Future business, word of mouth referrals, and even add-on sales will easily offset the expense once the customer becomes comfortable with the full capability of the system you sold and installed for them.
  • The bottom line is simple: The more comfortable your end-customers are with the equipment, the more they'll use it. The more they use it, the more satisfied they'll be. And that virtually guarantees a customer for life.

    Mark Mayfield
    Editor



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